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Badder

Ever evolvin dio - Moss after 5months sitting on shelf

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As I mentioned above, I wanted to see how well the first batch of moss would stand up to time and abuse. I don't like sticking things in dioramas if they are going to disintegrate, rot, or become fragile over time. So, I brushed and knocked the moss, and here's the result:

9uF8Kq2.jpg

 

All of the fern-like moss fell off. The other species of moss - also soaked for two days - stood up to the abuse much better. Still, I think the two-week soaked moss will be the best to use.

 

The same two species of moss were soaked for two weeks and in the process lost more of their green colour. I experimented with dying one clump (far left) with dark green acrylic ink and it took up the colour well. I will try a lighter green as well.  In the photo below I've arranged the dyed clump, non-dyed clumps and also a few fragments of the 'fern-like' species of moss. I didn't gather much of the latter moss, so I will have to go find some more.

 

dSNN2IY.jpg

 

Close-up of the dyed clump. I stored it in an airtight ice cream tub so it's still damp and sticky with glycerine . I shall take the lid off and let everything dry out - and test it for preservation again in a week or so. (the moss, not the lid)

Incidentally, I intend to use this species in clumps, but will also remove and use individual strands.

7rPxBRv.jpg

 

 

 

And the same goes for the fern-like species.

 

8broHWu.jpg

 

TFL

Badder

Edited by Badder

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Whenever I'm out and about and have the opportuning, I will look for diorama materials provided by Mother Nature.

A couple of days ago I parked up in a country lane, in a place I've visited probably once a week for the past 5 yrs. I first noticed these plants nearly a year ago, when they were alive and in flower, and thought that they might come in handy when dried out - and then forgot all about them. Well, they were certainly dried out. And I was surprised by how 'woody' the stems and twigs were and how 'tree-like' they looked. So I picked a bunch:

Jhp4AnD.jpg

The Plasto is only there for scale.

yUqmXD2.jpg

 

I have more than shown here - enough to make 7 or 8 trees.

They are woody, as I said, but they will biodegrade over time so I thought I'd preserve them as best I could.

 

 

First, I gave them several liberal sprays with 50/50 water/PVA.

And then I gave the a dunk in 25/75 water/PVA and hung them upside down to dry.

 

Now I plan to strengthen and preserve them further by coating them first with Latex, and then hardening the latex with Thin CA.

 

I will definitely 'leaf' these up and use them in this diorama, but some will remain naked in my Pit Stop diorama.

 

 

 

TFL

Badder

 

ps, I will have a search and try to find the name of this plant (I can't remember now if the flowers were white, pink or yellow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Badder

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I took advantage of the hot sunny day and gave a few of the dried/dead plants a going-over with liquid rubber latex.

In order to apply it quickly (the stuff was drying out in minutes) I first poured a puddle of latex onto some newspaper and dragged the plants through it. After a quick shake, I then dunked a long 'pea-stick' into the latex and used that as one would a brush, applying latex up the stem and along the 'branches'.

i7DUwL7.jpg

 

As I said, the latex dried out very quickly so there are a few unsightly blobs where there wasn't time to brush or shake the excess off, but it's no big deal as the foliage will hide the majority of the tree branches and twigs anyway. Besides, I will be trimming the 'twigs and branches' back to better shape the trees and I'll probably cut the worst of the blobs off while I'm at it.

 

N55XiaX.jpg

 

I had a bit of a play around and deliberately snapped a few of the 'branches'. The latex performed as I'd hoped and held the 'twigs' together, and in place - which was nice.

3S2ggiY.jpg

 

I have latexed 4 of the plants and have 3 more left to do. But first I'm going to dribble and spread thin CA over one of the smaller trees. From experience I know that this should 'set' the latex, turning it into a more rigid, plastic-like material.

 

TFL

Badder

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Thin CA dribbled on, and spread with a piece of sprue. I only glued my fingers together once, and that was whilst deliberately snapping and CA'ing a branch into a better position before the CA set the latex hard.

LmVLifZ.jpg

 

These will form the armatures for both summer and winter trees in my two ongoing dioramas. Not bad for less than an hour's work and only pennies in PVA, latex and CA.

 

TFL

Badder

 

PS, I've just used these two trees as drumsticks for playing the drum intro for Krokus's 'Head Hunter', and they haven't broken at all.

Edited by Badder

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The trees received coats of white Brunel Franklin Artists' Acrylic Paint.

It should be obvious now that these will become Silver Birch trees.

YTlIkf5.jpg

 

And so they'll get those distinctive black markings over the white bark. Pictured is a 0.3mm Sakura 'Sigma Micron' Archival Ink pen, which is one of a set with felt nibs ranging (supposedly) from 0.05mm upwards. Well, I'd dispute the 0.05mm,  but they do draw very thin lines. The ink is claimed to dry water-resistant and practice sessions prove this to be the case, I'll be using them for the markings on the bark, and in future for chipping my AFVs.

 

TFL

Badder

Edited by Badder

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I went moss hunting a couple of weeks ago and found a 'new' species. I gave them a week long soak in gelatine solution before having a look at them and ..... yuck! In amongst the moss were half a dozen grubs, which I assume were either hoverfly or beetle larvae. They were dead and bloated and I dare not touch them. Instead, I fished the offending mosses out and threw them onto the gravel path to dry out in the sun.

Today, I took the rest of the moss out and did the same. I had a peek at the larvae infested moss and discovered that the grubs had burst - presumably their gelatine-impregnated bodies expanded in the sun and exploded - leaving nothing but white creamy patches all over the moss. I disposed of them with fire. The rest of the moss is looking pretty good though and seems to be pretty tough. I bent, brushed and crushed bunches of it and it all stayed in one piece..

 

I will post pics tomorrow     later today.

 

 

TFL

Badder

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The 'new' species of moss I found was what I've always thought of as 'star' moss, with a distinctive star-shaped leaf pattern when viewed from directly above. Whilst the moss has retained this pattern after a soak in gelatine, the 'leaves' have bloated and drooped so the star pattern has become a bit less obvious. Still, this moss looks good to me.

Unfortunately, I don't have as much of is as I would like, because of those grubs! Next time I will make sure to clean them thoroughly before soaking them!

 

These fronds are about an inch long:

n1pNana.jpg

 

As with the other mosses, the colours have drained away and so the moss has turned brown, or transparent.

iyJExaa.jpg

 

 

And with another species of moss:

O6FOK39.jpg

 

O6FOK39.jpg

 

I'm looking forward to using these. In the meantime they have been stored away in ice-cream tubs.

 

TFL

Badder

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On 7/17/2019 at 1:17 AM, Badder said:

I went moss hunting a couple of weeks ago and found a 'new' species. I gave them a week long soak in gelatine solution before having a look at them and ..... yuck! In amongst the moss were half a dozen grubs, which I assume were either hoverfly or beetle larvae. They were dead and bloated and I dare not touch them. Instead, I fished the offending mosses out and threw them onto the gravel path to dry out in the sun.

Today, I took the rest of the moss out and did the same. I had a peek at the larvae infested moss and discovered that the grubs had burst - presumably their gelatine-impregnated bodies expanded in the sun and exploded - leaving nothing but white creamy patches all over the moss. I disposed of them with fire. The rest of the moss is looking pretty good though and seems to be pretty tough. I bent, brushed and crushed bunches of it and it all stayed in one piece..

 

I will post pics tomorrow     later today.

 

 

TFL

Badder

That sounds 'orrible but did you take photo's,all you need is a Viewer Discretion Advisary warning...

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2 hours ago, Vince1159 said:

That sounds 'orrible but did you take photo's,all you need is a Viewer Discretion Advisary warning...

Hi Vince,

I couldn't bear looking at them with the naked eye, so viewing them magnified on the camera view screen would have made me chuck up. I can handle maggots no problem, but those things were gross!

 

Hope you are well,

Rearguards

Badder

 

 

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What with the extraordinary heat today, I thought 'what better time to give the moss some green ink?'

 

I could have airbrushed it on. I could have made an ink bath and dunked the moss in it. But I thought I'd further test its durability by dabbing the ink on with a large brush!

There's still some mud attached to the bases of the mosses, so some mud got spread around, but this will wash off. Other than that, all of the mosses survived, with no crumbling, flling apart, or losing 'fronds'. Gelatine is definitely the way to go!

 

 

First, some 'dunno what to call them' mosses:

6hsI9zT.jpg

 

 

The 'dunno what to call them' mosses plus a load of 'conifer-type' bushes;

3RYs7iJ.jpg

 

I tried to keep some variation in colour density:

nP1L7ZF.jpg

 

And a few 'star' mosses in amongst them:

VpYWo3o.jpg

 

 

nP1L7ZF.jpg

 

 

 

JzWxkhG.jpg

 

The mosses look awfully bright in sunlight so I will have to tone some of them down a bit with a darker green,

 

TFL

Badder

 

Edited by Badder

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With my 'Crouching Tiger' finished, I'll be returning to work on this diorama later today. I will be continuing work on the 'bush' and will be adding that, and mosses to the hedgerow by the mill race (leat)

 

TFL

Badder

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Hello Ever Evolvin' Dio, it's been a while. How are you? Ah. I see you'd rather I sorted the bottom of your gable wall out, rather than mess about with the hedgerow. Okay. Fancy some ferns?

Yes? Okay then. Have some ferns and a couple of other plant species. First, a strip of paper to catch any excess CA.

 

qm1XwQv.jpg

 

And now some ferns, and some other plant species, using the mosses gathered earlier this year....

U90VIRv.jpg

 

q9UK9Po.jpg

 

 

NeyYPq9.jpg

 

 

A few of the 'star mosses' far right.

DX9kAMv.jpg

 

D4FRuwy.jpg

 

Jz5k04p.jpg

 

qGWY744.jpg

 

 

Tomorrow, I will continue adding some ferns around the corner from the drainpipe, and around the bottom of the external stairs.

 

 

TFL

Badder

 

'

Edited by Badder

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More plants added, first some more along the bottom of the gable wall, and then around the corner.....

eFQFpAe.jpg

 

KrlGl38.jpg

 

yQxZflh.jpg

 

zfMTW8R.jpg

 

uMpr9j7.jpg

 

VfPzqIA.jpg

 

3vz08al.jpg

 

XOCstZn.jpg

 

So far, so good. Of course, it may be that in a few years these mosses dry out and crumble. Only time will tell. But before that happens the diorama will be finished and I'll get lots of photos and videos of it all.

 

BTW, I will be using the AB to apply some colour variation to the plants.

 

TFL

Badder

 

Edited by Badder

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One of the problems (If it is a problem) with long term diorama making, is looking at something you finished a year or more ago and thinking 'Actually, I think it could be better'.

Anyone who has followed one of my AFV builds will know that when it comes to the painting, I think that constantly!

 

Anyway, I've been thinking that the clumps of grass on the roof were a bit too 'over the top' (forgive the pun) and have been thinking that on and off for maybe a year or so. So I decided to remove them. They were made with static grass, applied with CA, so it was going to require some cutting, scraping and levering, probably resulting in lifting of the underlying paint as well. But that wasn't going to be a problem as I've also admitted that I no longer like the orange/red tiles either. It was going to be the ideal opportunity to kill two birds with one tile.

 

The plan then, was to soak the roof in order to loosen up some of the clumps and their removal with a scalpel. Here it is afterwards:

41DD9hF.jpg

I wasn't able to remove all of the grass, but what's left will look like moss, so that's okay.

 

A close-up showing where bare plastic was exposed:

TV9tjvq.jpg

 

But that's okay because next was the black ink wash, containing powdered cat litter and Plaster of Paris dust (that's set plaster which has been scraped into dust)

nB37d5o.jpg

 

And after the thickened wash:

YQNFfIe.jpg

 

I let this dry and then rubbed it back a bit with a large stiff brush:

AWgeE1R.jpg

 

Zwm8bIw.jpg

As can be seen, I wasn't worried about brush direction here. The deposits of cat litter and plaster dust will be moved around as more washes are applied. The brush marks will disappear with the final treatment.

 

The following washes will mostly be on the greenish side, with some rubbing back to remove the larger dust/cat litter particles and expose the colours beneath. I'll also be spattering some yellows and paler greens to represent patches of lichen.

 

TFL

Badder

 

ps, This is just one side of the roof. The other has far more grass on it. Ho hum....

Edited by Badder

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There's a really nice look you get when the roof tiles are wet, but drying out in patches. I wish I could freeze it in time and capture the effect. The obvious thing is to use a varnish and 'wet' those tiles, but I think it might look a bit odd under certain lighting conditions. So I thought I'd try a different method and darken the 'wet' tiles with black ink, dabbed on with a piece of square sponge.

 

The darker of the tiles (not the ones with black ink on) are still damp with water, and it's those tiles I like the look of.

4WuZLNE.jpg

 

In close-up is a mix of dry tiles, damp tiles, wet black ink tiles, and hints of green from previous washes.

z0szfQU.jpg

 

 

I have to bear in mind that the roof  and the photos  are affected by artificial light, so I'm not seeing the 'true' colours here. Anyone who has seen my 'Crouching Tiger' will know what a HUGE difference the lighting made on those photos, from a sandy coloured Tiger, to a white one!  So, there are darker coloured tiles here:

otDG0fs.jpg

 

In close-up:

u3MJMhO.jpg

 

So, The 'old stone' effect looks fairly good ihere, with the plaster dust giving everything a.... er.... dusty look, while the cat litter looks like the kind of biological gunk that bungs up the joints between the tiles. A gloss coat and some green pin washes should help to improve the look of the 'gunk'. I've also experimented with cleaning out some of the joints with a scalpel (extreme bottom right in photo above) This gives quite a nice effect as well...where sometimes moss/algae etc, break away and are washed off the roof by downpours, for example. Saying that, our resident Jackdaws rip chunks of moss from our neighbour's roof, looking for grubs and sometimes my back patio is littered with it.

 

Anyway, work will continue on this side of the roof later today, and now that I've figured the order of treatments, I'm hoping to have both sides of the roof done by end of play.

 

TFL (including you lurkers!(

 

Badder

Edited by Badder

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I made a bit of a mess of the other side of the roof tryig to get the clumps of grass off. Unlike the front of the roof, this side was cast in plaster (from a latex mould of the front roof) and the plaster is obviously a lot more fragile than the plastic. Some of the plaster pulled away and will need repairing. Or, I could just leave the clumps as they are. They are on the reverse, and less observable side of the house anyway, and actually don't look too bad. (I'm assuming that windblown grass seeds would tend to gather and sprout on the leeward side of any slopes)

 

I will give it one more go, using heat to melt the CA, but failing that I'll just paint the plaster roof to match the front.

Soz, no pics now cos the colours aren't true in this light, and best not waste BM's paper posting photos that are 'false'.

 

I will obviously post daylight pics later today.

 

TFL

Badder

 

 

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3 hours ago, Badder said:

I made a bit of a mess of the other side of the roof

Good luck. Mind you, your "mess" would be anyone else's triumph! Your powers of self-criticism are formidable...

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9 hours ago, bhouse said:

Good luck. Mind you, your "mess" would be anyone else's triumph! Your powers of self-criticism are formidable...

Hi Brian,

Hope you are well?

 

There's always a first time for messing something up completely!

 

Reargaurds,

Badder

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Sorry for the delay in posting photos. It's just one of those things.... those things being me messing about with the look of the roof and not settling on one!

The latest incarnation looks more suited to a winter scene, with lots of white plaster dust on the roof.

QOZ6l9D.jpg

 

This is actually close to the look I was after, with patches of light and dark tiles. But the plaster dust looks more like snow in natural light. Now, If I can get it to turn a sandier colour, that might do the job. Possibly, I just need to soak some cast plaster in ink, then scrape that into a powder, and apply it as I did with the dust above.......

O3jPvT8.jpg
 

8nkgXZ5.jpg

 The plaster dust and paint 'slop' created when wet-brushing the roof can be seen hanging off some of the edges of the bottom tiles, and from the guttering. I'll be colouring that green.

 

There IS actually a fair bit of green on the roof... the rough areas in the top LH corner of the roof (below) and various other patches, but the white dust is overpowering it in  this light.

DMGK5Ao.jpg

 

Work will continue this PM, and finger's crossed, no futher evolutions will take place, either deliberately, or accidentally.

 

TFL

Badder

 

UPDATE:

 

I was just about to retire to bed when I thought 'I wonder?' So, out with my greasy index finger (I've been eating Wotsits - cheese flavoured corn puffs to you Americans out there) and I gave the roof a fairly good rub. And I think that's all I need do!

Now, hopefully, a coat of matt varnish will seal in what's left of the dust and it will either retain its colour, or turn slightly creamy in colour, the latter being the ideal scenario. But I'll leave that until this PM.

Edited by Badder

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All hail the Greasy Finger!

☝️

 

KegUVsV.jpg

 

TFL

Badder

Edited by Badder

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The moving greasy finger has writ...

 

That looks great. I wonder if there would be any benefit from maskkng along the edge of some tiles to make individual tiles or discrete groups of tikes6 greasy (for want of a better word) while their neighbours are pristine? (Please note that 'pristine' is a relative term in this diorama!)

 

Please ignore me - I'm rambling...

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3 hours ago, bhouse said:

That looks great. I wonder if there would be any benefit from maskkng along the edge of some tiles to make individual tiles or discrete groups of tikes6 greasy (for want of a better word) while their neighbours are pristine? (Please note that 'pristine' is a relative term in this diorama!)

 

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the suggestion.

The Greasy Finger would work with a paper mask, but my fingers are small enough to get away with doing it 'freehand'.  I have picked out some single tiles, rubbing them back' with a stiff short-bristled brush.

 

I think I'm happy with how the roof looks now. It's certainly better than it was.

 

Rearguards

Badder

Edited by Badder

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I wasn't at all happy with the areas of roof where the clumps of grass used to be. There were remnants of CA in blobs and patches, but I always intended to improve them by stabbing them with a hot scalpel and roughing them up. So that's what I did. I was quite pleased with the result.

Now it looks like that kind of algal/fungal leaf litter type gunk. I've given it several coats of matt varnish. Hopefully that will help preserve the flaky nature of it.

znjh9bR.jpg

 

The roof was greened up a bit with some Chromium Oxide Weathering Powder.

D4Br7zI.jpg

 

And then I toned it down with more plaster dust and the Greasy FInger. I don't have a good photo of that ATM, but I'm calling that side of the roof finished.

 

With that done, I moved on to the rear, which for those who don't know, is a plaster cast of the plastic front section, with some inherent undulation, patching work and a .n extra strip added to the end due to the shrinkage of the plaster during curing. After saying that I was going to leave the clumps of grass in place because of the damage caused by removing them, I decided to remove them anyway. I managed to prise the clumps off with a scalpel. This was something I didn't manage to do with the clumps CA'd to the plastic roof. I had feared that there'd be a lot of repair work to do, but as it turns out, most of the damage was done to the paint. The plaster underneath survived relatively unharmed.

 

The rough looking sections are where the clumps were removed:

1oo7R8D.jpg

 

As can be seen above, I re-coloured the exposed plaster and have darkened patches of tile with black washes. Dust will be applied later today, and then there'll come the usual faffing about trying to get both sections of roof looking roughly the same in character.

 

TFL

Badder

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