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July 4, 2016

I have the sneaking suspicion that the Willowcrest is never going to be finished.  I'm now attempting to 'let it go' emotionally and will likely get rid of it physically at some point.  I LIKE living in an apartment sized space, and I foresee lots more moves and small spaces in the future, and since the last movers refused to touch it.  . . well, it's just going to be a pain for the rest of my life.

I am NOT giving up miniatures.  I'm just . . . downsizing them.  Quarter scale (1:48) fascinates me, and I love how quickly 1:144 scale goes.  So when I was browsing eBay a few weeks ago and came across this kit, called Aegean Sea, I could not resist.  I can still keep my Willowcrest in another form!

The kit is Chinese, so I had my concerns about quality.  I was able to find a US seller, which helped me make the decision to purchase.  It claims to be 1:48 scale but is actually 1:144.

It arrived quickly, and I was very impressed with the whole deal.  It came with EVERYTHING.  Glass ball, rocks, greenery, furniture, even curtains and bits to make ceiling lights.  Yes, it lights up! the lighting component hides under the base, and it claims to be voice activated.  I haven't tested it yet.  It looks like it takes three watch batteries, which will be interesting and messy to change when they die. The glass ball has a flat bottom on it, so you can hang it or set it on a shelf.  It's about 5" across, so it might be a little too big for your Christmas tree.  Everything was prepainted and precut, just waiting to be glued.  The wood is good quality and everything fit together amazingly well.  I did have to push two little wood bits out of two window pieces, but they popped right out.  The instructions did come in English and Chinse, but really all you need is the pictures, and fortunately there are a lot of them.  Not so fortunately is that they don't always correspond with the pieces I have.  For instance, the base has a small hole drilled through it for wiring, but not in the photo where you assemble it, so of course I have glued the frame to the wrong side and will have to redrill.  There's also some confusing about the side piece with the bay window, sometimes it's centered on the wall, sometimes it's offset.  Just go carefully and you'll figure it out!

I bought the kit with the thought that I wanted to do something miniature, with a straightforward, complete kit, no decision making involved, no changes, just follow the instructions.

That lasted about 10 minutes.

It's now going to look like MY Willowcrest (only finished) because I knew I would regret it if I didn't try.

The brick proved difficult.  I first tried to print brick paper to glue on the sides, guess whose red ink dried up?  Then I attempted to cut and glue bits of red cardstock to the side.  Hehe, might have worked, but heck no.  So I resorted to an Xacto knife and etching the bricks into the wood.  I had a few mess-ups with figuring out how to apply the paint, but I think I got it pretty well in the end.  

I know there's bits where I think I can fill it in a bit better, but that always bites me in the rear so I stopped before I overloaded it.  I think it's pretty effective for being unmeasureable by my ruler!  (Note, I have a layer of wax paper between the paint and the cutting mat.  Also note those lines are 1" apart!)

Then, of course, I had to paint the roof and the front door, because brown just wasn't quite right with the red and white.  The wood took the paint beautifully, no warping at all!  

I plan to draw lines with a mechanical pencil on the base to simulate wood floors.  I also plan to replace the second floor, because I don't really care for the spiral staircase that came with it and I figured I'd just nix stairs altogether.  I'm annoyed at this point because there are windows EVERYWHERE and no wall space.  I was hoping to make this modern and hopefully fit a kitchen in!  I am also likely to add a ceiling to the front porch (just a scrap of poster board will do) and I'm not actually sure that I like the side porch . . . 

Apparently I am incapable of building a kit as is.  HOWEVER, I accomplished all of this in one day.  I can't assemble any further until I can replace my ink cartridge and print out some wallpaper.    

More pictures to follow!  I recommend these kits if you've been eyeing them!