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The Big Bus... a new kind of Dollhouse Kit

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Get ready to start your engines because the Big Bus Dollhouse Kit is coming to town.   It all started with an email from our friends over at Hobby Builders Supply.  The Miniature Mad Man, Ernie Collier, mentioned something about a bus in his March newsletter which got a tremendous response.  It didn’t take long before we got the call; "Make me a bus"! 

This isn’t the first time we’ve been challenged by HBS.  Our Houseboat kit was the direct result of Ernie’s love of real houseboats.  He got it in his mind that it would make a great project for miniaturist and decide to drive us crazy until we finally made him a prototype.  I have to admit that the houseboat dollhouse kit has become very popular, so this time, we didn’t hesitate and knocked this project out in record time!

When I sat down with my development team and said BUS, they all scratched their heads.   We had three goals; Make is stylishly, make it functional and make it affordable.  We started our research and struck a target retail price of $40 and with in a week (okay, maybe two weeks), we where sending pictures to HBS for their input. As you can see in the picture below, we originally had the opening on the opposite side of the bus.  Ernie and his team made mention of his and we were in full agreement, so we switched it around and started the final prototype.


Now that the details were hammered out, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get busy!  Introducing a new product is quite involved for us at Greenleaf.  We needed to transform a sample that was hand cut on a jigsaw into a manufactured product; fist layouts, then tooling the dies, sampling, more tooling, more sampling and then finally making a box and packing it all up.  Since this item is an HBS exclusive, there was no need for a point of sale label, but there was the matter of assembly instructions.  In steps Hobby Builders Supply resident-miniaturist, Sally Cook-Thomas.  We have worked closely with Sally in the past and it’s always been a joy.  Sally was also responsible for writing the Houseboat instructions which were spot on, so we are grateful that she took this responsibility off our desk.  It’s a very involved process that would have bogged us down and drastically effected the released date, so three cheers for Sally.  On top of this commitment, Sally took one of our final prototypes and decorated it for the HBS catalog cover and was kind enough to share it was us (so six cheers for Sally).  Her Sixties theme is whimsical and fun, so I used it as the focus of the above flash presentation.

Greenleaf now has three dollhouse kits based on a transportation theme.  First, there was our Miniature Travel Trailer, followed by our Houseboat kit and finally the Big Bus which is now available for pre-order exclusively at Miniatures.com.  They are running a pre-order special, so you can get $5.00 off the $39.99 retail price.  This coupon code, WPC2812, MUST be entered in the media code box while checking out.  For those of you interested in the recreating the Sixties theme, there are more pictures of Sally’s bus with links to some of the items she used available here.

In closing, I’d like to thank Ernie for approaching us with this project.  I’m sure that he could have imported this kit for less money, but when possible,  he prefers to buy products made in the USA.  As an American manufacturer, this is something we always appreciate!


View the full article at Dolllhouse-Kits.com
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This is really cute. I have to think hard about my commitment to not buy any new minis for awhile, til I get farther along on my Brookwood... hmmmm...my credit card finger is gettin' itchy...

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:wave: DH just talked about next year's show and how important it is to have something completly different compared to all the others... Sooooo I can see me getting a couple of buses, travel trailers as well as a houseboat just for the funm of it, I mean he DID say that now didn't he??? One each for me as a showing example and one for selling :wave: Well one can dream atleast...


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  • 4 months later...
  • 3 years later...
  • 11 months later...

I have ordered the Greenleaf Vintage Travel Trailer. I have a bet with me, that I need to put together something.

And, this is something.

I love so many of your ideas. This forum is a fun place to be and what a wonderful way to pass the time!


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Your dish garden is adorable! I had a blast putting the Travel Trailer together. Because we were using our first RV travel trailer I incorporated several things from ours as well as others we'd looked at I changed a few things. I still have another TT kit to put together. I looked long & hard at the bus kit this thread features, but it never spoke to me.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 10 months later...

I would like to know if there is any way I can get this kit. My reason for wanting it is because my mother died of Kidney Cancer this June and she LOVED all things hippie and I would LOVE to make this a hippie bus in honor of her memory. If anyone can help me I would so greatful!! Thank you for any and all help!!

Amanda <3

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I'd try Ebay or Craigslist or the like. Maybe someone here has one that they would be willing to part with.

Good luck with your search and let us know when you start building. Sounds like a wonderful tribute to your mom.

I don't think it's been in production for quite some time. It used to be sold through Greenleaf Company Store and at Hobby Builders Supply (miniatures.com)

You could also contact Greenleaf directly and see if they have an old kit laying around on the back shelf somewhere. They are a small enough company that they give very good personal service like that.

(800) 253-7150
Fax: (607) 638-9076

Greenleaf Dollhouses Business hours are M-F 8am through 4pm Eastern Standard Time

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I think you are correct holly. But since GL produced it, they might still have the fixings (aka. dies) for it.

Would copyrights be gone by now if they had belonged to "Ernie"?

I'm not sure how that would work. Hm-m-m?

It was huge and I'm sure it wasn't a top seller so it's not surprising that it went by the wayside.

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  • 1 month later...

Oh my! We have people left over from the 60's living in these things by the Gorge (Taos, New Mexico)!!!! I gotta make one! Awesome!

Here's a couple of photos for inspiration....lol



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