This article is the first installment of a three part article which will appear on the subsequent Sundays. The first installment will focus on his Victorian gallery, the second on the man himself and the third will discuss the current project he is working on. The following dialogue is presented in a question and answer form drawn from correspondence I’ve had with Richard and comments from his Victorian Gallery thread found here.
“For the last eight to ten years I have been amassing figures and scenic materials for a gallery of Victorian Gothic. In October 2012 I decided it was time to begin painting and building. I completed the work on this gallery one year later on the eve of Halloween 2013. The board is 5 ft x 7ft there are 5 streets, approximately 31 buildings, plus 2 pedestrian tunnels, small outbuildings behind the terrace houses and pub, an underground entrance, a park, a cemetery, and 5 five interiors (a staircase, a ballroom, an opium den, a laboratory, and a church). Also, there are about 25 or 26 vehicles. Although I added removable scratch built pitched roofs and chimneys to many of my building, the only buildings I scratch built completely are my Whitechapel terrace houses and pub, and for those I must acknowledge the great work of Lead Adventure Forum’s Thunderchick as my inspiration.”
How does one even begin such a monumental work?
"When I do a project, probably because they run over several years, sometimes a decade, I keep binders with ideas work that others have done, figures, etc. When I finally get around to actually working on something like the Victorian Gallery, I go to both the things I've collected, usually in a big box of stuff and the binder.
How did you build the Four Bells your Victorian pub?
"When I scratch build buildings I build them around a core of Duplos blocks to make the geometric shape which gives me strength and a consistent shape I then cover them with Evergreen, JTT or Plastruct plastic. I like working with plastic. I guess everyone who scratch builds finds a medium they are comfortable with whether it is plastic, card stock or wood. For me its plastic..
You told me you have used some ceramic Christmas decorations in your Victorian set up what are your thoughts on using ceramic pieces?
"My view of porcelain items is that they can be used but they don't lend themselves to the kind of modification you can do with resin. Every once in a while I will find something ceramic that is so unique and cheap that I will get it, but only if it looks like it can be made to work by modifications involving adding milliput or other items as opposed to carving things away from the original piece. Porcelain just doesn't allow you to carve it. I bought and used in my Victorian Gallery is the puppet theater that I got at the swap meet for $3. Fortunately the only Christmas snow on it was on the ground so I was able to hide that with Milliput scored as grass. I then repainted it and even though the puppets are a little big, I really like the piece and think it added to the look of my little park."