Wrenwood Hall: more thoughts on casting, characters & sets

Ok, so a brief change of gears here–from modern/ contemporary diorama planning back to pseudo-medieval diorama planning & thought!

It seems like I do a lot more thinking these days and not as much “making”! Grr! Frustrating! But the warm weather is coming & that means I’ll be able to make more things (without say, realizing that the house is so cold that the 2 part epoxy won’t come out of the tubes LOL)

The plus side to it being so cold is that I can dedicate the time to think about/ plan/ how to make things.  I have primarily been finalizing the basic *female* character roster for Wrenwood Hall. This is what I’ve come up with thus far: (click on the image–then on the white “X” for larger version). Yes, you’ll notice that at the moment they are all Fashion Royalty dolls from Integrity Toys–I do have a few other characters that I am hoping to use my Takara CG female figures in too…But I’m not ready to commit them to specific roles yet….


You’ll notice that I haven’t yet cast Lady Merithi. That’s because I haven’t found a doll yet that I like for that character. Still hoping I’ll find one at some point (or  somehow do a massive about face and cast someone who already exists LOL).

Next I have to start thinking about the main male characters…

I’m still working on sourcing them so that will be updated (and decided) later. I know roughly 5 roles that require guys so I am keeping an eye out!  I’ve seen a few male action figure heads on feebay lately that I think could work for them.

Speaking of the guys….On flickr I saw that Hot Toys has put out their True Type Advanced Muscular Body–which appears to be half a head/ or slightly more/ taller than the standard Hot Toys True Type Body.

Here’s a great comparison pic: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53915760@N04/8560432997/

That would be awesome if it’s really taller since I want to use Hot Toys action figures as the male cast—but they are short-asses compared to the Fashion Royalty female dolls——-and I really don’t want to have to do constant shots where I’m hiding the fact that the guys are standing on boxes to make them the same height or taller than the women in the cast!!!!

Sets: Hmm, where do I start with these?

Before I left the UK I had 3 ideas in mind that I wanted to do for Wrenwood sets.

  • a small chamber–with window seat. –useable as a small bedchamber/ personal space/stillroom
  • Medium size Hall –with alcove at one end and two entry ways (with doors) into them. Stained glass windows, flagstone floors and faced stone walls.

I know it’s all kinds of crazy work to do–on top of doing my 3 main roomsets for the regular chronicles (university based). Which means that these are going to continue to stew in the back of my head. But I think I’m pretty excited about it anyway. For the cloister/garden area  I’ve been looking into plants and ideas on how I can use them for the settings—and if I should try to do the whole cloister set outside—on the ground—or….on raised beds/ tables outside.

I know it sounds a bit bonkers to want to do it and make a set that could withstand the outdoors and the weathering it would get. I really love the idea of being able to shoot in natural lighting with _real_ weather to color the scenes and give it that added realism.

Anyway, I’m thinking that I’ll leave the cloister set until mid-spring, and see about making the small chamber. From a purely financial standpoint that would be best–it’ll take the least amount of supplies (just to make), and I could use it for quite a few scenes depending on how I shoot it. We’ll see I guess? (I’ll need to decide if I want to do rendered “lime washed” walls, or use faux stone appearance.



Who lives with whom? Roommates decided at last!

Ok, so you know I think about my photostory stuff a lot. And as one of my good friend says about my attempts to assign roommates/ pairs of students  “You over-think it! Just DO it already!”

Guilty as charged. 😛

But I was determined that I’d do it this time. I mean since I have the dorm room / student lounge set almost (sort of) done, I need to know this stuff. Really! And I need to be able to refer to it time and again (since I can remember the characters but not always who’ll be living where). So today (after I finished the last 3 re-paints so I had enough students for this) I made up a chart. It’s a quick reference one, so it’s not all pretty and lovely. But it’ll do the trick. So. Here we are: the female roomates. (you’ll notice that Nerissa isn’t on the chart. That’s because she’s got a private/ single room! Lucky girl!)

If you want to see the image @ full size click it and then look for the white X and then click that. 🙂


There you have it!

Now I have to get back to sewing!

More thoughts on the 1:6 diorama plans!

Yep, so I’ve got Mark slaving away inserting windows and making me (YES!!) 2 doors to use in the dioramas. This makes me a very happy chickie 😀  Ok, so while he’s slaving away doing that (YAY!) I was trying to think up of different layouts I can use for the walls/room sets.

This is what I’ve come up with for the Dorm room dioramas:

This is the old dorm room set (geared for Karly & Astrid)



It’s kind of important that I can get as many permutations as possible out of that one since I have a lot of students who obviously have to live in a dorm room. 😉  *and while it’s true I may not have lots of scenes set in all of their rooms, it’s nice to have that option!*  Some of these set-ups would depend on the students getting along/being good friends.

dorm-room-A dorm-room-B dorm-room-C dorm-room-D dorm-room-E dorm-room-F

So  that’s the basic ideas for the dorm room….

Next let’s talk about the base walls for the Student Lounge:

It looks a bit bare for the moment because I have to work out how the things I have will work in it. I also need to make a couch for it. So for right now all I know is that the room has 2 windows and a door! 😛 And when I get around to it (provided I left enough room) I’ll be making a 1/6 soda machine. You gotta have one of those, right?


This is the old dorm room set:



This one is different, obviously, but I’m still looking for that kind of flavor to it.

So once that’s figured out it’ll be great! Annnnnd depending on how I do the window treatments (Blinds? Curtains?) I could possibly use this as a student dorm room. Maybe for some special student, or as an upperclassmen room. Maybe?

And of course, the Professors’ Office / Academic Office:

It’s a shared wall with the Student Lounge. I’m thinking the windows for the academic office will need to be blinds or something similar. I have the 4 wooden book cases that Mark made me back in 2010 

And I think that I might have at least 2 versions of the offices so I can swap out which professors are in which, etc.


Anywho: after the doors & windows are inserted I get to paint the walls and stuff and begin the  process of making and collecting all the stuff I need to actually “fill” the sets! Woo!

It begins again: 1:6 scale Dioramas redux!

Yes, at last I’m going to get to work making replacements for the dorm room & student lounge roomsets! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! ~Waves arms in a kermit the frog dance~>(You *must* click on the pic of Kermit to see the dance!!)


Ok, so what do we have to do?

The first thing I did was take stock of the stuff I brought back with me from the US… I was gutted to realize I am missing a few pieces I was sure I had, but  oh well.  :/

I do however have enough windows to make a wall to use for the student dorm room and the student lounge. That’s great, right?  And even better—there’s a pretty good chance of me reusing the wall from the student lounge as a wall in the professor’s office.


It’s possible anyway~! The only thing it would really need different is a door…..and I could probably get away using the dorm room one until that was made down the line… Unless I can talk Mark into doing one (or two! ) The Dorm room needs a closet door! Really!). Don’t you think that a room that 2 people have to live in would be big enough for 2 professors to have to work in together?  Or am I pushing too much? I recall seeing some really tiny academic offices when I was in college (both times) so I’m thinking that it could work. And heck, maybe 2 and an adjunct at the same time

It’s not really the ideal plan (because we’re working to a time constraint etc. Mark is going to visit his people next month so I won’t be allowed to use  stuff while he’s gone. So I have to get them now!) but whatever. I want a real roomset again and this will do the trick!

So here’s a quick pic of what the basic set up (for the dorm room) is probably going to be: (ignore Harley, ok? She’s not to scale!)


Actually, looking at that that is the wrong set up! D’oh. The window should be on the wall opposite the door. So just imagine it is there ok? And pretend that I unwrapped & re-assembled the dorm beds! I was tired last night though so I didn’t bother for the lay out mock up. 😛

For the Student Lounge, there will be 2 of those white windows on one wall and no other windows.  I’m not sure what the floor treatment for either will be at this point. For all the sets the walls will be basic white.



Back to Planning: The Cup & Saucery Cafe

I admit it. I’m an incorrigible diorama addict!
I’ve just moved house, am living a little bit rough, and what am I thinking of?

No, it’s not what color should I paint the walls of my studio (white, after we tear off the 1970’s paneling)…it’s Roomsets. Planning & thinking about them!

More specifically, how should I design the layout for the Cup & Saucery Cafe!

I know! Call me crazy! 😉
But I decided that the Cup & Saucery would be the best roomset/diorama to make first…That’s mostly because I have the majority of things I need (furniture wise) and it would allow me to use the widest range of characters in it….And it is very likely the only room-set I’ll make for a while. So it has to really, really has to be multipurpose/functional.

Anyway–back to discussing the cafe: Starting back at the beginning, the Cup & Saucery cafe was named “The Mocha Loca Cafe (MLC)” and was owned by Alison. However, in the time since I 1) created Alison as a character and 2) started mentally designing (and part building a few times) the MLC, things have changed. The biggest change is of course space. I now have space enough to make the roomset the size I wanted to instead of settling for something smaller. That’s not to say I’m going to go batcrap-crazy, but….Yes. I am going to make the most of my space 😉 which meant that I needed to get a real idea of how big it needed to be to look right (for me).

I’m a really visual person. Drawing dimensions out on paper doesn’t help me a whole lot when I’m planning on making stuff. So the first thing I decided to do was take out some masking tape and try to mask out the area on the floor.

Yea, I know…Not very awe inspiring, is it? (no, I mean the box, not the floor–which is also a little underwhelming. I’m considering spilling paint on it to make it less…1970-linoleum looking.)

So the next step was for me to get out the misc pieces of furniture I had and lay them out in the space & populate it with some dolls so I could see how it was going to work. (some of the pieces are just placeholders for things I need to make yet).

I tried to include a fair mix of figure types: including volks dollfies, takara cy girls, Hot Toys action figures, Triad alpha, fashion royalty girls (yay Giselle!), and some barbies.

Overall I think the layout that I had in mind willwork out ok.I need to add a few extra inches on to allow for architectural features/fakes.

(Did you notice in the photo above it looks like Viv & Gil are doing a re-enactment of the shootout at the OK Corral? Guess there’s still a bit of bitterness over the divorce!)

I’m going to end up needing 3 windows (instead of the 1 I was hoping to get away with) but since they’ll be simple, single paned windows those should be easy enough & I won’t have to ask Mark to help with them. 🙂  I still want to do the back-room/kitchen area/ office but that can be a separate set that I’ll but up against it if I need to.

As far as furniture: I think I will probably need to dig out an additional chair & table set and paint it. And I need to replace those chairs with other ones (they are placeholder pieces). And I need to see if I can tweak my ideas about the counters/display units. The spot where Gwen (kenzie on a cg body) is is going to be utilized as a coffee area–like where you get milk and sugar , napkins & crap.

So we’ll see. Our budget is especially tight now so I’m not sure when I’ll actually have the money to buy the supplies for the walls, floors and stuff. But I’d rather put together a plan of action and organize how I want to do it–that way when we can afford to splurge I can get the materials. 😉

Speaking of Roomsets/Dioramas/Displays…
Here’s a quick poll: please let me know what  The poll closed (11-12-2012) and this is what y’all told me call these things!

What do you prefer to call your 1/6 scale sets (or scenes)?

Poll Results:


Dioramas 50% 8
Room-sets 18.8% 3
Other *if other please share in comments!!!* 18.8% 3
Displays 12.5% 2
total votes: 16

My thanks to everyone who voted! I love to know what folks think! 😀

Starting again in 1:6 scale: dioramas, props, furniture…

Something I haven’t discussed very much is that I’m suffering some anxiety about starting from scratch again.

Having made the move meant losing a lot of my set pieces, props and pieces of furniture that I’d have liked to have kept…but couldn’t. And of course some of the pieces and props have been left behind in the UK but if I’ll ever have possession of them again is another question (they’re in storage at my inlaws — but it’s a complicated situation there and I’ll count myself lucky if my stuff doesn’t end up in the trash)…You know, stuff like the 1:6 quilts I made, my 1:6 bikes, my 1:6 vespa and vino scooters :S (not to mention things like my 1:1 diplomas, and papers)

So where does that leave me?

When we knew we were really leaving the UK I sold off my roomset bases & walls (which ok, would have been crazy to ship/take over with me) and a LOT of my props and furniture pieces.  And supplies. And tools. And …well, you get the idea, right?

I know it sounds like it should be easy.
Go out. Buy supplies. Buy materials. Make stuff.
Do it on an extreme budget.
Take photos.
Get busy.

Yea. Ok. It _should_ be that easy. But it’s not.
Sometimes the idea of rebuilding every roomset from scratch totally makes me cringe.

Ok, yes.

I managed to save the windows and doors from most of the older sets…but they’ll still need work. And there’s always the fact hanging over me that whatever house we end up with — because of our budget is going to be a major fixer-upper. Which means time for making diorama/prop stuff is going to be minimal. *sigh* and of course job hunting will have to take priority over that stuff too.
I know I’m whining a lot.
Please just bear with me–I really need to vent about this.

Room-sets I want to make once we get settled:

  • Student Dorm-room / Lounge (two sets on 1 base)
  • The Cup & Sorcery Cafe
  • Academic Offices
  • Academic/ reception area (Shay/Admissions/August etc.)

Those are the main “university related” ones. The ones not directly related to the university include:

  • Wrenwood Hall outdoor set & Wrenwood Hall indoor set
  • Wrenwood Hall – Wardrobe & costume shop /Actor lounge
  • Bar for adult staff & inhabitants of Quinlan
  • Gallery
  • The Actresses apartment
  • Cass & Tori’s apartment

Ok, and if you’ve read my blog at all you can probably guess that there are about 10 more that I’d like to make….if time, space and finances ever permit! 😛

That doesn’t even take on board props I need to replace, furniture I need to make (for the above and others).

The plus side on the furniture re-making is that at least I will design specific pieces with one room/set in mind. I know I need to take it one diorama at a time. And not set unreasonable / unrealistic deadlines.

MUST NOT set unreasonable expectations…….

Yeah. right.



Thanks for letting me vent! 😀



Changing a character: thinking about re-casting a role

Yes, it’s me again. I’m still jonesin’ to work on stuff, make stuff etc. But since I can’t I’ve gone through my “favorite” dolls (the ones who are still in my carry-on bag! LOL). While I was at it I was thinking about Claudia.

To refresh your memory this is Claudia:

Claudia was always supposed to come across as sexy, self confident and chic in a way that her best friend Mallory wasn’t.  I had a difficult time creating Claudia to fill that role, and fit (kind of) my mental image of her.

The problem I’m having with her is that she feels too “mature” to me.

Like maybe she’d be a better match in age as a professor, or other inhabitant of Quinlan…Maybe a gallery owner, secretary, or something.  Realistically, I know that you can get a range of students some of whom can easily pass for older adults…..but to me….I’m not so sure about this being the best Claudia. Does it seem right to re-cast her?

If I recast her, then the chances are I’ll end up using this custom for another character *to be developed based on appearance* but if I don’t recast her the odds are that Claudia won’t get much screen time because I won’t/don’t feel comfortable imagining her in that role.

What do you all think?

Would this custom seem to be a better match as an adult of some sort in Quinlan rather than a 19/20 year old?

Does she seem to have more of a “grown up” feel when you look at her?


Wrenwood Hall: more considerations!

So, you know if you want to make a medieval themed/ fantasy themed diorama  in 1/12 scale you can easily pick up the pieces—from furniture to props to lighting. It’s out there and–if you have the money–you can buy it. Sadly, the same isn’t really true about 1/6 scale.

The closest you can get within 1:6 is to buy the various action figures from the Ignite line of figures, or possibly the ones from that other series (Timeline? I forget what it’s called except there’s a girl in it?And I think time-travel?)

Of course, you’re still left hanging on a lot of things.  Occasionally you’re lucky and can find small bits & pieces that could be worked into it because scale on some things is varied. But I haven’t exactly got much on hand that will make the crossover from modern day use to fantasy/ medieval use.

If you can’t beg, borrow or steal it–that leaves you with Making it! So that’s what I’m left to do! (Darn it!) Ideally I’d like to be able to switch pieces between the two sets *partially so I don’t have to make more than the minimum right now; and because I really want to get these stories off the ground ASAP and not get too held up by making furniture and props!*

What’s on my list of things to make?

  • Benches & Chairs (2-4 of each) also 2 window seat benches
  • Chests (probably 2 will be enough)
  • Scribal desk/table (1)
  • Bed  (1)
  • Soft furnishings: banners/ tapestries, cushions, etc.

Of course I still need to make things like the doors & windows that go into the sets themselves. *sigh* so much work but I really do think it’ll be worthwhile when I’m done.

Anyway this weekend I’ll take some time and photograph how the roomsets (bases & walls have come along so far.) 🙂


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