"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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    JohnReid Active Member

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    Hangar doors and ramp area.
    I have added a little more wear and tear in front of the hangar where there would be the most activity, especially when rolling the aircraft in and out.I did this simply by adding more of the dirt from a shaker ,spraying with alcohol and then dropping on the 75/25 water-glue mix.I have left off the wooden planks that would be used for roll out, as this aircraft is obviously not going anywhere soon.They are stashed on the floor on either side of the hangar doors near the wall.
    I don't plan to have any junk laying around as most pics that I have seen of German military airfields they are very neat and orderly.(too bad as I love doing junk ).I plan to break this rule a bit by putting a couple of vacated wheel chocks just off to the left of the hangar doors to add a little to the sense of loss, as represented by the crashed aircraft.
    On the R/H side of the pic the earth has not been properly blended yet,hence the straight lines.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  4. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  5. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Always looking for something new....
    Hi guys! I have had a lot of great response from an idea that I have had using old radio cabinets to display dioramas.I have made a mock up of the idea using a diecast car but of course this idea could really be used for any genre.
    For you aircraft guys please use your imagination and replace the car with the aircraft of your choice.I think that this would work especially well for half type aircraft that were attached to a mirror along the back wall .This would also be a great way to display the half fuselage type displaying the innards of the aircraft itself while still being able to see the flying aircraft in the mirror.I will post a few pictures later to show you what I mean.
  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    Albatros hangar's chimney.
    The chimney is temporarily installed.I made it from hard maple dowel, sanding it very smooth so no grain is visible.The roof guy wires will be secured down to eyebolts after I remove the roof for the last time.The chimney is actually in two pieces so the roof is easily removable.The chimney cap was made from an old cigar tubes end piece.I will finish the weathering later.This diorama is now nearing completion.
  8. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Changed my mind!
    In keeping with my WW1 theme I have changed the storyline of my next 1/16th scale aircraft diorama.
    The focus now will be around 1918 when an airman in uniform has just returned from the war to his hometown backyard.He is standing there hand in hand with his son looking at his backyard flier project that he was working on prior to his military service.
    I want to title it "Loss of Innocence,Will It Ever Be The Same."
    The "loss of innocence" theme is central to both the history of aviation itself and the man.
    The flier will be as he left it partially under tarps and weathered ,with the grass etc ..grown around it,almost like the family considered it bad luck to change anything while he was in the military.A recruiting or victory poster on a telephone pole (and a few other things that I haven't thought about yet ) will be included to help the viewer with the storyline.
    The exact date and country ,I haven't nailed down yet.I have done German,American and Canadian themes to date maybe a British theme would be in order.
  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    This is a pic taken before the Great War when he was still building his backyard flier and was the inspiration for the next diorama.No it is not a WW1 airplane but it is a WW1 storyline.The airplane actually is only a prop to help tell the real story.
    The next step will be to build a small scale mock up out of foam board so I can play around a bit with the composition.I like a lot of the elements that are already in the picture above such as the wingtip on the neighbors side of the fence.The relative neatness of the neighbors yard compared to our subjects preoccupation with things aeronautical.The washing on the line is also a very nice human touch.
    At present I am only planning for two figures ,the returning airman in uniform and his son standing hand-in-hand.
    I am leaving it to the viewers imagination and the title of the piece to help make the connection to the storyline.
    What does my imagination come up with?The airman is he wondering "can I return to building this with the same enthusiasm after everything I have witnessed in the air war?
  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Why this diorama?
    Although I am not a veteran myself I come from a family of WW1 and WW2 vets.Although quite young at the time, I grew up in an area that was reserved for vets and their families after WW2, so I have witnessed first hand the difficulties a lot of vets had in adjusting to civilian life again.I even had the wonderful opportunity to fly as co-pilot with many of them,even some who were aces in Europe and Korea.
    I have witnessed some who became airline chief pilots and even presidents of aircraft manufacturing companies, some top flight lawyers and doctors and others who unfortunately ended up on skid row.
    To all of them this diorama is dedicated.
  12. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    1/48 Mock-up and research stage.
    Diorama #4 is finally underway.I am leaning towards the Curtiss DIII/Ingram Foster pusher as a general example for the airplane that I will be building.I am planning to have a little fun with this ,in that I want to take myself back to around 1914 and think of what I would build using the available knowledge of the day.
    I have decided to go with the Wright bros. general wing design mainly because I don't want to scratch build all those very flimsy ribs.(I already have a kit of a 1/16th flier from Model Expo which I plan to raid for the above)Wing development designs by 1914 had progressed somewhat but the way I plan to do this diorama small changes in camber etc..will not even be noticeable.Other than the ribs the rest will be scratch.This is the most freedom in modeling that I have ever allowed myself and I plan to have a lot of fun with it.
    The 1/48 scale foamboard mock up is well underway and I am using an old 1/39scale biplane model for composition purposes.At 1/16th scale this diorama will be as large as the Jenny at 4feet by 5 feet which will allow me for only 2 instead of three backyards.For interest sake and composition considerations I plan to add an old car(maybe the military vets car?)
    There will be no freestanding building in the composition but I may add a small lean-to type structure.The fencing will make a nice perimeter on three sides but I am undecided about how to do the side which would make up the row housings walls.Any suggestions would be more than welcome!!!
  13. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    1/48 trial mockup.
    The airplane's wingspan has been reduced to 1/48 scale,the rest is still 1/39.My airplane will have about a 30 foot wingspan.The other dimensions I haven't worked out yet but will be very much like the Curtiss DIII pusher.A single engine with a direct drive prop situated behind the pilot.An 80 Hp Ox 5 would be nice but my guy probably wouldn't be able to afford it just yet after buying all that wood and fabric.
    The diorama is way too square right now with too many right angles.I anticipate that this composition is going to be a real challenge to make look right and get the storyline across to the viewer.My dioramas usually develop a lot over time so I am not too worried yet.
    The inner fences are 4 feet and the perimeter fence is 6 feet high.Part of the neighbors yard will have a short lane way along one of the fences with a parked Model T car or truck.The 6 foot fence will be great for victory posters.

    Please note:I am in urgent need of dimensions for the Curtiss Headless Pusher aircraft.They need not be to scale,just the life size would do.
  15. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Composition cont....
    I am really glad to have the Jenny diorama still here, as it is the same size as this one will be, 4X5 feet.Sometimes it is really hard to visualize the 1/48 mock up in 1/16th scale.The tendency is to make things too big.What looks good in 1/48th scale does not always translate well into 1/16th.
    As you can see, I am just planning to do the rear facade of the two row houses.This will involve working with some materials that are new to me, so it should be interesting.
    There will be windows and doors and lighting in the area behind the facade.I may even have the figures standing in the door or looking out the windows.I am also thinking of having some kind of homemade banner strung up on the wall outside welcoming the veteran home.
  17. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    I made up this 1/48 scale mock up.The airplane has a 30 foot wing span at 1:1 scale.
    My problem with this composition is the row housing ,which usually has the same width backyard.I want to keep it as it represents urban middle class housing of the time.The wing over the fence is part of the sub-story which I also want to keep in.The houses rear facade would probably been about the same in design and dimensions ,so how would you guys go about making the composition more asymmetrical ?
  20. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Brickwork, beyond the barnsiding look!
    Well here is something different,making brickwork for dioramas.After having spent some time on research there is one particular method that I found on another forum that I really like.It requires making the bricks individually out of artist's watercolor paper and then gluing them to foam board to make a brick wall.I haven't found anything else that looks as realistic as this in any scale.
    I expect that it will be time consuming to do but luckily I only have one backyard wall to do.The same watercolor paper can be used to make foundations and stone faces too.Should be fun!