Damn, dioramas are hard!
I have been obsessed with dioramas since I was a child in the Museum of Natural History, and the obsession has only deepened. Of course I had to build a Danger Room underneath my School for Gifted Youngsters, and of course I’ve been planning it for almost twenty years. Nearly as soon as I was thinking about a dollhouse for action figures, I was thinking of underground spaces underneath it.
I didn’t figure out how to do it until after I finished my first dollhouse, and by the time I started putting underground laboratories and medical rooms and gymnasiums under the first dollhouse, it was obvious that I was gonna need a second dollhouse.
The X-Men got their own entire dollhouse, last year.
(It’s finished except for the front yard and the stairs to Ororo’s attic, both of which are in process!). I had a system at this point, and built the base for the X-Men dollhouse with the intent of putting the Danger Room, stables and Morlock tunnels underneath it.
During the third month of self-isolation, I found several of the critical pieces for the Danger Room in Europe.
It was never feasible to ship these large, heavy things – the Art Asylum Broken Bow Enterprise Bridge Playset and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Secret Sewer Lair Playset – from the States. And it is even less feasible, or ethical, to ship anything from North America now.
But I found them, for great prices, in Germany!
In the five years we have been here, Germans have gotten better at eBay. And incredibly, I have gotten even more amazing at buying used weird stuff!
I’ve been on eBay since fucking 1998, I am a power user.
I have had the Iceman figure and Sentinel Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure (BAF) since 2005, and the Pyro since 2006. I bought them during the horrible, agonizing, dragged-out end of my second marriage, and they were in storage for years. But I knew they had a purpose.
I never gave up on the idea that somehow, I was gonna do something fun with them, something that would make me happy.
I don’t like building interiors, or dollhouses for that matter, at all.
I don’t even like decorating them with wallpaper and trim. I just like having them, and collecting the stuff that goes in them! However, since my funds are limited, I have to build dollhouses in order to have them!
So I ordered foam core board and acid-free adhesive-covered board from an excellent German company, and set to building around the bridge set and the Sentinel. I used my usual intuitive casual building technique, and I did it as fast as I could, because cutting things with an Xacto knife terrifies me.
Plus, the long arm movements for handling the large panels now exhaust my limited upper body strength. Physical construction has become even more of an ordeal as my Hashimoto’s and fatigue have gotten worse. I am really glad I splurged on the adhesive-lined board, as it made sticking the embossed brick dollhouse paper to it a breeze!!!
I built the windows of the booth out of plexiglas, which I am never working with again.
Cutting it oneself is a nightmare. Unlike styrene, which scores and then breaks crisply! I used panels of balsa wood covered in dark grey selbstklebefolie to cover the ragged edges of the plexi, which totally worked.
I like to cover panels of balsa, illustration board or board with German selbstklebefolie (contact paper) to make flat surfaces in the labs and underground spaces. It gives a clean, tech-y finish and is so much faster and easier than paint. No, it’s not archival, but it’s looking like I’m not either! The booth is held together with scraps of wood trim, some twenty years old, spraypainted silver.
I would like to talk more about this whole project, but I am completely exhausted!
X-Men and Action figure dollhouse projects and action figure customs:
My first action figure dollhouse.
My action figure subway station.
Projects for the X-Men Dollhouse – a blackboard for the library
The X-Men Dollhouse – nearly finished, and the goddam lighting
The X-Men Dollhouse – stairs and lighting
The X-Men Dollhouse – wallpaper and assembly
The X-Men Dollhouse – getting started!
Lila Cheney and Lilandra customs.
My Rahne and Dani lovebird action figure customs