23 November 2013

Kit Review: 1/48th Christmas Market Stall

Most of you will know by now that I am specialising in lighting dolls houses and scale models with LEDs, especially smaller scale kits either for 1/48th & 1/144th dolls house kits or other smaller scale models.

Last week Jane Harrop asked me to design a kit for her new Christmas Continental Market Stall.  She wanted a warm white LED to be powered by a coin cell battery which would be hidden on the back of the stall.

I got a kit to make up so I could design and demonstrate the lighting and so in return I am reviewing the kit.

The kit was smaller than I imagined when I first thought of a market stall.  I think I'm still getting used to the concept of 1/48th scale being so small having worked in 1/12th scale for so long!

The kit came in a lovely brown envelope with a picture of the finished market stall on the front and I also had along with it a few small brown envelopes containing a selection of 'gifts' to sell in the stall including tiny Christmas trees, 3D trees, little houses and gingerbread houses.

On emptying the contents of the kit onto my workspace I had the following parts.  The shell of the market stall is etched with lines to emulate the wooden boards and all the pieces are precision cut on a laser cutter.  There wasn't much of a burnt smell with this kit as there can be with some and the edges were a nice rich brown rather than burnt black so no sanding was needed.
The market stall kit components
The market stall kit components
 The kit is comprehensive in it's contents.  You get everything you need including sandpaper.  The only items I had to provide was glue and wood stain.  You can stain, paint or leave the stall natural.  I chose to use some Light Oak stain I had which matched the colour of the edges of the wood nicely.

The instructions are very easy to follow and colour photos show the various stages so this kit is easy to assemble.  The sandpaper provided is called 'Abranet' and it's a bit of a revolution in sandpaper because it's full of holes so instead of the dust clogging the sandpaper and going all over your wood, it instead falls through the holes to the paper underneath leaving your wood basically dust free and you can wrap up and throw away the paper afterward.  Brilliant!
There's plenty of life left in the sandpaper afterwards for future projects too being of the new type which is long lasting.

After a quick sand of the pieces I used a bit of paper towel to apply my wood stain, giving a light coat as suggested in the instructions to prevent warping.  My kit was fine and you don't need much to add a nice colour to the wood.

Assembling the kit was pretty straightforward.  All the pieces fitted together well.  The only sanding required was to the door frame which was slightly long (as noted in the instructions).  For that I glued the wood pieces into the doorway and once dry, placed the door in position and used an emery board (nail file) to remove the excess wood from the bottom.  Just a few strokes and it was done.

The stained and assembled market stall kit
The stained and assembled market stall kit
The assembled roof and shelves
The assembled roof and shelves
If you are going to light the market stall there is an additional roof strut provided which has a hole in it for the LED and wire to fit through (see photo).

I tried hinging my stall shutter by using a bit of paper.  It was mostly successful but has a tendancy to not open fully, hiding some of the interior.

The sanding and fixing of the shutter was the only photo I found unclear as it looked like it was fixed at 90 degrees but the instructions suggested a chamfer was to be added and I wasn't sure why.

Once the market stall was assembled I made up the shelves.  There are 3 shelves for the walls and also a  table for the display of your Christmas goods.

I had to sand the ends of the table slightly so that it would fit inside the stall, again using an emery board to keep the end square.

The shelf brackets are tiny but spares are provided.

Some of the gifts to sell in your market stall
Some of the gifts to sell in your market stall
The final task was to make up the gifts for inside the stall.  The tiny houses were easy and I left them natural and just glued them onto the shelves.  The little trees are somewhat fiddly and a pair of tweezers is essential but with a little patience they're not that difficult to do.  I stained them while still in the wood piece and then put them together.

3D trees
3D trees
The 3D trees are delightful.  Such amazing detail given how small they are ( the photo makes them look bigger than they are and I should really have taken this with a ruler against them!).

Again, I stained them first and then popped them out one by one so the pieces didn't get mixed up and assembled them using tweezers.

The final step was to glue the decorations onto the shelves and table and then glue the shelves into the stall.  I did have to think about the arrangement as some of the single trees are quite tall and so don't really fit on the shelves so you need to pick and choose which you want to use.  I chose not to use the gingerbread houses as I was running short of time but these would fit on better.  The 3D trees are smaller and so they work well.

 It only took 2-3 hours to make and the light really does make such a difference.

So, here it is... the completed market stall with gifts and tiny nano LED light!

The completed market stall with gifts and light
The completed market stall with gifts and light
The back of the stall showing my lighting kit containing coin cell battery holder and on/off switch.  I glued these on with superglue.  Just a couple of spots on the holder and one on the switch is enough.
The back of the stall with the battery and on/off switch
The back of the stall with the battery and on/off switch

If you love the kit and wish to purchase one Jane has them on her website and will also have them at the York and Kensington fairs.

If you want to light the kit you can buy the lighting kit shown here from me by going to my website.

I hope you have enjoyed the review.


15 November 2013

Christmas is just round the corner....

Sorry for my absence the last couple of weeks.  It suddenly got very busy here and I was also away one weekend visiting my sister.

To put things back on track it'll probably be a bit of a bumper post!

As some of you may well have noticed I now have my Christmas products listed on my website.  To expand on last years range I have added 2 smaller sleighs so you can now buy one for most scales of dolls house ie 1/48th, 1/24th & 1/12th.  They are also very suitable just as a gift, table centerpiece or general Christmas decoration.

They are all available as laser cut kits which keeps the postage cost down and gives you a fun project for a winters evening!

First up is the tiny and very cute 1/48th scale set.  The sleigh is just 2" long and it all fits inside a small matchbox, including the instructions!  Who could resist such a delightful little package?

1/48th Reindeer & Sleigh laser cut Kit in matchbox
1/48th Kit inside a small matchbox
1/48th Reindeer & Sleigh laser cut Kit
1/48th Reindeer & Sleigh Kit
At only £4.99 it's the perfect gift for yourself or a friend.

Buy now!

Next up is the slightly larger 1/24th scale kit.  The sleigh is 4.5" long and the larger size allows for a bit more detail in the sleigh.
1/24th Reindeer & sleigh laser cut kit
1/24th Reindeer & sleigh kit

1/24th Reindeer  laser cut kit
1/24th Reindeer kit

1/24th sleigh laser cut kit
1/24th sleigh kit
This set is only £8.99 for both sleigh and reindeer.

Buy now!

Finally we have the 1/12th scale sleigh and Rudolph which are available both as a complete set and individually.
1/12th Rudolph & Sleigh painted kit
1/12th Rudolph & Sleigh painted kit 
1/12th Rudolph & Sleigh laser cut kit
1/12th Rudolph & Sleigh kit 
This set is only £14.99 or you can also purchase the sleigh and Rudolph individually.
Sleigh only £12.99
Rudolph only £5.99

The last couple of days I've been busy packing up all the different kits into boxes in preparation for the Country Living fairs at Glasgow and Harrogate at the end of this month.

I'm not going personally but I have collaborated with Kirsten Miller of Quernus Crafts who bought some custom made painted sleighs and reindeer for her Santa mice and these will be for sale at the fairs.

She is also selling my kits at the fairs so it's a good opportunity to do your Christmas shopping if you're local to either of these events.

Country Living Fair Glasgow - 21st-24th November
Country Living Fair Harrogate - 28th-1st December

Until next time...