"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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    The wood and the joints still require some work but only after I am finished handling the fuselage .
    I will let the rest of the plywood go for now and concentrate on the cockpit area and tail.Once the pilot seat and related hardware is in ,the rest of the axe chopped plywood skin surrounding the cockpit will need finishing.The tail area could be even more heavily damaged by fire.It is a point where a lot of wood and fabric come together creating a concentration of combustible material and an ample supply of oxygen and wind.
  2. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  4. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Hanging seat belts.
    I made up some seat belts to get an idea of how they would look when hanging out of the cockpit.They are just mock ups until I can find some info on how they really looked.The blue stuff is just tack to hold it temporarily together
    Anyone have any info on the seat belts? pics?
    As you guys who have been following this thread already know,a lot of the emotional response to this scene by the viewer is the play between the empty pilots seat and the dog waiting for his masters return.It is very important to get this right as the success of the whole storyboard part of the diorama depends on it.
  5. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  7. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  8. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Building this wrecked Albatros has been a really fun experience,probably the best that I have ever had modeling.I really enjoy the balance between scratchbuilding ,kit building and creativity.The dog -pilot storyline takes a rather weak original storyline ,contained within the hangar walls ,and gives the whole thing new life.
    Having a digital camera has allowed me for the first time to document this part (vignette)of the whole process from original idea to finished product.
    It could have been a stand alone vignette but combined with the rest of the diorama it helps to raise the whole thing to a different level.I am really looking forward to seeing the reaction of my viewer to the dog.One of the greatest thrills I get as an artist is to see the emotion that I can raise in an audience using wood,plastic etc...just by arranging it all in a certain way,just like a writer would do with words.
    I remember when I used to carve decorative birds,I once did a predator-prey piece of a Goshawk holding a songbird in its claws.People would tell me they hated what they thought was a taxidermy mount and when I would explain that it was only wood and paint, they still hated it.That always gave me great satisfaction as an artist.
  10. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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  13. cygielski

    cygielski Member

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    Fantastic stuff. Thanks!
  14. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  15. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    The wrecked Albatros ,although not quite finished has been about a six month project from concept to almost completion.It has been a very rewarding and fun experience that I would recommend to anyone.I really enjoy the freedom of using mixed media or whatever is at hand to tell my stories.My motto of "buying what you can and building what you must" really satisfies both the scratchbuilding urge and the use of kits.It is a nice compromise of time available and completion of a project in a reasonable time.
    The three dioramas that are now almost complete have taken almost ten years to build and I would say that you could triple that time to scratch build it all.Granted that as I get older I don't spend quite as much shop time as I used to but still I am in my shop just about everyday.I am a very lucky man as my hands and eyes are still hangin in there.
    Vacations?everyday is a vacation for me and besides my beloved 14 year old Husky( Dolly )won't let me or my wife out of her sight nor will she travel, so going anywhere together is not an option for us at this time.So,all in all,it works for me.
  16. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  17. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  18. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    The aft section of the fuselage now rests on the wheel of the U/C, with the other point of contact at the leading edge of the lower wing and horiz stab.The clothes peg joining the 2 halves will be replaced with the elevator and rudder control wires.Although somewhat extreme in its presentation, it leaves no doubt as to what it represents, a hurried and forceful attempt to rescue a pilot who's aircraft is already on fire.Chances are that if I had just broken the fuselage ,at this its weakest point,this aspect of the story may have been lost.The more intense burn area where the elevaltor meets the lower wing also suggests that the fire took hold after the aft section was placed there and not for some other reason like transport of the wreckage.
    I know,I know most will say that this will probably all be lost on the average viewer ,but you got to admit that it is a lot of fun creating a little mystery in your work,especially for those who may care to analyze things a little more carefully.
  19. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    A New Years personal reflection.
    About 10 years ago I decided to drop one passion and start another.
    Starting all over again seemed like a big decision at the time.I loved carving decorative birds and even taught it part time to adults for 11 years.While I reached a certain level of expertise and really enjoyed the subject matter I always felt a little uncomfortable filling these artistic shoes.I found that I seemed to be always playing catch-up to the leaders in the field.Following their example and doing knock offs of their ideas.Call it ego or whatever but I wanted to be one of those guys that I so highly admired.
    Then I heard of a fellow decorative bird carver who was at the top of the genre and very successful both artistically and money wise.He had years of commissions in front of him but was also dissatisfied and felt that he was stuck in a rut.Then he made the unpopular decision(with his family and fans) to turn away from woodcarving forever and follow a new passion of doing mammals in bronze.He changed his style from very realistic bird carver to a looser style of mammal sculpture.He dropped everything and took a year or so traveling and visiting zoos etc..to get a feel for his subject matter and study their behavior.
    He then returned to his studio and started his first bronze of a chimpanzeze which he promptly sold to Jane Goodal the very well known anthropologist and now is even more successful and happier than ever for having followed his dream.
    Well,I found that a very inspiring story that helped push me into following my dream.After a near-death medical treatment ten years ago I thought well it is now or never.My passion had always been aviation and flying which was really not that far a step away from the birds themselves.My whole life was deeply involved in one way or another with aviation and it was what I knew best.My path had always been there in front of me all along.It had not always been an easy path to follow and involved a lot of personal pain.
    An only survivor of an airplane accident 50 years ago,PTS syndrome and the subsequent loss of my flying career are but a few examples.But my love of aviation and flying never ceased.That is where airplane modeling and storyboard dioramas come in.Much like my fellow bird carver ,turned bronze sculpturer ,I decided to drop the whole thing and try something new.I have now put ten years of concentrated effort into devoping the talents necessary to becoming a storyboard dioramaist and it is only now with my last project the wrecked Albatros have I become really comfortable with the term as it applies to me.It may be the subject matter that I relate to. It could be the finally feeling comfortable in the knowledge that if I really put my mind to it ,I can take a mental 2D image and translate that into 3D model given the availability of the time to do so.I know that I still have loads to learn down the road and art is never really finished but this new year sure has had a positive start for me.
    Please forgive me for all this talk about myself but I thought that you guys and gals,my modeling buds, might be interested .Cheers and Happy New Year to all! John.
  20. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Gettin' there!
    All the brace wires are installed and just need a little final adjustment.The ailerons are rigged and today I hope to finish the elevator-rudder rigging and finally install the control column.
    So now it is decision time again.Do I stop here as far as any other major components are concerned? When is enough ,enough? I will take a few pics and have to decide.There are a few odds and ends to rap up like the landscaping and maybe a small junkyard out back.I have also considered a couple of figures near the back door ,maybe mechanics taking a break for a smoke or some other relaxed activity.
    All three dioramas are now 95% finished and almost ready for their new home.
    I am anxious to get started on a new project, first building a small scale mockup of the "Backyard Flyer" ,a fantasy piece I plan to call "In Pursuit Of His Dream" based upon the 1/16th Wright Flyer(Model Airways) with a little Glenn Curtiss thrown in.Basically I want to put myself back in the pre-WW1 era and build my own "Flyer" using the knowledge available at the time.(I will try not to cheat)
    These guys were the original EAA"ers long before the modern era.Aviation was young,new and exciting .Guys with no more than basic carpentry skills dreamed of taking to the air in their own backyard flyers.
    There were plans available and the Wrights were even selling engines.I am sure that hardly any of these homemade craft ever took to the air but that is not important,this diorama will be about dreams and having fun especially for me,the modeler.