The Chippendale Miniature Slant Front Desk from The House of Miniatures™ is one of the most popular designs in the product line. I’ve built two of 40017, one of 40042, and rebuilt a 40017 that had been abused.
The Miniature Slant Front Desk was made in two versions over the years. The first, 40017, did not have the interior drawers and cubby holes. The later kit, 40042, added those features and also carried the full name Chippendale Slant Front Desk, whereas the original did not say Slant Front on the box.
The second version came out in 1979 and was available concurrently with the 1976 version for awhile. The two are indistinguishable when the desk is closed.
The build starts with the frame base, which has a beveled edge. As with all of the detail work on these kits, care must be taken when sanding or the detail may be lost.
In the build shown here I was testing a clear glue from Testors™ so I had applied the stain first as part of the test. Normally you would use a colored glue and stain afterward. The Testors™ wood model glue has held up well in the three builds I have done with it. I’m not sure how they came up with something that would stick well over an oily stain.
Either variant is a straight-forward series of boxes. Keep them square and clamped while they dry, making sure everything is square.
The scale breaks down on these models when you get to the small drawers. The fronts and sides are much too thick and you wind up with next to zero inside space. All you can fit in the interior drawers would be your miniature stamps!
The result is very pleasing with either kit. This is 40017 with a Minwax Early American stain, coupled with the closed cabinet top (40001). It was built with colored glue and finished with a satin polyurethane.
The next picture is of a 40017 that I rescued from a junk box. The front had been broken off and would not hold a new set of pins, so I glued it in the open position.
The original stain was very poorly done, so I sanded, filled some nicks, and painted it this Wedgwood blue from Americana. It’s just a hobby paint, but the color fit with the little motif I was working with at the time. The brass pulls really set it off nicely.
The 40042 kit that I built wound up in my little Captain’s Study roombox, paired with a closed cabinet and serviced by a little Chippendale Open Arm Chair with silk upholstery (40040). I even gave it working bale hardware, as mentioned in this article. All of these were stained a dark walnut and finished with a semigloss poly.
Overall the Miniature Slant Front Desk is a beautiful kit in either variation and fairly easy to build. The most finicky piece is the slant front which requires careful pinning and is never easy to align right the first time. I highly recommend this kit for anyone who has a little experience.