Small-Scale Building Kits
Why Amazon Building Kits?
Because I moved to an 821 sq ft condo (in keeping with my small-scale stuff obsession), I don’t have the room for a large dollhouse. During pandemic boredom, I was getting antsy to build something. I decided to look on Amazon and noticed a number of small-scale building kits. Completed, these little buildings would fit on shelves in my condo. Plus, the price of these building kits was far cheaper than the cost of a 1:12 scale dollhouse kit. Finally, the reviews were, for the most part, positive. (I did run Fakespot to see if the review were fake, and the score at the time was A.) I decided to give the kits a try.
First Building Kit I Bought – Time of Coffee
The first small-scale building kit I bought was Time of Coffee House. It cost about $35 on Amazon, but I believe I got it on sale for around $25. I noticed that Amazon has the kit listed under various names. The kit is from Asia.
This building kit structure is very nice, but I found three major flaws with the build. First, the instructions were subpar and difficult to understand in some instances. Clearly, a non-native English speaker wrote them. Also, given my age and poor eyesight, I found the tiny typeset difficult to read.
Second, my building kit was missing some materials, such as the dust cover and a few wood pieces.
Third, the kit requires you to assemble items from paper, beads, and tiny pieces of wood. You have to cut intricate and detailed paper items (food, foliage, packaging). Then, you need to fold and glue microscopic tabs to assemble the items. With my bad vision and fingers that lock up, I found it difficult to assemble the tiny pastries and little food packages. Perhaps those without these constraints would not find the little packages and desserts difficult to assemble.
Bottom line: This is a cute small-scale bakery café. I like the final product and it is small enough to fit in my condo. But, this kit is pretty difficult to build. If you are up to the challenge and have good manual dexterity, this kit might work for you. However, if you don’t mind spending the money on a bakery kit, you might wish to consider a pricier alternative, which is the Lego Parisian Restaurant.
Second Amazon building Kit I Bought – Cathy’s Greenhouse
Cathy’s Greenhouse is sold under several different names on Amazon, including Cathy’s Flower House. In my opinion, the greenhouse is a better small-scale building kit versus Time of Coffee. But, it is still a challenging build. Basically, I have the same complaints as with the Time of Coffee kit. Specifically, the instructions could be better. Second, the plants require tedious assembly. Again, you need to cut intricate and very detailed paper items. However, I found the plants far easier to make in this kit than the teensy tiny pastries in the other kit.
I decided to make some minor modifications to the greenhouse and added some premade plants and gardening tools. However, I had difficulty constructing the greenhouse plexiglass walls. The tabs to connect the plexiglass would not stay glued in place. Whatever you do, don’t use a hot glue gun. Nevertheless, I found building Cathy’s Greenhouse “easier” compared to Time of Coffee. I really like the end result.
Would I Buy More Small-Scale Building Kits?
Overall, I didn’t hate the experience of building the two kits. I recognize that, given the low cost of these kits, they are not the highest quality. Also, building the small-scale objects in these kits requires much assembly and tedious cutting and gluing. Would I do it again? Probably. I just bought another kit, this one on sale for $17. I plan to hack the kit, probably using the building structure of the kit and most of the furniture. However, I am going to replace the frustratingly teensy-tiny items with better quality and less tedious to make objects.