Red Box Miniatures is named after the piece of kit that transports ideas from Beth’s head to the real world. Namely, the 3D resin printer, which is recognisable for its large, red, box-like cover. The cover prevents Ultra-Violet(UV) light from ruining the print.
Before the resin printer is even turned on, Beth has to create a digital copy of the model to print. She will draw the shape of the finished object (such as a dome for a lampshade) and then begin to add detailing to it. Each individual line of detailing has to be sculpted and placed. This part of the design process can take up to a week to complete for complex items and there is no way to know whether it will even work until it is printed for the first time. It’s fair to say that there have been many frustrating ‘back to the drawing board’ moments.
When the design is ready, it is transferred to the printer. The printer creates extremely thin layers of resin and binds them together by spot-curing it with ultra-violet light. This can take a few hours to complete but, creating a solid shape from a puddle of goo is extremely satisfying. The printed pieces are then cleaned to remove any of the excess liquid resin and then cured under a very strong UV light to solidify the outside layer in readiness for painting. Each part of each piece is then painted individually by hand using translucent paint containing high quality pigment. Once painted any transparent parts are given a coat of high-clarity varnish which gives them the beautiful glass-like appearance. This hand-painting process means that no items will ever be truly the same.
Once upon a time, over thirty years ago, a relative built me a mock-tudor dolls house to play with. Unfortunately I already had a huge, shiny ‘She-Ra Castle’ to play with so I’m afraid it was mostly ignored and eventually spirited away to the attic.
Later, my Dad built a model railway from scratch for my younger brothers and I really enjoyed helping him create the model buildings and landscaping. With a hankering to make more, I trotted off to the ‘big’ ‘newspaper shop in town to buy a model railway magazine which is where one would find such information before the internet. On the way to the shelf with the railway stuff, I happened to notice a magazine all about dolls houses, it brought to mind the old house I had in the attic and, well, I never made it to the model railway magazines (sorry brothers!). It turned out that the first house was the wrong scale, but it got me started and was soon replaced by a Georgian townhouse that I built with my Dad in 1:12th scale. Thus began a lifelong love of collecting and creating miniatures.
When 3D print technology became available domestically it opened up a myriad of possibilities for my dolls house. I had a background in design and 3D modelling already so I started to make little things that I hadn’t been able to find for myself and I thought they were fairly successful. Red Box Miniatures began as a way to share those printable files that I created but today it is also an outlet for my own physical miniatures that are wholly designed and finished by me.