Sunday, 23 January 2011

Piano stool and Flutterbye for the little girl's bedroom

At the beginning of the week, I modified a cheap table kit that I bought from Model Village Miniatures when I was at Miniatura.  I cut down the legs, and trimmed the top into a rectangle, to turn it into a piano stool.  A few coats of paint, and another bit of the toile paper, and I had a matching stool.  I've put this on the mezzanine level, although it's hard to take a photo in there to show you. I like the idea that it is a bit like a musician's gallery where someone could tinkle the ivories while the audience listened downstairs.

Flutterbye Butterfly - kit reviews

The Miss Lydia Pickett children's room furniture isn't being made in 1/24th scale, so I wasn't sure what I was going to do for my little girl's room.  I wanted something a bit special.  Then I spotted several Flutterbye Butterfly kits in the Christmas sale at 'In Some Small Way'.  This is another Robin Betterley line, with lovely artwork featuring butterflies and patchwork in pastel colours, which may be discontinued as I can't find many other examples on the internet.  I bought the wagon, bench, push toy, child's table and chairs, and wardrobe kits in the sale.  Judith is going to order me the matching bed as she was out of stock.

Overview:  Like the MLP kits, the laser cutting is clean and crisp on these kits, with minimal charring.  The wood is fine grained and good quality.  Unlike the MLP kits, there is very little labelling lasered into the wood to identify components, meaning that multi-piece kits like the wardrobe can be somewhat confusing.  This is not helped by the instructions having no illustrations or photographs other than the somewhat fuzzy photograph on the packaging. Also, some of the kit photographs do not seem to exactly match the kit, presumably because the kits were offered in different scales and were not all identical. The artwork is charming, but I struggled with some of it because the very tiny pieces sometimes do not have a very clear outline to cut to.  The kits are charming in concept, with a real touch of whimsy and although the shapes are simple, the artwork makes them different and special.

Push Toy
I was disappointed to find that the 1/24th scale push toy, unlike the illustration on the kit, did not have separate wings slanting upwards from the butterfly body.  Instead, there was just a flat butterfly outline.  I decided to improve mine, and cut the wings from the body so that I could glue them on at an angle like the kit in the photo. The kit comes with thin brass wire to make cute antennae, and a silver wire to be the stick.  The kit suggests dipping the tip of the stick into paint to simulate a ball handle, which was disappointing as the photograph shows a crosspiece handle.  I glued on a bead from my stash to make a ball handle.

The wagon is straightforward.  The 'blocks' come as one piece with crosscut grooves lasered into the wood.  By gluing on the block artwork, then cutting it through the grooves, you get a realistic impression of blocks.  I made a handle from a piece of twisted embroidery floss.

The shelf is very simple to assemble, and again comes with wire to insert for antennae.  The instructions suggest drilling holes into the head for inserting the antennae, as an alternative to just gluing them on the back.  The butterfly is of thin wood, but I found that by using my finest drill (about the thickness of a sewing pin) I was able to drill two holes to accept the wires.  I inserted the wires with a bit of superglue.

The bench was curious as the bench in the kit looks significantly different from the bench in the picture.

I actually like the real bench a lot better, I like the fence detail behind the butterfly.  This was one of the kits where I felt an illustration would have helped to clarify the instructions, it took me a little while to work out where the braces were meant to go as I was looking at the incorrect picture and getting confused. Again, I used my fine drill to drill two holes to accept the wire antennae. I couldn't get the butterfly artwork to fit properly - if the body was aligned, then the wings weren't lining up with the 'V' between the wings, and vice versa.  I had to bodge it a bit by cutting down the wing borders and positioning the body slightly off centre.  It's not too noticeable.

Child's table and chairs
It took me a few minutes to work out that, although the picture shows two chairs and a table, and I had artwork for two chairs and a table, I only had wood components to make one chair and a table.  An oversight at the packaging stage I assume.  I have notified Judith and she is going to try to get me the additional chair.

The table is straightforward to assemble, apart from the legs unusually are glued in at an angle to the corner, instead of being aligned with the right angle.  I found the artwork for the table very challenging to cut out.  The 'tablecloth' doesn't have a very defined border, the lightly-coloured patchwork edge just kind of fades away, making it hard to see where to cut.  It might be better to leave excess, glue it on to the wood, let it dry, and cut away with a fine scalpel afterwards.  Also the artwork for the legs consists of tiny strips of art, four for each leg, which are challenging to cut out even with a good light and sharp scissors. The end result looks good though.

As you can see, I haven't finished my chair yet.  I've completed the back and seat assembly. Although in the kit illustration it looks like the 'fence back' and 'butterfly' are all one piece of artwork, in this scale you have to cut individual strips of art for each vertical fence panel, for the two horizontal braces, and for the separate butterfly which is glued on afterwards.The vertical fence art, again, I found hard to see the border for where to cut, and ended up having to trim some excess with a scalpel after it had dried.  It's very cute.

I've only painted components so far for the wardrobe, I haven't done any assembly.  Again there are no photographs or illustrations for assembly, and ominously the instructions warn that 'you might get [these three] pieces mixed up as they are all the same size'.  Hopefully I've painted the right things the right colour.

Other furniture
I don't think there are any other kits in the Flutterbye range.  I have cheap kits from other companies for a chest of drawers, bookcase and nightstand that I picked up at Miniatura, I may try to paint them to match the Flutterbye furniture so that the room is a little more furnished.

Welcome to my new followers - the more the merrier! It's like being a member of a virtual dollshouse club, only I am not having to physically drag the house in every week to show you how far I've got. I hope you are enjoying the build, and comments are always appreciated and answered where possible.  Remember, if your Blogger profile is set to not accept email, then I won't be able to reply to your comment.

1 comment:

  1. Love these kits! I know that in 1:48 scale, there is (or was)a dollshouse in this range too, because I have one. These items are perfect for your girl's room. Hugs, Sandie


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