I thought that I'd introduce a forum section, because the website is so popular at this time of the year. I'd be really happy to join in and answer any questions or offer advice, so please feel free to post anything that you fancy - don't hold back!
5th December 2015
Garden Centres Get Festive
Some of my local garden centres really seem to go all out at Christmas and this particular one turns into one giant North Pole all through the month of December. It must take a huge amount of planning. But of course, the best bit is that they always have a really good Christmas Village, with lots of Lemax goodies. I think that this year's display was actually done by the Lemax people themselves, who have very expertly put it together. It certainly looked amazing and there were big crowds all around it, so taking this photo was quite difficult. My only criticism would be that the mountains looked a bit plastic, because of course they are made from plastic. They would have looked a little more realistic by spraying on some glue, lightly sprinkling some areas with green and brown scatter powder, and then spraying them with some snow spray - from a distance. It makes a tremendous difference and takes away the shine. So that's my top tip for this year!
2nd November 2015
Christmas in on the way!
Now that Halloween is well and truly over (I've just packed away my 'Spooky Town' village), you can most certainly turn your attention to Christmas and start planning your model village for this year. There's still plenty of time to try making some bits and pieces yourself. I've just made a small mountain platform using some fine modelling wire mesh and a couple of rolls of ModRoc plaster bandage. After it was painted grey, I sprinkled a little green scatter powder around the edges and stuck on a few pieces of reindeer moss, as well as some gravel, to make it appear more natural, and it is now ready to pop a house on top, with some trees of course.
Lots of garden centres and online Christmas stores have already started selling Lemax stuff for this year, and I see that Dawsons currently have a 25 percent off sale. It is worth shopping around if you are after anything in particular, because the prices really do vary greatly between these online retailers. I've just purchased a couple of 'scenic grass' rolls, which are made by Javis (dark green) and measure 120 cm x 60 cm. They make a fantastic base and are available from most model shops that specialise in miniature railways. Once you've placed your houses on the grass mat, a quick sprinkle of cornflour (or similar) and the green grass will turn frosty.
16th October 2015
I've just finished my model Halloween Village for this year and it looks really lovely. I have a string of LED bulb lights along the back, which cast shadows of the trees on the walls. To make these look all the more spooky, I coloured the bulbs in with some Spectrum Noir marker pens - purple, orange, green and red. To add some height, I just re-used one of my plastic Christmas village mountains and covered the snowy platforms and ski run with some tin-foil, which I'd first painted with a mixture of PVA glue and green paint, and sprinkled with lots of grass scatter powder. The result is a green hillside rather than a snow-covered mountain. I like to try and re-purpose as many of the festive elements as I can, because it helps to save money and storage space. However, I had to buy a few things, such as the Lemax Dead Man's Cabin, which looks very effective.
A really good finishing touch tip is to make lots of tiny pumpkins from orange Fimo clay or plasticine and place these all over the village. I also use a handicraft paper leaf cutter, which punches out tiny maple leaves. By using a mixture of red, orange and yellow paper, you can create some very effective autumn leaves to scatter around the graveyard and under any trees.