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RT-Diorama European farm house dio


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This is my first build post on the site so I hope you will find it useful and informative. It might be a little longwinded for some but that’s how I roll

 

I've made a few mini 1/35 scale dio's over the years to display vehicles, but I have never attempted adding a pre-made building.  RT-Diorama looks to be a relatively new company offering plaster and laser cut products and after seeing a few adds for upcoming products I figured I would take the leap and give one a go.

 

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In my impatience to check out the contents I forgot to take some snaps of ‘what’s in the box’ so I will quickly go through what you get in this ‘kit’

 

·         The base comes in two large plaster sections. This has the footprint of the building on both parts and is sat at a nice offset angle. The road/track running along the front is nicely represented as is the flooring inside the house and the barn.

·         The farmhouse walls come in two pieces. One representing the side elevation with two window apertures and the second a gable end with door aperture and second story window

·         The barn also comes in two sections. A front archway and a side elevation

·         The roof sections come in four flat panels nicely configured to conform to the base shape

·         All the windows, doors, roof lats and roof frame parts are laser cut

 

Apart from a small picture sheet enclosed there was no actual assembly instructions with my kit

 

First up, it’s worth considering that plaster buildings are by their very nature going to be heavy and fragile so the thought of one coming boxed from Europe into the UK was a little worrying.  When the package arrived, I was relieved to see that the box was well packed with bubble wrap and foam nuggets.  Checking over all the items there was just one small wall section that had cracked.  This was on the small arch piece over the barn door and could easily be repaired so no big drama.

 

The overall look of the box art looked fantastic, but I couldn’t figure out what the roof material was supposed to represent and in what part of Europe this type of material would have been used. I did email RT to enquire but unfortunately, I did not receive a response. Looking at it in the flesh the size of the building material is more akin to stonework than brick and although the box art does have it nicely finished in brick red, I really do think the size and pattern lends itself more towards stone. The roof material is made of laser cut MDF and you get four pre-cut sections and strips to represent the vertical external spars. The house roof frame are again laser cut items and are numbered and nicely slot into each other. The barn roof beams come in one sectional frame item. As the vertical spar strips come on an MDF type sprue the same width and length as the actual spars you can employ them so in effect have twice as many strips as you need.  I decided I would show the roof as damaged and utilise the left-over strips to represent the lats under the outer lining.

 

The door and windows are also laser cut items and with a little trimming of the plasterwork fit the apertures squarely. The door does show a 3D panel effect, but the part is in fact completely flat. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too much trouble to scratch build some panels out of paper or thin plastic card if you wanted to. The barn doors are only detailed on one side with the addition of laser cut MDF to represent the metalwork, but you do have the option to show them open if you push them tight against the building. The second-floor opening can be filled with either a window or doors and there is an option to add an overhead pulley.  A chain will need to be added to show an operational one.

 

I decided early on that the building itself would be my main priority with this project and if I could not come up with any specify ideas or narrative for displaying a particular scene by the time, I finished the build process I could at least use it as a backdrop for displaying future vehicle builds. I did however do a few quick drawings to see how if adding foliage or a tree might compliment the overall look. I got to work surfing the tinterweb for similar styled buildings but as I write this, I still haven’t found one which shows the roof material represented on this model. If anybody knows what it might be please chip in.

 

As already mentioned, the plaster components are heavy items so I figured it would need a sturdy base. As I already had a few suitably sized picture frames one of them would work if it received some bracing underneath. Both the plaster base sections fitted perfectly within the frame on one side but was about 70mm short on the other. I decided this could be infilled with polystyrene sheet and Sculptamold used to rework the surface to match.  When placed on a glass surface I noticed the two base sectioned were a little off in mating together horizontally. I decided they would need to sit on a few mm of sculptamould which would give me wiggle room to mate them together.

 

Lets begin:

 

The first step was to cut a piece of Styrofoam to slot inside a side framing of plastic card which would then fit inside the picture frame. The plastic card sides were marked out and cut at a height that would match the height of the plaster base sections plus a few mm of Sculptamold. The inside corners were also strengthened with small sections of plastic card to reinforce the shape.  This was all glued together with UHU glue and left to dry overnight.

 

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Once completely dry I sealed the Styrofoam with a light coat of PVA glue. The base sections were then test fitted and a Sculptamold/water/PVA glue mix was made. This was spread evenly over the Styrofoama and then both plaster base sections were placed on top and carefully wiggled into position to that both top surface detail matched. The remaining area was infilled with small sections of Styrofoam and a thin layer of the remaining Sculptamold placed on top to bond it all together. This was left for a few days to completely cure.

 

I then moved onto the laser cut items. The farm roof beams are numbered and with the aid of PVA slot nicely into place. The barn doors and their outer detail parts were attached as was the second story doors in a similar fashion.

I decided to add some further detail to the roof components by adding the roof beam frame ends so they could be seen sat on top of the stonework. This meant using some of the extra MDF sprue material.  Once I was happy that the farmhouse roof trusses, and framework sat square I set about working out where any damage on the roof could be cut out.

 

As already mentioned, I am still not at all clear what the roof material is supposed to represent. I figured it had to be made of metal and most probably tin. It is not clear on the box art, but the roof has staggered tiles drawn on the material marked between the vertical lats. Any painting of the roof automatically covers this detail, so I am not sure why this is shown other than to give you opportunity to paint the individual tiles a slightly different colour. What is does give the builder is a template to remove individual tiles if so wished. I would leave the barn roof intact, but on the house, I cut out a few tiles to show roof damage. Taking the thickness of the plaster walls into consideration I placed the roof over the frame and marked out where the holes would show.

 

Horizontal tile lines on completed barn roof section

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Using the template marks I had drawn of the house roof frame I utilised the spare laser cut lats to replicate the inner wooden framework, again damaging and splitting ones where the roof damage would show. The vertical outer lats were now added to all the roof panels using PVA glue. The barn ones were straightforward, but the house roof lats were cut where the damage on the roof occurred. I did this with the help of some wartime bombed out building reference pics showing how they would have been split and ripped off.

Happy with how it looked although not entirely convinced I knew what the roof material was made out of or if indeed it required tile like framework underneath it I then moved onto the plaster walls.

 

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Before attaching the house walls to the base, I cleaned up the door and window apertures and glued in the door and first floor windows. To check both wall sections would align nice and square they were placed on glass and the mating points to both base and each other cleaned up with a sanding stick. At this point I had a little accident! Even though I had supported both walls whilst test fitting, the gable end toppled, pushing aside the supporting weight (dammed frictionless glass!) and cracked into four pieces!  As the hands sat on the head and expletives filled the air, I could at least console myself in that the cracks were at least neat and could, albeit slowly, be repaired and with a little touch up of the stonework, made to look good again.  What a ***** numpty!

 

As the barn arch had arrived cracked, I had successfully repaired it using PVA and after cleaning up the stonework it received a coating of PVA to seal and strengthen the whole section. I carefully repaired the gable wall in the same way and attached it to the front wall (it wasn’t going over again 😊) Once dry they were attached to the base sections with both PVA and a little Sculptamold.  I will strengthen this section with PVA once the connecting stonework had been reworked to match a little better.

 

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The two barn walls fitted together without incident and these were added to the base and house with the aid of PVA and a little Sculptamold. Once dry the barn roof framework was attached to the stonework and with a little fettling all was aligned and left to dry.

 

The house roof was a little trickier to fit.  Unfortunately, due to my little accident with the gable end wall, it had developed a slight outward bow at the top. As the roof framework has a beam that sits against the inner gable wall just below the second storey window this was now not butting up against it. Although the two parts were square at the base my little mishap was going to require a reworking of the connection points between frame and stonework. My solution was to dig a little offset trough into the top of the side wall to receive the wall beam of the roof frame. This would allow me to manipulate the angle of the beam that sat against the inner gable wall.  This worked great; however, the result of this adjustment was to slightly raise the roof height and I had to add a little Scupltamold to the top of the rear gable wall, so the roof panels lined up.  Hopefully, this will all be hidden when the roof panels go on.

 

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Having already conducted far more work for myself on what looked to be a straightforward little project I now looked at completing the section of groundwork that needed building up.  A mix of Sculptamold, small stones and PVA was added to raise the height up to the plaster base sections making sure I followed the contours of the road section. Pic above. This added area now gives me the opportunity to place a tree or an additional accessory to the scene.

 

Here are a few progress pics with a little chap to show scale and some laser cut items dry fitted. The cracks are very visable on the gable end in the first pic. These will be cleaned up with some polyfiller and a scriber as will the connecting sections of stonework before I seal it all with PVA

 

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Edited by Kelscale
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A little more progress

 

Cracks covered up. Adjoining walls tidied up, damaged roof material and debris added and PVA used as a primer on all outer stonework. Currently still working on composition on a few vehicle and figure options then I can get some base colours down

 

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