Sunday, July 12, 2020

A project for two

As a regular visitor to Kensington Dollhouse festival once a year in London, I have always admired British artist Julie Campbell's creations. Don't miss her blog, you'll discover amazing dolls in 1/12  
Last year, I asked Julie if she would create little people to add to my park drag and she enthusiastically said yes. 
During the early months of 2010 and during lockdown, Julie and I have often discussed our common projects: I would create the vehicle and Julie would create the characters. We had in mind a picture by Cecil Aldin, a winter scene of a mail coach with passengers and we quickly agreed on what kind of characters we wanted, a combination of Charles Dickens's and Cecil Aldin's.

For the coach, I had in mind a coach I had seen in a great French blog about driving horses. You can visit here  if you are interested in all aspects of traditional driving

After designing, building and painting the coach,

 I made the harnesses for 4 grey horses.

 Then Julie's dolls arrived. There are more than dolls, they are little people, each with his or her own expressions. Look at that old woman who can sleep in spite of the cold weather and the bad road! Let's hope she won't fall from the roof of the coach!

And the little smile of her travelling companion .....

All the details in the clothes are amazing. Just look at the bonnet and the mittens!

Then the coach man. You can't ignore that only a little a bit of brandy can protect him from getting a cold. 

That must have been a great experience to travel on a coach for hours, rain or shine... or snow and hail!

When they stop at a small inn, 2 more passengers join them.

 A younger couple, very smart! Probably just married? She looks shy and her cheeks are red from cold. Her companion has a lovely small moustache that gives him an aristocratic look! Look at the details of the costumes!

Now they are ready to go... ! 
You can imagine the other passengers inside the coach, protected from the cold and the hazzards of the road!

How do you like it? Feel free to leave your comments below :)

Thanks Julie for making that 'crazy"project come true !

Visit the KDF Online show from July 17th to July 19th, 2020  to see Julie's latest creations and creations of other wonderful artists. Here is the link below:

That's all for now. Bye !

a password won't be required at these dates 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The omnibus

Hello everyone, 

I hope you are all well at home in your different countries. My thoughts go to my American friends who are in a very difficult situation. I just read an American couple who loved and collected miniatures for years had both passed away from Covid 19. May they rest in peace with all the other victims of this outbreak.

I have almost finished the omnibus. I'm waiting for the door handle to put at the back and for locks for the suitcases. They come from Spain but International mail is very slow.

Here are the latest photos of the omnibus. It is pulled by one horse only as I guess it was not a very heavy vehicle. It allowed 4 people to go from one place to the other on short distances.

I will add more luggage or bags on the roof.

I have no idea what the next carriage is going to be...

Stay safe at home and talk to you soon...
All the best

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The hearse and the omnibus

Dear followers,

I hope you are all safe at home, busy with miniatures. We are going through terrible times but if we are all careful and care about each other, we will manage to see the end of this awful pandemic soon. 
As I have just finished with chemo sessions, my immune system is very weak and I stay home 24/24. My brother does all the shopping and I do the cooking :)

Last time, I posted a picture of a hearse I had found on the Internet.
Here is the model in 1/12 with a pair of black horses.

Then I started drawing an omnibus, a small family vehicle to transport 4 people from the station to home or for short journeys Here are the photos below. It is not finished yet. One horse will be pulling it.

A doorknob, the driver's seat, luggage on the roof are still missing!

My miniature projects for the last 3 months below :)

Wishing you all the best and please, stay inside as much as possible...

Talk to you soon. :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The park drag

As I am still waiting for the results of another biopsy, I have had the time to build another carriage, a bit bigger and with a different colour. Here it is!

First, let me tell you what park drags were.
Park drags were coaches in which to see and be seen. Wealthy owners took them to horse races, country picnics, elite summer resorts, or simply on tours.

As I mentioned it in my last post, I asked my friend Julie Campbell from England to create people to sit on the coach and I received them yesterday. They are just amazing.

First, the coachman:

He is a strong man, with big side whiskers and a ruddy face, able to control 4 frisky horses and a heavy vehicle in all weathers, rain or snow on hills and slopes. And the roads were probably not as smooth as ours, with a lot of potholes... Julie managed to give that impression so realistically! His face shows he has no problem to control his four grey horses.

The first two passengers:

The old lady probably had too much brandy in her tea and she's taking a nap, her hands tucked into a fur muff for the cold. She looks very quiet, though I think real passengers were very scared to ride a coach, considering the height and the lack of protection in case of a problem. Have sweet dreams, lady!

Her companion, maybe her son, looks slightly amused, watching her asleep. Both wear warm winter clothes and he wears gloves.

Julie has really given that scene a lot of atmosphere because each character has its own personality and there are amazing details, such as tiny, tiny buttons or the old woman's bonnet ! I really love them and they add so much to the scene.
I will add some props, like baskets and bags behind the passengers.

Now here is a view of the coach with the first 3 characters

and a close-up of the coach...

Next, Julie will create two or three more people who will sit behind. I must say I can't wait to see what she will imagine.....!

This common project has been a challenge for both of us and we have exchanged a lot of ideas on Line, but I am really happy with the outcome.

As I can't stop working, I am building a hearse with a pair of black horses, inspired from this old photo...

Thanks for your comments on my previous post, I will reply to each of them but be assured it is always to read from you.
All the best,


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Latest news and recent projects

Hello from France

You may wonder why I have been so quiet lately and why I am writing from France.
No, I didn't give up building miniature projects but sometimes in life, there are priorities...

So, briefly, as I am not keen on talking about health issues, here is what happened: In June 2019, after a scanner in Thailand I was diagnosed with a lymphoma B at stage 1, it means cancer. I decided to go home as the language barrier and the cost in Thailand scared me.
So I flew home, consulted the oncologist and started chemotherapy on cancer located in the bowel and the bladder. After 2 chemo sessions, things got worse and I had to stop the chemo to undergo surgery to remove a part of the bowel and a part of the bladder. The surgery went well but I stayed for 1 month in the hospital.
I am now waiting for the next chemo session on Monday and the last one in February. If things go well, I hope I will be back home in late February or early March.

In August, while I was here, our mother got a brain hemorrhage and passed away a month later, she was 85.

Now, I couldn't stay for days doing nothing, or just reading and watching TV. Building houses wasn't possible and as I have always loved carriages, I looked for photos of carriages on the Internet and started building a coach in 1/12 scale called a park drag.

Here it is:

And then I got 4 grey horses from Breyer and started to make harnesses.

When the red coach was done, I started to build a similar one, a bit bigger with a different color, based on this real coach:

 I've asked Julie Campbell from England who makes amazing dolls to create 5 "little people" who will sit on the seats on the roof, the coachman and 4 passengers.
I met Julie at Kensington Dollhouse Festival in November and she has agreed to work with me.
The idea is to create a scene with a carriage, 4 horses and 5 passengers to look like a scene by Cecil Aldin, one of my favorite British artists for animals

I had already built smaller carraiages, a buggy and a dog cart,

But these two were a new challenge for me.

If you want to add a carriage to your house, I'd be happy to build the model of your choice if you give me a photo or an idea of the carriage you want.

I'll be delighted to read your comments if you feel like leaving one.
Bye for now and wish me luck for the last chemo sessions.... :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

La Folie du Parc de Bagatelle ( construction of the prototype)

The project I am working now is a little bit out of my “comfort zone” so it takes more time than my previous projects to build and assemble the different parts.

First, I built one of the walls but in the end, I found out that the door was far too big for 1/12 scale so I started again.

The second difficulty comes from the curved walls on each side. The material I used was too thick and didn’t bend easily so I had to start again in a thinner version. Now I am working on the cornices. Straight cornices are not too difficult to do but curved ones are harder to do.

The next step will be the roof.

My friend Alison will soon start designing the sculpted elements and make molds to duplicate them.

Here are a few pictures of the first prototype: 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A new project for 2018

First, let me wish you all the best for 2018. 
2017 is over now with its load of good and bad moments for each of us. 
I make the wish that 2018 will fulfill our dreams and expectations and keep us healthy.
What about this new project? 
My dear friend Alison Davies sent me pictures of French building located in the Parc de Bagatelle, very near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and she suggested we could join our skills to make it and maybe sell it. She'll do all the sculptures and I'll  do the main building. She'll make molds of the sculptured elements to reproduce them 4 or 8 times. I'm sure she'll do a wonderful job.

The story of the building: It's a small pavillion, not exactly square but almost located near the gate of the park.

It has 4 doors, 4 "oeil de boeuf" windows on the sides and 4 on the roof. The particularity is that the walls are curved at the corners (see the picture) which makes it a real challenge for me, but I have some ideas....

I went there in November as I was spending a few days in Paris. I took many pictures of the outside but I couldn't get inside. 

Through the window I could see there is a partition in the middle with a fireplace and a staircase leading to the first floor behind the wall. I won't build that partition but keep the room entire so that we can display Alison's wonderful furniture. The Folie is actually another building much bigger that I hadn't had the opportunity to visit but I will.

This building is called Le Pavillon Louis XV, it was probably used for visitors to wait for the rain to stop or maybe have a picnic but I'm not sure about that at all.

                      Details of the sculptured elements above the door

                         Vertical elements on each side of the doors

Alison has already done the "oeil de boeuf" that will be on the roof. Have a look!

Aren't they perfect?

As for me, my brother has helped me to draw the main lines of the structure using Autocaad program.

This is what it will look like.

The roof now:

That's all for now. Have a great New Year's Eve. It will be very quiet for me, at home.