Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Building "Fort Kalypso" - Stage 3 - Walls

Tools and supplies - simple stuff.
Yes it's been a while since the last update on this project but I have been making progress - albeit interrupted by real-life and at a pace that is somewhat slower than envisaged!  Anyway, a few weeks back I completed the application of the wall coatings - I call this "rendering"

The tools needed are nothing special but in the interest of completeness, please see the photo to the left.  At this stage I use pre-made filler/spackle as it adheres to the walls in a superior manner to the stuff you have to mix by hand.  That kind of filler will be used in the final part of the process.

Messy work is fun!
The first step is pretty scary, cover the model in the filler, yes slap it on liberally.  If the building is big, handle one surface at a time but if you put aside a couple of hours even a fair sized structure can be coated in one sitting.  Work the filler into and onto the surfaces of the Oasis making sure it has adhered.  Be very careful around the door and window apertures as you certainly don't want to ruin your carefully made woodwork!  When it comes to any exposed stonework, use watered down filler and brush it into the details without obscuring them.

The three stages shown in sequence.
Once the building is covered, get to work smoothing the plaster with a spatula/palette knife/trowel (or a mixture of all three)  This part requires a good deal of practice but is very similar to icing a cake!  Get the surface smooth - but not too smooth (remember this is supposed to be a dilapidated Third-World structure) in places let the tool "drag" into the surface and "catch" the plaster.  Work the render up to the window and door apertures with care, the last thing you want here is a ridge of filler hanging into the cut-out.  The same applies to any rocks on the base - work carefully.

Next it is time to further refine the finish with a wet brush and plant-mister using enough water to make the plaster workable but not so much to cause it to become sludge.  It is a case of "suck it and see" but you will soon get the hang of it.

The finish for which you are aiming.
So, after a half hour or so you will have a building covered in carefully (or not so) smoothed plaster.  Therefore the next stage may seem crazy.  Take your little sieve and dust the entire structure in filler powder.  Dust it liberally but do not allow it to build up in damp areas as you will create problems down the line.  You will end up with a finish that resembles over-scale pebble dash.  Incidentally, avoid dusting the exposed stonework - if some dust is deposited here, smooth it away with a wet brush.

Now set your structure aside to dry, this will take at least a couple of days in a pleasant climate - in England allow double.   Do not be tempted to place the work in an airing cupboard or boiler room as this may lead to the plaster cracking.

Next installment shows the process concluded and the groundwork applied.  I will post this in a day or so.

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