The Windmill

A light up working windmill.

The Gothic Horror House

Based on the "Munsters" Tv show this house has all the typical horror features, lights up at night and glows in the dark..

The Snow Queen's Palace

Based on the Narnia books, this silver and white palace lights up.

Indian Pavilion

A small pavilion with decorated elephant and horse.

Bistro De Paris

A light up restaurant with bar and dance floor.

Blog Site Moving

This Blog site has been moved to my Emma.J main blog. All visitors will be redirected in 5 seconds to the Unique Buildings page there

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Items For Sale

I'm starting to sort out and downsize my Playmobil collection, this includes original sets, spare parts and customised items. I've changed the layout of my Emporium blog so visitors can hopefully see everything for sale all at once.

Here's a list of some of the things I hope to get sorted and listed for sale in the following months:

All my Steck castle parts and knights

Several original Playmobil Pirate Ships

Lots of Victorian Mansion spares, walls etc

Playmobil electric Train and station

Roman Colosseum

Fairy Treehouse

Lots of System X spares

Please email me if your interested in anything for sale on the Emporium or if you need a shipping quote.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

French Royal Carriage

My friend Manel recently asked me for some figures in the style of the French King Louis XVI and his court, and if possible a royal carriage. So here's my version of the state carriage with footmen and King Louis and Marie Antoinette in all their official state finery.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

French Court Figures

I've been asked by a friend if I could create some figures from the French court of Louis XVI so here are King Louis, Marie Antoinette and a few courtiers.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Disney Hotel

My Disney Hotel is finished and there are pictures on the Disney Hotel's Blog Page. If you would like to know how it was built please visit my how to page. For European visitors you may get the chance to see the Disney Hotel when it goes on tour with Circus Oliver. You'll also see my Snow Queen's Palace and Indian Pavilion in Oliver's amazing collection. I would recommend visiting Oliver's website to see some of his wonderful dioramas.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Making Disney & Sir Pleamo's 3D Design System

The main thing I'm always asked by other Playmobil fans is how do I build my houses, either how do I design it or how do I put it together. So here's a post about my latest and biggest design a Disney Hotel.

Back in February I was asked if it was possible to build Disney's Hotel and theme park entrance and was given several photos. I was asked if I could build it with just 2 of the pink floors and not to make it too long if possible.

When I first look at a real building to see if it can be copied I look at the type of wall used and the number of windows. This building obviously would have to be made from System X parts as it would give me the square windows and archways needed. I could then work out the size by copying the number of windows across. Normally I draw things out on a bit of paper then mock up a basic design but I had 2 problems with this. One it might be a bit hard for my client to understand my plans ( I can't draw very well) and two I didn't have enough parts or the right type in my own collection to build this.
If I'm making a totally new design for some one I like to show them some sort of mock up of the building so they can see what it might look like and I can get a sense of the parts, time and costs involved before we agree to go ahead with a commission. Luckily I'm a member of Playmofriends forum where I had heard of Sir Pleamo's and his friends work on a 3D design system for Playmobil. So I thought it was time I gave it a go.

Sir Pleamo's 3D design system.

Now I can't give enough credit to this guys hard work in undertaking such a massive and well done project. Basically Sir Pleamo and friends are trying to create every piece of Playmobil built, as a virtual 3D object that can be used to create anything you can think of  using Google's Sketch Up program. So far there are over 1700 parts already done. I'm quite good with computers and I design all my own wallpaper on it but I've had no experience with 3D cad design before and can't believe how well they've done everything. It is truly amazing the work involved. I am in total awe of it all and I just wanted everyone who admires my Disney Hotel to know that the original idea was made possible using this system.

Thank you Sir Pleamo!

So this was my first version of the hotel, not as stunning as the Sketch Up designs I've seen before but it was my first attempt and it was enough for me to see what would work and what wouldn't.

This is a window by window copy of the left half of the building with the centre column / entrance on the far right. I only worked on one side as the other would be a mirror image. I always start a copy of a real building like this as it's easier to cut down the size than have to enlarge a design. As you can see although this would be very true to the original hotel it would be a huge building and with the other side added on far to big.

From this design above I had to cut a few things down, I ditched the square ends and the larger tower,  what was the small tower would became the larger of the 2 towers and I designed an even smaller tower to add in it's place.

So this was my 3D design which let me work out the sort of parts I would need and let my client have a good idea of might be possible to build. I say might because until you have the actual parts in your hand you don't know what will work and what wont but it gave me a very good starting point.

OK this post has gotten very big so I'm going to transfer it onto a page instead. Please click on the link to continue reading.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Rising Cost Of Parts

Hello fellow Playmobil fans I know it's been a while since I've posted some things but I felt I need to explain some stuff to my visitors.

First of all and of greatest interest to most of you, my latest project the Disney Hotel is almost finished and I will have lots of photos up next month. This is a system X building and one of the largest ones I've built so far so I hope you enjoy looking at it :)  I've not given up building Playmobil things yet!

Secondly and most importantly to me I'd like to explain a few things about my work. I regularly get asked to build houses or make carriages and some people are surprised at the costs. I'm not trying to rip people off or charge stupid prices for things but I don't think a lot of people realise the rising costs of parts and materials involved so I thought I'd explain a little of whats involved in a couple of different projects.

This is the Victorian horse drawn bus I've only built 2 so far yet it is one of my most asked for vehicles, in fact I was asked for one today which is what has set this blog post off. If Playmobil made a carriage like this I guess they would be able to do it for around £35 based on the large princess carriage being £22 and I, like you would say that was a reasonable price. But for me it costs a lot more, I went on ebay today where I get most of my discontinued Playmobil to price up the parts. Keep in mind nearly everything I build if it's Victorian is from rare discontinued parts that haven't been made for about 10 years.

So this bus is made from a train carriage, a stage coach and an aeroplane! The only train carriage on there was £40, plus a carriage for the base about £15, plus the seating if I could get it as spares maybe another £10. So that's £65 without me doing a thing. Now add to that the costs of paint, glue, figures, material etc and your getting close to a £100, never mind the time it takes for me to build and paint all this. This is why I've only ever done 2 of these. I had managed to get the parts before really cheap with other items, because to me £100+ is too much to pay for a bus, I wouldn't pay it and I wouldn't ask anyone else to either. But this shows how much even a simple item can cost.

Now think on how much Victorian house parts are, a second hand wall is about £6-8 not including shipping it soon adds up! Most secondhand houses have parts missing and as it's always the same parts gone, those replacements have risen with the demand, e.g. £2 for a railing post, £1.50 for a base clip. The average price of basic furniture sets has almost doubled in price recently.

So why not build things from new modern parts your wondering, if it's still available then it's got to be cheaper right? Not always I wish it was.

This is the arched doorway from the new 5142 Palace, I've just changed the doors on it to those from the farm. Nice isn't it ? I've used these on my Disney hotel and they look great but because no one sells these as second hand spares I had to get them directly from Playmobil at £10 for that doorway wall it's cost me £60 just for the 6 main doors I've put into that building alone. Disney is 2m long 3 floors tall and has 46 windows to give you an idea of size and it's taken 5 months to design and build, when you see the finished building you can have a better guess at the costs involved in making such a large item.

Now I've just mentioned how long it's taken to make the Hotel because that's the other major thing involved with my work and that's the time taken to do it. I haven't got a little factory here or expensive machinery, it's just me with a hand saw, some clippers and paint brushes basically. Everything is hand cut and painted. This all takes time, a lot of time if it's a house, even small things like a customised figure can take several hours to do. I work and have a family and have other interests so making a figure can use up my evening.

The first time I make something it's usually because I fancy trying it out. I build it for me, for the enjoyment of creating something new, trying out a new design, seeing if my ideas will work. I don't care how long it takes to build, if I realise part way through the design doesn't work and I have to start again, I don't mind. When at the end I've built it and decide to part with it so I can start something new I don't really factor in all the time taken. If I was to charge for the time spent building I'd hate to think of real cost of a house!!! Think of the Disney hotel at 5 months to build, on average that's 15 to 20 hrs a week some times more, that's 400hrs at least. WOW until now I didn't think about how much time I've spent on that project alone. Maybe I should start charging by the hour :)

So you see when you ask about how much a house is to buy I can't compete with a company like Playmobil, I don't mass produce to keep the costs down like them, every piece is an individual hand crafted item and I think fairly priced based on the current costs and labour involved to produce.

I hope having read this little explanation you can all get a bit of a better idea as to what goes into my work no matter what the size or shape. Thanks for reading this and I hope you will all continue to enjoy my creations, best wishes to all :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Oriental Wedding Carriage

Based on a painting by James Ng this is my steampunk oriental wedding carriage. More photos on the Creations blog.