Time for the roof! I wasn't quite sure exactly how I was going to thatch the roof. Raffia or coconut fiber was the most likely choice, but I wasn't really happy with the look of raffia. To me, it wasn't quite to scale and it just had a rough look that didn't please me. Then Carol came to my rescue! She told me about a Derek Rowbottom technique of using fake fur and varnish for a thatched roof. Obviously, my first reaction was, "Will my japanese house look like it's wearing a russian hat?". But Carol has never steered me wrong and she's an excellent source for historical accuracy, so I dashed off to walmart to pick up some brown fake fur.
I cut the fur pieces to fit the roof in sections. The large pieces for the gables are two large pieces (one for each side), cut to fit the top of the roof and drape down the side in one piece. I was really pleased with the way the two pieces met in the valley of the roof. The backs are individual pieces that are snugged up under the top of the roof and meshed with a bit of a comb-over. Here's what it looked like clamped into place as I trimmed the edges.
Once the pieces were trimmed and I double checked to make sure it was all aligned, I took off each piece one at a time, applied tacky glue to the roof and replaced the fur. I made sure there was an even application of glue and smeared it down over the edges just a little bit. When the fur was on, I used my fingers to brush the fur over the edges so that it would fall down over the eaves just a tiny bit. I did the same on the top edges in the back so that the edges there didn't look rough or abrupt.
Then came the fun part. I'm still giggling just thinking about it. Believe me, if you wanna have some fun with a mini, give this a try.
I used a small can of minwax satin finish varnish and a regular, plastic, fine tooth hair comb. I dipped the comb into the varnish, tapped off the excess and then combed the fur. Be sure to use a straight and even comb thru to the bottom and overlap the combing so the teeth marks are even. It starts to get really messy here, coz fake fur sheds more than a persian cat in the springtime, so keeping a roll of paper towels on hand is a really good idea. You need to wipe off the comb before dipping it back into the varnish.
Keep going till you've combed out the whole roof and have a nice, even coat of varnish on it. Even before it dries, you'll be able to see the difference. The fur has suddenly taken on an even, fiberous look that's a genuine 1:12 scale thatch. I was sooooooooooooooo happy with the results.
After I got the thatching on, the wood trim on the top portion of the house got a dirty wash with some dark brown watered down paint. That was the look I was going for and I'm finally happy with the way it looks. It needed the thatching in place to show me what color it should be.
It's starting to look like my vision now.