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Thursday, January 9, 2014
I always wanted a "Toll House" by DHE, but the silly people there discontinued the kit before I got the chance to buy one. So when a few months ago I found a cheap knock-off of the original on ebay I decided it was possibly my only chance to own a Toll House style house and I took it. Unlike the original kit, this Chinese copy is in 1/24th (or 1/2") scale. It lacks the quality and ease of assembly DHE is known for but it really is quite reasonable for what I paid ($55 including postage).
The kit came with all the parts needed to decorate and furnish the Tower inside and out in a very pink and girly scheme. As you can see, I decided not to use the included wallpapers (or any of the other furnishing and accessories). Instead I used rectangles cut from egg cartons to create a stone block effect on the outside of the tower. The corners are covered by quion stones while the walls center's are filled in a random pattern.
Once glued in place the stones were painted a sandy colour while the corner quions were painted a slightly greyer tone. Countless layers of different stone coloured paints were then dry brushed over this base until I was happy with the effect. This was then covered with some Matte (yet shiny) sealer and a final coat of paint was dry brushed over the sealer to reduce the gloss look of the sealer. Why can't you get matte sealer that is actually matte these days?
One fault of the kit was that the supplied windows didn't fit into the window holes in the walls. After slicing sliver after sliver off the edges of the windows and still not being able to push them into place I eventually resorted to cutting the outside edges off the windows entirely and just used the Y shaped internal section.
The roof was covered in tiles of brown cardboard over which I lightly brushed some brown paint to give them some variation in colour for a more realistic finish. A piece of cotton lace painted the same way as the stones finishes it off. The front doors are made from balsa wood. They don't open as the kit came without a door hole, just a fake door.
Inside, the tower has two levels connected by a staircase of balsa wood. The stairs that came with the kit were painted gloss white and not right for the space I had in mind and they only rose about three quaters of the way up to the next level anyway. My stairs include some angled steps to bend around the corner. The railing is made with fan pieces (just like Preston House, but far less impressive).
The ground floor has faux wood panelled walls made from embossed paper painted to resemble wood. The floor features a partqetry medallion printed from the internet surrounded by some herringbone paper salvaged from the floor of the pre-renovation Bellerose House.
The ceiling is decorated with a large ceiling rose surrounded by gothic 'arms'. These were painted the same blue as the upper walls to contrast the pale ceiling. A little white rub on paint highlights the details of the rose and arms.
Upstairs the floor is covered in a parquet pattern while the wall has a gothic panel around the lower half. Both these were found on the internet and printed out. I altered the kit to expose the vaulted ceiling which is painted a deep blue. It's this colour as I am toying with the idea of sticking some flat backed jewels to it to make a sort of 'celestial map' on it.
At this point the tower is about ready for someone to move into. My problem is I have no idea who that will be, what use they will have for the tower and what sort of furnishings they would want in it. Wizard's Lair? Victorian Folly? Something Steampunk? Medieval Hunting Lodge? I really have no idea and would welcome any suggestions. While I remain stuck on this tower, I'll make a start on the next room in the Tower of Magic, the Great Hall.