Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Johnson's Smithy

I had the idea to have a blacksmith shop among my buildings. So I first looked for some figures. I came across two sets: a horseshoeing group by Minden Miniatures, and another one by Hovels Model Buildings. The latter one is 19th century, if you take things too seriously. But I surmised that an American blacksmith might have worn his hair short in our period. So I had two sets available.

Blacksmith group by Minden Miniatures
Blacksmith and apprentice by Hovels Model Buildings
One of them even contained an anvil. So I didn't have to sculpt that. A appropriate tub was among my spare parts, collected years ago at the Kulmbach Fair.

The water tub filled with plastic water

But what about the building itself? I searched the net for pictures of historic smithies and came across some useful illustrations which helped me concretize my idea of the smithy.
Photo of a Colonial smithy from the internet
The problem was that I not only wanted to have the exterior of the building, but also the interior which could be seen through the wide open door. So I had to do the hearth, the furnace, the bellows, and of course the grinding stone and some spare tools (tongs and hammers). Not to speak of the material the blacksmith was going to use: some iron bars in a corner, a collection of hoseshoes on a beam, and iron wheel tyres on the outside wall.
The hearth with the glowing fire of the smithy was not really a problem. Looking for hints how to build it, I came across a model railway builder's website that offered a cheap solution: using an electronic tea light! Two of these lights cost me two Euros. The parts in the interior of these lights - a battery, battery chamber, a flickering LED and a switch - are so small they easily fit into the hearth.

Electronic tea light
The glowing hearth (mind the tools!)
The electronic tea light inserted into the base 
The grinding stone

Bird's eye view of the interior
A view through the detachable roof
(mind the horseshoes and the spare iron bars in the corner)
The hearth with the bellows
Making all this, turned out great fun, forgetting the original purpose of wargaming, of course. It changed to model building in the course of affairs.
The front

Right side

Rear side

Left side with the wheel tyres

The wheel tyres in their original state (I used the interior ring)
Life at Johnson's Smithy