Large Scale Central

2023 Mik Challenge - Makeke o Haluku'ilio

Clan Mueller’s Mik challenge began with a traditional argument followed by brainstorming, all of which occurred as we engaged in the annual New Years Eve battle for railroad dominance in the boardgame version of “Railroad Tycoon” (I won!). The bickering settled down and resulted in the following list over the next several days:

Aerial reconnaissance of the Haluku’ilio (Dog Wallow) followed…
Video: Aerial Reconnaissance of Haluku’ilio
…which revealed a few promising areas for development in our fictional port town.

At this point, I sent in Kid-zilla’s 1:24 “diggermen” to do the site surveys. The first area showed promise for some of the larger proposed structures.

Another crew discussed waterfront development…

…while a third got hung up discussing a possible fishmarket.

We all sat down and agreed that Haluku’ilio is under constant threat by Acts of Dog(s), both of whom wallow in our lily pond. That meant structures had to be removeable. No one really liked the corner location, and the fishmarket, which we’d hoped to combine with a building scheduled for rehabilitation, would have been too sprawling for safe end of day storage if we tried to connect it to that building’s wall. This left us with the waterfront area, which we all agreed could house numerous small market stalls. Hence, “Makeke o Haluku’ilio” or “Dog Wallow Market.”

The plan is to make a base we will leave in place, then, following the spirit of our own Mueller Mini-Mik, each person will make a stall to the exacting standards of 1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL scale.

Yours truly will make a garden train stall…

…while Oldest Daughter has committed to a new age plants, crytals, and fortune telling stall…

and her sister is actually going to make a food stall.

Oldest Son as decided there should be a place to sell model planes…

…while Kid-zilla has opted for a LEGO-Stand.

CINCHOUSE will serve as enforcer to keep us all on schedule!

I actually regret we will not have a singular project, as it will be harder to shepherd things along, and I will miss the team effort. On the other hand, it will be neat to see each member of the clan unleash his or her creative talents to help develop our waterfront!

On Behalf of Team Mueller…

Let it BEGIN!


I think that is a great idea to let the crew build their own structures for Dog Wallow Market.

Will be watching each Team Mueller member’s build with great interest.

Eric, the lessons your young ones are learning through “playing with trains” will pay huge dividends when they embark on their adult life. They probably don’t see the long term benefit yet, but they soon will and those around them (friends, coworkers, employers, spouses, etc) will wonder where they learned those skills and would never guess it came from playing with trains.

GO TEAM MUELLER :grin: :smiley: :upside_down_face:

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OK, we are off and running…or limping…

The boys and I began Saturday by reconverting our lanai from Christmas Room to workshop and organizing our materials…

…so that we could actually select materials! Kid-zilla ralled the 1:24 “diggermen” and their tools for the projects. That was about as far as we got.


We got going in earnest Sunday. Oldest Son (O.S.) and I both decided separately to try and use up as much scrap as we could from our “gemuckabuckets.” He is selected foam as his primary medium and dug out scrap “corrugated iron” from our sugar mill project ( M&K Sugar Mill).

We all know how much I love (said with dripping sarcasm) working with saws and wood. I resolved to use the Mik as an opportunity to focus on improving my woodworking skills. I found some sticks my father-in-law salvaged from his bottomless pit of old projects to make replacement poles for the 1:1 crew’s long-abandoned play tent…

…which the 1:24 “diggermen” and I proceeded to cut into bits…

…only to find that we still cannot measure and cut wood with any accuracy.

Meanwhile, across the table, O.S. started to cut his chosen scraps to shape…

…as Kid-zilla set up the workcamp for the 1:24 gang.

Kid-zilla decided to make small foam scraps from larger ones before making a rest table for the “diggermen” rather than start his project, which they appreciated at the end of the shift.

For our parts, O.S. and I ended Sunday with some basic framing.


Tonight, the boys and I continued (The girls allege they still have plenty of time.).

O.S. and the 1:24 gang hollowed out a foam block to serve as a display window.

He did this rather than to try and craft shelves, which he thought would be too difficult at this size. He then scaled down he plans for a rubberband powered plane in a book on the subject to make the first model.

Kid-zilla used foam and carved the roof and signboard for his vegetable stand.

Yours truly used a pinnailer to reinforce the existing joints then sanded and shimmed and got the frame in shape.

Consistent with all other projects, non-Euclidean geometry applies despite all efforts to align and measure things. Oh, well, it is supposed to be a market stall and not a five-star hotel!

The girls lent intellectual power tonight as we discussed how best to develop the waterfront where the market will go. We rejected concrete paving stones, as we could discern no way to make them look like anything other than concrete paving stones. A permanently installed foam base or even a recessed basin for a removable one would not survive Acts of Dog. We felt Hardieback with foam “cobble stones” would ultimately prove too brittle. We settled on getting the same synthetic “wood” we used for our trestle, cutting it to size, scoring it like planks on a dock, and boring holes to fit pins in the forthcoming stalls. This would also allow us to install stuff like bollards and cleats, replacing a pier that long ago succumbed to the elements and Acts of Dog. I should be able to pick up a suitable plank on the way home from work tomorrow.

I have to admit, surrendering the timing of the Mik across five separate builders is hair raising. We’ll see if al five stalls make it across the line in time!



The highlight of this challenge definitely has shifted for me. While I still look forward to my projects, I now more than anything enjoy watching the Mueller family and seeing what they are up too.

Eric I’ve always found that clamping a stop to butt my wood against at my desired length helped avoid major discrepancies. I think I even saw a couple old time C clamps in one of your pics that look like they might work with that saw. :innocent: But that said progress is looking good on all fronts. :sunglasses: JMHO YMMV

Just wanted to add that your cuts seem to be straighter. editted at 5:47


I just have to wonder where Eric gets all of his tiny little helpers! :innocent:

NOBODY ever helped me! :thinking:

Dang, Bruce, I didn’t realize your were old enough to forget how that happens … Oh, you were referencing the 1:24 workers :crazy_face:

Eric, your work crew has been busy. I like the little chopsaw you have now. I have one very similar that comes in handy during these builds. One thing I don’t seem to remember seeing in your photos is a measuring tape, ruler or other measuring device. If you and your crew have been eyeballing all the cuts over all the builds chronicled on LSC, you’ve done a heck of a job turning out great structures and rolling stock. Kudo’s to Team Mueller.

Awesome !!! Look forward to lots of pictures and great shops at Dog Wallow

Eric I second Dave’s suggestion, something I should do to but never seem to think about. a clamp holding a chunk of wood at the precise length needed is great for getting consistent cuts. Just make sure to move any sawdust or debris out of the way and you will be thrilled with the results.

Thanks everyone! We actually do use a ruler, and I apply the measure-57-times-screw-up-anyway rule. The chop saw, however, does make it easier.

As for the build, the store no longer carries that fake wood stuff, so I have to try something else to serve as our “dock” for the market area. Since we take our buildings into the lanai at night, anyway, I may cut and score some scrap plywood…assuming I have some! I have also not yet convinced the girls that they should, perhaps, start…

The boys and I, however, have been plodding along…

Kid-zilla finished the roof and sign…

…and cut the vegetable table, too.

O.S., meanwhile, bent his “tin” to form a roof.

I erroneously thought that I had achieved a square structure.

Not confident in my ability to make this any squarer, I trusted to non-Euclidean geometry and proceeded to try and cut some parts for what I thought was a 30-60-90 triangle to form the roof…

…only to find that if one is planning to take advantage of a 30-60-90 triangle, one should actually account for that in one’s original measurements. My lines are non-Euclidean; alas, my angles were decidedly Euclidean, so the 1:24 gang had the crane haul that failed part away as they braced the rest of the structure to let “Plan B” set over night. Below, please find the frame after applying “Plan B.”

Next up I shall roof this, making a subroof of our go-to material, craft sticks. Then I will make the walls with small bits of craftsticks before proceeding to shelving using…EGG CRATE!

While I am not sure about the boys, my plan is to get the stall done quickly so I can focus on details that make it a market stall. I am not sure the girls have a plan at all!



You just made my entire day with this single line

Progress limped along…


The 1:24 gang and I found a suitable piece of egg crate…

…and cut it to size.

It has since got a lovely coat of brown paint. This will be part of the shelving.

Feeling quite pleased with progress, I decided to pinnail the rest of the beams in place.

That didn’t work…After quelling the labor dispute, I ground off the exposed nails, got out the TiteBond III, and clamped everything together for the night.


All hands on deck!

Kid-zilla made something from kebab skewers…

…and something else with foam.

His brother, who found out the previous evening that spray paint is not the right way to color foam, nonetheless forged ahead.

With what he is forging, I know not, but forging he is! He is also trying to figure out how to smooth out the spray-paint-eaten sides. I should note, as a side challenge, he is trying to using no other materials beyond those he selected from day number one.

Youngest Daughter, meanwhile, converted some beads and odds and ends into 1:24 fruit and vegetables.

Gorgeous! Too bad the challenge isn’t “Mik 2023: Make Scale Fruit and Vegetables!”

Oldest Daughter, who has been full of advice for me, has decided to let procrastination be its own creative reward. Later.

The gang and I had two axes of advance. First, of course, was the stall itself. I braced the corners with small square blocks.

I decided not to risk pinnailing this again. When that had dried enough, I flipped the stall back over and gave it over to the roofers.

This did require some shimming. I will Dremel away the excess later.

Not wanting to waste time, the 1:24 crew and I selected some old plywood for our dock.

I heard a vicious snarl, and, lo! I saw Sabre Saw laughing from his lair. I took that as a challenge, so I dragged my old nemesis out and set to transforming the frame of my kids’ long broken easel into the frame for the dock.

I carefully measured everything, even the angles for the corners…

…and successfully cut the following.

After rejecting an offer from a mini-golf course who wanted this to construct a new hazard, I found the offending angle, and got something less bad. I don’t think the guy at the framing shop need fear competition from me, but what I got will do.

Next, Sabre Saw and I wrestled for mastery with that thin plywood strip. I successfully cut off some rough end parts and a strip along then side, then I cut it into two 21" lengths, only to remember (after the fact) stuff over 10" gets stuck on the guard. As a consequence, I now have lovely bows along one side of each length. The good news, here, is that the two “smooth sides line up nicely,” and, since I didn’t measure that plank at all, I will have another opportunity to try those corner cuts as I shrink the frame to fit the available decking!

As an aside, Pearl (left) watched on with some curiousity before joining her “fur sister” Opal (right) for a nap.

The respect was palpable…



Wow!!! Give Y.D. :+1: :+1: :+1:


O.D. sounds like she has entered the twilight zone of the teenage years…

Don’t worry, if O.D. is like my teenage students, one of two things will happen.

Option 1, pull all nighter and complain they didn’t know it was due yet but get it done.

Option 2, never do it and blame teacher aka Dad for the assignment.

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I will be contacting Y.D. after MIK for a produce display I want for my downtown, and maybe some other store type shelf stuffers. LOL! Guess a trip to Hobby Lobby to the bead aisle is now on my list! Great inspiration, thanks Eric and Y.D!!! Great work

Opal and I seem to have a similar problem when it comes to MIK

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Great photos of the ongoing construction. It will be fun to see it all come together.

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The DIY fruit and veggies are a great idea. Buying them commercially from a dollhouse supplier could easily blow the Mik budget without that much to show for it.

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Progress continued through the weekend, broken up by Lunar / “Chinese” New Year festivities downtown, a rocket shoot, and a board game outing. I am really, really, really struggling to let go and let the crew do their things on their time, here. We did toast the Triple O today, as it is the 8th Anniversary of the Golden Spike. We grilled Friday in commemoration, letting the little iron horses deliver beverage to my grill area.

All hands hacked and cut away at their own pace, so I am going by builder, not day.


He had made something like this by the end of yesterday…

…which he transformed to this by tonight.

He claims progress. I now have less useable foam scraps. From what I gather, he determined the original structure would not hold the fruit shelf he had made. I had suggested that his stand needed a base for stability reasons, and I think he is attacking that issue, too.


I finally understand where he is going with his project. He braced some of what I thought were legs.

Tonight, he staged the final product, sans paint.

He has cut some plastic (still working through that stock, @Pete_Lassen !) for the display window front, which he wisely plans to add after painting.


First, she corrected me. She used clay, not beads, to make the fruit. Ooops. She is still working inside out, and today she crafted a fruit crate.


After laughing about Craigs’s (@ctown2 ) comment regarding time and excuses, she emerged from her cave (a.k.a. bedroom) and set-to, creating a more detailed plan, using this item called a “ruler.” Fascinating device. I should try it sometime.

Meausring, marking, sawing commenced…

…and she now has a one-legged table.

I cannot wait for that all-nighter.

Yours Truly

I am now in my happy place of craftsticks, Dremel, and TiteBond III. Yay! The 1:24 lads and I cut a piece of 1:1 shingle material to fit.

Inverted, it makes a reasonable approximation of tarpaper. If not as prototypical for the Islands as metal or wood, it is consistent with other structures on the Triple O. I will glue this down later.

I found a bag of craftstick remnants from a past project, and commenced gluing.

In time, all four sides were planked, and I Dremeled off any excess. Front and back shots follow.

To simulate a duck-under door, I took a piece of scrap basswood from last year’s Mik. The “hinges” are scraps from Kid-zilla’s project. Next up, I will paint the whole thing with white exterior latex prior to detailing it out.

Speaking of paint, I went into our shed to see what we had from 15 years of leftovers from various projects around the house. Some of it wasn’t even dried solid! The crew has a choice of white, brown, or yellow, unless they choose to use a stain. We’re good!

This Week
Tomorrow, I will stop at the hardware store to get some brackets or bracing or something to bolt the dock’s frame together. I also need to get deck screws to attach the plywood to the frame, after which we can score it to look like planks. I hope to have all this done by Friday. I’ll also try to get my stall painted by then and, hopefully, nudge the other 1:1 participants towards something closer to done. I may see if Kid-zilla and Y.D. want to join forces for this one. Must encourage…not nag…not order…Must remember my own rule, “All may participate; none must participate.”