In the woods and on the heath …
In late summer, the blooming heathland inspires thousands of people. Our author Heinz Hofmann is no exception, and takes us on a tour of his newly created mini heath.
Heathland - it is always associated with slowing down and relaxing. Consequently, this year's announcement by RTS that it would be supplying various heath plants meant that a heath landscape would have to be created in the model scale as a matter of course. In addition to the heathland area, a small farm as a heathland museum including a heathland café would add variety to the planned showpiece. With these ideas in mind, the planning and procurement of materials could begin.
Prepping the buildings
Together with the barn from Artitec, the farm kit from Auhagen (also a barn and a residential building) forms the ensemble of the Heidemuseum including a small café. Before assembly, the components of the Auhagen kit are repainted with "Wine Red" and "Slate Grey" from AirbrushColor4you using an "Infinity" airbrush. To give the house a more heath-like appearance, it is given a timber frame made of 0.3 x 2 mm real wood pine slats. The slats are first stained dark with a glaze and then cut to size after drying. An ultrasonic knife is used for this, among other things to avoid crushing at the cutting points. After the conversion, the model house takes you on a trip onto the heath for a moment - at least in your mind …
The Artitec barn is based on a resin kit. After assembly, it is given its painted finish using various acrylic paints. As the Auhagen barn will later be placed in the showpiece with half-open gates, it will also be decorated on the inside. For this purpose, a machine carrier from Busch and numerous bales of straw from Artitec are placed in such a way as to later be clearly visible through the gate.
Groundwork for subsequent landscape
The 120 cm × 50 cm Styrodur board serving as the base is given an irregular application of a sand/earth mixture, which is fixed with creamy grass glue from RTS, except for the area of the future heath farm, the road, and the parking lot. The planned country lane is created with the help of brown structure paste from RTS, into which ruts are impressed with various model axes. For the reproduction of a pre-historic barrow, small limestones are given some color treatment with a diluted acrylic paint mixture until the appearance of the rock found on the heath is achieved. The stones are then placed on a slight mound, which is modeled using RTS texture paste. The two footpaths through the landscape are made from a mixture of fine chippings, fine RTS soil, and sand. The dirt road and the footpaths are then airbrushed with a fine, irregular coat of "Ultra Light Ghost Black" from AirbrushColor4you. The country lane at its lowest level is made from RTS texture paste, which in this case is sanded with 80-grit sandpaper after drying to show wear and abrasion. The herringbone paving road from Juweela serves as the surface for the parking lot and is fixed to the base plate with solvent-free all-purpose adhesive.
Time for the heath to grow
The heather can now be planted with the heather from RTS. For this purpose, flowering and non-flowering heather 2-4 mm and 4-8 mm long is glued on in an irregular arrangement. Withered grasses are used to imitate barren heathland. Photos of various heath landscapes serve as a template. In this way, the heath area is created piece by piece from many small individual tufts - a laborious task requiring some patience, but the results reward the effort. Heather also takes possession of the landscape around the barrow. Once all the heather tufts have been processed, further vegetation elements such as the typical juniper bushes or birch trees are planted - these come from Mininatur, as do the filigree bushes and buckthorn. The two early autumn deciduous trees as well as numerous tufts of grass and weeds throughout the showpiece are taken from the Busch range.
The museum courtyard
First, the courtyard area will be paved with Flexyway old town cobblestones. The terrace intended for the small museum café, on the other hand, consists of parts of the herringbone paving, both from Juweela. The buildings, which were repainted at the beginning, are then placed and fitted in. The museum courtyard is largely fenced in with a picket fence from Busch and in parts with reworked (halved) and moss-covered stone walls from Auhagen. Some of the lawns on the museum grounds are flocked with grass fibers, which are applied with the Greenkeeper (RTS). Heather tufts and small filigree bushes will also be placed here. The Heath Museum will also receive a number of exhibits that underline its character as a heath museum. The predominantly agricultural exhibits are, like the motorcycle, finished models from Artitec.
Designing scenes from downscaled originals
Several scenes are determined during the design phase. For example, the farmer's wife from Artitec feeding her flock of free-range chickens. Other visitor scenes are created using figures from Preiser. The highlight is the groups of figures created with the figures modeled from photos by Schrumpfmich (www.schrumpfmich.de). For example, the three on the hut grounds can be seen looking at the remodeled house, as can the author and his family In the showpiece. Another well-known model builder has also arrived in the museum courtyard with his sons. In another scene highlight, the presenter Judith R. interviews the heath shepherdess Wiebke S. for radio stations WDR and NDR. In order to create a figure of yourself, all you need is a photo and your height so that the "shrinkers" can create a highly recognizable miniature human. This then arrives at the client ready painted.
The scenery in the courtyard is livened up by a barbecue stand with a charcoal grill, which is built into an old Messerschmitt cab scooter and obviously attracts the occasional visitor. The barbecue is available as a kit from the Modellbau department store. Small parts such as wooden rakes, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, and baskets round off the farmyard design.
Populating the heath
Almost 100 sheep roam the heathland as "landscape conservationists". In the absence of model heather sheep, these are black-headed sheep from Faller. There are only a few hikers and walkers on the paths. Some are resting on the wooden benches at the edge of the paths. These are home-made from parts of shashlik skewers, toothpicks and 0.3mm × 2mm wooden strips. Designing the many small scenes felt like a real heath vacation for the author …
Modelling, text and photos: Heinz Hofmann
Auhagen: Farm, stone wall www.auhagen.de
AirbrushColor4you: Acrylic paints for airbrush and Thick'n Brush for thickening to brushable paint www.airbrush4you.de
Artitec: Agricultural exhibits, figures (farmer's wife & chickens), small barn www.artitecshop.com
Busch: Fence, filigree bushes, deciduous trees, tufts of grass www.busch-model.info
Faller: Sheep, road signs www.faller.de
Herpa: Passenger cars, delivery vans, www.herpa.de
Juweela: Flexyway for courtyard www.juweela.de
Mininatur: Juniper bushes, bog birch, filigree bushes, buckthorn bushes www.mininatur.de
mmh-Modellbau: License plates, all individual plates www.3d-decalsandmore.de
Modellbau-Kaufhaus: Barbecue in a cabin scooter, chairs and tables shop.modellbau-kaufhaus.de
Preiser: Figures www.preiserfiguren.de
Schrumpfmich: Individual figures www.schrumpfmich.de
RTS: Heather flowering, heather non-flowering, dry grass, grass fibers, grass glue, RTS Greenkeeper, structural pastes www.rts-greenkeeper.de