Thursday, 15 April 2010

Into the fire Part 1 - September 2009

I have found that the best way for me to work on my dollshouse is to mix it up a little bit and work on different things so it doesn't get boring.  I could have chosen to do a room at a time or all the walls but it's making furniture and other items that I love the most.
That's why I decided to have a look at some of the fireplace items.

I looked at the option of plaster fireplaces for a couple of my rooms and spotted some plaster moulds for miniature fireplaces on Ebay.  I thought it would be a good way of making a few and possibly selling any extras but in the end I was disappointed with the end result.

Despite making a support frame for the mould it was very difficult to get the fireplace to come out square.  I've had to do a lot of carving off extra bits and sanding to get a half decent result so I'm not really happy with these.

This is what I produced:

Around the same time I bought a couple of kits from Phoenix Models who produce white metal kits that you glue together.  I decided that for my two main rooms - dining room and living room I would have grander fireplaces. 
I bought two Firegrates, authentic to the Georgian period.

Gluing them together proved to be slightly problamatic as I started off my using some  Araldite substitute from a pound shop and it was a mistake!
It took ages to dry and never really set properly so when I moved my models a couple of days later to paint them they fell apart!  Not good.

So off I went and bought some proper Araldite and boy did it prove to be worth the extra pennies.  Stuck in seconds and set hard so now I have two very solid firegrates.  Sometimes the branded product really is worth it!
This is them before painting.

Painting also proved to be problamatic.  I thought I would be able to just paint directly onto the metal after washing them to degrease and bought matt black Humbrol enamel paint.
Unfortunately, I found to my cost that the metal doesn't take the paint too well without a primer.  They were incredible patchy and the paint didn't stick properly.

I contacted Phoenix Models who were very helpful and sent me instructions.  The guy told me it was best to prime the metal using car spray paint primer.
The only problem was getting the Humbrol apint off so I was back to bard metal.  I soaked them in white spirit but it didn't do a very good job so I had to scrape most of the paint off.
Given how detailed the models are it was very fiddly and time consuming.  Not a job I'd like to repeat!

The primer worked a treat though and I now have two nicely painted firegrates.  You'll have to wait for part 2 to see the finished result ;)


  1. Thank you so much for posting your experiences with these products -- I think you've done really well, but it sounds a bit frustrating! I look forward to part two ... :)

  2. A bit fustrating on this occasion, yes, but it's all part of the process. You have to try things to realise that they don't work as well as you'd hoped.

  3. Hi, just followed your link from my site Somerset House, we have the same house and the same era, mine is set in 1820, I look forward to seeing what you do to yours, I'm a bit aheat I have had mine for five years,Regards Marlene