"How to Build Large Scale Dioramas"

Discussion in 'Dioramas & Displays' started by JohnReid, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    This gives you an idea of where I plan to put the Hisso wreck.I could just throw a tarp over the rear end and use it as is!However,I think that I will carry it a few steps further and put it on its deflated tires.The instrument panel can't even be seen.How much of the body I will do I haven't yet decided, knowing when to stop is also an important consideration in modeling.I want it to fit into its environment not overpower it.Damn ,this is a lot of fun!
  2. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Thanks for the input! I will keep this in mind when I put it on its wheels.
    Cheers! John.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Fake nails in wood(How to..)From another thread.

    Hi Brad! The nails are simple to do but time consuming.First decide on a pattern you like. Then take a pin and create a hole in the wood .With an ordinary sharp HB pencil,twist a little of the graphite into the hole you have created with the pin.Take a small round brush and dab a little water into each hole .If you want it a rusty color add a little burnt sienna acrylic to the water.The hole will swell and you are left with a level surface again.You can then play around with the surface using more burnt sienna or raw umber to create drips, streaks or whatever.You can even use a little burnt sienna pastel to soften the rusty effect. Good luck! Cheers. John.
  4. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Lighting!
    You know,for as long as I can remember I have always been interested in the use of lighting to create a mood.Even before I got into modeling(about 37 years ago,has it really been that long???) I loved the effect that soft lighting could bring to a stage,room,painting whatever.The shadows created on a wall or floor,the campfire scene with the glow in the woods,the whole Budweiser thing with the house with the warm glow in the windows,these kind of things have always intrigued me.
    When I was doing relief carving in wood, the dramatic effects created by proper lighting just blew me away.When I would paint a decorative bird sculpture I would always have a light shining on it ,to represent the sun's angle while I was working.In fact, when I think about it, lighting and birds of prey is what got me into bird carving in the first place.We have a raptor center close to where I live and on a visit there one day, I happened to pass an enclosure that contained two white gyrfalcons sitting on a branch above me, with the sun shining down on their feathers.What a beautiful sight it was, and it changed me forever.I just had to try to capture all that power and majesty in wood.Looking at those birds you knew that you were looking at something special, that only exists at the top of the food chain.
    Why do I mention this?Well there seems to be something really powerful going on here between lighting and the effects it has on us.This of course is nothing new but it is very intriguing to think about..Churches of course have known all this for years with their glowing stained glass windows etc...
    I have noted that whenever I post a picture of an indoor scene with the lights on ,I get a lot of response to those pictures.I am told that the viewer gets a greater sense of "being there"when the lights are on and angled in just a certain way.
    As a 3D artist making dioramas ,I would like to encourage my fellow artist/modelers to be more aware of the use of lighting in your work.I don't see a lot of this(except for the RR guys) and I wonder why? It is such a simple tool to use, either a hand held light or some more permanent installation.And especially when taking pictures!All that camera equipment is really only optional and secondary to training your eye.I use a simple digital camera set on "auto" and a hand held reading type light to take all my pictures.They may not be the best but it works for me.
    For you guys who go to model shows and want to try something different and maybe even win a prize ,think of some way to incorporate lighting into your model or scene,even if it is only those little battery powered lights that you see in Christmas scenes this time of year. Try it ,it is a lot of fun and will make a real creative difference in your work!
  5. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    The old airshow car is temporarily on its wheels to get an idea of how it will look when finished.
    I re-designed the side panel to look more like a car from around the 1910 era.The rear interior bulkhead I have made in wood like the real thing and behind it will sit the gravity feed fuel tank.The rest of that compartment will be taken up with old car parts that were removed or fell off.I decided not to do too much serious corrosion other than general surface rust as the car wouldn't have been out of service that long.The tires still need a lot of work deflating and weathering them.The spokes are probably a little large but I have seen pics of some European cars of the era with larger than normal spokes.
    This is actually quite a nice model if someone wanted to take the time to do it real justice, like a nice wood instrument panel and gauges etc...
  7. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  8. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Model Airways Camel Build.
    Sometime in the next couple of weeks I will be starting the Camel.If you would like to follow along with me Model Expo has a down loadable site for their instruction booklet on the Camel.I will be using this instruction booklet for its basic methodology and then modifying things as I go along.I will be building all the mayor components but there will be a big difference,the airplane will be left in pieces and not rigged (other than the undercarriage ).The accuracy of this kit leaves a lot to be desired, but for my purposes as part of a educational type diorama ,it is acceptable with some modification on my part.It is an unusual way to show an aircraft ,being towed on its wheels behind a truck ,and something that the kids will probably find interesting in its own right.
  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  10. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    I have now put about 30,000 miles on the tires and flattened them.The seat is in and the seat back is up against the steering wheel.I left it as a R/H drive and put the fuel tank behind the rear bulkhead.I will be placing an old tarp over the instrument panel ,steering wheel and seat back area.(maybe with half the steering wheel poking through the tarp)The engine cowls will be put on the left hand side and the other cowls put in the cockpit where the other seat should be.
    There are a few more parts to put on and then the fun can begin with the weathering!
    I am getting anxious to get the Camel build underway! Hopefully within the next few days.
  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    A few notes on the Camel build.
    The instruction manual is typical for a Model Airways.Engine ,wings,fuselage ,in that order.This past summer I have already built up the engine and it is ready for installation.For those who are interested and may have missed this part of the build please see my photobucket for pictures and Welcome to The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War I for text, once on the site click on Forum,then Forums,models,"How to Build......"
    They suggest going on to the wings before tackling the fuselage.I like to do the opposite Why? well the wings can be a long and mostly repetitive job where as on the fuselage you are always doing something new.It is also nice to have something to look at to encourage you on.I think that part of why a lot of these kits never get built is for this very reason.The wings have a lot of small fiddly parts that are easily broken ,lost etc... The confidence gained in doing the fuselage first, where the parts tend to be bigger and not so fragile, will serve a newcomer to this type of build very well.Once you have the basic fuselage built the chances are pretty great that you will press on to the finish line.
    That being said the build will start on page 13 of the instruction manual.My text will not repeat what is already there, but will supplement the manual where my build differs from theirs, as well as point out areas where there may be a problem or easier way of doing things.I will be taking a lot more pics for reference now that I have a digital camera .Something that I was unable to do with my earlier builds.I will be doing this build in real time so if I screw up or lead you down the garden path at times you will just have to bear with me.
  12. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    [​IMG]
    Starting the weathering!
  13. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  14. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    It now looks like this old girl has seen her last airshow! Its basically finished except for the old tarp which I will make later when it is permanently installed in the diorama.I find that weathering is mostly fun and really fast and easy to do_Over the basic burnt umber gesso coat I used only burnt sienna and little black and some white pastels for the tires.I use a very soft brush to apply the pastels,almost like a mini makeup brush.
    I have no interest in doing factory fresh anything ,airplanes ,cars or whatever.I guess that it is just my way of personalizing my work.It also helps to take the heat off trying to make everything perfect, which for me is very liberating.
    Well anyway,now its on the Camel/Ford truck piece!
    You auto guys will just have to suffer through the airplane build until we get to the truck,just like the aircraft guys had to suffer though the car build!(only kidding!!!!!) Although the modeling techniques in making dioramas is about the same. Cars and aircraft go well together in any diorama as they both were developed around the same time.
  15. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Please note: in order to make the best use of my time I have decided to post the day-to-day details of the Camel build on only one website ,Welcome to The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War I ,where it all started a few years ago.I am presently contributing to 29 websites which takes up a lot of what would otherwise be building time.The subject matter only has a very limited audience on a day -to -day basis. I will be doing summaries on the other websites, maybe twice a week or so .This will also leave me more time to be involved in the daily discussions on the other websites.If anyone has any particular questions regarding techniques or "How to...." please feel free to contact me at any time.Somewhere down the road I would like to condense all this into a more organized and readable version ,as some of these threads are getting way too long.Thanks to everybody for their continuing interest and support.
    Cheers! John.
  16. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Well the Camel build is not going well! Like I suspected the quality is just not there like it was with the Jenny.I have already had to start the build over because of a lack of fittings for the wires in the fuselage.In fact the only wires shown in the fuselage are for the sides only ,no internal bracing at all!Luckily I have some fittings left over from the 2nd Jenny build fuselage which is fabric covered.I only wish that I had a digital camera when I built the Jenny ,it would have been so much easier.
  17. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Another change of plans!
    When I started this Camel model I wanted to approach it like a newcomer would to this type of build. I held off on any serious research other than just a cursory look at the plans and the instruction booklet.I wanted this to be a real time build, with all the ups and downs of what a typical modeler would experience.
    What I wasn't expecting was to have to scratchbuild most of the airplane!I now can see that to make a model that meets my minimum standard ,it will require a level of commitment that I am not ready to commit to at this time.Building it now will seriously lengthen the the completion time of the diorama as a whole.
    Therefore I am putting this build on hold until I finish the rest of the diorama.It is fortune for me that where the Camel/Truck build would sit in the diorama only effects one of the outdoor landscaping panels, and in no way even touches the main storyline.It is only an extra that could be left in or left out. The rest of the diorama is not optional and has to be finished first.
    I regret this change in plans and hope I haven't encouraged anyone to buy this kit who wouldn't have bought it otherwise.Like I have said before,if you want a good kit with the minimum of scratchbuilding buy the Jenny,it really is worth the few extra bucks.
  18. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    There maybe room for compromise on the Camel!
    Darn ,It just bothers me to give up (postpone) the Camel. The engine is built and I can't think of a place to put it in the diorama other than on the yet to be built Ford truck.I could build some kind of a trailer just for the engine and let it go at that or (and I just thought of this) use some well placed tarps over the fuselage and wings like I did with the basketcase Jenny. The fact that a lot of the aircraft would be covered would eliminate the majority of the scratchbuilding and would not be unexpected by the viewer who would just assume that the tarps were there to protect the airplane for its road trip.It will also help to rescue my enthusiasm for the whole project.
    You know it is funny about art sometimes what looks like a failure at first can be just a change in direction! I must admit that I was very disappointed when things didn't work out as I had planned.I don't want this episode to turn into a creative dry spell for me ,which would just delay this diorama further,so I had better find a compromise solution.
    One way or the other the Ford truck is going in, so I will build that first which will give me lots of time to think about the Camel.
    Why am I bothering to tell you all this? Well creative U-turns are part of doing a long term diorama project like this ,especially when you just kind of wing-it as you go along.It ain't easy sometimes but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun working out the unexpected problems that you can run into once in awhile and not let your self get discouraged.
    Bring on the Ford..............!
  19. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  20. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    [​IMG]
    I used an old T in my 2nd 1/16th scale diorama with an old Neiuport 28.