Over the last year, I’ve become more and more of a miniature garden enthusiast, especially thanks to the influence of Janit Calvo over at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center in Seattle. Part of the reason is that while it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable to buy a miniature garden already constructed and ready, half of the fun is in constructing something completely new. Janit already shares a lot of her best ideas, but you always have those days when you have that itch on the back of your brain where you know exactly what you need to make the perfect miniature garden, but you don’t know where to find it. As with books, sometimes the only option for that perfect part is to make it yourself.
The good news here is that miniature gardening and standard model building have a lot of overlap, both in understanding of scale and in available tools. Some people, such as the Czarina, sigh “that’s the danger,” and they’re RIGHT. Given my druthers, I’d have a workspace comparable to Shawn Thorsson’s, and this comes from someone trying to figure out how to build a custom vacuum plastic former like his. The Czarina and I keep getting into arguments about this: she seems to think that the garage should be used for sheltering the car from our bouts of foul Texas weather, and I counter that the car can stay outside while I’m designing mockup lunar plant growth chambers.
The next few Post-Nuclear Family Gift Suggestions installments will go into specific tools and supplies, but let’s look at sources for items with easy applications with miniature gardens and arrangements. That starts with going with experts in the subject, and that’s why I recommend spending a few hours poking around Squadron Models. At bare minimum, consider the merits of getting a Squadron Essential Tool Kit if you don’t already have these tools on hand. Either way, the tools listing can be dangerous as well.
This is all good, but then there’s subject matter. As great as Squadron is, it lacks in selection of dinosaur figures what it meets with space subjects, and I’m constantly asked about sources for decent dinosaur figures. That’s why I send everyone over to Dan’s Dinosaurs for moderately-priced prehistoric animals figures best-suited for miniature garden applications. Even with the name, Dan’s Dinosaurs is also an excellent source for models of plants and animals that predate or postdate the dinosaurs, so go crazy with Deinotherium and Scutellosaurus additions to an arrangement.
Now let’s just say that you don’t want to go with dinosaurs, and science fictional material won’t cut it for you. In that case, head toward the Space Store’s selection of space models. Speaking from experience, most succulent miniature garden arrangements just beg for an accurate Viking 1 lander somewhere among the sands, and I’m still waiting for someone else to credit the equally successful Luna missions by setting up an arrangement with a Lunkakhod 1. Likewise, if you really need astronaut figures for your arrangement, the Space Store has those, too.
More to follow…