Three Story Victorian with Tree: Work in Progress

Whew, my latest piece is a few weeks away and the excitement is driving me to pick up the pace a bit. It is much, much grander than my first piece – which looks more like a practice model next to this new one. I’m reserving any more pictures at this time, though, until it is good enough for show. The above image is just a small section of the larger house. Even here though the piece is unfinished. There is still detailing to do –  from adding tree branches to detailing the way the tree rips through the porch.
A brief look at the uncompleted house.
I can say that it is a Victorian three story, brick (using dark bluish gray with light bluish gray grout) and white for the wood. It’s about 40-50k pieces I think using black for base/grass/tree/roof and grays for main house and white for some wood detailing. The house measures almost 5’ high and 3’ wide 1.5’ deep. This compared to my last piece which was 3’ x 2’ x 1’. The scale is such that the bricks are about the size they should be in real life – slightly big but not noticeably so. (The bricks what I based the scale on.)

I’ve been able to simulate fire damage pretty convincingly I think with a smoke effected section of brick/wood that is above a window (not pictured here). The roof has also been a fun challenge mixing a few different types of shingles as the Victorian houses would do. In this case, the minifig flippers work nicely for the decorative shingle areas and regular tiles for the “plain” shingles. No snow this time. Instead the landscape is filled with brick built grass, weeds and a large tree which has fallen and crashed into the house. This tree is one of the big features of the piece.

There is something I find very, very appealing about this tree. It is large, allowing me to get lots of branches using ridged hoses covered in pins, technic connectors and droid arms. The result is a wonderful and convincing network of branches that give the piece the organic layering that I enjoy. Many of the techniques I use here I picked up from the work of Doctor Mobius’ and his bugs – the legs, specifically. The tree is on an angle, giving the piece a nice sense of depth. This angling also allows me to rip up the ground attached to the tree and show underneath ground where the roots hang down. The section where the tree rips through the home allows me to detail wood house framing behind the bricks which adds to the layering I like so much in pieces. The tree is also a wonderful bridging device that allows the eye to travel up to the house and then back down to the ground to study landscaping.

One thing I definitely need to work on is some better engineering skills, perhaps using technics. I’m not sure if this is the way to go with larger pieces, but relying on building big brick towers behind the piece for support is timely, costly and cumbersome. It’s gotta be the wrong way to build. :P  If anyone knows of any resources here, I’d love to see. I have seen Yoshihito Isogawa’s wonderful technic books, but they seem more about the machines rather than pure structure and reinforcement use.

I’ve been thinking on my next piece and have decided to take a brief break from this series to start another series called The Collection of Boxes. (I’ll come back to the houses later). In this new series, each piece will be a different box with a strange collection or part from the collection. Either rocks or trees will be the first collection. I’ve not seen anyone do rocks before and have been really wanting to do from the beginning. My fondness for building is much about textures and organic (messy) structures. This, rather than perfect things. Rocks/minerals can have a wonderful combination of structure and deterioration which is very appealing and certainly falls in this textural/organic world. Additionally, I’ve been experimenting with transparencies which I can hopefully bring into the rock for great effect.

– mike

1 comment:

Karyn said...

Wow. You sure do know how to tease. This was a major investment (both time and $$$)! Looking forward to the full reveal.