Tag Archives: dollmaking

X-Men Dollhouse- Danger Room buildout!!

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build Bishop by Suzanne Forbes July 2020Damn, 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.

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build test by Suzanne Forbes July 2020I 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.

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build with Lila Cheney posters by Suzanne Forbes July 2020The 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.

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build with thumpy by Suzanne Forbes July 2020During 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.

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build with Sentinel by Suzanne Forbes July 2020But 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!

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build with figures by Suzanne Forbes July 2020I’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.

Danger Room Suzanne Forbes July 2020I 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!!!

Danger Room X Men Dollhouse build booth test by Suzanne Forbes July 2020I 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.

Laboratories underneath it.

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

Douglock custom

The Wasp Doll’s Creepy Bird-Horse steed!

Bird Horse Steed by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020The Wasp Doll has a horse-bird-steed thing, too!

When I was finally finishing my Snow Queen and her reindeer, I found the cut-off front legs of the vintage deer I’d used as a base for the reindeer. I also had this blue and tan straw bird around which the cats had been chewing on.

Galloping Bird Horse Steed by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020The deer’s legs fit so well!

I trimmed down some of the raffia on the bird’s belly, and glued on the trimmings to help the legs blend in. Combined with the post, there was a galloping carousel animal effect I loved. I also gave it one human eye from the doll-eyes bag.

Fantasy tack for Bird Horse Steed by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020So I did that. That was a good couple years ago, and the bird has just floated around, waiting for me to make it the rider, saddle and bridle it needed. This happens with projects!

Wasp Doll fantasy saddle by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020I was obsessed with model horses as a child, and especially model horse tack.

Back in the ’70s the Breyer community had plenty of well-known tack makers for shows (yes, there were and are shows where people compete their customized model horses!). I used to look at their mimeographed catalogs in a state of mesmerized covetousness.

I loved real horses and real tack equally obsessively, and Victoria and I used to pore over Arabian Horse magazine, ogling the colorful, tassled tack. We would debate the merits of Western style over English; she went to Western riding camp and I went to English.

Left, my most precious childhood model horse Rosalind in a cooler (type of blanket) I made for her when I was like ten.

I still follow several miniature tack makers on Instagram, and I have also come to love “fantasy tack”, which is not based on historic or present examples. That’s where this project came from!

Wasp Doll outside by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020I love tiny buckles and leather gear, whether for horses or people.

When I made the Snow Queen, I finally had a reason to buy miniature tack supplies from Rio Rondo, the tiny company that serves pretty much the whole hobby. Yes, they know kinky fetish people use their stuff for things like Barbie Bondage. No, they still haven’t updated their website!

One of the weirdest side effects of being a miniature maker and bricoleur is that you’re always eyeing junk for its potential.

Miniature fantasy tack by Suzanne Forbes 2018 and 2020Two years ago I got some fancy cookies for our New Years’ Day party, and they had a gold bread tie.

I turned it over in my hands, feeling like it was the thing I needed for something. Usually I keep things like that, but foolishly, I did not keep the bread tie.

So when I realized it was exactly what I needed for miniature Western Bell stirrups, I had to steal the tie off our bread, wait til the next grocery delivery, steal that tie, cut down some toothpicks for the rollers, and prime it all with Mod Podge before I painted them gold.

Glossy, flexible bread-tie plastic is a surface paint will not stick to.

Mod Podge is a secret weapon here, and a couple coats formed a perfect isolation coat and primer. It sealed the stirrups after the gold paint, too, and then I glued them into the ribbon stirrup leathers.

I made the saddle out of shaped aluminium foil covered with Apoxie Sculpt, my “make everything” clay of choice. Then I covered it in velvet and trim.

Wasp Doll girdle by Suzanne Forbes May 24 2020

I used a brass filigree decor piece, holographic vinyl, interference paint and UV resin to make this girdle for the Wasp Doll.

Interference paint created a pretty iridescent ombre on the front. Gluing a piece of holo vinyl to the back of the filigree meant I could go over the whole thing with UV resin. Then I added some crystals, of course, because you have to have crystals.

Filigree Jeweled Doll Girdle by Suzanne Forbes May 2020I love how it came out, honestly. The whole ridiculous project pleases me greatly.

Other weird, creepy doll-things I have made:

Limb-Different Non-Binary Fetish Fairy

Reserved Parking for Eliza

The Gothest Action Figure Custom ever.

Valentine’s Monster Doll Armada

Snow Queen/Jadis

Fearless Pink Gay Santa

Custom Elsa Lancaster as The Bride

Gothic Rococo Horribella


Gilt Jubilee Carriage with harnessed silver Grasshopper

Mummified Fairy King

Evil Mermaid

Opal Fimo Mantis Doll

Earliest dolls! with bad photos!