"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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    Strut fittings.
    The strut is shaped to a streamlined cross section and then the ends were rounded.I slipped a short piece of aluminum tubing over the rounded ends.I prepared the wing leading edge with a small piece sticky backed metal. I tried various types and finally came across a sticker from my EAA membership which was just the right thickness and could be cut to the required size.(#1 rule for dioramists,never,ever throw anything out) The copper part was from the Jenny leftovers and the eyebolt behind was obtained from a fishhook with the hook part cut off.The completed fitting will be painted black.
  2. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Scratchbuilding is a lot of fun but the thing that you have to really be prepared for is repetition.As an example,it is lots of fun to build that first fitting ,trying out this and that, but by the time your finished making 24 of the same thing it can get a little dull.It is not the type of work for those who constantly need to be doing something new.Self imposed quality control is very important, the first example must be as good as the last.
    I find that for the creative stuff I have to set aside some uninterrupted time for this.No music,tv or other distractions.Progress can be slow but time really flies while you are in this mode.
    For repetitive work,(#2 thru 24 for example) I find just the opposite is true.I kind of go into automatic mode and enjoy the distractions.The key to quality work I think is to put your best work in each and every detail while holding on to your excitement for seeing the finished piece in mind.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    Engine bearer braces.
    These are the engine bearer braces(my term)The engine sits between the braces and it bolted on.There are two extra braces on the rear end of the bearer where the prop is located.
    I am building this airplane from pics and only dry fitting the parts for now.I figure that the best way to go about this is to work from center outwards ,to allow as much access as possible to the interior.All the brass tubing will be blackened with chemicals(Blackin-it).I will hit the hobby store this week and see if I can find some bolts small enough to attach the braces to the bearers and the struts,if not I will use pins.
    I don't have any plans to install an engine (unless someone could tempt me with a spare 1/16th OX5 they may have hanging around.I figure that if there was an engine on my backyard flier it would have been removed for safekeeping until our aviator/builder had returned from the war.I also have to consider just how many of these backyard fliers even got to the engine buying stage.I figure most of these backyard guys were probably pretty good carpenters but for the more technical stuff I wonder if many got beyond the wing building stage?In fact,I have never seen a pic from this era of a finished backyard flier.
  7. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    I plan to keep the rigging simple like it was in the early versions of these airplanes.Some modern flying versions do show a different rigging setup with turnbuckles etc...
    I have allowed myself a lot of leeway when it comes to my backyard flier as they were all mostly fantasy pieces when they were built.A lot of these builders were full of enthusiasm but had little real knowledge of what they were doing beyond the carpentry stage.I may put all or only some of the rigging up depending on how my enthusiasm holds up.
    In this diorama the airplane is important but it is really just another prop in telling the story.The airplane will be weathered and the backyard left a little messy to give it a sense of loss and abandonment.
  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    Slow progress....
    Thank goodness I only dry fit everything first!
    When I modified the angle of attack of the wings in relation to the level ground,that also altered the undercarriage and the rear wheels required clearance of the frame.At first I attempted to change the angle of the struts that support the nose wheel by moving a fitting at the rear of the engine bearer.Darn thing wouldn't move so I had to take everything apart again and in the process broke a few ribs off and cracked one of the engine supports.
    I finally was able to unjam the fitting and put it all back together and now the nose wheel beam seems to be at the right angle.
  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    The tire is temporary.I haven't quite made up my mind on the tires.In pictures some look like bicycle tires and others the balloon type.As I plan to have the airplane in the backyard look like it was abandoned for some time ,with tall grass and weeds etc..the wheels may hardly even be seen in the finished diorama anyway.Another possibility is just to make temporary wheels in wood or a combination of a bicycle nosewheel, which is more visible ,and wooden mains.
    Beyond the wood building stage I don't want to put too much into the airplane.Why? Wheels,wires,engine etc...if he even had them ,would have been stored away out of the elements and the wooden airframe at least put under tarps.
    The family obviously knew about his upcoming arrival home as the "welcome home" banner indicates.They could have removed the tarps as a nice gesture for his homecoming.
    I wanted to capture the moment of his arrival,before the family even knew he was there and what may have been going through his head at the time "can it ever be the same?"
  13. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    You guys may have noticed that my signature contains "Once Upon A Time.......
    storyboard dioramas.This is my little tribute to the great film artist Sergio Leone.
    His western "Once Upon A Time In The West" is recognized by most as the best westerns ever made and probably one of the top 100 films ever.
    I love his attention to detail combined with majestic landscapes.His use of closeups and facial expression to create a mood.His minimalist approach to dialogue,only 15 pages of dialogue in a three and a half hour movie yet he still gets his story across magnificently .His use of music and the fact that a special theme was developed for each of the central characters ,which was played on set while that characters scene was being filmed.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that he was a master of telling a grand story in a wonderful new way.
    I think he would have loved storyboard dioramas.Thanks for the inspiration Sergio!
    Cheers! John.
  14. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    I decided that our novice builder could not afford to buy the wheels,so I made them up from wood.I have actually seen similar type wood wheels used on early aircraft factory floors, for moving aircraft around before they got their rims and tires.I reduced the length of the fitting that supports the main beams front end just aft of the nosewheel.Working from pics is difficult so you have to be prepared to adjust things as you go along.Because this is my own version of a backyard flier I am building it to my own specs and what looks good to me.
    This summer I plan to buy the wood for the base and finalize the design of the diorama, so that I can build up the two modules next winter and hopefully put the whole thing together the following summer.Anyway that is the plan for now.
    Judging from past experience however, I usually seriously underestimate the time involved.
    __________________
    "Once upon a time......." Storyboard dioramas by JohnReid.
  16. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Finally it is temporarily on its gear!The stance looks about right when on a level surface. I will now put it back in the jig and rig the wings.
    I have in the spares box an old Ford T radiator and engine.I am thinking about installing an engine but covering it with tarps and tie downs ,so that something will be there that looks like an engine but really can't be clearly seen.The wing tarps will be removed and put off to the side but will be visible.The idea is that his family removed them in anticipation of his arrival.