Bit of a quick update an review of some of the new things that have landed on the workbench in this last month. First of all, following my tree clinics from the recent NMRA Convention (and thanks to all for the good feedback), I had a chance to browse through a brilliant tree modelling book, and had to own a copy. The book is "Modelling Trees, part one - Broadleaf Trees", by Gordon Gravett. I was semi-familiar with some of Gordon's fine modelling from some magazine articles I had seen on his layout, "Pempoul". This soft cover book is 92 pages of some of the finest modelled trees I think I have seen. Superb photos, well documented step by step images and descriptions, and easy to read instructions make this a really cool resource for model tree builders. One of the points that is made in the book, is the estimated time required to model some of these wonderful trees (often 10-20 hours per tree!). It highlights the simple fact, that be prepared to spend the time, and the results are far more rewarding. The book covers the modelling of elms, oaks, ash, silver birch, willow and beech trees, as well as ivy, hedgerows, and even birds nests. I certainly look forward to giving a number of these techniques a try in the future.
Also new to the bench, was a few fine laser cut detail pieces from VectorCut. Turns out, I'd been on the hunt for some 1/48 padlocks for some little detail features on door latches. Knowing that Dave at VectorCut had done some crazy small details (I mean HO scale hamburgers and hot dogs, that need assembly!), I asked him if he would consider doing a set of mixed padlocks. A few weeks later, he sends me the link to the new product on his site, saying thanks for the idea. I had previously picked up some of the VectorCut tools and gears sets, so knew what to expect. Well, the padlocks arrived (I also ordered some car parts for a future diorama), I wasn't disappointed. They're laser cut in laserboard, etched in detail, and include skeleton keys! NUTS!!! His site is worth checking out just to see what other crazy details he has chosen to cut...recommended browsing (and not bad value either).
I also recently ordered in a number of castings from The Aspen Modelling Company. I've known that these were really nice castings for a while, but took a while to get around to finally ordering some. Some of you may be familiar with these figure and animal castings from some of the 1/48 animations the Laurie McLean MMR has been featuring on YouTube for the last few months. The castings are pretty clean, minimal flash, and really nicely detailed pieces. I picked out a number of the horses (will be needing a few of these for a future blacksmith/farrier scene), and a couple of the figures as well. Prices again, very reasonable, and postage was great, just $6 for overseas orders. I don't doubt I'll be back for more of these castings in the future.
And lucky last, a few detail parts came in from Sierra West Scale Models. I suspect most modellers would have heard of this manufacturer before...well recognised for some well designed kits, but probably equally recognised for the detail castings that complete the kits. I finally got around to ordering a few of these details as well (available as individual items, so you don't have to buy the whole kit just to get the detail castings). Another set of superbly cast details, and I look forward to going a bit cross eyed painting them up.
At least I can't say I've got nothing to do in my spare time. Plenty to read, plenty of small parts to paint. On top of that, I've been playing with some LED strip lighting pieces as possible replacements for the old heavy fluoro tubes I would normally use to light layout modules (that will be a future blog report). The new Outback Model Company kit, "Carver & Dawson", is due to hit any day now, so there's another project to pass the time. I've been able to watch this kit develop slowly over the last 6-8 months, so its great to see it finally going into the box.
As something different to also throw in the mix, I sat down and had a chat via Skype with Jimmy Simmons, which has been recorded as an interview for the October edition#53 of "The Scotty Mason Show" podcast. It was a fun chat, and I don't think I used too much local slang to confuse the wider audience.