Client: Museum Biberach

Bronze Age: Federsee, The Village Forschner. Scale Model.

We were commissioned to make four models for this museum and decided that they could be built into the wall of the gallery, a space with difficult proportions which dictated very strong perspective. We made mock-ups of the available spaces in our studio, creating each scene piece by piece, the perspective based on what could be seen or might be hidden from view rather than using any mathematical calculations…

Above: The street of a fortified Bronze Age Village on the Federsee.

Top left:       One of the original sketches for this scene.
Top center:  Regular houses and walls take shape.
Top right:    The house on the right half open to view. The thatch in perspective was a        horrible challenge to tired brains but we found a really effective solution – we made a silicon mould from an old wild boar skin, coarser hair towards the viewer ! Desperation leads to ingenuity !
Above left:    These tiny carved canoes pulled up on the beach are just visible between the buildings.
Above right: This side view of the whole model shows clearly very steep perspective – the viewing aperture is left, behind the white wall.

Paleolithic Age: Schussenquelle, Camp of the Hunters. Scale Model.

A second model, shown below, illustrates a temporary camp of paleolithic reindeer hunters based on an actual site. The challenge here was to model convincingly a complicated landscape some kilometers in depth within a space of less than one meter.

Below: These six illustrations show parts of the process.

Top left:          The original sketch.
Top right:       Gerry Embleton building the landscape in hard blue foam, checking every move through the viewing window.
Center left:     A process that involved at least 10 kilometres of walking back and forth (he swears!).
Center right:  Covering the landscape with plastiline and texturing it with every imaginable tool from files and saw blades, rock and wood fragments, brooms, stiff brushes and old cut tooth brushes.
Above left:      A one piece silicon mould was made of the whole textured surface, and then a light casting of acrylic plaster and fibre glass matt.
Above right: The resulting landscape was painted with washes of acrylic paint, pale in the distance and with richer, darker tones in the foreground. the ‘water’ was moulded from a sheet of glass as one with the landscape, painted dark ‘deep pool’ colours and when dry given many coats of gloss varnish. Figures and tents were scratch built by Steve May and the TM AG team. The sky was stiff canopy of plastic card painted with very swift free brush stokes of acrylic paint (fingers crossed) but it did work well.

Roman Age: Ummendorf, Villa Rustica with a Bath Building. Scale Model.

This is a reconstruction of a small family sized Roman bath and we wanted to show its three principal chambers and under floor heating system.

Above: The museum staff were able to give us very good references and luckily we had already researched Roman interiors and construction details for previous projects, nevertheless this time a lot of meticulous sketches and careful perspective drawings of the wall paintings were necessary.

It was particularly satisfying to try to create the warmth of flickering light from oil lamps. It’s a subject that we would love to try again.

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