Proof of Life (aka “Slowly Getting Back on the Saddle”)

Okay, so BK originally wanted me to title this post after SugarHill Gang’s “Apache (Jump on It)”. Mostly because he’s been sending all this week YouTube videos that use this song. Ended up settling on this given my (guilty) love watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reruns…

(This never fails to crack me up. Poor Carlton!)

Anyhoo, I did promise in the last post to get some pics up on a small project I did work on during my illness(es). Compared to the time it took to build the first Neville House, this project was particularly difficult for me. Mostly because I knew I could work on it on the same amount of time if I pushed myself. But my body decided to give me the flying birdie instead. That, and I had BK to contend with. And let’s face it – my husband’s my biggest kryptonite. :(

Advanced apologies for the somewhat blurry shots. Now with fall upon us, my house doesn’t exactly get alot of good natural light. So I had to make do with the the afternoon rays yesterday in my living room to take snapshots.

The Neville House II

The Neville House II

To keep things simple, the main exterior parts (the roof and walls) were done the same way as the first Neville House. I used corrugated black cardstock and painted basswood to simulate a tin roof. While the exterior walls were covered with the same board and batten sheets. Have to admit, was relieved to have saved my cardstock templates – it made cutting the pieces to fit go so much quicker. Especially since I had to sneak around to work on this house.

Just another view of the CB2 Neville II House

Just another view

Much like the Neville House I, doing the rails for House II was a pain in the ass challenge. This was the first time I wore a mask when I was sawing the wood pieces and cutting up the plexiglass. It was definitely sobering when you realize that even the little things are suddenly restricted. Like now, I have to be absolutely strict in making sure I swept up all the dust and small particles after the work. Though on the bright side, it did mean BK finally got me a Dyson to use for clean-up. :)

Even better, know that I knew what I needed to do, the assembling the railings moved quickly. Though if you look at the far right of the rail…the top rail isn’t fully attached to the corner post. Urgh, I’ll need to get back to that this weekend to repair.

Close up of the rails.

Close up of the rails.

Not sure what possessed me to do this, but on the photo below, the Neville House II originally had a step where the rails now stand. I managed to pop it off and close up the balcony with the railings. But in order to get inside the house…I used some scrap wood trim to build a makeshift front step leading inside.

New steps

New steps!

Close up of the steps...

Close up of the steps…

Alright, alrighty – I’ve blabbed about the exterior long enough! Onto the interior!

Close up of the interior.

Close up of the interior.

While the first Neville House was more of a sitting/dining area….I wanted the second house to have more of a private oasis vibe. Plus, I saw this bed at MultiforMiniatures’s Etsy shop and couldn’t pass it up. This was one of the dangers of me being stuck in bed — I’m an absolute terror when it comes to online shopping. I had an idea in my head how I wanted the room to look…and boy, was relieved to be able to replicate that mental image!

Side view of the interior.

Side view of the interior.

For starters, I used a teal colored cardstock (Freestyle Gulf from A Cherry on Top) to decorate the back wall. The floor I used some fabric cardstock I found on sale at Michaels to simulate carpeting. For the ceiling, I mimicked what I did at the first house and installed painted batten board.

As for furniture, I had to keep the pieces sparse given I really had a small amount of space to work with. Given my fondness for Petite Princess furniture…I had to install a chair and matching ottoman. While it’s out of scale, I put one of Miss Brae’s adorable pillows to provide a pop of color. Which reminds me…I need to stock up on more of these cuties! :D

Left interior view from doorway.

Left interior view from doorway. Chair and ottoman are a vintage Petite Princess piece from eBay.
Pillow purchased from otterine’s miniatures (Etsy).

On the right side, I installed a small side table topped with a few accessories that I found in my one remaining miniature bin at home (everything else is in storage). And of course, I can’t resist using beads from 3StarStudios.

Right side of the Neville House II.

Right side of the Neville House II.
Side table purchased from Multiforminiatures (Etsy).
Walnut “wall installations” are walnut beads from 3StarStudioArts.

And the piece de resistance — obviously the bed! I couldn’t find my new camera so I could take a central shot of the bed. Had to make do with my aging smartphone’s camera….and some ibuprofen in order to contort my hand to get this shot. This bed was part of a special order I requested from M. Orloff of MultiforMiniatures during the spring.

BK was a pretty sore at me at the time for using part of my tax refund to get this bed…but after he saw it inside the Neville House II, he agreed it looked perfect. Hah! Victory!

A (difficult) shot of the bed.

A (difficult) shot of the bed.
Bed purchased from Multiforminiatures.
Lamps are vintage Strombecker lamps.
Alarm clock purchased from Manor House Miniatures.
Walnut “wall installations” are walnut beads from 3StarStudioArts.

And last, but not least — what’s a vacation home without showing off some suitcases right? I can’t recall which eBay vendor I found these (need to dig through my emails to find the invoice)…but I know they were meant to be 1:24 scale. Oddly, they work really well in this setting right? Kinda almost want a set of my own….

View of the suitcases.

View of the suitcases.

For the moment, both of the Neville Houses are atop my living room’s bookcase. I have a piece of MDF board big enough to hold both…but I need to figure out how I want to set these two. I was thinking maybe a two wing cabin in the woods, but BK thinks a beach setting is more appropriate.

But whatcha all think? Beach or wood setting? I almost imagine an outdoor patio between the two houses with some outdoor seating…maybe a grill if all goes well in my eBay bids. But don’t tell BK that ok? <insert toothy grin here>

For now...

For now…

It Has Been Awhile – Time for Baby Steps

First and firstmost….I am so sorry for neglecting this blog. As I type this, my brain’s still cringing at the realization that it’s been…almost 7 months since the the last entry. Egads, where has time gone?

Second…I was originally going to title this entry “It’s Been Awhile”. But then I realized that’s the same title as the Staind song. And I really, really don’t want to get some kind of cease and desist from Atlantic Records. Or something of that sort. Though ironically, was listening to this song during those 7 months as well.

I won’t bore you with the details, but…my AWOL was really because of numerous things. If it wasn’t stress from work, it was illness. Or bouts of illnesses brought about by stress from work. Given the worried state I put BK through, it seems like this is year (so far) has given me more illnesses than I could remember. Which in turn seriously put the brakes on almost everything that didn’t involve either illness or work.

The good news (currently) is that I seem to be improving. But from hereon, I have to make certain changes to my lifestyle. Most of it involves changes in my diet and trying out new activities. But in terms of my hobbies….let’s say I need to learn to be intimate with a respirator each time I work on my minis. And invest on some fancy ass air purifiers to use in the house.

With these recent developments…I will try to post on my blog. But it really might be sporadic. So again, apologies to everyone who’s been following my blog.

In terms of what’s on my queue:

  1. Yes, I’m still doing the HBS Challenge regarding the DCC. But given I’m now resuming where I last left off…I want to be upfront to the ever awesome folks at HBS that I might not finish on time. However, I’m a woman of my word, so despite missing the deadline I still intend to finish the build. Besides, I don’t want M. Bangalter and M. Hohem-Christo going after me with a Sharpie marker because I didn’t finish their pad. Or ransack the storage unit even more for stuff they want to use.
  2. I’m apparently involved in heavy negotiations with (of all folks) BK and some close friends about participating in this year’s Undersize Urbanite contest. I’ve stayed in the sidelines since the contest’s inception mostly due to time. And also, my discomfort about pitting my work against more talented miniaturists. Plus, I already feel terrible for being behind on the DCC build.

    BK, on the other hand, thinks I need a good shove to get back to my hobby. He’s right in a way — being bed-ridden was awfully sucky. Because I couldn’t do anything besides read, nap, or watch the occasional show online. As he put “…you’re happier when you’re around your minis. I just want my wife to be happy again.”

So will see. I don’t want to promise anything. At least not yet. :)

However, I am happy to report that I did complete a project. It was a sneak job (sneak in that I snuck downstairs to work on it for an hour. Before BK made me go back to bed and rest). But was happy at the outcome.

Yes! Another CB Neville House!

Yes! Another CB Neville House!

I’ll try to write the next post about this new build. Mostly because I have to redo the photos (gah!).

Again…thank you all for your patience.


Closing Some Loops

Another Sunday…and yet again, I ended up finishing something that was hobby related. Though I guess this time, it’s perfectly okay given that (a) the house is finally cleaned (hurray!) and (b) I really wasn’t in the mood to do anything pertaining to office work (double hurray!).

I did do some work on DCC – but most of it were just sanding the lumber pieces to make the beams and horizontal slats for the exterior. Which would honestly make for a boring-ass entry. Plus, I had to play baby-sitter to my resident Daft Punk duo. I’m doing everything in my power to not let them know of my remaining collection in storage. I really DO NOT want to be coerced to drive down to the storage unit just so they can check out the bins a la dumpster diving style. XD

Anyways, back to the point of this entry. Yes, it’s about the Neville House, and no, it didn’t get kidnapped like the ARC I. It’s more of an update on what I promised to do to resolve the piss-poor craptacular poorly thought-out, constructed rail on the front deck. If you recalled from previous entries, my attempt to create a “glass” rail left me with a version that was tilting forward due to lack of bracing/support.

*Insert long sigh of disappointment*

In “Change of Game Plans”, I did a to-do list of how to correct this seriously craptacular gross miscalculation. For starters, instead of one continous, single rail, I would install posts in specific intervals on the front deck. Then in between the posts, I’ll install pieces of plexiglass that are sandwhiched between two wood rails/channels…


Where the posts will be positioned. The numbers indicate the foundation supports underneath the deck/whole house.

…..and install a support brace on the right side of the Neville house to anchor the new rails.

Side view of schematic.

Side view of schematic.

I said that it would be a straight-forward task. What I didn’t expect was how quickly I finished the task. Think for this…it took about 2 hours. Probably could have been made shorter sans the whole cutting plexiglass part.

To begin, I removed the existing railing. And given the crappy job (finally! the censor police didn’t cross this crap out  – dammit!) I did on that, it came off pretty easily. A quick scrape to remove any glue residue and a thorough sanding pretty much made the deck ready for its new piece.  Next, I cut out and prep the posts. I used a piece of 1/4 x 1/4 inch stripwood, from which I cut four 1 1/2″ tall posts.

The cut posts.

The cut posts…and the (now) rail-less deck.

I sanded each piece until it was smooth all over, then applied some beeswax polish to give it a golden finish. At this point, it was time to do some installation.

All waxed and ready to go.

All waxed and ready to go.

Sorry for repeating this photo, but it quickly gives you an idea of where I’m planning to install the posts. The ones on the far left and right are obvious, but the two inner ones were a bit of a challenge given that I needed to make sure they align to the mullions of the deck windows (shown in the yellow arrows). It’s perhaps a minor detail, but I wanted to maintain some kind of symmetry if possible.


Using the above photo as a guide, I installed the posts starting from the left. I used Quick Grip adhesive because I wanted the posts to set pretty quickly. To make it a little easier for me, I positioned the posts to be flush against the front edge of the deck. I stacked some MDF pieces to act as barriers and to make sure the posts are flushed and even.

Making sure the posts are attached flush.

Making sure the posts are attached flush.

Once the 4th post was attached, I did a bunch more measurements for the anchor braces. Again, I used the 1/4 x 1/4 inch stripwood to keep things consistent.

Measuring out the support brace parts.

Measuring out the support brace parts.

Once the parts were cut, I decided to do a dry fit run to make sure the braces were even. Good thing I did that, because I realized the following problem.

Well this freaking sucks.

Well this freaking sucks.

If you look at the above photo, you’ll notice that the main deck (the area in the middle) is flanked by a strip of dark wood (mahoghany). Problem is, the strip on the right (where the windows rest) is higher than the left side. In terms of a solution, I went the easy route by making sure the lower support beam is even via shims. And in terms of shims…I just used some spare 1/4 x 3/8 inch stripwood I had on hand. To make sure the shims stay in place, I planted some acrylic paint bottles pin the strips/shims while the glue dried.

The brace on the shims.

The brace on the shims.

Once the bottom brace was secured (I used more Quick Grip adhesive – I wanted the glue to quickly grab and hold), the top brace was applied. I used a small T-Square to make sure it was as even as I could make it. It looks kinda crooked here based on the angle shot I did.


Support brace completed.

After the support braces were in place, it was time to install the lower rails for the front part of the deck. I purchased more 1:24 scale porch railings on eBay (it was a little cheaper) to use for this project because I wanted to use the bottom rails (they were more square in shape). Once I measured the distance between the posts, I sawed the pieces and sanded them smooth. Once the wood pieces were waxed and prepped, I used Tacky Glue to glue and clamp the bottom rails into position.

Installing the lower rails.

Installing the lower rails.

After the lower rails were installed, I used the measurements of the bottom rails to cut the top rails. I wanted these to be prepped and ready to go once I cut the plexiglass to fit. And in true fashion, I didn’t take pics of the process. Which was probably good, given that I initially cut out a strip of plexiglass that was 1 3/8 inches in height. Only to find out that it was too tall for my already installed railings. So I had to recut the plexiglass strip down to about 1 1/4 inches. Will not lie folks — cutting plastic sheets is no picnic. I ended up pulling out the vac after all was said and done just to make sure I didn’t have pieces of it strewn everywhere.

But once the plexiglass pieces were cut down to size and ready, this part went fast. For each section (luckily there were only three), I dropped the plexiglass so the bottom edge is right inside the groove of the bottom rail. Then I took the top rail, dabbed glue on the ends, and carefully slid it in place. I wanted its channel to rest directly on the top edge of the plexiglass, but also have its edges stay tightly flushed between the posts. I used rubber bands as clamps until the glue dried.

Finished rail 1 of 3. Hard to see the plexiglass at this angle though.

Finished rail 1 of 3. Hard to see the plexiglass at this angle though.

Soon, I was repeating the above process on the other sections…only to slap my forehead when I realized the far right fail is shorter than the others (d’oh!). Too late now I guess. :P

The new rails.

The new rails.

But in the end….I finished the tasks. And this actually looks much, MUCH better!

Woot! It's done!

Woot! It’s done!


It’s hard to make out the plexiglass, but it is there. Once everything dries, I’ll need to wipe it down to remove smudges.



The new support braces. Hopefully this keeps the railings even and flushed!

It's done!

It’s done!

Am pretty pleased with the result. Whatcha think?


The DCC Build – Lost in Translation

Besides being the first weekend in spring (finally!), I actually got to enjoy the house by myself. BK is currently on work travel until next Friday, so till then…I have full reign of the house. Granted, I still have to work, look after the pet rats, and (finally!) clean the house…but it’s definitely nice to have fewer distractions. And enjoy eating all sorts of food BK was never a fan of. Like kimchi. Or certain Filipino dishes. Most of which I can’t cook properly, so this means take out! :D

Anyways…while my dear husband is away, I can actually enjoy the luxury of working on my mini projects almost nonstop. In the case of the DCC, I (think) I have my gameplan set. It’s definitely going to be a kitbash, and while I do have an idea of what to do….I probably should be prepared to accept and make last minute changes as the build progresses. Not gonna lie folks – I’m pretty &%^@#$ nervous in that there’s a really high percentage of royally screwing this up. And that…that will not be a good sign.

At least though, there was a silver lining of sorts. My local USPS dude came by with the Saturday mail….and a package. My Daft Punk figures arrived!

What I found in the shipping box....

What I found in the shipping box….

Talk about excellent timing — just when I’m about to start working on the DCC, its muses arrived in their full glory. These guys are set to 1:12 scale, so they’re a perfect size for the build once it’s done.

Yay! They're here!

Yay! They’re here!

Alongside their scale, they’re not only ridiculously poseable….but apparently each figure comes with 7 pairs of hands you can swap. For Monsieur Homen-Christo (the dude with the black-gold helmet), I put his peace sign hands to go for the whole “risen” effect.

Freedom from my clear plastic prison!

Freedom from my clear plastic prison!

Sorry…was having way too much fun with these guys. I really should go back to the DCC! And for some weird reason, given the Daft Punk duo are French, I keep imagining they’re talking in French. (The following is the product of my rusty French. So if I wrote something wrong…don’t hurt me too badly ok?)


Thomas, est ce que tu m’entends?
(Thomas can you hear me?)

Thomas: Où sommes-nous?  (Where are we?) Guy-Manuel: Je n'ai aucune idée!  (I have no idea)

M. Bangalter: Où sommes-nous? (Where are we?)
M. Homem-Christo: Je n’ai aucune idée! (I have no idea!)

Meanwhile, I’m just sitting by watching them….until they managed to turn around and see me. Uh..hey guys…


M. Bangalter: Vérifiez-le! Une grande fille effrayant!
(Check it out! A big scary girl!)

Okay, my French must be really rusty….looking up that phrase on my app….”A big scary girl”…..HEY! Okay, maybe I’m big because I like my food a bit much….but still!

Without thinking, I reached out to pick up Monsieur Thomas Bangalter….and that was probably not a good idea, given the reaction both gave. Their shrieks and thinly veiled references to King Kong were not helping matters. Nor was my (rapidly deteriorating) grasp in French as I tried to assure them that I meant no harm. Good lord…my professors would probaby kill me at how much I’ve forgotten since college!

This was probably not a good idea.

This was probably not a good idea.

After hearing their screams for several minutes – and seeing certain hand gestures from Monsieur Homen-Christo that belong more in a road-rage induced situation –  I decided to leave them alone for a bit to calm themselves. Plus, I needed to get back to what I was working on before their arrival.


Prepping the side walls.

For the DCC, I thought to cutting out portions of the sidewalls to create openings for either large windows, or openings for the wooden slats shown in my inspiration below. As you can see in foreground, there are horizontal wooden slats. It’s a nice comparison to the gray steel vertical beams (and the curved supports that hold the roof). I wanted to create the illusion of large and airy spaces if possible.

Beukenburg House by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen Architects

I knew for the sidewalls, I’ll need to keep as much of the original shape intact to help maintain the curved roof (plus provide structural stability – I look at it as helping me distribute the weight of the roof amongst the numerous vertical and horizontal beams/slats I’ll have to create). So the first kicker question I need to answer is — what parts of the sidewall should I cut out?

After mulling it over several cups of tea (I can’t figure out how to operate the new coffee maker BK bought — ironic coming from someone who works in IT for a living), flipping a coin, sacrificing a lamb to the gods, and further thinking, this is my (hesitant) gameplan. Hopefully the following pics will make sense.

Since I need to keep the top part of the sidewalls intact (in order to install the curved roof supports in the kit), I decided to create the opening by cutting out the area marked in red. To make sure the upper curved part of the wall can indeed handle the weight of the roof, I made sure it had a 1.5 inch height. Just so I have enough room to install additional support beams if the situation calls for it. This is kinda one of the downsides with kit-bashing — if you plan to deviate from the original construction, you really need to make sure you have contingencies in case something goes awry. And knowing my darn luck…well, let’s just say I don’t want my public build to include my cursing profusely and building a trebuchet in a caffeine/cake-induced rage. Just so I can chuck the pieces over the horizon or something.

At the same time, it actually solved my issue about the already existing window opening. I didn’t want one to begin with, and I really wasn’t in the mood of patching it up with cellfoam and spackling. Laziness prevails in my world apparently.

The area in blue….I ended up waffling back and forth about it. Technically, the area I need to cut out in red will fit my design plans. But if I wanted the opening to be bigger….the area in blue can be removed and not impact the design as much.  Guess I’ll be able to make a final decision once I actually can get to the cutting part.

Right side wall - areas to cut out.

Right side wall – areas to cut out.

For the left wall….I could have just done the same cutting layout as its counterpart. But I had been distracted by my muses. Maybe it’s good they’re robots, because it looks like they figured out how to turn on their English language module. That’s good news for me — my feeble attempts in French landed me in enough trouble already.

I have no idea how they managed to get upstairs, but they found this in my three containers that weren’t moved into storage. If I hadn’t heard them huffing and puffing down the stairs – I’d hate to think if they got hurt should they tumble or something.

Look at wthat they pulled up!

Look at what they pulled up!

I purchased this a year ago (maybe more – can’t remember) from Monsieur Renfroe at PRD Miniatures. I signed up for his e-newsletter, and he sent out a mailing about a sale on his stuff. It must have been after I had gotten my tax refund, because I bought a couple of the efficiency kitchen sets from the site. I loved the brushed stainless steel against the white countertop. It’s very slick and minimalistic. Yes, these guys can be pricey — but I seriously couldn’t pass up having something from Monsieur Renfroe’s shop.

I was watching with amusement at the duo admiring the kitchen. It seems like Monsieur Bangalter (the figure on the right with the silver helmet) really loves the white counter.

The duo marvelling the kitchen.

The duo marvelling the kitchen.


Feeling bad that I had to interrupt them, I cleared my throat to catch their attention.

M. Bangalter: Oui, Madame? I mean…yes, Madame?

DK: Um…sorry to bother you two, but why’d you bring this kitchen set down?

M. Bangalter: Guy and I saw this and liked it very much. And because you’re building us our home…we’d like to have this.

DK: Um…well, sure if you guys want. Seems like a strange request though.

M. Homem-Christo: Vraiment? Pourquoi pensez-vous que cette demande est … est … (Really? Why do you think this request is….is….)

DK: Bizarre ?

M. Homem-Christo: Oui, bizarre! C’est bien, vous utilisez le même mot (This is great, you use the same word)!

M. Bangalter: Guy, parler en anglais, veuillez. Notre gardien…français est un peu difficile pour elle (Guy, speak in English please. Our guardian…has a bit of difficulty speaking in French).

M. Homem-Christo: (after hearing some crackling and buzzing from his helmet). Ah, got it. Sorry about that. Well, why do you think our request is so strange, Madame?

DK: Well….you guys are robots right?

M. Homem-Christo: Yes, we are.

DK: Well…maybe I’m wrong about this, but…I thought robots didn’t eat. You use the kitchen to make food and all, but if you guys don’t need to eat food…then that undermines the point of a kitchen right?

I felt terrible saying this, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the duo thinking about it at first, then giving me the following reaction.



After a very spirited discussion about food history (and their asserting the opinion that all living things do eat – which I can’t exactly give a counterpoint), we decided on a compromise. I will flesh out an area that can accommodate the kitchen….but if that clashes against the overall interior design of their place, I’m allowed to remove the set. But I’m required (per M. Bangalter’s insistence) to replace it with something useful for them. In exchange, they’ll try to help me improve my French.

So in light of the above deal, I took the efficency kitchen and set it against the left side wall — just so I can see how space that might take up. It seemed to make sense that it’s positioned right at the center.

Figuring out placement.

Figuring out placement.

And based on its positioning, I marked out the areas I’ll need to cut out. For this, I might just have to make do with having some tall windows to flank the efficiency kitchen….or whatever I plan to put here if that doesn’t work out. Like its counterpart, I marked the areas in red that I’ll need to cut out.

In terms of how to cut it….I had initially thought of caving in and getting a Dremel to help me cut out the parts – notably the parts that are curved. But the associate I spoke to at my local Home Depot suggested using a coping saw…or a jigsaw. Granted,  I did a get a brand new jigsaw originally to fabricate The Retreat. But I’m a little nervous if the jigsaw might be too much to cut something like this.

(If anyone has pointers, am all ears. I did pick up some scrap panels to use as practice boards so I can get used to using the new tool….)

Left side wall - areas to cut out.

Left side wall – areas to cut out.

After taking this photo, my phone flashed a display message saying that I was running low on power. My fault in that part — I completely forgot to charge it before going to bed. So from here, I made do with scribbling notes on what to report on this blog until my phone was fully charged.

Now that the sidewalls are (somewhat) planned, I looked at the kit’s original instructions to see how the front part of the kit was built. But when I compared the steps to how my inspiration looks…looks like I might not be using those parts after all. Because if you look at the photo below, the front requires installing posts – almost similar to setting up a porch. Though the challenge will be to figure out how to incorporate plexiglass panels to simulate the glass front. But I’ll figure that out once I get there.

Front of the Beukenburg House by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen Architects

When I looked closer at the photo – I realized that I forgot to factor supports needed for the outer wing of my design. Similar to the structure above, I wanted to create something like the left wing on the photo. Of course that means I’ll need to install a wider roof….and I’ll need to install a type of support to hold said item. Which ultimately means I need additional sidewalls to do that. Cad-nabbit!

Suffice to say, I ended up placing an order on for another Denise City Cottage kit. Hopefully it gets here next week – by then BK will be back from travel, and perhaps he can help with the cutting. Just in case my practice runs during the work week don’t turn up according to plan.

New Project to Add to the Queue….and That’s Okay

Sorry folks – this was meant to be posted on Monday. But sadly, some serious doody hit the fan at work. Metaphorically speaking of course.

While the dust hasn’t cleared yet (and my veins on my forehead are still bulging out, according to a very wary BK)…some very happy news cropped out. Which I want to share to you guys. ‘Cause again, I’m all for sharing the wealth.

What’s the great news you ask? Well…the folks at 3StarStudioArts released the following kit. And I’m so &%@!@* excited!

The Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

Mme KP sent an email out announcing its release this past Sunday, but I didn’t get a chance to sit down and read the fanfare until later that evening. Which was perfect timing in retrospect – especially since I made the mistake of checking my work emails and seeing what has essentially become a meltdown of sorts. But I’m not gonna go that route — let’s just say I looked at my work email, gave them the mental flying birdie, then went back to Mme KP’s email so I can wrap myself with happy/giddy thoughts.

So back to the kit. For starters, the 3StarStudios teamed named the kit “The Tiki Bird House”. The official description of the kit says that the kit was “….inspired by majestic thunderbirds, Native American tipis, A-frame cabins, surfboards and the flair of glorious polynesian buildings.”

I can definitely see the polynesian features, while the middle component definitely screams A-frame (*swoon*). I was initially puzzled by the majestic thunderbird reference until I saw the photo showing the upper part of the house. Then it made total sense (and many apologies for the dim bulb moment on my end, that’s for sure).

Top view of the Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

Don’t laugh folks, but when I saw the word thunderbird, I immediately thought of that puppet action show from the 1960s “Thunderbirds are Go!”. Granted, I wasn’t even in existence when this came out….but I recalled seeing this on weekday afternoons and being fascinated by it to no end. Though the way the eyes move kinda creeps me out…

(sigh) Alrighty, time to get off the time warp and chair, and onward to the review!

What I loved the most about this kit is the interior. The rooms look generous in size, and the rooms within the A-Frame section call for an interesting challenge in decoration. BK and I had a good time deciding on the photos whether it’s really 4 rooms or two rooms with two roof terraces. The ladder’s a nice touch too (but you all know me — that’ll go in my pile of spare parts). :D

The Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

But here’s the best part — you’re probably wondering what scale this kit can accommodate? Is it 1:12? Maybe the 1:16 scale? Half scale? The correct answer is — all of them! Even one of the members of the 3StarStudioArts team graciously provides a demo (it’s a plus that like the ARC, this is something even the kids can play with). The 1:12 and 1:16 scale works really well with the kit’s overall structure. For half scale, it gives the appearance of a house with really high ceilings (and really show off the big windows on the first floor. Talk about delicious mod goodness).

How the different scales look
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

So the kicker question is: did I get this? Well…yeah, I did. But to justify, I did get my tax refund back early (as I tend to file pretty early in the year out of habit). So…I’m going to consider it as my victory gift. I’ll figure out where to put it once it’s been constructed — based on the description, the house comes out to about 29 inches long x 16 inches high x 15 inches deep. So it’s a good sized house. As for the material, 1/4-inch MDF is used – which I’m intrigued about (no I haven’t thought about kitbashing this yet).

If anyone else has ordered this kit…do share! I’d love to hear folks thoughts and what they opted to do with the kit. I’m still deciding on what to turn mine. I could go for another modern house/villa, but a museum or even a nightclub came to mind….

But for now…I’ll have to wait for this baby to arrive while I start working on the DCC. Reserving that for the next post!

Sally Forth Comrades! Let’s Do This!

One of the biggest perks surrounding the miniature hobby (or in my case, the heart of my obsession) are the contest builds. Every year, there’s a contest calling for all miniature fans to tap on their creative juices and build something amazing. The biggest one that I know of is the annual HBS Creatin’ Contest hosted by The rules are pretty simple — you purchase the kit HBS created and assigned for that year’s competition and transform it to whatever pleases you.

Of course, the challenge behind this contest is the time. Contestants need to complete their build and submit photos of their work the contest deadline of  December 16, 2015. But given the kit’s are available pretty early in the year…you practically have almost an entire year to complete the build.

For the 2015 contest, the HBS is selling Denise’s City Cottage kit. At first, I got a little confused with the name (“a cottage in a city – wha?”). But once I saw it on the website – I fell in love. Think it was the curved roof and the double doors that sucked me in. And the overall dimensions of the kit (imho) are pretty generous at 20″ wide x 11 3/4″ H x 15″D. You can at least do a really tricked out great room or set up two living spaces inside.

The Denise Cottage Kit Image from

The Denise Cottage Kit
Image from

I’ve traditionally opted out of participating with contests mostly due to two reasons. The first one was because of time. Up until recently, I had to pull longer work hours at my job. So whatever free time I had, I used to spend it with BK, my family and friends. But after the promotion last year…and my slowly settling into the new responsibilities (i.e., delegating the work and being allowed to work from home), I’m slowly finding more time to devote to the hobby. Score!

The second reason you might ask? As weird as it is…competitions actually make me nervous. Mostly because despite what I write on this blog, of all the projects I’ve worked on…I tend to look at my projects as a means to learn and improve my skills in the hobby. In a way, I still look at my work as amateurish compared to others. Trust me, I’ll list names of folks whose miniature projects still leave me bug-eyed and breathless (you know who you are, you guys – I still love you anyways).

So imagine my surprise when the ever awesome folks at contacted me with an interesting challenge: they’ll provide me the Denise City Cottage — in exchange for chronicling my build. I was instructed that I cannot use what I build to compete to keep it fair for the contestants who did purchase the kit to join the contest. Which I’m in full agreement.

Which brings us to the point of this post…because my provided kit arrived. Thank you folks at! And thank you FedEx delivery dude for dropping this off during the crappy weather we’re having. :)

Wha, what is this?

Wha, what is this?

I didn’t get a chance to open it since my nephew’s staying with BK and I this weekend. He recently joined the US Navy Sea Cadet program, so once a month, he stays with us for the weekend since the drill site is closer to us versus my parents. We actually look forward to having one of the rugrats (our nephew and niece) over. But the downside though is that I need to clear the dining room/miniature workroom just so we have a place to comfortably eat our meals together. :P

So until I get a chance to open the kit…I’m going to share two important things. One is my gameplan for this kit. And the other…well, let’s get through part one first.

Obviously, I’m going to go for something modern. Not only because it’s along the style I enjoy, but because of my muses.

S.H. Figuarts Daft Punk Figures – Thomas Bangalter (left)
and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
Image from Tagroom.Daily

These figures are based on the French electronica duo Daft Punk. I’ve posted a video of one of their songs in an entry regarding the Neville House – especially since I’ve been a huge fan since my college days. I usually don’t buy merchandise outside the occassional CD or tracks. But when I saw these figures on….I had to get them.The fact these poseable figures are about 6″ tall – hell bells yeah! My doll cast are super lucky to have these two celebrities in their lineup. One thing’s for sure, parties are going to be fun with these two gentlemen handling the music. :)

Now that I have my residents…it was time to figure out what I wanted to do the Denise City Cottage Kit. Given that my muses are musicians by profession….should the place be a residence? A recording studio? A secret creative getaway? All the above?

(I got lazy and went for the last one. I know, that was pretty anticlimatic. Sorry guys.)

After a quick search online…my eyes landed on this particular design.

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the website)

Given that the kit has a curved roof to begin with, I wanted to continue that shape using a different roofing medium. For the front and sides, I loved the play of the metal beams and wooden slats with the floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the website)

As you can see in the above photo, the back of the house has the curved roof continuining almost all the way down to the foundation. But with the kit’s back opening….still debating whether to try to expand the floor plan by having a deck of sorts. Still hammering that detail out though.

Another thing too…the landscaping is going to be a challenge. Oi, this is going to be interesting how I’ll tackle the landscaping issue. I’ll have to build an expanded base for the Denise City Cottage kit (aka the DCC) to rest on. And if I do that…landscaping is going to be mandatory. Holy $^#@snacks smokes, my supply list keeps growing….

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the website)

In terms of the interior….I love how the wooden slats play a role in the interior design of the room. But I think that’s all I’m planning to incorporate into the (hopefully soon) final design. I don’t want to alter the DCC’s original interior layout of a single large room. I think for my figures, they’ll want to have as much space as possible. Especially when they’re taking a break from work and stuff.

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the website)

That’s what I have fleshed out so far. I know for the next of couple of days, I’ll need to seriously hammer out what I need to do. There’s definitely going to be a good amount of kitbashing of the DCC to implement the components in mind. Hopefully, I’ll be able to describe the steps as I start the build.

So that’s part one of my entry that I wanted to share. The second part is something I’d like to throw to my readers.

Given that I’ve officially confessed the reason I have never competed in a contest build…I’m actually really grateful for to giving me this opportunity. Not because I’m excited about getting a chance to try out this intriguing kit…nor is it because I’ll be sharing my build with you all. But also in a way, this is a great opportunity for me to get over my fears. As BK pointedly remarked “You must be doing good work babe. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been asked to chronicle your build on your blog. It’s almost like getting sponsored!”

So in light of this….I actually want to share this call to arms to those reading my blog. In the spirit of taking up the challenge and facing my fears….I’d like to ask you guys to perhaps do the challenge along with me. If the HBS Creatin Contest interests you (I mean, the grand prize of a $1000 gift certificate is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me), I say go for it! Join me in the banner of all things pertaining to miniature awesomeness! Submit to your creative side! I mean, come on — I can’t be the only one on the planet with a miniature obsession right?

(Really hoping somewhere out there, there’s a roar of the crowd going “heck yeah you crazy woman!” That would be preferable versus hearing the chirping of crickets.)

Okay, I’m getting off the soapbox now…and off to Home Depot (will mention that on my next post).

Change of Game Plans

After riding aboard the SS Apprehension over my (in retrospect, not justified) angst regarding the Neville House’s front railings, I think I now have a gameplan in terms of how to correct it. After  careful consideration, feedback from you guys (this is why I love you all dearly — I really do!), some discussions with BK (given my father-in-law is a retired general contractor), and slapping myself silly some serious thought…this what I’ll be aiming to do. Especially once the supplies arrive (speaking of which, where are they, Mr. USPS dude?).

For starters…the front railing will be handled as such.

Schematic for the front rail.

Schematic for the front rail.

The top and bottom will still be wooden rails, but will install four posts to provide stability. Two will be positioned at the ends of the rail (will need to make sure they’re aligned with the foundation beams #1 and 8). And the remaining two…they’re sorta positioned a bit over from beams 3 and 6. Mostly to make them align with the front patio/windows’ inner beams (indicated by the lime arrows above).  And yes, will utilize plexiglass in the rails to simulate the glass look.

Side view of schematic.

Side view of schematic.

To make sure the rail is as close to staying straight as possible, I’ll need to extend the railing/glass combo to the side. As you can see in the above photo, the yellow dotted lines shows where the extension will be positioned. Figured having it attached to the Neville House will provide additional stability. I was initially bummed that I’ll need to close that end of the Nevill House’s front deck. But for the sake of providing some kind of support to the rails (and BK pointed out, it will help distribute the weight evenly)…I’ll live with it.

That’s the game plan overall for the Neville House’s railing (part II). It’s a straight-forward enough task, but I think the bigger challenge will be to pace myself. Especially if the railings turn out to be bowlegged, I’ll need to dampen the parts and clamp them onto solid, even surface to dry. And hopefully it’ll straighten itself as it dries. The last thing we need is another bowlegged set of rails (oi vey).