I've built a handy push mower to make quick work of the upkeep.
It's a Phoenix Model kit from Jennifer's of Walsall.
It's recommended to use Devcon 5 Minute Epoxy, so I bought some from amazon. This stuff stinks to high heaven with the hardener smelling like rancid, rotten eggs, but it is as advertised at least.
I prepped and washed the pieces with dish soap in preparation for painting before assembly. I primed with Rust-Oleum Self Etching Primer. It's a smelly primer, but its purpose is to bond better with bare metal surfaces. I sprayed the handles with Testors Model Master Metalizer Lacquer in Aluminum Plate. It buffs to a fine metallic finish. I hand painted the grips semi-gloss black.
The blades are also painted in Aluminum Plate. I detailed the roller in the middle and added some grime from use. At first, I thought I might be able to get the wheels and blades to turn independently, but it didn't end up working. These are rather fiddly kits as the epoxy sets, so I was happy to get it assembled at all.
To keep it simple, I chose black for the wheels and guard. The hubs and connecting rods are Testors Flat Olive Drab, leftover paint from the Sopwith Camel from years back. After assembly, I touched up the paint and added a bit more grime detailing...just enough to give this mower a few years of service. I glued the handles half-way between resting and upright so it would look natural while still being able to sit close to a wall, or against a tree.
In the interest of time, I am stopping here though I'd like to add a grass catcher at some point. :]
When we last left the maple tree, I had started adding the leaves. While this was working relatively well, I stumbled across a wonderful tutorial by Connie Sauve on making realistic trees. I kept going with the leaves, but it was still in the back of my mind. After getting around the lower portion with the first batch of leaves, it just wasn't doing what I wanted. It would be great for a sparse tree, but I wanted something fuller.
I ordered candytuft in basil green from Scenery Solutions (I loved the orange and red, but I didn't want to overpower the building or the Model T). I looked at the local floral shops, but the floral sprays they had were different and not really workable. I bought two bunches since I wasn't sure how much I would need. I probably should have ordered more for this tall tree in the first place, and I ended up getting three additional bunches. I will likely use three bunches overall, so I'll have some leftover for next time and other projects.
Detail of the "leaves" shows the variegated color that works well for early autumn.
Before doing anything rash, I taped a bunch of candy tuft sprigs to the trunk base to see if it was worthwhile. Yeah, that's nice. :D
Since I started with green, I had to paint only the stems. Quick and dirty, no fine detailing here. It transformed them immediately. I can certainly see why these are so popular in model railroading.
It was painful, but I stripped the maple leaves I had already glued to the branches and touched up the paint. I also clipped a lot of the wire branches since the candy tuft flares out and works better with a shorter base branch. I bought clips at Michaels but used them only a few times with heavier branches, but I did use Aleene's Quick Dry supplemented with super glue gel to help the branches grab more quickly.
Adding the branches was actually less of a pain than one-at-a-time leaves with a quicker payoff.
I touched up the paint around the glued bits to blend in with the tree branch tips. Hooray! :D
Looks full until I turn it to the side. Just awaiting further supplies to finish up....
Of course, now it's no longer a maple...it's more like an ash. :] Good thing the bark is similar.
Just a quick shameless plug for my dear friend Lyssa, who has just released her second coloring book for adults. Barefoot & Doodles: Zentanimals has wonderfully detailed animals all ready for your colorful creativity. :D Be sure to check it out!
Yes, I know every day counts when there's a deadline looming, but we are just about one month out. It's hard to believe. This weekend, I installed the lights and finally glued the building to the landscaping board. My list is still long, but now with the lights installed, I can work into the wee hours.