Friday, 3 January 2020
Yenmodels Scenic Base Build
Back in 2018 at Scale Model Challenge (SMC) I had the pleasure of meeting Yen Kwie Drenth; the owner of Yenmodels.
After perusing Yen’s stand I could see he had many great pieces that will accentuate any diorama or scenic base most around 1/35 scale (close to 54mm).
Now here in 2019; again at SMC, I have chatted with Yen and he has graciously given me a couple of his products to take a look at. But I cannot simply just review diorama details like a miniature. I need to use the product and show how they fit into a diorama.
The products Yen gave me are the Yenmodels fern plants and the stained glass Lancet Window, and I decided in the end to just do a wall section with some greenery to show off the products potential.
I started by taking some sculpti-board as the wall and floor section; this was to be scratched and shaped into the brick pattern.
Firstly, I cut the sculpti-board to size and drilled and fitted pins in place to help with strengthening the bond.
I then removed the interior part of the lancet window from its support card and used the card as the template for the window cavity.
Then proceeded to draw a brick window surround and sill and then the actual brick courses.
I decided to go for a large brick which will be painted in a sand stone or granite colour as in a 54mm sized scene a standard brick would be way smaller than I wanted, so a larger brick was perfect for my idea.
To start with I needed to start the brick coursework as the surround will stand proud of the brick to achieve the effect I need I had to cut and shape more sculpti-board to for the surround.
Once the mortar beds were in place I drilled around the initial pencil line of the window surround and removed the excess which created the window reveal I was sure to leave an extra millimetre as this will serve as the cut out for the first section of the lancet window.
I sanded and smoothed the reveal and scratched in the mortar beds to finish the surround aesthetic.
To achieve the surround effect I cut and shaped extra pieces to glue to the brick face.
I glued the window surround sections to the face of the brick. Then I filled the line between the added parts and the main wall. Once cured I sanded and re-scratched the mortar beds where needed.
Once the wall section details were complete I glued section 1 into the window reveal and once the glue had cured I added in section 2. I was now ready to undercoat the wall section so it was ready to paint.
I put the wall section aside and began looking at the fern from Yen’s range.
These photo-etch plants are super thin and delicate so are pretty realistic in scale or as close to it as possible using non organic materials.
As these plants are quite delicate I decided to paint them on the frame sheet with the bases and shading colours.
Once the paint is cured I removed individual parts and assembled the plant. I made sure I touched up any chipped areas. For the purposes of the review this is the only painted part on the base. I will paint the base completely another time.
Yen has had these leaves made by the company who make some of the products he sells on his store, and he is looking to expand his own brass-etch range this way as well with more laser cut products. They are such cool diorama details.
The ground section of the base which holds the ferns was set out with a grass verge at the rear with a pathway running through it (which eventually will house a miniature), and then another grassy area in the foreground.
The pathway was added to the ground section. This was made using sanded plasticard shaped into a curving walk way. I achieved this by drawing the desired paving pattern onto the plasticard. Then scratched the pattern into the card and snapped the plasticard so I had individual paving stones. These were glued in place and I was then ready to add the grass verge which overhangs the pathway edging.
The next step was to prepare the mud.
My recipe for mud is drained tea leaves (used and dried), saw dust from MDF board, sharp sand, and water effect resin with brown paint and some green flock.
This was mixed together to form a very organic looking paste.
The mixture was spread onto the base where I needed it, making sure to cover the stone edges. The same earth mix was added to the other front section of the base and all was left to cure.
Once the whole scenic base was cured, sanded, and detailed, I placed the ferns so you could see how the base fitted together.
The ferns were not glued in place as the base needs to be undercoated and painted before the ferns can be added.
To show the Lancet Window and ferns together finally I placed the stained glass window in its frame and I really like how it turned out.
As this is a review I should end with a conclusion.
Let’s break this down into 2 parts...
The Lancet Window is a lovely piece of kit; I did however find its assembly a bit puzzling and a little tricky as too much glue could spill and ruin the printed detail so a need to be very careful is important. I do however like this kit a lot and hope Yen expands this range in different scales.
The ferns are a tricky little number to assemble and my sausage fingers found it a bit of a task, so tweezers are pretty essential for placement of the leaves. Yen explained the delicate nature of the leaves and should the leaves twist or overlap it'll add to the organic nature of the plants.
Photo-Etch pieces are tricky to use for sure but add that extra edge to the aesthetic of the diorama you are making.
If you would like to check out these or any of Yen’s range visit http://www.yenmodels.be/ and be sure to follow the Facebook page or Instagram for future releases and offers.