The End … of summer — 09.14.18

Well what a while it’s been since my last post. But as with most years the end of summer activity just overwhelmed everything else. Weddings, last minute trips – just trying to squeeze in that last bit of time with my daughter on her visitation.

Then comes the early morning trip to the airport – to send her back to her mother. After that I’m physically spent – and quite frankly emotionally marooned. It takes a few days to kick the dust off – and try to desperately to find something mindless to work on.

This time around I spent a week trudging through and finishing the Yurt water pipe change over to PEX.

I started this project earlier this summer. Only to shove it to the back burner when the summer activity heated up. But it was nice to come back to something that I already had a mental plan for – and which was kinda mindless. Cut pipe … run lengths to needed spots – crimp clamps … etc.

I’m pretty happy with the PEX. It’s easy to work with, cuts super easy with the right pipe cutter. And I picked up a nice crimping tool that ratchets with a light to let you know your good. In the long run, the PEX will withstand freezing in the winter by expanding – rather than cracking like the PVC.

It felt good to get this project done. The hot water heater is working, as are the dual filters and all with no leaks. Hot and cold water is flowing back to the sink and is ready for the bathtub and kitchen when I get to them.

While I was working on pipes in the yurt — I still found momentum to keep working on the Arena Rex board.

I started by setting the Arena onto some 1″ x 2’x2′ insulation foam. I marked out the edge of the arena and added a couple inches to the outside to finish off when things are complete.

I stacked two layers of the foam, making sure to overlap the seams for better strength. I used wood glue and foam construction adhesive to get these parts together. This took clamping and extra weight.

After everything was glued up – which probably was a week of time actually as I made adjustments and filled in the seams. I then drilled several holes around the wall areas. The coliseum walls were about an inch thick. I grabbed some spare PVC pipe and glued these into the holes. These pipes became pegs for the walls to sit. So things wouldn’t move around easily.

After that I decided where my pits would go … and spaced out their locations evenly around the Arena.

I ran into some un-glued pockets after carving out the pits that needed shored up. So additional time was need for more adhesive and weight.

I had ordered these 3D prints for the pits sometime last year from horizoncreation3d and eBay seller. They are perfect… with a grate for the top as well as a spiked sheet for the bottom of the pit.

I countersunk the pits into the foam. To get them closer to my finished floor plan.

After I got the pits sunk in good I added walls for the pits sides.

This was simply card stock … cut to fit the four sides. Then I cut strips of card to smaller sizes for random blocks. I then glued these onto the wall parts. After they were dry I painted the block walls black. I then dry brushed them with a couple shades of grey before glueing them into the pits.

The next step was to get my finish floor in. I cut a cork sheet to size, cutting out the holes for each pit. And glued it down to the foam base.

Things are starting to come together. I set the coliseum onto the base and trimmed the cork as needed to fit just to the inside walls.

The next stage was dry brushing the entire floor of the arena base. I went for a light tan with stokes of other colors for interest. I also gave some background color for the grass patches I would be adding.

After the base colors dried I added some small ballast … and come larger ballast here and there to add a bit more interest. When things were dry I washed the gravel with black and muddy colors. I then added soft dusty highlights.

I’m still finishing up the floor of the arena. I need to soften the edges – and dust up the look of the green grass areas. But you get the idea.

In the interior areas of the coliseum I started base coloring some minor details. At the main gate I cut and glued some card stock for a cobbled stone floor.

Here’s how things look all together right now …

It’s not finished – I still feel that there are lots of details yet to be done. I have picked up a box of mini skulls as well as skeletons to place throughout the arena and for in the cages and pits.

On the outside I need to trim the foam to form a hill – and add some minor interest areas like rocky outcrops and I think o set of stairs at the main gates. I also had a thought of chains and drain pipes – oozing blood and bile lol.


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