A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

But Wait . . . . There's More!

You thought I was finished with competition entries?  How little you know me.  I couldn't choose with idea to use for the Cabin kit, so I figured what the heck and made both.  At least if I made a total mess of one, I could still enter the other.  The second property (which was made first) is called "The Steampunk Inventor's Workshop".

This Cabin is less modified than Mill Cottage with the doors and windows all in their intended positions.  Just like Mill Cottage, I altered the roof and left the front panel loose to make viewing the inside of the Cabin easier.  This closeness to the basic kit wasn't what I first intended to make of it.  The original plan was to turn the kit upside down and turn it into a steampunk airship.  I had to give up on this ambitious plan for several reasons, mostly issues with practicallity.  For example, how would I ever have stopped cats from trying to climb ontop of the balloon that would have been over the 'deck'?  I also decided it was an idea better suited to 1/24th scale to make it a better size to mount on a wall (despite the fact the Cabin is designed to be wall mountable, I think it is still too deep for this to look right).  I'll come back to the airship idea sometime in the future but for now let me explain what is happening in the Workshop.

The Story . . .

The still, cool silence of morning is broken by a rhythmic whomping infiltrating the forest from far above the tree tops. While rabbits scurry back into the safety of their burrows, a local woodsman carries on with his work unperturbed; he recognises that the noise is caused by one of those new fangled flying chairs. The flying chair, modelled on earlier sedan chairs, spares a lady wearing skirts the indignity of being seen in the air from below and is considered the peak of personal transportation.   

Mrs. Braford-Smythe makes a landing
  This particular chair is piloted by one Mrs. Bradford-Smythe a wealthy widow who has taken it upon herself to hep encourage the development of new technologies for the betterment of society by sponsoring new devices and their up-and-coming inventors. Today she is travelling in the company of her lawyer, Mr. Eddington, to inspect an exciting new contraption with an eye to possibly funding its further development and promotion. After a tiresome journey from the city, the pair finally pair finally spot the cabin of the inventor, one Oscar Simpkin, nestled in amongst the trees and descend from the skies to land on the purpose made landing platform on the cabin's roof. After all this travelling the contraption had better be worth it . . .

The Flying Chair's Mechanical Workings
Meanwhile, inside the cabin, Mrs. Glory Simpkin spent most of the past two days cleaning up both the cabin workshop (and her husband Oscar) to make the best impression on their impending visitors possible. She knows that gaining Mrs. Bradford-Smythe's approval could open new doors to the family and change their somewhat impoverished lives forever. The floor has been scrubbed, the tools polished and Ocsar forced into his best waistcoat and jacket. Even Humphrey the dog has his best top hat on.    

Humphrey resplendant in his best hat
 Having finally approved the state of her husband's domain, Glory returned to the house to retrieve some refreshments for her guests. Upon her return to the workshop she discovered to her horror that Oscar has started some last minute tinkering on his new contraption, strewing papers, gears and tools across the bench tops and floor in the process. "Just a few adjustments to make sure everything runs smoothly", Oscar says. However will she get everything presentable again in time?

Mrs. Simpkin finds her husband has made a mess
 Then their daughter Sally, who has been watching for the arrival of their guests, calls down the stairs that Mrs. Bradford-Smythe and Mr. Eddington have arrived . . .

Mr. Eddington helps Mrs. Bradford-Smythe out of the Flying Chair
The Cabin . . .

    I altered the basic kit so that only the front section of roof lifts off. This was done by cutting the rear roof panel about an inch down from the peak of the roof. The wider lower section of roof was glued directly onto the building while narrow strip was glued to the front roof at the ridge. This allows the front of the roof to hook over the apex of the side walls and easily lift off. The front wall panel was not glued into place so it can be removed allowing the interior of the Cabin to be viewed from the front instead of from above. A hole saw was used to cut an opening in the rear roof to create access to the 'landing pad' added on top of the roof.

The exterior walls are cladded with 'weatherboards' made by cutting balsa wood into centimetre wide strips and gluing them onto the MDF walls so that each strip slightly overlaps the one beneath it. The roof is covered in tiles made by cutting a (full size) vinyl floor tile into smaller pieces and gluing onto the roof.

The Landing Platform
 Inside, the Cabin was wallpapered with a textured cotton fabric while the lower walls were cladded with panelling made from balsa wood. The floor is covered with a parquet tile printed from an image found on the internet. The spiral staircase leading up to the rooftop landing pad was made from balsa wood and painted to resemble metal.

The Workshop
 The furniture is a combination of ready bought and handmade items with some premade furniture altered to give it a new purpose. In the back corner, the stove was made from a vitamin pill bottle and some jewellery findings. It contains a water tank and the heated steam is conducted through pipes (made of drinking straws) to power various devices.

The Stove and Pipes

The Collection Cabinet

The Tool Trolley, Steam Powered Of Course

Oscar works on his contraption

The Faux Leadlight Window, Complete with Gears

As I worked on the Workshop before Mill Cottage, I managed to get photos of it bathed in wonderful autumn sunlight (whereas the best I could manage for Mill Cottage  was some dreary overcast winter light).

 As usual, there are further photos in my Flickr photostream.  You can find them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dollshouses/sets/72157632987939575/

Next week, more details about Mill Cottage.


  1. Very original. I like the details.

  2. Oh my goodness, Alennka, You have been BUSY!!! I LOVE this idea! And your original touches are Fantastic! The roof landing platform... and the enclosed Flying chair and the gears to make it run are Wonderful! I Love the story you have made to go with the building.... Perhaps we will have to see more of these wild creations of Oscar Simpkin! (Because Mrs. Bradford-Smythe will surely want to encourage his creativity!
    This project looks like it was a lot of fun!