Thursday, December 18, 2014

The carriage

Hello from ....France!
I am now in Tours, with my family to spend Christmas and the end of the year before returning to Thailand early January.
Before I left I had the time to finish building a carriage in 1/12 for the carriage house. It' a buggy, a very light vehicle, driven by its owner. They were often used by doctors who had to travel fast and quick. That explains the high, light wheels.
It is built from a kit I ordered from the US. It's made of wood and casted metal. A very nice kit but difficult to build. Definitely not something for a novice. Luckily I have driven horses for many years before moving to Thailand and I knew every part of the gig.
The wheels are not the most difficult thing to do

The body of the carriage is attached to springs that probably gav a lot of comfort to the driver and its passenger.

I Haven't finished it completely but you can already have an idea of what it looks like in the carriage house. I'll make leather harnesses to hang on the wall too.

The water foutain is finished too...

Another view

The cats are playing in the straw....

and one of the horses is waiting for his morning exercise! (I guess....!)

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The stable building

First, let me say I’m sorry to all my followers for not having posted anything for the last months. I have been very busy at work with many projects to prepare and to monitor. It seems it’s getting quieter now and this morning I will try to give you news of my hobby.

I haven’t posted anything but I have worked a lot since I came back from France with a mini saw table and a mini router, both by Proxxon. It was a wise investment as the quality of my work has improved.

First, I built another shop house. It was an order and I use the same design as before.  My costumer was very happy when she got it!

Then I built a bakery for a US customer. It is a big shop with windows on two sides. It took me more than a month to build it and paint it. I then sent it from Bangkok and it safely made it to N. Carolina. It opens at the back and offers a very large space for the shop.

Then I finished the silver shop for my customer in Hawai. I will send it there early January. I am very happy with it. I hope she will like it too. I will post some pictures next time when I have finished all the lights.
The stables

Last but not least, I decided to buy a building inspired by a print I had found at a flea market while I was in France. It’s from a book :”L’architecture pour tous”. It’s a horse stable next to a coach house with a room for the groom upstairs.

The book was published in 1904. So the building dates from this period, very classic, lovely proportions.

I first drew a very accurate sketch of the 4 sides of the building, then started cutting all the pieces. I tried to cut the same parts for the 4 sides to avoid having to check the dimensions each time. But this takes a lot of organization… which is something I lack.

Anyway, when I had all the corners stones cut, I cut all the openings with the router. On the whole, it was not as difficult as I had thought. But it takes a while before I managed to use my router. It goes very fast, it is very loud too!

Then I glued all the plinths, corner stones, railings, etc…. on the 4 sides.
 I made some of the railings with the router too.

This is a building that can be seen from each side.
The back side:

Then I started building the different windows, staircase and doors.

 That is something that is still difficult to do. I wish I knew somebody who could make a laser-cut frame that I could adapt to every building. Something like a grid. Anyone interested? Anyone you know?
Then I used my new airbrush for the primer and the first layer of paint. That is another good investment.

After that I started ageing the building and built a pattern for the roves( roofs?) as they were a bit tricky to do.

When they looked fine. I cut the parts for the roof and assembled them.

Then primer and 1st layer of grey paint on the roof.

Then I continued ageing the walls until it looked old enough..The first day, the patina always looks darker but it attenuates when it dries

Tw days later, the building was now starting to look like what I had in mind.

I built a staircase and had fun building a miniature stable.

 I have had horses at home, in France, for so many years that it was easy for me to recreate the stalls. That brought back a lot of good memories to my mind.

Then I painted the inside and set the roves. “Toits a la Mansard” are difficult to cut and assemble with all these different angles and I have never been good at geometry. And I added a lantern in the corner of the stable building

The small hallway is now almost completed but I need to think about the style of decoration I want. Classic country style and simple.
I built a fountain to add on the right side

Now it’s almost the end. 
Yesterday I made a mini bridle and head collar in 1/12 for the only horse I have. I need to make more as there will be 3 horses in the stalls. The Breyer 1/12 horses are really nice to work (or play?) with. 

The stable building's facade opens to let people have a glimpse of life in the stables.....

I am also building a buggy/phaeton that will go in the coach house and maybe I’ll have to think of a pair of harnesses too!

Before I finish this post, I want to thank all the people who added nice comments on my Facebook pages at "Siam's Miniatures". I also post pictures of my creations there as it is easy to download pictures from my mobile phone. Join me there if you like.
I also want to thank all the peeople who came and talk with me at the SIMP in Paris last June. It was great to meet them in person. I didn't imagine so many people, both French and foreign, knew my work! Thank you all!
And finally, I want to thank my 4 cats who have continously supported me while I was building that project and who never complained about late dinner...!

Have a very good weekend. No class today. It's HRM the King of Thailand's birthday today.

Keep in touch.....

Friday, May 30, 2014

One big step forward

Hello dear followers,

I have been in France for a few days now. The flight with Indian Airlines was just perfect and I am getting used to the French weather which is definitely colder than where I come from.

I am enjoying every minute with my family and friends but I have had the time to try the table saw I will take home with me this time.

I have already started cutting the different elements for my next order, a boulangerie- patisserie.
The table saw does a great job. Now I have to learn how to use it.

That's all for now. If you are in Paris on the 22nd of June, I'll be at the SIMP, come and say hello.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A resourceful site

Hello everyone,

A short post before I fly home on Monday. I'll be back on June 26th and will spend a month with my "great" parents and my sibblings at home in Tours, France. I can't wait to enjoy my mum's and my friends' cuisine.

 I enjoy my life here in Thailand but going home is always all "expats" long for once a year.

When I studied Joachim du Bellay's poem in High School "Heureux qui comme Ulysse", I didn't imagine I would be like Ulysses one day.... That is the best translation I can think of...

Happy he who like Ulysses has returned successful from his travels,
Or like he who sought the Golden Fleece,
Then returned, wise to the world
Live amongst his family to the end of his age!
When shall I see again, alas, of my dear village,
Its chimney smoke, and in which season, ?
Will I see again that little, modest, plot of earth
That is a province to me, and far more than I draw here?
I’m drawn far more to my forefathers home,
Than to a Roman palace fine and proud,
More than hard marble I prefer fine slate:
My gaul Loir I prefer to latin Tiber,
My little Liré I prefer to Palatine,
And to sea air, soft climate Angevine.
Joachim du Bellay, Les Regrets, sonnet XXXI, 1558.
Today I am not going to speak about my project but about a website I have just discovered and I am sure many of you will like it too.
It has been created by David Neat. He is a British Art teacher and he must have spent hours and hours to create this valuable piece for us, amateur miniaturists, to use.
The site is divided into different units. 
I mainly focused of the section called methods which is divided into 8 units, making realistic models
recommended tools for small-scale making, 
white-cards models, 
common size of things, 
brickwork patterns, 
mould making and casting, 
working in scale.
Each unit is develloped in sub-parts, all detailed with pictures. Below is a picture by David Neat ( Don't worry I asked him if I could publish one his pictures and he agreed!)

If you, like me, haven't studied anything about building miniatures and techniques, you will adore his work. 
I have been doing miniatures for 2 or 3 years now and I can't get any help here from seminars or workshop so you can imagine that this site is of a great help.
This website is free and Mr Neat knows what he is talking about and how to teach about it.
That's why I want to share this with you today.
Here is the website's adress:
The other very good news is that Madelva Fernandez will publish 4 double pages about my work in her June issue. It makes me so happy to be able to show other people what I can do in my free time with some Forex and a cutter (and many other tools, I know...) 
She has sent me the draft but I can't show you before the magazine is issued in Spain in early June.
The other good news is that I have ordered a Proxxon table saw with the money from my lasr order.I think that it will make my hobby much more professional with a saw like this.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The making of...

If you don't have much space and can't stop making new projects, you can use my method.
I have built an empty box

Then I can build one scene, first, the floor, then the walls....

Then I added a LED strip with a dimmer, the ceiling,....
The little door on the left leads to the kitchen. Servants and maids were not supposed to use the double doors reserved for the owners.

Then some furniture, a chandelier, some plates, glasses and your scene is ready.

Now if you want to start building another scene, change the floor, change the walls and we are in a different room....

Or prepare the next one.... the kitchen with the servants'dining room behind and the "arriere-cuisine" (the pantry?) to the right. 
This is just cardboard but I need to check the perspective and see how I can build the different walls. The floor will be different, bien sur! Light will come from the top!

By the way, this is where I spend many hours working on my projects...

Don't worry, it's safe here but all the windows have bars because they're always opened. It overlooks the garden.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

One step a day!


A short post to share some pictures with you to show you the progress of the antiquaire shop.

I cut, built and painted the left side. The display cabinets are deeper so that bigger pieces can be displayed.

JJ, my cat # 2 (out of 4) helped me with the cutting....

I painted the 2 columns with a feather to make them look like marble. A good trick to know.

This is the 1st step. Tomorrow when the layers are dry, I'll use the feather again for the darker veins. Painting marble takes time and I myself.

Then I tried to assemble the ceiling, the 3 walls and the floor to get a better idea.

 I have the project to make ironwork above the doors, something like this....
I think it looks very French. We call this small window above a door  "une imposte"

Add some furniture and it starts looking like a shop...

That's all for today. Step by step, the boutique is coming to life.

Have a nice day!