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Restarting my Dream project

Warren Barnard

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I pulled a set of drawing out of storage a few weeks ago to start building a 1/12 Art Deco Egyptian Movie Theater. I had previously started it in 24th scale and had most of the structure build but not decorated. Then we purchased our current home and I packed up the model and had it in storage in one of my workshop cupboards. About 3 months ago it went in the rubbish bin, why, because I decided that I had never really been happy with it and I'd finally figured why. It's too small, mind you at 24th scale the section I had built was 1350mm long x 600mm deep x 500mm high. After some serious thinking and discussions with my wife about options of 1/18th or 1/12th she nailed it on the head and told me that what I really wanted to do was make it in 12th scale so just do it. I have a decent workshop but a miniature 2700mm x 1200mm x over a metre high isn't a small undertaking so to make space I dismantled the craftsman bungalow I've been working on for the last 2 years and packed it away. The Craftsman is a story for another day but it is interesting.


This will be the front 48 feet of the Egyptian Theater in Boise, Idaho, but as it was built in 1927 or as close as I can get with the information I have and what more I can still find out as I continue my research. I started with photos of the plans downloaded from the Library of Congress. Originally these where then redrawn in 24th scale as that was what I originally started building this in. I completed the drawings and from what was available was able to draw the missing elevations etc. I then drew up some cutting drawings of the section I wanted to built because to build it all was more unrealistic than the section I decided on. When I changed scale I just enlarged everything by 200%, I love working in a computer, The accuracy and not needing a huge table to draw on are amazing.
After modifying the cutting drawings from 24th to 12th I cut and assembled the corner section in the photo above to confirm that it was what I was after. I'm exceptionally happy with the result and now that I have some breathing space to get back to it, I'm on my way to building a cinema. The building piece that I'm working on includes the foyer, hall, stairwell and managers office plus the rear 388 seats of the balcony plus projection booth. Also across the front are 4 shops to build and dress. Nothing like a small challenge to get it built for The Sydney Dollhouse and Miniatures fair, first week in May next year.
Yours in miniatures
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  • 3 weeks later...

I have found a little time to work to work on the theater this week.I have been designing an Art Gallery project for my local miniatures group to do as a project for next years Sydney show, after getting that designed and the first box assembled for testing I have also decided to make a variation as a modern house. At some stage I'll start another posting on that structure. After talking with a client in Queensland I've also inquired about doing the Dollhouse Extravaganza at Brisbane in February, but will probably wait until after the New Zealand Convention this October before making a final decision. I was able to get the main exterior structure walls made up and dry fitted as well as the shop box's. The entire structure is laser cut from 3mm or 6mm mdf and internally framed like a stud wall, this gives me a light but extremely strong structure to work on, next I will be working on the stonework to give it the scoring and texture of the original and then start sculpting the Egyptian motifs.


The first photo shows just how big this will be, I will have to move it elsewhere in my workshop to finish the roof and tower caps. I know this is a fine scale forum and that is what this and most of my bigatures are, Correct replication of the concrete structure in this case leads to replicating all the fine detail to bring it to life.




The second photo shows the internal structure during assembly of the left hand end wall. This is a common wall to a building next door.




yours in miniatures

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