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Topic: Just doing my part to keep Barbie's termites fed  (Read 2351 times)
Tags for this thread: furniture , chair , table , cabinet , miniature , doll , dollhouse , wood  Add new tag
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Patraw
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« on: July 15, 2016 10:08:56 AM »



A while ago, I was about to buy a big book of paper airplane models, but then I said to myself, "Fool, when are you ever going to make a bunch of paper airplanes, and what on Earth would you do with them if you did? Besides, you've got a bunch of other art and craft kits at home that you haven't done anything with!" That's true enough, thus, I decided I needed to start working on some of those projects, in order to have something to justify my buying habits with and counter that inner voice the next time it tries to stop me from wasting money, and, so, here we are!

When I pick up secondhand doll houses, they're often unfurnished, or at least only partially so, thus, when the opportunity to acquire some scale model furniture presents itself, and the price is right, I usually bite. I also enjoy building/assembling stuff, so, in my opinion, anytime an individual can combine multiple hobbies into one activity, they should go for it, as your enjoyment will be multiplied.





Surprisingly, other than some shelf wear on the outer packaging, this this vintage 1988 Superior Marketing Products Wooden Mini Furniture Dining Room Set item was in great shape and had never been opened or used until I purchased it. I very much doubt that something like this would be worth much of anything, but, still, to find a product, almost factory-fresh, twenty-eight years after it was produced doesn't happen everyday. The kit still had its original price sticker on the front too, which was $4.99 (I paid a scandalous fifty cents). I don't know what a similar item would go for these days, but, due to inflation, I would guess at least $10.



Punching the furniture components out of the pair of pre-cut wooden boards was pretty easy to do, although you'll want to be careful with how much force you apply, particularly on the thinner bits like the legs of the chairs and table, to avoid damaging them. I did find the material (there's a thicker layer of brown wood, sandwiched between veneers of paler-colored wood, balsa perhaps) to be pretty tough--none of the pieces cracked or broke on me at any point during the removal or assembly process. I had to use the blunt end of a needle to get the two small circles out of the cabinet's top, simply because my fingers were too big to perform the job, but everything else I did with my hands alone.



The manufacturer also supplied a small square of sandpaper to clean up the edges of the wood and widen/shorten the slots/tabs as needed. My table and cabinet went together with very little trouble (they were actually on the loose side, so, I applied white glue to those to make them sturdier and hold the components together more securely), while the chairs were very tight and several of the tabs required multiple sandings and test fittings to get everything properly assembled. On the upside, that meant that the chairs didn't need any adhesive.



Here's a shot of the four chairs in various states of completion:



And this is what the fully constructed Dining Room set looks like. Some of the individual components weren't perfectly symmetrical, so everything isn't exactly flush/square, but the results are still pretty good all things considered. I did contemplate filling in and smoothing all of the tab/slot joins, painting or staining the furniture, adding decoupage decorations, making cushions for the seats and a tablecloth for the table, etc., but, on the other hand, I liked the look of them as-is (that, and I'm far too lazy to perform any of the previously mentioned improvements). Besides, if I was going to invest that kind of time and effort, I might as well have just designed and made the furniture from scratch while I was at it. Sure, the visible slots/tabs are somewhat unattractive, but I would argue that also gives them an authentic doll house look.







This was just something that I had to do, to see if I could successfully balance all of the furniture on top of one another or not. I like to imagine my toys collaborating and using this technique to reach a door knob, raid the cookie jar, or enact some other kind of mischief, when I'm not around to witness it!



Speaking of dollies, it's time for a gallery of them displayed with the furniture. I strongly suspect that a pixie-dust-and-energon-laced moonshine drinking contest was going on here, but I didn't dare ask, 'cuz I know Rainbow Dash would just tell me to mind my own business and bounce a horseshoe off of my forehead to emphasize her point. The other three characters are a JAKKS Pacific Disney Fairies Tinker Bell, a Hasbro Transformers Action Masters Devastator (a Transformer that doesn't transform--lame!), and a Playskool Definitely Dinosaurs! caveman (nobody online seems to know this particular character's name). My Little Pony Rainbow Dash, the alien plant (a Phantasy Star II Kite Dragon) on the cabinet, and the liquor bottles and bowl on the table were all made by me from scratch.



Three Strawberry Shortcakes (the one in the center is an older Bandai one, the two flanking her are more recent Hasbro dolls) about to enjoy a purple cake (which, for their sakes, I dearly hope that they didn't get from The Peculiar Purple Pieman). I'd tell you that there was a fourth doll that fell off her chair and out of the shot, but, this trio of redheads are berry certain that never happened.



Several MGA Lalaloopsy Mini dolls (clock-wise, from (blue-haired) Marina Anchors: Blossom Flower Pot, Crumbs Sugar Cookie, Peppy Pom Poms, Peanut Big Top, and Ember Flicker Flame) plotting how to steal children's souls, er, I mean planning Saturday's slumber party.



A Mattel Fashionista Barbie, her poodle (everything she owns has to be pink, it's the law), Kelly/Chelsea and Lorena child dolls, and, just because he happened to have the pose I needed for a dog sneaking out of a cabinet, Disney's Pluto. The furniture is far too small for 11-12" figures, unless you use it, in conjunction with child dolls like these, for a classroom or playroom type arrangement.



Here's a bunch of tiny stuff that I've made over the years (accessories for other figures) crammed onto the cabinet's two shelves. You may spot a helicopter, teddy bear, cutlass, bat, radish, book, bottle, vase, banana, key, bag of money, flower, and flamethrower tank, amongst other things. There's enough friction present that the doors stay closed, even if you tip them so that they're facing the ground, so, the cabinet would actually work pretty well for storing miniscule items like this long term.



For comparison purposes, here are (1) a wingback armchair, scaled for Barbie-sized 11-12" figures, that I made from scratch in 2014 and based on a combination of a real one in the house and a photograph of a Collins model that I found in one of my Home Decorators Collection catalogs, and (2) a rather dusty Castlevania: Symphony of the Night "Ouija Table" creature (poltergeist-possessed dilapidated furniture) that I fabricated, also from scratch, in 2009, which accommodates figures about 2.5" in height (assuming the demonic thing would ever permit anyone to sit on it that is). I wasn't blowing smoke when I wrote earlier that I could have made the Dining Room Set from scratch if I wanted to. Cheesy





Given the choice, I think I would have preferred the Living Room set, as that's a more versatile play/display environment in my opinion, but this Dining Room set would have been my second pick, so, I can't complain, especially not for the small sum I paid. Besides, if the store had somehow miraculously possessed all four kits, I likely would have bought the whole shebang, as each furniture collection has its own appeal and I'm not known for restraint.

I have other slot-together toy sets in my collection, namely dinosaur skeletons and a car (I almost bought a similar horse model several months ago too, but, its' tail was badly damaged), but this is the first set of furniture in said style that I've ever owned. I've always liked the "magic" involved in taking a bunch of 2-dimensional planes and re-arranging or folding them into a 3-dimensional structure, which is one of the primary reasons I love paper/cardboard sculpture so much.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2016 08:52:56 AM by Patraw » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Ludi
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016 01:44:24 PM »

That caveman looks very similar, from the back, to some cavemen my husband brought into the family...
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JoyfulClover
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2016 07:20:18 PM »

Your shortcakes made me laugh!

As always, I love your detailed postings. Great job, Patraw!

Joyful
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Patraw
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2016 09:00:46 AM »

Thanks for the comments!

@Ludi:  Assuming you're not referring to literal family members, here are some links to Definitely Dinosaurs! toy photos/information.  The cavemen (and occasionally cavewomen) were available by themselves or with dinosaur mounts.  They're relatively common finds at thrift stores and yard sales, although I've only got three of them at the moment.

http://www.virtualtoychest.com/defdino/defdino.html
http://dinopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Definitely_Dinosaurs
https://katrina9799.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/definitely-dinosaurs-cavesters-index/
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DianeBorg
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016 11:59:10 AM »

A great find.  Smiley
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Wulf
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016 04:27:30 PM »

You might like Pop-Out Furniture, which is a line of laser-cut card furniture of different historical periods meant for theatre designers.  at 1/4"=1', it would be perfectly scaled for some of your smaller figures.

Wulf
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pottermouth
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2016 10:16:34 AM »

Looks as if everyone is pleased with the new furniture, especially that first group! My favorite picture is of the cabinet, chock full of so many minis you've made. Remarkable!
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elderflower
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2016 10:12:31 AM »

I bought that identical kit about 20 years ago for a kids' party.  Each child got one item to assemble, embellish and take home afterwards. They had a lot of fun and it was one of the quietest children's parties I ever organised.
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Patraw
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2016 08:39:07 AM »

Giving each child a piece of furniture to construct and embellish sounds like a great party activity, and that's a use for this product that I'd never have thought of.

Beware: If I was at your party, and didn't get the cabinet, I'd lie on the ground, kick my feet, and hold my breath until I got my way (or at least an extra piece of cake)!  Grin
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016 08:40:16 AM by Patraw - Reason: Sentence needed another "a"; don't we all? » THIS ROCKS   Logged
elderflower
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2016 10:24:40 AM »


Beware: If I was at your party, and didn't get the cabinet, I'd lie on the ground, kick my feet, and hold my breath until I got my way (or at least an extra piece of cake)!  Grin
I think the birthday child got the cabinet  Wink
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