Monday, November 25, 2013

Jungle Hut -- Southeast Asian building, Part 2

Stage two of the Jungle Hut build began with paint...lots of it! As I mentioned in the first article, I made a mistake when I did not paint the paper mache box my base color before I glued on the burlap. I paid the price for it during this stage, and it actually took two coats before I was satisfied you couldn't see bare cardboard inside the tiny squares inside the weave of the burlap. My base color was a new one I'd purchased for it called "Raw Siena," a cheap craft paint from Ceramcoat. I would say 80% of the paints I use are from Ceramcoat. I just don't see the point of paying hobby paint prices. A few specialty paints -- like Steel and Bronze metallic -- are from Iron Wind. Most of my "dry brush" colors are Howard Hues, because they are thicker. My "rank and file" paints, though, are Ceramcoat that I buy at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

The hut after a Raw Siena base coat and Khaki dry brush. This is before the Dun highlight and the black ink wash.
For some reason, I took fewer pictures as the building progressed. I didn't take any of it with just its base coat. It wasn't until after I'd done the Khaki dry brush that I took the next shot. At that point, I was wondering if I should do a further highlight using Iron Wind Metals "Dun" -- a nice dull yellow color that dry brushes well. I decided what the heck, and went ahead and put it in the areas that would be sunlit. I liked how it looked. Then I debated whether to do a black ink wash over it. The hut looked pretty good as it was. If the ink wash messed it up, I might be a bit peeved. What's more, I might even lose my temper and do something rash. Which reminds me of my favorite story of a gamer losing his temper after a painting disaster. A friend of mine had constructed a very fiddly 1/72 scale biplane model, lovingly painted it with interesting patterns, and then spray sealed it. Yep. The sealant fogged the paint job, and none of the normal remedies fixed it. Well, that plane went on its first and only flight, at a rapid pace, into the nearest wall...!

I'm happy to say the Jungle Hut did not become a Jungle Hut ruin. I really like how the ink wash made it look more realistic and three dimensional. The burlap looked less like fabric glued down and more like an actual hut made out of woven material. So, it was a success. And I really liked how the ink wash made the bamboo platform look.

The printed image of wicker flooring and walls turned out very nice my friends asked me why do I even bother texturing the walls. I should just print the whole thing. "Thanks, guys..."
 Next up (not really, I'm a bit out of order now) was the interior. Once again, I went to the CG Textures website and found high quality images that would work for the interior. I picked out a few woven patterns and resized them in photoshop. I even found a door and resized and colored it and placed it on one of the wicker walls images. I printed them out on my color laser printer and said, "Wow!" The patterns looked really sharp -- even better than my 3D burlap prior to the ink wash! To size them up right, I took a sheet of printer paper and trimmed it to the size of the interior walls (including spacing the windows) -- one each for the long and short walls. I then trimmed the printed patterns to the right size with an Xacto knife. I had previously painted the interior the same Raw Siena when I'd base-coated the outside. Now, I used an old brush to paint the surface where the printed image would go with white glue and positioned the image over it. I did each of the four walls, and then the floor. Once again, I let out another "Wow!" I am really liking this technique of using printed images for the interiors!
The multiple layers of the roof: black styrene base, foam core eaves (here covered by the burlap already), cardstock roof base, and Teddy Bear fur.
Now it was time for the roof. I cut a piece of black styrene so that it would overlap the roof by about 1/2" on all sides. I cut the triangular-shaped eaves out of black foamcore and glued them upright with Tacky glue. To keep them straight, a giant 28mm ape held them so they were perpendicular. Thanks, Kong! I measured the length of the eaves and cut a stiff piece of cardstock for the roof base, sizing it to overlap by about 1/2" all the way around. I folded it and then tacky glued it to the eaves, turning it upside down and putting a weight on it so that it pressed it firmly against the eaves.
I was very proud of myself when I remembered to paint the triangular eaves BEFORE I glued on the burlap...proving no matter how old the dog, tedious work covering up for a mistake can teach him a lesson...!
For the thatch material I'd decided to go with "Teddy Bear fur" -- which you can get in a roll from Hobby Lobby. Note: No actual Teddy Bears were harmed in the making of this Jungle Hut. This was synthetic fur. I've been told that synthetic Teddy Bears feel no pain. Anyway, I measured and cut the chocolate brown fur so it would overlap the roof base. I used Tacky glue to affix it to the roof. Once it was dry, I mixed up a batch of white glue and water 50/50. I painted the fur with this mixture, then combed it from the apex of the roof to the ends, which gave it a nice "rowed" looked. After waiting a couple hours for it to dry, it became apparent there wasn't enough glue to stiffen the fur. So, I painted on pretty much straight white glue, which mixed naturally with the soaked fibers. I combed it again, and then let it sit overnight.
The fur before dry brushing but after it has been painted with white glue. You can see the vertical pattern made by combing...well, *I* can (he says, justifying do the work).
The thatch was indeed hardened, and took two coats of dry brushing easily. I used the same Raw Siena for my first coat and followed it up sparingly with Khaki. I really like how the thatch turned out. The Teddy Bear fur was a definite success. One of my friends said it is the best model thatch he's ever seen. I am not sure if I would got that far, but it is the best model thatch I've done, in my opinion. I cut a rectangle of black foamcore to glue to the underside so it would fit securely inside the walls of the hut and not slide off.

At this stage, all that is left is the flocking and the stilt base! I'll finish that off in part three.

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