I have noticed, over the years, that hobby related gifts from The Saintly Mrs. Awdry depend very much on her understanding, or enjoyment of, the individual piece concerned. For example a pack of ‘cute’ African animals is a surefire winner, but not so a limber for a 9lb Field Gun. Imagine my delight then when the proud sails of '4 Grounds' European Windmill burst forth from the exquisitely wrapped, not to mention exceedingly generous, birthday present.
Whilst slightly anachronistic for my Witchfinder world, it is such a lovely kit and I thoroughly enjoyed assembling it, although the glazed windows proved to be a frustration as I was instantly transported back to my youth and the glue smeared cockpit of a hapless Airfix model.
Safely constructed and standing proud on the tabletop, I felt that it warranted more gravitas and started to consider the possibility of a small hillock, or suchlike, to raise the sails above the treeline. As luck would have it, I had recently seen such a build by the oh so talented James on his Jimbibblyblog blog. This build called for a couple of new techniques and I was keen to give them a go.
Plaster was poured onto a crumpled carrier bag* and when dried broken into chunks. These would form an interesting rocky outcrop that could be sloped down to the base, allowing access to the mill. Using a piece of 2mm MDF as a base, I loosely placed the pieces of plaster to form the rocks, bolstered by off cuts of insulation from to give me the basic structure.
*next time I might try crumpled aluminium foil
These were then covered by a new product to me, Scuptamold. This has a consistency of Papier-mâché, which you add water to. It can be manipulated like clay and as it starts to dry can be smoothed to give a nice finish. Once dry it is light weight and durable and can even be sanded making it a very versatile product for the budding hobbyist. Once completely dried it was painted and flocked in my usual manner to tie in with my existing terrain and miniatures. I have to say that I was delighted with the final outcome and need to once again thank James for the inspirational build that gave me the confidence to try my own.