When planning a layout I first start by conjuring up individual scenes, these then piece together to form an overall layout plan over quite a period of time. One such scene I’ve always had in mind for the new layout is an ice house. The inspiration first came after seeing photos of this building at Portree, and then from seeing it in real life.
The model of this building I’m making is by no means a scale model, but is meant to capture the feeling of the original.
A while ago I came across the techniques of Emmanuel Nouaillier, the structures he produces are about the most realistic I’ve seen and full of bags of atmosphere. Seeing these really inspired me to have a go at some new techniques.
I first produced a drawing of the building, not having any dimensions I just assumed the doorway would be approximately 6′ tall and worked from there to make the other dimensions look ‘right’ relative to that. The basic shell of the ice house was then cut from foamboard, I bought mine in Hobbycraft.
The next stage was to spray the building with hairspray to seal it slightly and avoid the moisture in the next stage from effecting it too much. The very slight texture and tackyness created by the hairspray also provides something for the plaster used in the next stage to key into.
The plaster is squeezed out onto the surface of the building in strips and spread out using the spatulas until it gradually becomes smooth. At this point it may help to wet the spatulas slightly to aid spreading.
Gradual application of more plaster and smoothing it off with the spatulas and water will result in a smooth-ish finish.
I’m not too bothered about the plaster being perfectly smooth. I would be if I were modelling a brick building, but as the ice house is to be stone some natural unevenness is to be expected.
And that’s as far as I have gotten for the moment. When the plaster has dried I will be sanding it gently to smooth out some of the rougher areas, and then drawing on in pencil the stone blocks. This will make carving them out with a scalpel blade really easy.
So far I’ve found this really therapeutic. I’m particularly looking forward to applying Emmanuel’s techniques for making timber doors which look rather work worn, as well as the roof and some signage too. The other advantage of this technique is that you can peel off the top layer of card on the foamboard basis and carve brick or stones into that, the plaster can then be placed around this to imply a rendered building where the render has started to spall away and reveal it’s walls. I’m also looking forward to trying this on some other buildings. The ice house is comparatively simple to get me started.
More on the construction of the ice house will follow when the building has progressed.