Prototype Kit Test – Day One

The Prototype...Thus Far

Staying true to my promise, I cracked open Monsieur M’s kit and started to assemble it.  Assembly was pretty straight-forward and I was able to do a dry run of the parts. It consisted of a few parts — the floor/ceiling, two walls, and two panels for the roof.  Was very happy to see that  Monsieur kindly labeled the parts in red (very useful since I tend to have my “dim bulb” moments).

Another detail that I love with this prototype — the kit mimics how real houses are built. Maybe it’s from watching too many Holmes on Homes or Holmes Inspection, but it’s so neat to see how the walls are basically wood frames covered by a “drywall” of sorts (it looks like a very thick cardboard).  And seeing how it quickly assembles definitely is a plus when it comes to someone like me who wants to cover as much ground as possible.

Actually, I was REALLY surprised how quickly I was able to put things together during the dry-run. For starters, the parts are either installed in three ways – you apply the included screws into the screw holes (which Monsieur clearly labeled in red), attach parts via pegs (also labeled by Monsieur) or you do the traditional “glue and clamp” method. Luckily, almost 97% of the parts involved screwing things in. But just to be on the safe side, I used glue alongside the screws to secure everything. Granted, I used Quick Grip because it sets fast, but am sure using regular Tacky Glue or even wood glue will work – so long as you’re careful in the application. The last thing you want is to have the glue ooze out and dry in between the joints. Given the material used for the drywall, was too afraid of scuffing them even with the finest grit sandpaper.

Thanks to this observation, ended up deciding on installing the flooring for the first floor and attic floor before the parts are permanently affixed.

Since this is the first mini project since the wedding, I barely remembered what I had in my “bins o’ crap”.  Suffice to say, BK wasn’t thrilled seeing me tear through our coat closet to pull down the rubbermaid bins and digging through the contents. But the rummaging definitely paid off — I found I had a few wooden flooring planks left from old projects (ended up buying more on eBay later to restock).

Used QuickGrip glue to install the planks, then did a light cherry stain after sanding it down

For the flooring, figured it was best to keep it simple — the first floor would be sanded and stained a light cherry color while the attic was simply left as is. I wanted the attic area to be rough and imperfect to add contrast to the main room below.

I’m going to have to apologize though for the lack of pictures. Given this is suppose to be a test run, I am hesitant to release information (especially the schematic Monsieur M. provided). I know he wanted me to test to see if this is doable, but until I get his full permission, I’ll have to be careful with what I’m writing. For all we know, this could be the future of how dollhouses are gonna be built! Or, at least the kinds of houses crazy fans like myself will want. 😛

Okay, ranting aside…onto the work.

I decided to divide the framework into two parts — the main room (the first floor), and the attic/roof area. Ended up focusing on the main room since that will be the showcase of the kit. Plus, because of the way the roof was to be pitched, I couldn’t install it until I applied the wallpaper. Monsieur M’s instructions mentioned that if I wanted to paper the walls, I should do it now before assembly. Makes sense and all…but I had no idea what wallpaper to use. Heck, I didn’t have an idea what I was gonna do to decorate the prototype! Figured for now, just get the main room set up and the rest will sort itself out. I hope!

The first floor was straightforward – screwed the rear and side wall into the floor, then installed the long support beam. When I got to the attic however, I had a bit of a problem installing the small support beam. Attaching the bottom part of the beam was straightforward – there’s a peg you insert onto the attic floor that will connect the attic beam to the taller beam on the first floor (see photo on right). After you slide the attic beam into the peg (with some glue of course), now you’re left with installing the roof to the top part of the attic beam.

The challenge I found though was that because the roof is angled, how to make sure the sloped part of the attic beam stays square to the roof. If you look at this photo, you’ll noticed that the slanted part of the attic beam should be at the upper left corner of the room. My guess is that you simply glue it into position.  Probably not a big deal if you have the patience…but, if you’re reading this Monsieur M., maybe having this part connected either via peg or screws would be easier. At the very least, it will make sure the sloped parts will always stay in position.

Other than this little issue…it actually took me about an hour to set it up. It could have been longer if I had decided to permanently attach the attic walls – which I chose to not do at the last second (as I realized I need to wallpaper this space).  Then again,the construction time could have probably been less if I wasn’t taking photos of the construction. But hey, I just want to make sure Monsieur sees everything.

For more photos – please visit this gallery.

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