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