It was one of the coolest toys Mom had ever made. Hours were spent as we drove cars around on the roads and through the tunnels. Technically it belonged to one of my brothers, though we all spent hours upon hours playing with it, playing cops and robbers, or races across the mountain side. As the years passed it began to get worn down from usage and parts began to break. We grew out of childhood and away it was shuffled, but not entirely forgotten. We always talked about that amazing paper mache mountain for matchbox cars that mom made. Sibling created their own for their children and the orginal was thought to have been destroyed and thrown away. Many years drifted by and Paul bought me a piece of wood to use as a base to make my own mountain, but I never got a chance to start.
It was the day after Thanksgiving and Paul began draggin boxes out of the attic with all our Christmas decorations hidden away in them. I was working on getting things ready inside and the kids were hopping about with excitement.
“J, J! Come quick,” Paul exclaimed racing into the kitchen where I was attempting to prepare lunch for four absolutely starving children.
“What?” I asked, inquisitive.
“Just come,” he said.
While curious, I was also concerned as he lead me up into the attic that there was something dreadfully wrong. He handed me the flashlight and pointed to a dark corner, far back in the attic. I swung the beam that way. My jaw dropped in unbelief as the flashlight illuminated the acient mountain that he had played with so long ago.
“That’s it isn’t it?” Paul asked, recognizing it from my description of the most awesome toy.
I nodded, amazed. We pulled it out and examined it in the foggy light of day. It looked terrible. Parts were broken and worn away and in numerous places mice had used it for lunch. It looked as though, at one point, that someone began efforts to fix it up for there was a layer of yellow brittle paper mache poorly attached and peeling. I dusted off the cobwebs and dirt and gave it a few good shakes to make sure no one had made their home in it, and a thought began to take place in my head. After a talk with my parents and brother about my desires I set to work.
I wish I had taken a picture of the terrible state it was in to begin with, but I didn’t think about it. I began by ripping off the first few layers of paper mache. Once that was complete, I began to apply fresh new layers, building up areas that had been smashed, reattaching broken areas, and reinforcing the weak spots. After a few layers, and weeks of drying it got to this point:
Then I primed it and let it dry for another 24 hours:
Finally it was ready to paint. I did a base coat of brown over the entire mountain, then I painted a dull grean over everything that wasn’t a road. Deciding it needed a bit more color I combined, light and dark green, and some yellow and, using a fan brush, textured the mountain all over. Then, because it was a mountain I decided it needed a bit of grey so I used the ended of a paint brush to stipple a medium grey, combined with some black and white from time to time, in spots to resemble outcroppings of rock, and the top of the mountain. Working in more grey the higher up I went. Then, to finish it off I topped the peak with just a bit of snow. 🙂 And, finally I sprayed the whole thing with a clear acryllic sealer. Then I just locked my office door and let it dry until Christmas (which at this point was just 2 days away.
Ground views from different angles:
On Christmas day, after everything was opened, Paul brought the mountain out and the kids pounced on it. Though technically it is Jacob’s the whole family (even me) has had fun playing with it.
So the most fabulous toy gets to make another round for the next generation, hopefully it will be around for a long time to come…