Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Model Madness: Maniacal Machines!

I know I've said it before, but we truly are about to turn a corner on this thing.... really:
So I needed a lever if you recall, to be connected to the lab equipment to turn it on or off.  I ended up finding this automotive toggle switch from Radio Shack for a few bucks.  It was long enough, AND it's PLASTIC!!!!
After a few minutes with my Dremel, the switch was looking more thin, like a lever.  This was a bit nerve-wracking, as I just knew I'd somehow end up breaking the switch off by being too greedy!  It didn't happen.

Yet ANOTHER hole is hogged through the wall!  Since the toggle was pretty large to start with, it required quite a bit hole to be drilled into the wall.  I also had to cut away some of the bars off of the back.
So here's the switch, post-primer.  It's tight in place, and can switch easily without rocking the model around.  I intend to build a little box over the switch to cover that black plastic nut, to give it a more old-school look.  I had to fill in the holes that were intended for one of the shelves-- that shelf will be moved to the left and down a bit.
And here's the voltmeter!  It's an image printed onto white paper, with some clear plastic sandwiched in between to give the appearance of glass.  The back of the meter is exposed so that...
....I'll be able to shine light through!  How cool does THAT look!?
The front tip of a medicinal syringe has been cut off and sanded until level, so that it can be painted and glued atop the "flying saucer" on the device.  To the upper right, you can see some brass parts that I'm using to elongate the neck of the device, as well as to create some rhythm and repetition in the look of the machine.

So yes, I've become a bit stuck in the mire regarding this device, but in the end I believe it will elevate the kit to something unique and always fun to turn on and enjoy. Like I've said before, I'm getting a little older, and the odds of my passing this way again with this kit is unlikely, so I might as well make it as good as I can, since I'll be the one who has to look at it for the rest of my life! Anyways, more to come!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Model Madness: More Accessories!

So just when I think I'm on the home stretch towards getting everything primed and ready to paint, I'm in my backyard with my kids and I find an old sprinkler head, one that had been exposed to a little fire and was melted a bit. And I take it inside, grab the plunger part from the syringe that I sacrificed for the candle, and then dig through a junk drawer and grab a part from a broken pair of walkman headphones, and....
I'll be putting some gauges on the grey cylinder (which will be a beat-up black) to add to the mad scientist equipment look.
Here's the "device," and you can see the heat damage, which helps to break up the reality that it's a sprinkler head.  I might add something to the ridgey top part of the grey piece.  The "saucer" atop it all is perfect, it doesn't even need to be painted!
And yes, since the syringe plunger was thin white plastic, with just one LED inside it creates a very cool illuminated effect!  Talk about crazy luck!
And here's where it'll be, once everything is complete.  It looks like it belongs there... the flatness of the saucer mirrors the flatness of Frankie's head, and it's neat how it breaks out from the outer edge of the wall.
What I'll do is run a totally separate power supply to this generator so that I'll have the option of pulling a lever to turn it on, or go only with candlelight.  They both give off completely different effects, so this makes sense.

This model gets more and more interesting with each new day....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Model Madness: Base Expansion

Well, the last time we left our intrepid modeller, he was dissatisfied with the brightness of the candle flicker LEDs, and had set about doing some last-minute front expansion of the base in order to provide support for the "blocks" of stone that would sit at the front edge of the base, hiding the LEDs within...

 So now that the pine strips have had a chance to dry into a single strip and have been glued to the front of the base, it was time to fix the lights into their permanent positions. There was a bit of fenangling with them before I got the best angle possible, so that the Bride and Frank would both have their faces lit. And considering that the LEDs had been a bit too dim, and I knew I'd used a 100 ohm resistor, I went ahead and replaced it with a 33 ohm, which is actually the lowest this array could have. The lights are a bit brighter, though not by much, but even so-- just knowing that I put the best I could do into it helps ease my mind.

Also, I patched the hole in the wall that I'd first put the wires through for the table. It was WAY too low, and would've required me having to work on concealing them. The new hole is up level with the tabletop, and I've cut a channel in the backside of the table so that the wires can come through the hole and right-angle up into a hole that I've drilled into the tabletop that's just the right size.

After gluing the "stones" into place, I spiced up the front of the extension by attaching a thin piece of wood trim that when painted will look like old gothic stonework. The design on the trim caught my eye right away, and I knew it would work with the kit somewhere down the line. The next step will be to detail the edges of the base, creating a rock look, as if the wood floor was built atop a craggy hill. I thought it would be interesting to indicate the exterior via some texture, even though it doesn't quite make sense. It will help to smooth over the gaps between the bottoms of the lightboxes and the base trim, as well as make that front lip all the stronger! More to come.
The old hole, puttied over.  You can see the segment cut out of the table to allow the wiring to sneak through.
The light is snapped into place through the bottom of the tabletop in this pic.  You can also see the wood trim at the front.
Tabletop, with LED snapped into place from hole in wall.
Of course, it's dang near impossible to tell with a picture, but the lights are indeed a bit brighter now.  And the photo doesn't show it,  light is hitting their faces now.

Model Madness: Base Enhancements

After gluing and clamping the pine strips together, I then made marks where I'd need to hog out some space for where the wires emerge from the front of the base.  This is the kind of stuff that has to happen when a person adds new things on the fly, instead of preparing thoroughly.
Here are the notches to accommodate the wires.
Clamped into place.  I will coat the front board with some Bondo to really make it solid and to also create a faux stone finish.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Model Madness: Light Test!

So finally, after week after week after week of thinking about getting down to business with the LED array, I finally did it! And I've come to the conclusion that my Radio Shack soldering gun totally is WEAK! It took much longer than it should have to get it done.

The end result is satisfactory, though not great. I just keep wanting there to be more light; the flicker lights are a bit TOO flicker. But I think that in a totally dark room, it's gonna be cool. I'm still in the process of trying to position these lights for the optimum effect, trying to aim them. I'm going to experiment with some different tricks to try to come up with some better reflectivity. Basically, the lights are already pretty dim as it is. I mean, with FOUR lights, this model still feels too dark.

Anyways, here's some pics and even a tiny video clip so you can see what we've got so far!
Here's the view that Frankie and his Bride could only see.  Basically, it's like old vaudeville lighting.  I still haven't locked in where these LEDs will sit; for now, for the demonstration, they're just floating.
Check it out!  The flicker effect, which you can see in the video, makes it not quite at bright as things appear in this pic, but still it's cool to see it ACTUALLY happening now!

Model Madness: Furniture Finishes...

The work table.  I got a bit carried away with the finish, which is much too nice.  It looks like a table from a hotel room.  Anyways, no big deal, I'll just degrade it some, and besides I have to make that hole in the table top much bigger for the LED.
A close-up of the lab notes, with the skull of some poor deceased fellow being used as a paperweight.  I still need to make the candle-holder, which I believe will turn out being one of those things that I keep putting off for no apparent reason.

Model Madness: Setting Up for Lighting

The toggle switch.  Not sure if this will be the permanent place for it, but for now, it seems to work and will keep the whole thing out of sight.

Here's a look at the back/underside of the base.  The hole at the top goes completely through to the hollow of the base.  The hole is the upper center leads to nothing; this base originally was being used for another kit.

Beginning the framework for the base stones that will be attached to the front of the base... and will house the hidden lights.

No, these aren't min-mailboxes!  The large flat areas are being backed with cardstock.  I'll be applying Bondo over it all, to give it a rugged stone look, as well as to make it sturdy.  The wider "stone" will act not only as a light cover but also as the base for the "Bride of Frankenstein" plaque.

After I coated them with Bondo, I'm now applying a very thin layer of spot putty.

Here you can see better what I'm trying to do.  These boxes, after the creation of the light circuit, are the things that I'd dreaded making the most!
The pic is blurry, but you can see now what I've been up to inside my little head.  I'm really happy with how the sign sits atop the center stone.  The pic is blurry, but there's some nice rugged stone effects going on with these light boxes.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Model Madness: Accessories

Well, my weekend was a bit spoiled by the news that I'd have to work the graveyard shift for the next week due to another worker throwing a baby-fit about being scheduled to do it himself. But that didn't keep me from getting further along on the Bride's kit. Hey, this hobby is a refuge from that wretched hellhole! I can't let it be stifled by all of that. Anyways,....

I used some thick cardstock (I mean, THICK)for the cover boards of the books. I wanted them to basically be his journal and "Secrets of Life and Death" book. I used Gorilla Tape for the binding, and it even has the added effect of its texture. I utilized some older very cheap tan drawing paper for the pages to give it that dry old look. The bookmarks in each book actually serve a purpose: They're keeping the books glued shut.

 I also used Super Sculpey to make a skull for the table. I decided against the brain because a.) I would then be having to create a jar for it, and b.) it was probably a bit too gross. Even though it's a horror movie, and some people will debate that, it IS old school Universal. Not only that, "Bride of Frankenstein" was really in James Whale's eyes a comedy. I mean, look at this model: it's two re-animated bodies (with different brains)sitting on a couch in the candlelight, enacting a "boy-meets-girl" situation. It's ludicrous! It should be more quaint and almost cute, as opposed to ghastly.

With that in mind, I approached the table set-up with its accessories as more like an old Aurora kit from the '60s or even those from the later runs of the '70s. I wanted a dungeon/mad scientist lair kind of feel for sure. At the same time, I am making sure to put the fine touches in order to make this kit as "plussed" as possible. For instance, with the skull, I made sure to not have the lower jaw. This is always a pet peeve of mine, when I see prop skulls and sure enough, that lower jaw is there. If the flesh and tendons were removed, that jaw would not be connected. And besides, there's something helpless about a skull with no lower jaw; it's as if, even if they could speak as a skull, they wouldn't be able to without it. I knocked a few teeth out to really make him a "sad-sack" skull. To further the insult, there's going to be numerous notes and papers underneath him. That's right, he's merely a paperweight.

Another touch was the bloody fingerprints on the books. I figured that Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Pretorious would be so ecstatic during their operations that they would skip wiping or washing off their hands during the procedures, and would be rushing over to either consult notes in the books or jot some things down. These are just the kinds of things that either mean I'm cool or a extreme goofball.
The skull, pre-paintjob, and both books before bookmarks.  In this pic you can see the pages, a detail that is muted after I plant the bookmarks that hold them shut.
Here you can see the bloody/body fluidy fingerprint stains.

The covers were actually pretty thick.

I like this position, so I took this pic for my own reference.

The candle still has to have its tray with handle built, but the hole has been drilled into the tabletop, right where that candle piece is sitting.

An excessive shot.  Forgive me.  Besides, the skull has been painted.  So imagine the work table a dull wood brown, and a pile of papers underneath the skull, and a tray under the candle, and the candle painted a gross brownish green.  Oh, and a knob on the table's drawer..