Monday, May 09, 2011

Sometimes I find good things

I always drop by the local Goodwill when I'm in the area, which happens at least several times a week.  Admittedly 1/6th figure related stuff has been scarce to non-existent lately, but I find other goodies and prop items that weren't INTENDED for 1/6th.  Enough to make my visits worthwhile anyway.

Today though, was the first time in a while that I found multiple 1/6th intended items worth bringing home.  Here's my haul:

Max Steel was annoyed to find two drunk ninjas on his front lawn...
The two GI Joes are from the Target Snakeeyes vs. Storm-shadow two-pack.  No accessories or boots, but that's okay, since I was mostly interested in them for the jumpsuits (especially the white one, which I use as the basis for my "Minions at Work" Minions uniform.

The Max Steel is a rare Ultra-Action body with no modifications or action-features.  This is a great body for customizing,  It's flexible, durable, and proportioned like modern Action Man, making it a great upgrade or replacement for some of those bodies.  I've got a bunch of these already, but I can always put one more in the project box.

The best find, however, was the nifty little folding dollhouse for $3.99.  Sadly, I have no idea what this thing is called, or what doll line it comes from.  Given the quality of construction and detail, and the subdued, non-Barbieish colors, I have a vague idea it might be from the Hanna Montana doll line (which had some interesting accessories and props in some of its sets), but I'm just guessing.  If anyone knows, leave a comment.

Anyway, I've picked up a couple of folding fashion-doll dollhouses/playsets over the years, with the intention of doing something with them, but mostly they just gather dust.  Most are molded in terrible colors: pink, purple, white.  Most would require disassembly for proper painting, but they aren't designed to come apart. Also, many of the plastics used are very hard to paint.

Most are designed to look good from outside, but inside walls often have bizarre indents that match details on the outside.  Often they have molded in hearts, flowers, logos, and other stuff that would have to be hidden or removed to make them usable for my purposes.  They also tend to have unrealistic and toy-like details, especially where it comes to windows and doors.

Several of them are also just too big to be set up on a table for easy inside photography.

Get inside!  It's freezing out here!
This little house is an exception in most every way.  Let's start with the colors.  Very subdued, and bordering on realistic.

There are a bunch of neat details, like the separate door knobs and the working mail-slot in the door.  (Though, who has a mail slot any more?)  That little gray button off to the right is a working (though batteries installed in the back of the house) doorbell.

The whole house is big enough folded to serve as a photo backdrop, and looks decent when folded, but small enough for easy storage.

The center brick section (behind Max's leg next to the door in the above picture) is a hidden latch that allows the house to unfold.  The front splits next to the door.  Let's open it up and have a look inside.

This room could use some decorating...
It doesn't look like much, but just as it sits, this is a pretty versatile little set for photo work.  With the visible sink and washer-dryer, the right side could serve as a utility room or the corner of a basement.  Shoot to the left with the door and window, add a table to make it a breakfast room, or a chair to make it a living room or other generic interior room.  Hide the washer and sink behind a potted plant, wall hanging, or piece of furniture, and you could also shoot the right side as an entrance hall.

But we're not done there.  The little hose has other secrets...

That's no closet!  It's a WATER closet!

Open the wall section with the door, and there's a bathroom hiding behind it, with a toilet and shower.  The sink and mirror we saw earlier now become part of the bathroom.  The toilet bowl actually folds up to store flat behind the door.  Even so, the lid and seat can be lifted individually.  When you do, a flushing sound-effect is activated!

I like some of the details here: the toilet paper roll on the wall, the chromed towel ring, the shower wand, the yellow soap dish, and the realistic window.  All this stuff is undersized, but as background items, they work just fine for photo purposes.

If you need a larger, more open bathroom, you could use it like this, but if you want something more compact, like a motel or apartment bath, just swing the wall to the right...

Is this microphone on?
That gives us a compact, three-wall bathroom set, and if anything, makes it look more realistic.  The  shower head is removable, and there's also a shower sound effect when you push down the water handle.  There's a way (short of removing the batteries) to turn the sound off.  More on that in a minute.

The next step of transformation is to swing the wall with the sink and mirror all the way to the right, folding the toilet up as you do.  This exposes the kitchen.

Yes, I said, kitchen.  And not just ANY kitchen, either!  This is the GI Joe Adventure Team kitchen/laundry!

Yes, you heard me right.

Have a look below.  You've already seen the orange washer and drying, but you really don't get the whole effect until you've seen the yellow kitchen appliances that go with them!

Add caption

Again, everything here is really undersized, especially the stove, which has burners sized for coffee cups  But again, might work for a background piece.  As you see below, most of the doors, fridge, oven, washer and dryer, open.  Strangely, if there are any sound effects for the kitchen, I haven't found them.  There is an action feature though.  The projection on top of the washer and dryer pair is a button.  When pushed, it activates a mechanism to spin the drums inside the laundry machines.  Like I said, the doors open.  Unfortunately, these aren't very deep.  You won't get much in there beyond a couple pair of scale-sized socks!
I suppose if this were REALLY the Adventure Team, it would fold into a backpack!
Here's a closer detail on the kitchen with all the doors open.

There's a little slide switch under the stove knobs.  This turns the sound-effects on and off, and makes the apparent lack of sound in the kitchen area all the more puzzling.  Why put the switch there when the sounds are next door?  (Actually, the battery compartment may be hidden under the stove or in the bottom of the fridge.  I haven't checked to see where the battery compartment door on the outside back wall is relative to them.)

If you could find a way to rip these things out, given their size and color, they'd look right at home in some kind of GI Joe Adventure Team Motor Home.

All-in-all, this is a great little play-set that lends itself to a lot of "domestic" photo opportunities with no modification at all (other than the addition of some furniture and props).

I expect I'll use it for some future "Minions at Home" type cartoons, once I think up the jokes to go with them.


Dollz4Moi said...

I may be wrong but I think your house is Totally Real house from Mattel. Once upon a time they made things in colors other than pink :O)

J. Steven York said...

You've got it, Dollz4Moi. That's exactly what it is. And good-grief, complete anyway, these things are selling for a fortune! I may want to avoid modifying this one!

Dollz4Moi said...

This may be a duplicate entry but this is Barbie's Totally Real house. I have one and I love the fact that it's not all pink