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Creating a village - the Silhouette proves its worth



It's been a while since my last entry. I had to take time out to do something about lighting the layout since the absence of it was causing me problems assessing whether the colours I was mixing when painting buildings were right or not. Something that looked good on the workbench by the window was way too dark in the unlit corner of the room. However I now have two strips of daylight white LEDs mounted over the layout and that problem is solved.


That done, attention could be turned back to the layout itself. My next goal is to have the first baseboard scenically (near) complete. Still a way to go but I think I have the buildings arrangement sorted. This overview gives the idea




Obviously, a lot is still under construction. The coaches in the train are still unfinished as are most of the buildings, The palm trees are the wrong sort and will need modifying, and - well the list goes on and on.


This second shot shows the area from another angle, this time without the train




Now, I have been moving the half built constructions around and I think I have the positioning right now. I will need another squatter's shack between the bigger one and the banana plant (unpainted I hasten to add, they are bright green but not that bright) and probably another one further along too, but I don't think there needs to be any more standard houses.


So what is fact and what is fiction? Well every building, so far, is based on a real one. The fiction comes from having to guess what is on the other sides from where the photographer (usually me) was standing, and from the fact that these buildings were in reality several miles apart from different parts of the city. To help me here I consulted a couple of books on Thai architecture. Where I didn't know what reality was and where assuming the far side was the same as the near side didn't feel right, I put in a standard feature from the book.


For example, I snapped this house in a soi off the Rama I road.




The location is quite cramped and it might have helped if I had gone further in and taken more pics, but as always you think of this months afterwards. I did have a couple of pics to help with more detail on what is visible in this photo, and Google maps (satellite view) allowed me to estimate the dimensions of the overall footprint. What is fairly plain though is that this house has been modified and extended over the years. According to my architecture book it was quite normal for Thais to start with just a single room and an open living area and then add to it as prosperity, family, or both, grew over the years. That is what appears to have happened to this house so my guess was that the bit I couldn't see was the original, the clapboard section a later addition and the final pieces were to enclose the open living area and part of the undercroft.


The next step was to make a working drawing in Inkscape




The "oldest" part of the house was drawn out as having traditional fa pakhon panelled walls, the other wings with the style I could see from the photos.


Now this is where the benefit of having a Silhouette Portrait cutter comes in. Modelling that fa pakhon style would be incredibly tedious to do by hand, however using a drawing package and the cutter, 5 thou thick overlays to simulate panelling are quite easy to do. The Silhouette was also useful for cutting out the glazed panels around the living area, from 10 thou Plastikard this time.


Others on RMWeb have blogged about using Silhouette cutters in far greater detail so I am not going to cover that ground again. As far as I am concerned this purchase has revolutionised my use of Plastikard. Panelled doors, window frames, that sort of thing is easier to do with a cutter and the results are far more consistent. Items like the balustrade of the right hand house in the middle picture would be impossible otherwise, as would the screen in front of the living area. Well maybe you could etch it but that would be relatively expensive


All in all, I think I am on the right track here

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I totally agree, the silhouette has opened up the construction of architecture that would be almost impossible to hand cut with accuracy.

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