Homage to Sophie! :3
Okay, so am I supposed to post a separate thread for this? I know Melly did for her caravan so I guess I will...? Honestly I don't know that I can finish this in five days. I've never done a competition here and you all know I'm new to the site and stuff so I figured what better way to try to jump in than to keep trying to jump in?

My first idea was that I wanted to try to make a replica of the house interior from the game "Fable 3"-- particularly the house where you start the mission called "The Game". In Fable, a game with a fantasy setting, you can enter a specific home in one of the cities and see there is a fantasy style gaming board where some teens have been playing a D&D knock off that you're then shrunk into and get to play on. I thought a cool miniature-within-miniature might be to replicate the house the board is contained on, and the board itself. But I couldn't find my copy of the game and had trouble finding reference pictures online. I only found out about the contest with maybe 12 or 14 days to go and decided to just shelve the idea for later and just skip the contest. All that furniture would probably be a big, time consuming thing anyway.

Couple days later, I decided an idea I had wanted to do for other purposes might be something I could use in this contest. It would motivate me to get started on that project as well as at least try to rise to a challenge here. So now, obvs, I have so little time so who knows if I can finish it, but no harm in trying!

I always wanted to be a milliner. So my favorite scene from the animated version of the book, "Howl's Moving Castle", is seeing Sophie in her milliner's studio, working away in front of that window where she can see the city. So I'm hoping to make a room interior that is reminiscent of, or inspired by, the movie version but without being an actual, literal replica of every piece so I can have some creative freedom and also cause copyright. The miniature within the miniature is that I want to also build her view out the window so that, if you lean over, you can look out at the city. It's supposed to contain some buildings, a body of water, and also a train. It was my hope that, building a miniature within a miniature, I'd give the effect that the mini minis are actually full size, but just at a distance.

Hopefully that idea counts for the contest theme. Then again, it's also a lot to do in 5 days so... We'll just see I guess...?

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I started with the fun part that has nothing to do with terrain. Sorry. I braided raffia and then started sewing them into straw hats.

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The other hats I made a clay 'wood' block form out of and blocked them with sheet wool and steam. Then I cut/made a little box thing with tissue and modified a bead cap into a pin cushion with some hideously over-scale pins. I may come back and re-make this piece. 

Oh yeah, you might want a reference photo.

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(copyright the Lords and Masters of the Ghibliverse and also Diana Wynne Jones, obvs.)

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Then I cut lots of pieces of balsa and roughed out some scaley stuff and did things with things to make things. You will be unsurprised at this point when I say this is my first time making miniature furniture because pretty much all I do is awkwardly explain/apologize for doing things for the first time. I don't know why I do this but it is an important part of my process. Also of my incredible online shy-dorkiness. Because OH GOD WHY AM I STILL TYPING.

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So then I built the shelfy area because I figured that would be a good place to get my toes wet before I try to do bloody DRAWERS because why did I think drawers that worked were a good idea what have I done? So I guess my hats are too big because, while they're supposed to be all over the counter, they take that space up hardcore. So we'll just see. I'm moving forward anyway.

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As it stands, I'm right here. I have parts and pieces of the drawer counter, the main counter/upper shelves, and the lower shelf. I've got window panes cut and mounted them on either side of a piece of plastic that has an appropriately aged-warped-clouded look. I've cut out the area behind the window where I'll mount the shadowbox/diorama thing that will hold the actual terrain/view. I'm still working on flowers to fill up the sample board, I have to tidy up the trims on the hats, decorate them, make hat stands, supply baskets, freaking DRAWERS. I did very light washing on some of the wood and not on others as an artistic choice because I like light and dark wood together. This has also been a good way to do something with some of those test roses I made, though I think finishing the flower board alone could take five days. Those tiny flowers are like, killer time consuming.

I'd like to finish the furniture and then move onto the terrain portion. If I take time to add more details to the interior and more accessories/tools/wall decor etc, I feel like that could be an ongoing project akin to dollhouse int. curating. So at the very least I'd like to have the basic room, enough stuff you know what happens in there, and the scene out the window. If I could finish that in five days for the contest, that'd be rad. I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE, GAIS!! D:
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Miyazaki RULES.
(08-16-2015, 06:35 PM)Tob Wrote: Miyazaki RULES.

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Fanning out, y'all.
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Okay, y'all, I'm sort of panicking about the fact that I have a thread here and there's so much interior in my thing. And just about doing a challenge in general. I feel like I used too much muslin in the unconventional materials challenge and you're gunna kick me off project runway!

Anyway, I kept up working on it. x...x

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I painted a background, first off. I tried to recapture a little of the feel of the film. Vaguely kinda.

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So I rounded the foam so I could keep the painting sloped and not creased to try to help the visual effect hopefully. Painting the land was kinda trippy cause I realised right away I'd have to replicate the patchy watercolor effect and pale colors on the ground. SO that was cool, starting by painting it sort of barely green-white and building up from there.

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Still haven't finished the furniture, but I think the effect is working for a 'view out the window' sort of thing.

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I'm not as pleased with the ground right now. Granted, it's supposed to have houses and a train and will need greenery and all kinds of finishing, but I think that, despite efforts made, from this angle, you won't be able to see the sidewalk/train/etc. It's probably just too close to the house to see out. That's a bummer because I feel like the heavy train smoke is so much a part of the scene, but if you can't see the train, there'll be no reason/understanding of why I have dark smoke so I'd basically just have to cut that whole part out and then that takes out a lot of the visual interest that'd make this scene feel different than just a basic landscape. Plus also, the tiny train is basically one of the big parts of what would make this a miniature within a miniature. Even though the miniature within the miniature is meant to represent something big. O...O Is that against the rules?! I'm freaking out again. Sorry.

So I may have botched that part but I'm going to finish it anyway because it's hard to know until it's finished. Worst case scenario, I build a bigger box later and redo the terrain portion at some point.

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So basically then I filled the river with resin and painted some resin on the faux river parts of the wrap around backdrop to hopefully make the transition blend a little more. 

Oh yeah, then I immediately after this, smacked it and it flew off and landed upside down.

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I don't know how or why, but it stayed contained and didn't spill and I taped it down immediately. o.o WOO. We made it.
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This is so cool!

I have on my to-do list, a diorama for taking pics of minis that has a changeable background pic - I'll keep an eye on this for idea and tips Big Grin
Beautiful work so far, it looks like it will be a worthy homage to the great Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli artists.
Aaaa, more competition! *Panic*
This is looking awesome... and quit the under taking to do in a week, but I know you can handle it! Wink
Oh please, don't panic. I'm nowhere near finishing. I already lost a whole day cause it was my friend's birthday and we did stuff like install a chicken fence and bake pies. And I made ramen from scratch! That took all freakin' day. What a waste of time. I'm still working hard, but I'm so not going to finish this.
How do you get such perfectly square ends on your scale lumber? Do you use a mini mitre box or something?
I can't cut anything square to save my life.
(08-18-2015, 09:19 PM)Tob Wrote: How do you get such perfectly square ends on your scale lumber?  Do you use a mini mitre box or something?
I can't cut anything square to save my life.

You mean the balsa stuff? No, I just use either a razor blade/exacto knife or I use a little hand jewelry saw thingymabob. I cut the window bits with a cuticle trimmer cause my wee beasty stole all my other cutty tools and I was lazy. And if there are any angles or anything, I just use a bit of filing or sanding. I tend to have a pretty good eye for visualizing straight lines. eyeing sizes, and matching things up. I am the superhero of hanging pictures without a ruler. I play a mean game of croquet. (For real tho, I'm boss at croquet.) So it helps when I'm making cuts, sort of figuring out if I need to adjust to get that straight edge just right. What are you using?

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Cut up some houses. Super thin so that they won't take up a ton of room in the setting. There was painting. It was much as you would expect.

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Kah, so next I decided I have to fit that railroad in. I'll just mount the view box way higher than I planned so you can see it but I feel like the train and the black smoke is so much a major character of this scene and says so much about the kind of place she lives, represents her life choices and crap, yar yar yar, that anyway, I gotta try to put it in. So I got out some wire and hit it with something heavy to make it flat instead of round. SCIENCE!

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I haven't quite stuck it down yet. I did the tracks (still too pale. I think I suck at making old looking wood. Must try harder.) but the rail bit I'm like... eek. How will I stick that down? Lots of adhesives don't work well with metal and I don't want to use anything that'll squish out and be visible between the tracks.

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I wanted to add some greenery and stuff to the painting and the ground, as well as the transition point between them, in HOPES of creating some dimension and blending the watercolor with the physical houses. I wanted more than just foam bushes and make plants I hadn't made before. So I used a couple kinds of preserved moss. This one, sort of a typical moss, I just dotted in glue and swished into super fine turf foam. It makes a pretty decent bush, I think, and could even be a copse of trees at mega small scales. 

Some spongy moss I pulled apart and used some of the webby shapes as if they were tree trunks and branches as well as the basis for ivy/crawling greenery. 

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I was actually pretty impressed at how well they worked out at this scale and just gave some of that needed 'something'. I'd tried using a couple faux resin stones on the houses that were meant to have stone foundations. And I had intended to cut actual wood to use in the houses, which are meant to be Tudor style, instead of just painting them on. Time is really not a luxury here though with the contest ending soon. So I'll either have to remake this box or pull it open and do more detailing later on some other time when there's not a countdown happening. The greenery helps bring some life there that I feel is missing with them being just painted only. And honestly helps on how they're made a bit quickly. Even quick accents are slow at this scale I think.

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So having done almost all of the terrain portion, I know that the inside of the room is still so far from done. I don't EVEN know. I still have a hardwood floor, wall paneling, the furniture to finish... let alone making tiny flowers and cutting silk and putting crap on the dumb hats. (Okay, I love my hats. DUMB HATS.) 

So I decided to real quick solder some wire into one of my bead caps that I could twist into a hat stand. Last time I did this I had sheet solder and used a blowtorch and it was years ago. I figured a little iron one had to be easy enough. Plug it in and stick the stuff on the deal, right?

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So here it is, post-deal-stuck-on-the-business and it's not the prettiest little weld I've ever done and required some filing.

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It is now a very basic little hat stand, which is just one of the very many accessories that are meant to go in the millinery studio. 

I had planned on trying to clip up wires and solder them together into the bridge that crosses the train tracks from Sophie's side to the far side. Alas, I feel it is now time to begin budgeting some of my building time for accepting that this won't be finished on time. But it was a great motivation and I will definitely take notice of the next competition and next time join in like.... earlier. Ehem.

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