Saturday, 27 December 2014

My Artisans In Miniature Xmas gift, please enjoy

AIM Advent Calendar. Day 23 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Pre Christmas, up finally for air.

I know it's been 5 weeks since my last post. I've been a little off the air, those who know me are aware that I have a mental disorder which always has a effect on me but sometimes wipes me out more than I can deal with. Since returning from the New Zealand Dollhouse Convention at the end of October, I have been struggling a lot with staying on top of life and generally I seem to cope for short periods at a time and very lucky if it lasts a day . I am not looking for pity or anything, but I believe that it's ok and needed to talk about mental health, it shouldn't be hidden away.

I have started coming back up for air in the last few days and more importantly have cleaned up my workshop so I can get back to some productive work. I had previously sent out all the kits to New Zealand and Australia that had been ordered at the convention, having not heard from anyone I'm assuming they all arrived safe and sound and that at some time I'll get to see finished pictures on the web.

Had the Laser cutter die due to heat stroke about 4 weeks ago, finally got spares from China on Thursday and it's now back up and running. If nothing else it allowed me to not stress about getting things designed and cut and so I could look after myself without beating myself up for not getting things ready for the  Brisbane dollhouse and miniature extravaganza in February,  I am still planning on having the Helical House ready even though I've lost 4 weeks as well as a 1/48th Queenslander house kit.

This is the house that I'm basing the design on, it is a typical 1920s house with 3 bedrooms,living room, bathroom and kitchen as well as L shaped veranda. The laundry and cloths line are under the house. It will be available first at the Brisbane show as I quite like the idea of a new local house suitable to the location of a show. The NZ railway house went down well in NZ and I feel that this should be an interesting addition for Queensland. Being 1/48th it is also suitable for O gauge
and On30 model railway layouts.

I have been asked if I intend to make furniture kits in 1/48th to go with my houses, at this stage the answer is no, because their are a good selection of furniture kit makers out their and I would rather commit primarily to structures, houses etc. However their are future projects floating around in the either of my brain that will require interiors that aren't currently provided so lets never say never.

I did get to the AMEA workshop 2 weeks ago and had an enjoyable day making up a suitcase from a workshop held by Kathy Brindle, thanks Kathy, I enjoyed meeting up with you and had fun with the project. I haven't completed the suitcases yet  as I just haven't had the head space but I am looking forward to getting them done. While there I borrowed some interesting books from the club library and had some lovely talks with other miniaturists. I was also voted in as a general member on the committee so hopefully having a male on the committee will help to broaden the discussions about the club and what it offers.
Speaking of the AMEA, the 1/48th Embassy Theater sample is slowly progressing, the main structure is designed and assembled, and painting, detailing and lighting are started. This is my workshop proposal for next years Australian Dollhouse Convention in October. It will be spread over 3 days but will allow time off to have a look at other things going on. Details will be in the "Tiny Times" magazine next year and on this blog after that has gone out.

The 1/48th Art Deco house kit has been developing further in my brain and in drawings and I have finalised how to have lovely curved walls, glass bricks and some of those details that are needed to have a Streamline Moderne house, I am quite excited about this house and also after some discussions with other miniaturists about the possibility of a 1/12th Deco house or apartment. Earlier today I purchased a book, Miami Beach Deco which includes 12 buildings die cut in card in approximately 1/48, it will add some more ideas of what to do when I run out of ideas. It was published in 1998 but still sealed, I love E-bay.

And finally for this post, through the Paris Art Deco Society I was able to bring the photo of the Paris department store interior to their attention and through their members was able to find more details about this amazing Art Deco structure. It is the Magasin Robert Bely, at 45, bd haussman et 16, rue des Mathurins, Paris 9e arrondissement. The store appears to have only been open 1929-30 and that is why very few seem to know much about it. I was supplied some photos through the Paris Art Deco society and then I was able to find some drawings through an Architecture website. This will make a stunning display piece for someone to display collections in that one day I hope to be able to build this for someone one day. Thank you again for your support PADS in helping with info on this building

Until next time,

Yours in miniatures


Sunday, 9 November 2014

A successful return from New Zealand Convention 2014

 I got home late Thursday night a week ago and boy have I been shattered since, finally started to come right and about time to get back writing and back to work.

Firstly to those who have outstanding orders from the convention, the machines are running and I hope to have all in the post by Tuesday, a week later than I had hoped but I must have been running on adrenaline in NZ because I definitely ran out when I got home.

And on to the convention, I really had a great time during the convention,(we won't mention the dinner) being able to talk with people about my kit's and my future plans for new kits and larger structures. Thank you to all who took some of your time to spend some with me, this was one of my main reasons for coming over, to help me see if what I'm doing and where I'm going is what is wanted in the miniatures world. I believed it was and after the weekend I got the response loud and clear that it is what's missing and what you want. Thinking about things later, I had sold a good number of Tudor Mill Houses and sending more over but not one person asked when I would be doing another Tudor building, but I had questions about Art Deco, 1950s, modern and even the 70s. Arghhhh the 70s, your had to have lived it to believe it, and there was some interesting housing coming out in that period that would make interesting miniatures. More importantly some amazing colours were being used and so much of the furniture would be able to be build by most miniaturists.

I loved the display and the great selection of houses, roomboxs and mini's on display. Even thought some things could have been done a little differently, overall congratulations to the Nelson Miniatures club and all involved for hosting a good show of the New Zealand miniatures and dollhouse scene, and in amongst all that organising they also built one of the highlights of the show in their Wedding Marquee which when the lights where turned off on the Saturday night was just magic

Wedding Marquee by Nelson Miniatures club

Wedding Marquee by Nelson miniatures club
Wedding Marquee by Nelson Miniatures club

Some of my other personnel favorites were the 1/24th Art Deco houses that just captured the look of a small NZ bungalow so beautifully,

Art Deco House by Kathy Crighton
Art Deco House with flowering cherry by Alison Ede

 as well as the Resene Paint shop in a paint bucket......

Resene Shop by Glenys Hill

the elderly couple in the garden beautifully made by Mike and Ginny Ind, from Dunedin.

and finally for this post Rae van der Logt from Nelson's version of my Tudor Mill Kit, looking good.

Tudor Mill house by Rae van der Logt
These and many more of which I will show some more later displayed the talent and creativity of mini people in NZ.

Since getting home I have started the cutting drawings for the cinema, the drawings for the Streamline Moderne house as well as finding a prototype and starting the drawings for a 1920s Queenslander. Now that I'm waking up and when I get the ordered kits cut, boxed and posted I will be starting back on the Helical House to get ready to take to Queensland for the Dollhouse and Miniatures Extravaganza over the weekend of February 7th and 8th February 2015. If anyone has anything mini's that could help to make this a successful new show please contact Julie Boyer at for all and any information and to offer mini's for display, she was telling me that they are also organising pickup if necessary, so no excuses. I have also started with John Marsh to assemble the room boxes for the Art gallery for the Sydney show in May. This is what my week is like when I'm knackered.

Yours in miniatures

Friday, 17 October 2014

My new Art Deco miniatures kickstarter project

A quick note today as things are a little crazy around here, we have a family wedding tomorrow and with me getting kits ready for New Zealand, I also kicked off a Kickstarter project to bring Art Deco miniatures out into the world. Instead of me telling you all about it here, please have a look and if you find it interesting I would love your support or if you could pass it on to anyone else you think could find it interesting.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

8 Days before heading to NZ

It's been a couple of weeks since my last posting, but I've been busy getting ready for the New Zealand Dollhouse Convention and and I've also been putting a Kickstarter project together to further develop and build Art Deco miniature structures. My Kickstarter project will be going live before I head to NZ on the 23rd and I only have a short video to shoot tomorrow to finalise it. I will do a posting when it's live and hopefully we can spread the word about it. The NZ Railway houses are going well, my big concern is how many to take ?, This being my first trading show I'm having to guess what is wanted and how many of each and because I'm flying in I'm also limited by the weight that I can take as excess baggage as well as not getting too badly stung with import and gst tax's. O well if we didn't have these things to stress about, it would be something else.

I was advised of modeller Richard Gardiner, a wonderful architectural miniaturist in Christchurch who makes small scale models of peoples houses, It seems that since the Earthquake in 2012 he has been getting lots of requests for him to make replicas of peoples damaged homes before they lose them. He has an interesting website which shows a lot of the houses he's built. Unfortunately most of the photos are small but you still really get a sense of New Zealand homes and what he's achieving. I e-mailed him over the weekend and have arranged to meet him while I'm in Christchurch which I'm looking forward to.

Assembly of 40 railway Houses in 2 versions, Ice cream containers of sub assembly components.
Sunday week ago I had a lovely meeting with the editors of the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts Association magazine, Anna-Maria Sviatko and Jennifer Howlett. They interviewed me and then were heading up to see Louis Morley and Marilyn Pride for a future article after seeing our display at this years Sydney Dollhouse Fair. I had a great time talking with them and showing them around my workshop and some of my projects. Anna-Maria spotted my mockup of the NZ Railway house and immediately asked if I could build one in 12th scale, of course the answer was yes and when she's ready she knows where to find me. Well its time to head inside as we have a storm going on outside, mind you we need the rain.

Yours in miniatures

Monday, 29 September 2014

1/48th New Zealand Railway house. 1920s

Hi all, or is there anybody out there, Pink Floyd's "The Wall", brilliant album.

Have been busy with finishing the New Zealand Railway houses, have 2 versions almost done. Version 1 is the Dutch gable roofed version that I showed in the last post with further refinements and a change to the lattice work, Version 2 is the N/S gable version with the diagonal lattice. The window in the center of the first photo shows that windows can be installed open or closed during assembly.

Front and left side of  NZR house Version 2
Rear of Version 2

Left side open

Right side open

N/S gable roof

Right side

Front elevation

I will get some photos of the revised Version 1 on later today.

Yours in miniatures

Saturday, 13 September 2014

1/48th 1920s New Zealand Railway House for NZ Convention

I've got the first of the railway houses designed and built and then I got the 1930s rear addition made, so feeling pretty good as I'm quite happy with both. I will probably do a second version with a different roof and porch as well as the outside coal and W/C shed. I am very happy with the lattice work on the porch which is as per the original drawings.

 These kits will be on sale first at the New Zealand Convention in October, which I'm really looking forward to being at. The kit is made of Mdf, basswood ply, acetate and R/C board and is suitable for beginners up. I will be bringing over some finished samples for display, because even for me this was such a fun house of one's I'm familiar with from my youth in New Zealand.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

1/48th Painted Lady windows and trim Instruction manual

1-48th Painted Lady -windows - Assembly manual

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Proposal for Australian Convention 2015

As mentioned in the previous post I've been playing with the French Art Deco department store for next years Australian Dollhouse Convention. After a fair bit of thinking and with discussions with other miniaturists I've decided to put that as a workshop aside for later. The project will work as a workshop but only in 1/12th scale which will make it rather larger than I want for next year. I have figured a way to make it as sections that can be joined together to create a display building of various sizes and complexities. This will be a stunning display box for any collection of items, as one miniaturist friend said she's been waiting for the right thing to display her Wedding collection in.

Instead for next year my proposal will be an Australian Art Deco theater frontage with vestibule and Milk bar in 1/48th. The original is a local to me structure that still retains its Art Deco details but is no longer a cinema. I've almost finished the working drawings for the design and have ordered the electrics necessary to make it stand out. The workshop will include the assembling and painting of the structure, how to replicate chrome and some assembly and installation of working Neon lighting, spot lights and interior lighting. Also as part of the original design is a small Milk Bar that you can dress yourself or we can do a 1 day workshop during the year at the AMEA. Finished dimensions are 455mm wide x 355mm high x 225mm deep. This will allow some interior for the shop, the entrance and stairs to the balcony, and a section of roadway to be able to park cars in front of the theater. It also keeps it to a reasonable size for those running out of room for larger structures.

An Update on Helical House.
The Helical House is coming together beautifully, I've laid a Tasmanian Oak floor in the first room and Designed and printed wallpaper for this room as well, I'm making use of the spring sun to get components painted and dry.

This room is not completed yet, but the house is coming together the way I want it to. This room will become the living and entertainment room, a working TV on the end wall and some comfy couch's, I'm currently designing a variety of modern light fittings to work in this house, light switch's are fitted, just nothing to control yet.

yours in miniatures......

Monday, 1 September 2014

Further Ramblings from inside my head.

Hi all, been a busy couple of weeks and wasn't sure what to post about as structures are being built but not ready for showing photos yet. Have been making the 5 rooms and stairwell for the Helical House, it is starting to look good as I assembled 5 partially built rooms on to a variety of center shafts to see if they where going to work the way I see them in my head. They look great and the house as a whole is pretty fun.

I haven't had any spare time for the Theater so it sits there and looks back at me. It may have to be disassembled though as I had a phone call about some commission work for filming of a commercial which includes building approx. 30 1/48th buildings and some 1/12th and 1/6th versions. I need the space. Quotes have been done and I will hear on the 12th Sept so between now and then will continue with the Helical House and get the NZ Railway house designed so that if the job happens I will still be able to get things ready to take over to the NZ Convention. My timetable is tight as I have to finish the job, then fly to NZ for 6 days then back to Sydney for filming as soon as I return.

The other thing I've been working on are ideas for a workshop for next years Australian Dollhouse Convention because that needs to be designed and built by the end of January. My head is playing with multiple ideas, from room box's incorporating mirrors to do some film type trickery to an exterior of an Art Deco theater or an interior of a French Art Deco department store that can be done in levels to assemble a multistory building and trying to put a twist on traditional ideas without taking it to far or making it unachievable in a workshop setting.

This is a scan of a page from a 1926 book about Art Deco, and I just love the symmetrical look of this image. I would love to just replicate this but size would be an issue for people. I have an idea forming about using the style of this, and setting it up as a display space that you could showcase whatever you wanted to in it.

Until next time,  yours in miniatures

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The weeks fly by when making miniature houses

Another week has gone, been very busy designing and building a new room box idea for our local miniatures group. As mentioned last week I am designing a helical Art Gallery of room box's. I ended up going with a double helix to keep the height down. It now stands at a little over 1400mm high and 1350 across the base. It includes a spiral staircase and working lift in the center of the building. photos below are of the first test box.

The glass is just sitting in for the photos and only some of the structure is painted as my credit card has been illegally used in Japan and we are sorting out with the bank so haven't gone off to buy more of the framing colour to paint the bottom frame and to make up an exterior colour yet. The 2 grey walls are curved to match the arc of the interior lift well and the end flat wall is connected to the floor to slide out as a unit to set up your display. The notch in the bottom of the floor in the top photo is to allow the box to connect to the box below by overlapping 2 segments. The large glass wall to the left lines directly above the last glass frame to the right so will end up as a set of glass steps. I have also come up with the idea for a variation to become a modern house miniature of 5 rooms around a central atrium. A bit different than the Art Gallery but based from the same source.

I finally did find a little bit of time to work on the theater, have been working on the drawings and have assembled the basis for the front wall and the box's for 3 shops. Picked up some more mdf this morning and the paint since I started this posting so that now I can continue cutting and assembling the theater and some more work on painting the Gallery. The shops are approx a scale 22ft deep x 16ft wide x 12ft high. The shop box's are designed to drop down through the table to be dressed and finished. I will want to finish the entire structure before starting on all the myriad of details to start bringing it to life. I intend that this will be a fine scale miniature when completed so their will be lots of detail work to follow.

The first shop (shop 4) as you can see from the photo above has a chunk out of it because of the entrance into the foyer. As I have said earlier I am trying to find out what the original shops where, but if not I'm thinking of a  barbers in the far left (shop 1) It was one according to a 1937 photo, a flower shop (shop 3), a sweet shop in the above room (4) and a " I've forgotten for now" in shop 2.

Yours in miniatures

Thursday, 7 August 2014

I know it's about time I kept up with a posting, I've not been overly well so life has been on the back burner. All kit orders are up to date . I have had a lot of positive responses about them so far, so thank you all, I look forward to seeing peoples results with finishing them.

I joined a local dollhouse group on Friday whose work I had seen at previous Sydney shows and enjoyed. We have decided to do another joint display piece for next years show. I suggested a stepped circular building along the lines of a spiral staircase to the group and it was enthusiastically accepted. One of the other members went to her box of goodies and pulled out a book on one of the New York museums and gallery that she had been to and enjoyed, this suggestion was discussed and all agreed that this was a fabulous suggestion as each person had ideas of what display they would like to present on their floor.

I am in the process of designing the building at the moment and I feel I have the design direction right to take back to the group for agreement. Each level will be a separate room box that each person can decorate and dress, then they will all be joined together to create a larger, more spectacular display. I will be cutting the first level later today to confirm that I have the details right. For me, this is my concept model, because it allows me to fine tune the details and to make sure that my 2 dimension drawings works as a 3 dimension form. I am going with a very modern design, lots of glass, with a slide out floor and rear wall to set up your display.Their will also be a spiral staircase and working lift in the model. At the moment is is 1400mm across and 2600mm high so I may look at making it a double spiral to lower the height. More details too follow.

I havn't had time to get back on to the theater, but I will be tomorrow. I have been collecting 1/12 resin figures to use as starting points for the people who will populate the display and be used as part of my story telling.

These are some of the members of my happy family before they are cleaned up and redone to suit what I need from them. They will basically stay as who they are but accessories like the violin, flowers and vacuum will be removed and replaced with much more detailed versions as well as some modifications to the cloths to suit my period and repaints.

Have just finished cutting out a VW kombi bus kit for my wife to take to one of her groups, This is part of the collection of purchasable plans from Paul and Julie Campbell at their web store If you have access to a laser cutter or cnc router, this site is the one you want to check out. All drawings come with variations for different thickness's of material and basic assemblt instructions. My dollhouse kits so far have been based on his designs but with a full redesign to suit using them as dollhouses and to put my mark on them.

until next time, yours in miniatures


Monday, 28 July 2014

1/48th and 1/24th Concept models

Over the weekend I put some concept models together, Concept models are a simplified version of what you are wanting to build so that you and others can get a visual 3d view of your design before  spend money and time and you build all the detail. In this case I built a pair of rooms one in 24th and one in 48th scale of a french palace side room, The purpose being for a client and I to decide which scale will give the client what is wanted and for me to decide if I can do the required detail in a particular size. The room box's I made are both of the same room with a hallway to the left and a balcony and view to the right. I like where possible to extend rooms because then you have more of a feeling of viewing into a section of a building, not just a box.

1/48th concept box
1/24th in lighter print
1/48th printer colour corrected
1/48th with front surround
1/48th over 1/24 before reprinting small version

A concept model allows you to see what works and what doesn't, In this box the railing hides that I'm using a bent photo which means I can keep the box smaller, but I need to do something with the back wall of the hall, possibly a mirror reflecting the hall and a new print against the rear of the front of maybe a hall going around a corner.

Yours in miniatures

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Some news for the week, and other ramblings

Hello all spent some time today making some soft safety knives for a TV show, always interesting making things out of other materials look like something else. The other news from this week that has had my head thinking is I've been asked to do, an up to 3 day workshop at the AMEA 15th Convention October next year. This has got me rather excited, the theme is "through the looking glass" which to me will be nothing about Alice, but more about a different way of looking at a miniature room or rooms and how our perceptions can be deceived between our eyes and our brains. I have a very clear idea of where I'll take this but I want to keep the details until next year. I will probably show some of the developmental work here but an illusion isn't the same when you see behind the curtains. It will be traditionally a doll house miniature but not like most have done before.

The other great news for me is that I'm off to New Zealand in October this year to attend the NZAME Dollhouse Convention in Richmond on the South Island. I have bought my airfare and booked my accommodation so all being well I look forward to how things are done in my homeland, I'm actually a kiwi in disguise in Aussie. It sounds like a great show and I'm really looking forward to it. I have also sent in my membership application form to become a member of NZAME. I also a little nervous about the possibility of seeing some of my kits finished for the show as a few have found homes in NZ.

The other big news of the last week or so is that I've been offered some dollhouse commissions which are a little out of my usual time period but that for me is half the fun learning more about architectural history and about why things were done the way they were and what that would say to people. In other words rooms or building have a purpose and they tell a story, from the over imposing very tall rooms of a palace to a small fire side nook, sometimes it's to impress with power or control or simply somewhere to snuggle, feel safe and secure and enjoy you and your family's world for a time.

Now with everything else going on I have to make sure to keep working on new kits, progressing with the Theater, which with the help of a head scenic artist friend, have come up with the base colours. So until next time.....

Yours in miniatures

Friday, 18 July 2014

A small error has been found in Tudor Mill Kit

Hello everyone,
my apologies,a small error has been found in the Tudor Mill Kit. On the deck level the slots that fit the end wall nearest the waterwheel are missing from kits cut and posted. To fix this at this stage  cut the tabs from the bottom of this wall as you still have the top and end tabs for alignment.
As you can see in the assembly manuals photo they where there for the sample built and photographed but went missing to wherever socks go on holiday.

Or if you require a replacement floor please contact me and I will arrange it.

Right hand end showing 2 inner slots that are missing in current kits

Yours in miniatures

Thursday, 17 July 2014

When the works at bay my mind will play, After getting some parcels to the post office and the laser is busy cutting the first sheet for a Painted Lady, I thought I might try a little turning and game up with this 1/12 vase as a first attempt, It's ok but needs to be a little more delicate for my taste, but it was an attempt worth playing with and next one will be better which is always the way, you learn from doing.

Mind you Bill is still keeping an eye on the time I spend playing around, blooming slave driver, and he works for me, not the other way around.