Dodie’s House

I consider this my 2nd major diorama (1st major one is here). This time I was inspired by these two photos:

Braesvalley3 bmcm003

The idea was to combine them so that when you walked through the above front door, you would see the living room in the second picture. Not exact reproductions, mind you, but the general gist. As you will see, I textured mine different from the photos.

The main new technique this time was to try my hand at 3D printing. That’s where the floor lamp came from.

lamp 3D

I’d call it a partial success. It could look more realistic, and it’s quite fragile. But the shape is perfect and it blends nicely in the setting.  Still, I’d prefer real wood, metal, and cloth.

For new items, I picked up a wonderful Maryann Roy stool called “Be Seated” from the Retro Candy Collection on sale at Tiny Frock, along with some other Maryann Roy furniture that will appear in a future diorama.

The outstanding new items are the custom couch and divider/planter.  This diorama is intended to showcase these awesome pieces. They were custom made by the super talented Samantha Murry at MiniPlacesStudio on Etsy. She was really great to work with. I sent her a single low resolution photo of the planter and she was able to convert it to a real 3D piece! Simply amazing!

In addition to featuring Samantha’s custom pieces, this diorama also features Kathleen Hancock’s custom chairs I first described in the Sister Chairs blog post.

For a list of where some of the main props came from, please see here.

The story thus far…

After visiting Angie, Dodie is home having a pensive day. She worries Angie’s might know about Elly’s sister Viper.  She tries reading but can’t get into it. After sitting, cleaning, and pretending to play The Price is Right, she begins to feel better.

Dodie’s suspicions however are confirmed when she receives a visit from a beautiful mysterious stranger who brings tidings of warning. They have a brief out-of-body experience together, after which, they need a drink. Then they’re visited by a monster of sorts, and become great friends before saying good bye for the moment.

Please enjoy Dodie’s House: (with musical accompaniment, click here then view images…)

Maria Angela’s Glamour Shots

In the Hot Toys world of Super Hero Action Figures, everything is mass-produced. You see something you like, even if its a part of a commercial figure (like Captain America’s shield, for example), all you have to do is wait until someone sells a “loose part”, and you’re good to go.  “Kitbash” is the technical term in the 1/6 action figure hobby world. Not so in the world of OOAK! One of a kind means one of a kind! It sounds dumb to say it out loud. Call it my learning curve if you must.

After acquiring Fire Coral from Matisse Fashions, I came across this amazing Matisse Fashions mid century outfit:


So I inquired if I could get a Phicen version. Short answer: there wasn’t any more of that fabric.

Holy OOAK, Batman! 😥

No worry, she had other fabrics. So it’s not an exact replica, but the design is the same, only the fabric is different. And dare I say, I like the new fabric better! (Clouds part, Heavens open, Angels sing!). Brenda at Matisse Fashions called the reboot outfit Wild Sage. As our little story unfolds, I think this name will be more than prescient!

The head sculpt is a rewigged Crimson (back story here) from Flirty Girls Heroes of the North series (product review here).


The face is clearly of a Latina/Hispanic flavor, and so our model will go by a good mid century Spanish name: Maria Angela. She is not Crimson, not by a long shot. But she does have a secret connection with one Angela Del Toro, who isn’t even born yet! All to be revealed soon.

For the 1/6th crowd: this is not a Phicen, its a Jiaou doll (great review by unicron9 here).  Here is my super quick review of the Jiaou dolls: They are slightly skinnier than the Phicen, which makes a difference for fitting clothes. They do not pose as well or as naturally as a Phicen. They are not quite as “sticky” as a Phicen, and dress slightly easier.

So please enjoy: Maria Angela’s Glamour Shots:


Full Circle

We’ve now come full circle and the blog is current. I got ahead of things when I posted the 2nd blog post, Puppy Dog Tails ‘n Sugar & Spice.  The posts after that and up to this one recounted how I got to that diorama. After this post, things will move forward once again.

However, if you go back and look, there is no story in the Puppy Dog Tails ‘n Sugar & Spice post. So, the purpose of today’s blog is to tell that story so we can get on with things.

Before telling the story, I wanted to give a shout out for the blue and pink pillows and the pink end table. These were hand-made by the incredible Ronda Vallejo at Miniatures from Avalon on Etsy. Ronda is an incredibly talented craftier of little things, and she is one of the nicest and sweetest people I’ve gotten to know in this hobby. So please check out her amazing little creations. If you wish to see her past work, Ronda’s Flickr site is here.

That said, the story of Puppy Dog Tails ‘n Sugar & Spice is this:

A few days after the Meet Up, Dodie and Ellie visit Angie at her beautiful new house.  Proper introductions are made.  Angie makes polite inquiries into the girl’s lives and families. Much ado about nothing…perhaps?  Angie seems very nice, but there is indeed something of an air of Viper about her. Maybe its Angie’s confident attitude? Ellie wonders if she is reading too much into the situation.  After a fun afternoon of conversation and gossip, Ellie and Dodie leave and compare notes. Like the Princess and the Pea, a small sneaking suspicion gives the ever-slightest discomfort to an otherwise fun day.

Pink & Blue Practice Shots

Here are my practice shots as I was constructing the Puppy Dog Tails ‘n Sugar & Spice diorama.  “Puppy Dog Tails ‘n Sugar & Spice” is simply a cute way to say “blue and pink”. But at this stage, there was no pink, only blue. I showed my inspiration photos before and show them again:

retro-room-divider-planter mid-century-entryway

At this point in the process, this was all I had to go by. The pink side of the equation was not yet in the picture. Aside from a more planned out diorama setup that was inspired by a real house, the new element this time was the color inkjet printer.  What would it look like if I printed the textures and glued or taped them on the foam board? Would it work? If so, then infinite possibilities open up. The trick is a high resolution image that can be tiled.

One thing that came out of this is I discovered why there is photo glue. I saw photo glue for sale at the craft store and wondered why you needed special glue for photos. I used fabric glue to glue the white brick printouts to the foam board, but I used painter’s blue tape to hold the brick on the chimney. A week later, the white brick printouts were destroyed, all wrinkled and distorted. That is why there is photo glue. 🙂  Tape works perfectly fine and is more flexible because a low tack tape allows removal of the printouts so the surface can be reused later.

In spite of the glue set back, I consider the printout textures a success.

I used Angie as the model in these shots, and so it de facto became her new house.

The story so far…

It was a fine house. It would do. She told the Real Estate Agent she’d take it. But it needed to be redecorated…maybe some blue curtains. She noticed, at one point, a mysterious red-eyed stranger spying on her. It didn’t bother her at all. She could easily deal with it. For the moment, setting up her new base of operation – I mean house – was the main priority…

Please enjoy Angie’s New House

Angie’s Fire Coral Glamour Shots

I anticipate that using the same model over and over will eventually get monotonous. You need different color schemes for different dioramas. Different faces to keep it exciting. Luckily Phicen heads can easily be removed and replaced. Phicen, Kumik, and other vendors sell the heads, called 1/6th scale female head sculpts. There are many, many to chose from. Just look here on Ebay.

Also, as I have now discovered, there are several extremely talented OOAK people who make fashion clothes for 1/6 scale fashion dolls, mainly of the Barbie or Fashion Royalty ilk. In researching the 1/6th seamstresses, I come across a woman whose prodigious output is breathtaking. Not because of the sheer quantity of designs, but of the quality of the fashions. It’s love at first sight.

She goes by the name Matisse Fashions. Words can’t convey, so I’ll let a few example speak for themselves:

b4 b3 b2

One in particular jumps out at me.  This outfit came to be called Fire Coral.


What am I supposed to do when they are all perfect? I guess just go one at a time.

Through a somewhat torturous path (thanks, Margaret!) I get in touch with Brenda, who is Matisse Fashions and see if she would be willing to convert the wonderful orange outfit for a Phicen body.  As we see below, the answer was yes. This is the first of hopefully many of Brenda’s incredible outfits to grace the pages of Mid-Century Phicen.

Our new model uses the Angelina Jolie head sculpt from CGL Toys. So it’s natural to call our new model “Angie”.  Angie’s features seemed to have the right kind of classy to go with the outfit.

I give you Angie’s Fire Coral Glamour Shots:

Meet Up

This is almost the same set-up as Late Night Martini except that it features Dodie as well as Lattice. I made a chimney too. Some of the shots look like a living room, but some of them remind me of a hotel lobby. I think it’s because Dodie is in her coat, giving the impression of being out of the house.

I think the first few snaps of Dodie came out really good.

After this session I started working on the Puppy Dog Tails ‘n Sugar & Spice diorama. We’ll see some practice shots of that soon.

Our story continues:

She called her girlfriend Dodie to meet up and hang out, have a nice martini, and chat about things. Dodie was early and waited patiently for Elly (short for “Lattice” = “L” = “El” = “Elly”) to show up. Maybe Elly talked about her work, or maybe about her super-villain sister, but either way, both enjoyed the evening. Dodie mentioned a woman had recently moved in on her block and that Elly might like to meet her.  There was something about the new lady that reminded Dodie of Elly’s sister….

Ladies and Gentlemen, please enjoy the Meet Up:

Dodie’s Glamour Shots

Variety is the spice of life.

Having gained some confidence with the diorama construction, it became apparent that poor Lattice couldn’t be the only model.  So I went a questing for a new mid century outfit. Like before, I looked and looked and looked until I found the perfect outfit:

dotty original

Again, I have no idea why it was perfect, it just was. Just to get this out of the way once and for all, any outfit I decide to buy is automatically perfect, otherwise I wouldn’t buy it! 🙂

This one was called OOAK Handmade Casual Ensemble for Silkstone. [There was that company OOAK again!  They pop up everywhere! (LOL!)] No, seriously, this wonderful outfit was by Sue Chandler at sc-limitededitions on Ebay. Sue’s work is really beautiful and I suggest you check out her gallery on Ebay. Sue actually went out and bought a Phicen after I had contacted her to make sure the outfit fit perfectly. Now that I call service!

Like Lattice’s outfit, this outfit is, in addition to being absolutely gorgeous, for lack of a better term, hearty. It is very well sewn and can take a lot of tugging and pulling and won’t rip. Which is important when considering Phicen dolls because their rubbery skin makes putting on clothes a lot more difficult than normal hard plastic dolls. It’s out there on the message boards to use baby powder on the Phicen body when dressing them.  I do this and it helps…a lot!

As for the name Casual Ensemble for Silkstone, that doesn’t really work here. I want to call her Dottie. Cause it’s just too obvious. But Dottie isn’t really a name. I thought of Little Dot.




When I was a kid, an elderly couple lived next door to us, John and Dodie. They were very nice. Would give us kids on the block cookies once in a while. Dodie is a nice old fashioned name and it kinda sounds like Dotty, and I found myself spontaneously calling her Dodie anyway.

So I give you, Dodie’s Glamour Shots. Please enjoy!