Welcome to my quarter scale 'A Touch of Provence' project from Cynthia Howe.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Welcome to Mas des Roches

Some readers may already know that I had a bit of flirt with quarter scale a while ago.  I sold everything I owned to do with 1/12ths and set off on two delightful builds:  click on either name and the link will take you to the blogs I made for them.

The first was the one which gave me the 'itch' in the first place.  It was a wonderful little gate house kit made by Geoff Lewis.  I named it, with great imagination,

The Gate House

The other was a kit  from Petite Properties called Le Petit Palais.  I renamed it Les Roches 
 in memory of a lovely farmhouse we owned in France for a short while. (Click here for photos of the real life Les Roches)

Les Roches

I did very well with them and, at some level, really enjoyed working in a different scale but, after about a year I finally decided that quarter scale was a very different discipline to 1/12th.  I felt I was creating very cute models of houses rather than miniatures.  I appreciate that most of you will argue that is just playing semantics but it did seem very different to me and I came to realise that I really enjoyed the notion of shrinking a real life house in as much accurate detail as possible rather than making a 'suggestion' of a house.

I gave up on them and started all over again with my current 1/12th project - Dalton House.

Meanwhile I still follow bits and bobs of quarter scale.  For example I always like the pretty things Cynthia Howe offers.  Take a look here:  Cynthia Howe Miniatures

Recently, I came back from the York show having bought very little.  I had saved up money for the show for many months.  True to my childhood self I now had money burning a hole in my pocket so, without huge consideration, I ordered CH's latest online quarter scale class

A Taste of Provence

I was away for a couple of days last week and I came home to a post card saying my package had arrived but was being held hostage until I paid the Customs people £40.  This import duty malarkey drives me nuts.  Firstly it is actually at the discretion of whatever 'jobsworthy' picks up your parcel on any given day.  How can that be right?  Then, looking on their site, you need a degree in circumlocution to try and figure out how they could possibly charge you roughly 25% of the value of your item just to let it cross a border.  Part of this extortionate, which I think is total 'theft', is that the customs charge is calculated on, not only the price of the goods, but also the cost of postage. Then adding insult to injury eight pounds of this charge was actually made by Royal Mail for 'handling' it.  Obviously they don't handle the rest of the post - that is all done by levitation presumably.  In brief, you purchase something from outside the EU, paying the taxes in that country, you then pay expensive postage costs and then, depending on how the die fell that day, you may be required to pay a quarter of the cost again just to get your hands on your parcel when it crosses our border.  

So, when you consider buying something like these lovely kits (or anything else from outside the EU), you do need to cost in the possible/probable/maybe customs charge when making your decision.

None of this is the fault of Cynthia Howe and her delightful things.

Grumping over, here is my exciting package:

I received a beautifully packaged box just full of hundreds of tiny bits and bobs which will, one day, look something like Cynthia's.  I hope.  This little vignette has been named Mas des Roches (rock farm! in literal translation) again in honour of our lovely (RL) Les Roches.

This little kit covers a multitude of things in terms of finishes and I am hoping to improve different techniques or, even better, learn some new ones.  Sign up to follow if you want to see it happen.