Category: "Books, films, and other media"

The Aero Squadron Lounge - feature in Dolls House & Miniature Scene

by brae  

I'm honored to have The Aero Squadron Lounge featured in Dolls House & Miniature Scene for February 2020.

This was a build based on a local restaurant called The 94th Aero Squadron. It had war memorabilia throughout, and the structure was reminiscent of an old French farmhouse. There were planes on display outside, and the back patio featured burned and broken rafters.

It was an interesting place with great food, but it went out of business. After sitting vacant for years, they finally razed the building completely. It’s a shame, because it was unique. There are still a few throughout the US.

The most challenging part of the build had to be the 1:32 scale Sopwith Camel, built from a plastic kit by Academy. I had built model cars previously, but I had never built an airplane let alone one with rigging.

A special thank you to Sadie and Carl at Dolls House & Miniature Scene for a wonderful feature!

Ye Olde Taxidermist - Haunted Heritage double feature in Dolls House & Miniature Scene

by brae  

I'm honored to have Ye Olde Taxidermist and the Haunted Heritage both featured in Dolls House & Miniature Scene for October 2019.

As I was going through the old album to send them pictures, I found a photo I liked that I hadn't posted before. :D Isabeau was made by Maya Schippl, and I built the Model T Van.

There's a snippet of the Heritage on the cover.

On the inside, there's a lovely article written by Sadie Brown.

It's always so awesome to see one's work in print. :D

A special thank you to Sadie and Carl at Dolls House & Miniature Scene!

Mail Wagon - part 8

by brae  

With the front and rear axle assemblies and wheels made, I can start to build the cabin. I've pretty much been researching mail wagons since I started down this path, and there was no standard type of wagon over the years. RFD was such a novel thing, though horse wagons were not, it really was each man for himself. So, I get a lot of room to play.

There were sliding doors and front windows that could be lowered into the front wall.

image from The Smithsonian

There were hinged doors.

There were hinged windows and mail slots.

If you look at the original wagons from the postcard, there was no room in front - just the window wall.

Postcard from 1917 showing RFD horse wagons - image used with permission

There were built in heaters and portable heaters.

image from The Henry Ford

One great source is Horse Drawn Mail Vehicles by James H. Bruns.

Look at this tiny thing that's barely a box built around a chair and a heater! Where did the mail fit? I'm also pretty sure only one horse was needed. :]

from Horse Drawn Mail Vehicles by James H. Bruns

I set up my wheels and axles with Jebediah and one of my artist models. I can probably back Jebediah to the wagon a bit more, but this total span is 17 inches from his nose to the back of the wheels.

The span from the axle centers is 5.5 inches. Having a very narrow space between the wheels for the mail carrier to enter the wagon was not uncommon.

I won't be using the Rondel kit, but here is that cabin in dry fit for size comparison (obviously not this tall).

This should be a good gauge for overall size, though.

I'll need to make the cabin as light as possible since the axles are fairly delicate, but I can layer thin wood to get good detailing without adding a lot of weight.

Seeking a book - FOUND!

by brae  

As you may recall, I was seeking a copy of Making Model Horse Harness by Anne Funnell.  She used to head Lenham Pottery Models, involved with both horse models (including scale model harness kits) and dollhouse pottery.  She had retired, so it seemed there would be no way to contact her. I attempted to find a used copy, but there were none to be found. The only libraries with copies are in the UK, so that dashed hopes of an interlibrary loan. But, through communication with the library system in the UK, I was able to obtain contact info. :]

I sent my plea in a letter using snail mail! It has been a long time since I did that. I included my email address, and the author replied by email within a week of my stamped letter heading overseas. She said she was happy to help, and her husband was gracious enough to take her reference copy and have one made for me. Overseas it came...and into my hot little hands! Took only four days!

The book is a wealth of information with fantastic diagrams and explanations. While I'm not fooling myself into thinking that making the tack will be easy, this reference material will make it much more straightforward than if I tried to take real life sized tack and convert it.

I'm so excited and so pleased how miniaturists come together all over the world. A huge thank you to Anne and Barré Funnell! :D


And, yes, I put that horrifying countdown clock on the sidebar. :O

Rare find

by brae  

Along the way of researching, I often run into old books due to the era I choose to emulate in my builds.  Making a turn of the century mail wagon led me on such a journey.  There are other books I'll mention, but this one is a true gem.  It's called Plans and Dimensions of U.S. Mail Wagon of 1880 by A.S. Dodd.  In 1951, Jack D. Rittenhouse published a reprint of the article from a magazine called The Hub and limited it to 295 copies.  Given the rarity, it's not surprising to find that there are only seven libraries that have a copy, six of which are universities.

I tried to obtain a copy through interlibrary loan, but the request was denied due to the item's status as non-circulating.  The closest locale was over 700 miles away, so a road trip wasn't really in the cards.  I wrote to the Wyoming State Library to see if their copy was circulating since it didn't indicate that it was not.  A staff member replied that they would send it out of state but it would have to be kept on the premises of my local library.  That was perfectly acceptable to me, so off my request went.

It showed up a short time later, and the library staff indicated I could see it on my usual Bookmobile stop since the Bookmobile was considered library property.  But, I wanted to be able to take my time and perhaps make some copies if it turned out to be a good resource, so I waited until the upcoming weekend to head to the library.  My boyfriend and I went to the library and saw an amazing bit of history.  While not particularly useful for my project, the booklet was simply wonderful.

The booklet was set into a card folder to protect it, but it was still worn from handling and age.  I don't know if libraries still stamp due dates with the modern barcode technology, so it might have been checked out since 2003, or maybe not.

The copy was held together with tape in some places, so we gingerly made copies and took photos.

When we got home after dinner, I did another quick google search and a copy popped up on amazon.  The listing indicated it was in like new condition and included a 1981 stamp of the very mail wagon featured in the booklet.  It was pricey, but when it arrived, it was more than worth it.  :D

There's a little separation of the outer page along the fold, but other than that it is perfect.  The stamp sleeve has been signed by the publisher.

Such a great addition to the original reprint.

So, now we know there are eight still floating around for sure - seven at libraries and mine.  :D

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