Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Where are things up to.

Hi all,

first their has been no mega finalisation of Rose Cottage,Yet. 3 reasons, first is that I was swamped with the success  of the WW3 Urban Terrain Table, it is on schedule to go into the post by mid October, the laser cutter is running some days constantly cutting kits to be sorted and bagged, and second is that I've purchased a new resin 3D printed.

So what's that got to do with delaying Rose Cottage, well lighting, have you ever tried buying light fittings to suit a Craftsman house, there is nothing available that I like that would suit this house, so that means making them. I have some beautiful catalogues that show a lot of the styles that I can put (some of ) into this house and one way to get them is to 3d print them. The drawing up of simple 3d drawings is reasonably easy but the trick has been in learning how to get a printer to actually print accurately. Resin printers can print astonishing detail but are not plug and play and so between rebuilding the printer to actually print accurately (still not there yet) and learning new programming to be able to create supports etc to allow it to print and not fall apart during printing, take time and mental energy. Of which I have a lot but never enough. to be continued....

But in the meantime, while never having enough to do, I have been playing with a couple of designs for some new simplified laser kits that will sell for under $40, these are based on plan designs from but with my own alterations to design, scale and build-ability.

The first is a 1/12th Gypsy Wagon, a test sample has been made, but I have more alterations to make to the exterior design before showing you more, a few days away. It has an easily removable roof for access with internal dimensions of 273mm long x 184mm wide and 195mm high at the peak of the ceiling. It comes with 2 shelf units, a bed and table which can be used or you can create your own interior.

The other is a 1/24th house based on the house from the movie Up, Elizabeth Barnes has been working with me on testing assembly and she is decorating a sample. Again, after making a sample I find lots of things that can be done better and so they get added to the redesign. I have new kit components cut but not assembled so no pictures of the assembled kit, but.......

Pictures of Cad drawn house in 3mm
Both these items will be available for pre order in October for delivery at the AMEA AGM in November or for postal delivery after that. And the third thing, there are only 24 hours in a day which is just not enough to get everything done.

Until next time, hopefully with more photo's

Yours in miniatures


Friday, 21 July 2017

Rose Cottage: an update

Rose cottage is back in the works after not being able to work on it at the level I want to put into it. Due do my illness I was unable to finish it and have it at the May Sydney Dollhouse show. But I did invite Rosie who had travelled up from Tasmania to the show to come up and check it out.

She arrived and came into the house and was saying hello when she spotted her dollshouse from the kitchen doors "Is that mine" then no chance stopping her as she rushed down to have a look. I wish I'd taken some photos but I was just struggling to hold it together. Just to say I think she liked it, I believe the tears were of joy.

The plan is now that meds are finally working, is to have it ready for next month for pick-up and delivery to Rosie in Tassie before a particular special event.

Yours in miniatures

A New and Different Direction ?

2 Posts today, The first is to let you know about my New Kickstarter campaign for a 15 - 20mm Modern Urban Wargame Table.

Not giving up Doll houses, but after 9 months of  neuropathic pain in my face (and a whole lot of different drugs to settle it unsuccessfully) and struggling to mentally keep up with what I need to do I had to find something that was smaller and of less mental requirements to keep me going. I started with one building and currently have what's here but have lots of other options on the go.

The other film prop that I was able to build is a replica of EMI Redd-37 audio mixing desk from Abbey Road Studios for a local TV show about the Easy Beets.

Made of MDF, plastic Knobs and paint.

Yours in miniatures (and other sizes)

Thursday, 4 May 2017

A short update.

I've had 2 people today ask where my shop has gone. The answer is due to lack of patronage, I closed it. I didn't have the ability to keep it open with the number of sales happening and the costs associated. I primarily work as a props maker in the film and TV industry and this along with some large commissions has taken my time away from producing new kits. A catch 22 situation. All kits will still be available when I am not buried under with other work or health issues and new ones will still be released from time to time. I will be at the Sydney Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair in Sydney this weekend, but for the first time in 5 years not have a sales table. I will have an almost completed commission on display before it goes to Tasmania as well as the Alien Cinema.

Kits will be available through this blog or my E-mail from time to time when my health and commitments allow it. To those who have contacted me lately about kits, apart from the NZ Railway House I have no others in stock and I won't be able to cut new ones until later this month at the earliest. From experience I have found that if I try to make up kits when I'm busy with other work, the kits end up with missing pieces so I have found it better to leave them at the moment.

I'm not going anywhere and while their is an interest in what I do, I'll keep doing it.

Yours in miniatures


1 of 3 marquetry gun cases for a Chinese TV production. 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Rose cottage update.

Just to show that even us experienced modellers can stuff up and have serious problems with our work, with all the extra rain and humidity over the last couple of weeks, the floor boards started to swell. 😒😒😒😒. I wasn't 100% sure of the reason but obviously the glue wasn't holding properly. This is not acceptable so the only way to fix it is to rip it up and start again. I am glad it happened here and not after its delivered, sometimes things go wrong, deal with it and fix it. My words of wisdom for a Sunday morning.
Fortunately when I started stripping the floors I found that the glue used hadn't gripped the veneers like it should have. The glue used, I think was the end of a can which was then thrown out, so it must have just been on the end of its usability and it was an extremely hot day when laid (40+), which could have contributed. A new container of glue and both levels of flooring done. They are looking beautiful again and stable.

But on a brighter note, the kitchen is starting to look like a room and apart from a couple of pieces of trim it and the smallest room in the house are done.The lower Half of the walls are tiled, the upper area painted and the ceiling is done as painted planked boards, it all adds character to a simple room.

No it's not the toilet but the space under the stairs.

So apart from skirting boards and lighting, the entrance, living room and  master bedroom are basically done.

Until next time.

yours in miniatures


Monday, 13 March 2017

The Grosvenor Hall has left the building.

The Grosvenor Hall commission has now left the building. This is just a short post as I'll do a more detailed post about this kit, my feelings about it and what we got done in the not to distant future. But for now I thought you'd like to see what we were able to accomplish to get this out. The house wasn't entirely finished as the film company only had funding for a weeks work, they got a bit more than that out of me and I also had assistance from Elizabeth Barnes (President of the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts Association) and my wife Elizabeth. Thanks for all your ongoing support.

We had determined to only decorate and dress 9 rooms in the available time and the house was picked up prior to all the furniture and dressings arriving so in the above photo the rooms are a little undressed.

Hope you enjoy. I'm now back working on Rose Cottage. Ceiling beams in the Living and Dining rooms, (a little hint to Rosie)

Yours in miniatures


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

"Grosvenor Hall" with Basement doll house kit

The second commission I'm working on at the moment is to assemble, decorate, light and dress a "Grosvenor Hall" with basement doll house kit for a film client in Sydney. Due to budget constraints we have had to cut back from decorating all 17 rooms to 9.

Sometimes constraints actually lead to a better solution, which is what has happened in this case. In the script there are a couple of actions requiring reaching into the main body of the dollhouse, the dollhouse is actually on display in an important location for the film. The suggestion I put to the set dresser was that if I left the basement and roof closed  and only have the main body open, the dollhouse would look more imposing and more like a dollhouse rather than a dressed bookcase. I assembled the photo below from a couple of photos off the net to show what I felt would work better, and this also saved time in decorating and finishing as well as the need to not dress 8 rooms.


The photo is only a proof of concept and it is not a guide to room layout or colour etc.

Unfortunately when the kit arrived, the basement had been glued together including all the doors, windows and trim, a litre of methylated spirits later and most of the trim has been removed ready to be sealed and painted.

Yours In miniatures


Monday, 6 February 2017

Rose Cottage: Craftsman Doors

The doors and door jambs for Rose Cottage have been made and have started being assembled ready for fitting into the walls. Their are 2 styles of door that I'm making for this house, a standard Craftsman door for all the room doorways and a planked door for the wardrobes and access to the roof cavity. I could have just used the Craftsman style for the whole house but I liked the idea of a different style for the wardrobes as it just gives a variation that is appealing.

Main frame pieces for Craftsman door.

Centre Rail after machining slots.

First all the pieces are cut from sheet wood, 4mm Kauri in this case with the insert panels cut from 1.5mm Kauri. Next all the frame pieces were machined to slot them to allow the panels to fit, Same technique as making real doors.

Test assembly of door.

The panels and frames are test fitted together to check fitments, I had to increase the depth of the slots on one piece of frame to allow everything to go together perfectly, after test fitting the pieces are disassembled and a fine bead of glue run down every slot and then reassembled. I then made a jig with small wedges to allow the door to keep square and tight while drying, in full size you would use long clamps to do the same job.

Door after sanding.

After drying, while leaving the door in the clamp (wedges removed) I block sanded the frames flat, turning over and doing the other side as well.

Door and Jamb in jig.

I also made a jig the thickness of the walls to hold the previously machined door jamb pieces together while drying and then used it to hold the door when aligning hings before putting the architrave around on the door opening side. It was important to make sure no glue got onto the jig which then allowed the hung door and frame to be easily removed before refitting into the correct hole in the pre-finished dollhouse wall. I used an 8mm x 8mm but hinge to mount the Craftsman doors and a T hinge for the wardrobes, again just to give a different look. Door handles hadn't arrived when photos taken, simple brass ones from England have now arrived.

Craftsman door to left, wardrobes to right, Skirting still to be fitted.  
A peek inside the wardrobe, Masonite wall covering, wooden shelf and brass clothes rail

A peek through the room door and up the stairs.

Before fitting the door to the house wall, they where stained and sealed with Scandinavian Oil, I like this Oil as it gives a light sheen but hardens up to protect the surface. I stained the timber slightly lighted than what would have been correct for the period, because when the house goes together it won't have as much light as the original and I feel this will look more correct than having darker stain, The other advantage is I can always darken it later but I can't make it lighter.

Until next time, yours in miniatures


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Doorways to where?

Its 9.40pm and its still 32.1 degrees sitting at my desk, another day of over 43 with another due tomorrow to look forward to. This has slowed me down a bit in the workshop as it's just not practical to work here when it gets too warm, as glues dry to fast and timber doesn't behave itself.

However this update is that the entrance has been papered and painted and all of the door architrave's have been machined and some fitted, I have gone with a standard Craftsman design that has some nice character to it. All the woodwork is machined from Pacific Kauri and stained to a colour I've made up with alcohol stains, I am keeping the timber a bit lighter so that when the rooms are enclosed and not as much light on them the woodwork doesn't look too dark.The skirting has not been fitted as yet, and the wall colour is nothing like the photo as it was taken under fluorescent lighting. But that is the correct colour on the wood work.

Until next time..........

Yours in miniatures


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Califoria Bungalow - Staircase and Colours

As mentioned last post I was working on the staircase, it has now been stained and temporarily fitted to the structure. It was assembled from Kauri over an mdf structure. Obviously this confirms there is a second story in the house 😉 or what they call a 1 1/2 story Bungalow.

I have also spoken with the future owner from Tasmania who has allowed me to share that her name is Rosie, so this is officially now called the Rose House as I like to name my buildings. This has also created the need to put roses into the design somewhere, 1 thing leads to another, have already got it pictured in my mind 😌 where and how that will work, (a Hint) if anyone remembers a Parlor room box I had at Sydney a couple of years ago, Hmmmmm Roses.

The next discussion was about colours, so I sent her a link to a suitable period paint chart   and asked her to respond.

I love the greens, blues and reds in the last three rows (everything except the purple, which I really dislike), with the colours in the fourth and fifth rows to balance things out a bit so it’s not too lairy, if that makes sense.  The greens and blues in row seven are probably my favourite colours from the chart. I’m not so keen on the top half of the palette (the pinks and mustards).

then 12 hours later

I've been thinking (constantly!) about the paint chart and am coming round on the pinks. I remembered I bought, years ago, a bedding set that I wanted to put in my dream house I was one day going to have. (it's Coming) I went digging in my stash and found it! it actually has pink as a tr

im, which I like.

Now I have a colour range that Rosie likes and I'm also happy with, I can start to create an Interior design. Until next time.......

Yours in miniatures


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

2017 and hopefully better than 16

Hello all,

What a year, sorry that my postings disappeared for most of the year. Life got in the way and even though some good things happened, it was a tough year. Hopefully this year will be a lot better.

So to help keep me going I'm going to try and keep going with my blog, I have just started the construction of a 12th scale 1920s California Bungalow for a lady in Tasmania. The drawings were done last year and I plan (need) to have it ready for the Sydney Miniatures and Doll's House Fair over the weekend of 6-7th May at the Netball Centre at Olympic Park. However to keep it a surprise for the owner I am only sending her teaser photos as an entree so that she gets to unveil and enjoy the finished house ready for her to move in and make a home. I will continue sending her the Teasers before posting anything here.

The first teaser is the living room floor boards, the whole ground floor has been laid using individual boards with nail holes a scale 18inches apart to represent the floor joists below. This was a technique that I taught in a workshop at the AMEA Christmas meeting using wood veneer. Each board is cut to a length divisible by a scale 18inches and then glued down so that all joins would be on a joist, the nail holes are done again along the joist lines which give a very realistic look, The boards have only been stained at this point and will be sealed and waxed later. If you click on the photo to open the large version you can see what I'm talking about.

Apart from her choice of a California Bungalow and after some discussions over a few years, she has left the the choice of which design and details to me as part of the commission. I have chosen the design for the house and will be deciding most of the details, so in reality she has no more idea of what I'm creating than you guys. I will be sending her oblique options from time to time for some input but she will never be quite sure where I'll be using those options. I'll be sending her the link to this blog and if she approves I'll be able to say who she is and maybe some other details.

I have just assembled the staircase and will stain it tomorrow and maybe a photo shortly.

Sorry to keep you all in suspense 😈, well actually I'm not 😛, the journey and the house will well be worth it.

Yours in miniatures