Summer is here, Blogs languish, but fear not, some epic true-scale modelling has been going on. The Kemp Collection now boasts a Grand Terrace and Bastion, which collectively form the new Parade Square¹!
Technical details and step-by-step building guide for true scale modellers:
- Dig stuff out for the foundations. The old dry sand foundation for the existing slabs was left in place.
2. Put stuff in to stop the new slabs from sinking into the swamp. I used graded (hardcore) fill, which the drone behind the counter at Travis Perkins told me he had never heard of. When I explained it was for a patio sub-base he told me that I wanted MOT. He went a bit red when I asked him what MOT³ stood for and told me what hardcore was used for instead. Back at Gound Zero, I found Nobby the Newt hiding under a brick. He was stalking a particularly juicy slug as big as his head.
3. Lay the interlocking dry block retaining wall for the bastion, filling the back in with earth on the lawn side and sand on the bastion side. I used builder’s sand instead of sharp sand as the base. It will settle over summer, then I can go back in autumn and relevel the slabs with a dry sand mix (cement and sand) without having to worry about cracking in this unusually dry summer that we are having.
4. Build a French Drain (basically a hole full of sand or gravel) for the runoff from the roof of The Den to soak into. This avoids the water running over the slabs onto the lawn, which has been my ‘temporary’ solution for the last 18 years.
- Chuck the slabs down. They will be lined up properly in autumn when the slabs are finally set.
- Sit out and drink a well earned beer. Organise a victory parade.
Summer is also the time when readers are inflicted with holiday snaps. No worries here either; we continued our tour of unfashionable cities by visiting the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, where we accidentally visited the National Bonsai Collection². Normal service will be resumed when we go back to a proper, miserably wet British summer.
- It isn’t square, or grand, unless you are 1:100 scale, in which case it is truly epic.
2. The collection is valuable enough to be displayed behind bars, with CCTV in constant attendance. Forget the Crown Jewels, this is the real thing! We didn’t know it was there, but happily, discovered it on the way out with more than 30 minutes to spare.
3. It refers to the Ministry of Transport Type 1 British Standard for loadbearing graded aggregates made from crushed recycled concrete rubble or limestone to be used in highway engineering. Seriously though, normal people don’t care unless this happens (watch from1:15).