Online November Miniature Show - opens late tomorrow

by brae  

There's just one more day for my fall etsy sale: free shipping with a minimum $30 purchase to U.S. addresses through November 8.  Use code OTTERINESHIP30 during checkout.


Tomorrow evening, November 8PM MST, the November Show opens online.  I'm participating again, and I have a couple of new minis to unveil there.  I'm offering free U.S. shipping or $4 off international shipping to early birds on November 8 and 9.  It opens to the public free of charge November 10-13.

Copper plant stand/bookshelf hand painted in a fine patina -- I have two available.

Copper pet bed upholstered with paw print fabric -- I have one available.

1913 Model T Van, part 10

by brae  

Continuing work on the Model T Van.  There are eight lights on this model: two headlights, two side lamps, two coach lamps and two taillights.  I figured I would give LED lighting a go for the headlights and possibly the taillights.  I opted not to attempt wiring the side lamps and coach lamps mainly because there was no way to hide the wires inside the cabin.

I detailed the headlight installation in part 6.  The lamps are mounted, but I left off the brass valves and tubing so I could give this a whirl.  If it didn't work out, I could just install the original parts that simulate the gas lines.

I am using pico size 3V LEDs in warm white from Evan Designs.  I could have probably used nano size, but the chips I had on hand were too large and I ordered the pico to be on the safe side.  It's plenty of light for the purpose; they are quite bright for the size.  Besides, it's not like the Model T was equipped with halogen high beams.

I found tubing in an unlikely place -- the pony bead jewelry section at Hobby Lobby.  It's not exactly to scale, but it should blend in well enough.  It's also more malleable than the tubing included with the kit.

There's a hole on the bottom for the brass valve in each headlight, and I made these larger before installation to allow the tubing to fit.

I threaded the wires through the tubing, leaving it as long as possible for now.  There was already a tubing map in the instructions since you were to fake these gas lines in the original kit.  I didn't follow it; instead I used electrical tape to hold things in place along a route leading to the rear cabin.

I'll put the battery and switch there.

Electrical tape can look like rubber bands in a model and holds well.  Being black, it blends in with the chassis.

The lights work well, but as I mentioned before one of the headlight glass inserts is scratched and the super glue brought out that flaw even more.  :\

Photographed in regular lighting conditions, though, the lights look marvelous.  This is one of those rare instances where the camera can mask the flaw.  :D

I need to do some additional thinking and building before I can see about the taillights.  :]

1913 Model T Van, part 9

by brae  

Continuing work on the Model T Van.  From now on, I will be a purist and buy spray paints made for car models if I want a showroom new vehicle.  I do love the "craft" spray paints I've used in the past on other materials, but for plastic models it has to be the real deal.  The reason I ended up with two kits is because the craft spray paint didn't work on the body panels and there was no way to salvage and end up with a newish looking vehicle.  Having two kits was a lifesaver anyway because this kit has quite a few unforgiving pieces, and I've delved into both kits to get this one model built.

Initially, I primed the body panels with Krylon grey, then Krylon flat white, then Krylon gloss Dover White.  This was a new can and while I ended up with better results than I did with the old can on the first model, it wasn't as pristine as I wanted.  I sanded back down to an even finish as I had for the chassis/fenders.  I primed with Krylon flat white because Krylon flat paints are very good for even, fine coverage.

After doing the previous assembly work, I was able to better understand how the body panels fit into the process.  Instead of leaving them on the sprue for the final finishing, I prepped them individually for painting.  This eliminates overspray from one piece to the next, and you can concentrate on each part.

Model T lollipops.  :D

I used a two-part lacquer system called Model Master (a Testors product) of Wimbeldon White and Gloss clear coat.  The Wimbeldon White was a lovely finish right out of the can. This paint levels out so much better than the gloss craft paints.  You have to let the paint cure before adding the top coat.

The hood ended up with three coats of paint, but I ran out before I could put a third coat on the rest (small can, larger model).  The hood looked fabulous, so I bought a second can for the remaining panels.  For those panels, I sanded with the 8,000 and 12,000 grit mesh papers before the final coat.  My coverage wasn't completely uniform across the parts, but that was operator error.  I get nervous making things new and that can cause mistakes. After the third coat on the body panels, I ended up with slight orange peel texture.

I let the parts dry overnight before sanding lightly with the 6,000, 8,000 and 12,000 grit mesh papers.  This removed dust and scratches and made it shinier overall.   I had to wait overnight for better weather and then added the gloss coat.  It's a delicate balance to spray enough to get a gloss sheen without ending up with drips.  Nervous, nervous, nervous process.  It was a 99.9% success.  Of course I ended up with a dust varmint in the one panel I wanted to be as pristine as possible.  I had even brushed each part before spraying.  :\  So, I sanded that particle out the following night and finished the sealer after.  The finish was slightly textured and pitted in places, but all of this might be due to the fact that I was not working with fresh, pristine plastic.  I had removed the initial poor finish from the craft spray paint.

Again, I waited overnight before sanding lightly with the 6,000, 8,000 and 12,000 grit mesh papers to tone down the slight texture and bring out the shine.  The finish has slight imperfections, but I am going to quit while ahead.  I didn't bother with the small indented areas because I was worried about stripping the finish too much.  There's one raised bit that has some primer showing, but I am done messing with it for now.  I can always do spot touch-ups later.

In retrospect, I wish I had used this sealer on the chassis/fenders.  There is no way to do it now. But, the way I see it, dust and dirt would settle on the fenders while the body would be more pristine.  Right?

The panels have raised lines that you can paint for added detail.  I know this to be above my paygrade, so I've left the van uniform in color.  I did try it on the spare panels and just couldn't get the feel for it.  Besides, it takes only one mess-up to ruin a project and there are far too many lines to take the risk.  Now that I have them in great shape, I will leave them be for a few days while I do other things.

Happy Halloween 2016

by brae  

It's Halloween and payday, two things that brighten a Monday.  :D  This year, my mini scene is lighter and more festive than scary.

Our lovely seamstress Cherry is all dressed up in her monarch butterfly costume.

She and Lowell are the first dolls I've ever made.

Cherry is putting the finishing touches on Lowell's scarecrow costume.  They're hoping to win a prize in the costume contest.  :D

I've set up the Maple Room to be a craft room.

I made two more fabric bolts, this time with my black cat pillow fabric and a ghost fabric I found online.  It's a design by Timeless Treasures, and the original is glow in the dark.  I made a ghost pillow, too, but not in time for these photos.

Miss Kitty is hard to see there in the corner.  She's a lovely doll made by PamelaJunkMinis, who has since retired from making minis.

The wall calendar features the artwork of Theo van Hoytema.  I edited the art to make an October 1915 calendar for the Creatin' Contest, but I figured it would work well here.  The owl looks positively perturbed -- too cute!  :D  The stag head is a jewelry finding from Hobby Lobby.  I'll have to put a chain on it to wear.

Such a lovely collection of random treasures.

I made the sewing patterns by printing the front and back of two Simplicity patterns and added a bit of real pattern tissue to the inside.  I thought these were good starting points for the two costumes I made for the dolls.  Here's the ghost pillow, too.

Jennifer at aMusingMiniatures custom made the seam roll for me.  It's simply perfect, just like the real deal!  :D

Meeko has on his bat wings, because he is not about to miss out on the trick or treating tonight!  Happy Halloween!

Additional credits:

Bodo Hennig sewing machine from eBay, thimble and needle box from Vilia Miniatures; Bespaq vanity stool borrowed from the Haunted Heritage.  Jack-o'-lantern by 64tnt Miniatures; stool by BoutiqueMiniatures.  Bat bag from Sandy McHenry (local show).

Pumpkin with candle by Marikes Magical Minis, large books are from L Delaney. Hat stand from Minimum World; deer stalker hat by Bobbie Johnson from Norm's Dollhouse.  Jeweled mask, frog prince and broom from Hobby Lobby.  Sad candle by 64tnt Miniatures; pumpkin candy wand from A Pocket Full of Wishes (local show). The mannequin was made from a Hazel Dowd kit.  Top hat by Heidi Ott.

Hat boxes by Gypsy Boudoir Miniatures; woven rug by Iklectic Kollectibles (local show); Meeko the cat by JMDS.  I made Cherry, Lowell, the pillows, skeleton flamingos, copper plant stand and country table.  All other minis were purchased from various vendors at local shows.

Halloween Eve 2016

by brae  

I have something else planned for a Halloween post, but a recent acquisition calls for its own feature.

These adorable bats and tree are the work of Olga Proshina.  One has open wings.

The other is wrapped up tight.  :]  Both have super cute expressions and are removable from the tree, so they can be used in other scenes.

The moon is Uncle Milton's Moon in My Room.

Names!  I forgot to ask their names.  How rude, but I was so excited!  :D  They are Lucius (wrapped tight) and Igraine (open wings).

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