Sunday, 9 October 2016

So the San Franciscan it is!

The Vintage San Franciscan arrived safely from the USA!

So I decided to build the San Franciscan 557 by Dura Craft first... I was in two minds about this as I really have some fun ideas for the Heritage and after reading Otterine's blog on her amazing Haunted Heritage, I'm dying to get started on it (no pun intended  :D). But as this is my first dollhouse build, I've decided to use the San Franciscan as a test house of sorts.

There are several reasons for this ...

  1. It is basically a square shape.. Not withstanding the bay window & tower at the front. Interior decorating & trimming should be relatively easy.

  2. In my mind at least this will be an easier house to build because it has MDF pre-milled solid sides (less prone to warping with age which hopefully means less wrangling.. lol). The heritage is also pre-milled (not MDF), but comes in pieces of tongue and groove that you have to slot together and then inside some corner guides/channels. From what I've read during my research, it can be quite challenging. The San Franciscan has just enough of this channel & thinner ply wood used on the bay windows for me to gain some skills but not enough to derail me... I hope.. haha!

  3. My intentions for the Heritage are a bit more ambitious and include a bash to make a third floor & perhaps some changes to the porch. I'm really more excited about the heritage build, but I fear my ambition outweighs my ability :)) so I think I need a bit of practice before starting that build. I'm hoping the San Franciscan will be fairly forgiving... Having said that, I have read the horror stories of Dura-Craft working windows though and the San Franciscan has a LOT of windows! I guess we shall see. :) I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I want to be able to do what I want to build to the Heritage, to a good standard.

  4. This is a really pretty house with a lot of architectural detail, I think/hope it's going to look fantastic once it's complete... if there is such a thing in minis. I intend to build this kit essentially out of the box. I have no great plans for modifications other than to perhaps replace the doors with houseworks ones and maybe turn the stairs around/replace the stairs. Being a 557, it's design doesn't allow for a lot of customisation, so their won't be any unique roof additions or extra windows & balconies. That is,  unless I can get the local Men's shed to do my carpentry.(Might have to bake them some cookies :D ) I don't have the tools or the skills to make cut outs in solid MDF.

Having said that I would like to add a basement to the house containing a garage and a basement room (use to be determined). So that this looks like the row houses you see in photos of San Francisco. Not sure if I'll be able to pull it off though.

Look at these beauties! (source Wikipedia & Pinterest)

Don't expect my San Franciscan to be a traditional painted lady like these above. Mine will be all white on white like this lovely house below.


Can't decide if I want a Black roof, a grey roof or if I'll leave the shingles their natural wood colour. But I will be having a stone foundation. I'm not using the magic brick that comes with the kit. First of all the kit is vintage so who knows if it's even still good. Also from the look of the bag in the kit it's a really messy process prone to error for a klutz like me so, I'd rather not, thank you! lol.

So I opened the box...

[gallery ids="496,497" type="rectangular"]

[gallery ids="191,192" type="rectangular"]
Wow! Lots of pieces... Mansion in Minutes?... I think not!

Some of the pieces are damaged, which I will need to address at some point. As you can see a couple of the tower trim pieces have some serious issues..


I most likely will try to fill these parts with wood filler/spackle and then rely on some heavy duty sanding to get them back into an approximation of their original shape.

The stairs in this kit come as separate treads and don't seem to have any railings. The lip on the treads of quite a few of them has broken off.


I will probably replace both staircases with kit stairs, as although I could probably cobble together one staircase out of the "good"parts, they are a different scale to most 1:12 stairs and two different sized staircases would look weird. I also want my staircases to have railings so it's probably easier just to get kits. On the up side, the front porch stairs seem to be intact, which is great because they are longer than your usual stair and I don't know how I would replace them. I'd probably have to get creative and make my own out of foam core and kit scraps.. eek!

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