"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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  2. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    After some experimentation this turnbuckle assembly seems to be the most practical for a number of reasons.First and foremost the hook that attaches to the wing fitting is the easiest to install at this stage.If I had to do it all over again, I would have installed the turnbuckles first for a more authentic look, but then again it is an amateur build so I guess anything goes.(for other designs please see my photobucket "backyard flier "album)
    I used plastic coated beading wire for the flying wires and the turnbuckle ends.By threading the wire thru the brass tube and then back on itself you can make a nice little assembly.Once it is weathered with" blacken-it"
    it should look just fine at scale distance.
  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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  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    This is the first module that I will work on .It is a 22X30 inch rectangular shape that will be placed on an angle when attached to the base.There will be fencing on three sides with the buildings facade at the back.The overall size of the diorama will be 40"X50" plus the wood on the base sides.The mockup airplane has been scaled down to proper size.All measurements taken from the mockup will be multiplied by 3.3 for 1/16th scale.

    Question??? I contribute text and pictures of my work to over thirty different websites and I was wondering ,is there any way that I could do this in one fowl swoop rather than posting individually to each site? I am no computer whiz (as you guys know )but I would really like to cut down on the workload a bit and spend more time actually modeling.
    Besides being great for my ego,I really do enjoy contributing to this developing artform on an almost daily basis .From the number of hits I get on the web and to my photobucket,I guess you guys are enjoying it too.
    Any ideas other than" quit " would be most appreciated.Cheers! John.
  7. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  8. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Model Photography For Dummies.

    I am a dummy.I know nothing about taking pics.I haven't even read the book.Never taken a lesson but I do take pictures,lots of pictures.What is there to lose?
    Cheap cameras are everywhere,no film to buy,no fancy set up required.Welcome to modern model photography the way I practice it. The only requirement is a willingness to break the rules and a creative mind.Breaking the rules is easy and a creative mind you guys obviously already have or you wouldn't be making models.Some have no interest in taking pictures at all and that is fine, in fact ,I was one of those until just a few years ago.In order to share with you guys how I build dioramas,I was forced to do it.I already had an expensive film type camera which I hardly ever used(didn't read the book on that one either) It was all too much of a hassle,buying film,nail biting while waiting for my pics at the camera store, only to discover 20 odd dollars later that the camera was on the wrong setting,storing all the photos in expensive binders,and all those mixed up negatives in an ever increasing pile in a box somewhere. This was not for me!
    Then came the digital camera,the wonderful digital camera and my problems were solved.Unlimited creative freedom at hardly any expense to my pocketbook or my ego,hit the delete and no one will ever know.I can take as many pics as I want, complete freedom with no regrets!
    Just remember to change the batteries and the card once in awhile and off you go into a whole new world of model picture taking.
    In future installments on this theme I would like to share with you guys how a dummy can take pretty good pictures too!
    Cheers! John.
  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    A camera for dummies.
    My choice? Canon power shot A540 Why? it was on sale.
    I know absolutely nothing about cameras,so don't even ask.What I do know is that this little camera has all the features I want.On/Off switch,auto and AV settings,4X zoom and 6.0 pixels.It also has lots of other settings about which I know nothing about.The AV setting I learned about from a friend when I wasn't getting much clarity in the background of my pics.
    One feature I really like and discovered by accident,is when using the zoom I can push the "take the pic button" halfway down at get an idea of what lighting I need for the finished pic.It also allows me to move around a hand held light for different effects.(more on this later)
    It has a flash which I never use and a well used erase button.I would however like to know how I change the DPI settings which I never could figure out ,which causes me to use too much memory, as I seldom blow up my pics to poster size anyway.(Think of DPI like dots on a newspaper picture,the more dots the clearer the picture)
    Well that is about it for the camera,all the other buttons and switches I know nothing about and I am actually afraid to use them as I fear that if I play with them I will somehow screw up what seems to be working for me now.Geez...what a dummy! :blink:
    Next? my fancy accessories.
  10. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  12. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  13. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Weekend Summery.
    To cut down on the posting involved, I will post only pictures during the week and a text summery on the weekends.However,I will respond as usual to any specific questions from individuals.Thanks for your patience.

    This week was devoted to the boardwalk and backyard fencing.If you look at the original picture that I am using for inspiration,(the 22year old Mr.J.E. Mair's Chicago row house backyard in 1910),you will see next to the buildings facade the boardwalk that runs the full width of the backyard.I have just started the fencing which surrounds each property.The design I am using here is actually from my own backyard and I chose it because of all the lighting possibilities using the shadows through the slats in the boards.(while under construction this will also make a nice backdrop for pictures of my 1/18th scale old car collection)
    I used my usual old barn siding method to weather the wood, which I will repeat here for the newcomers to this thread.I use coffee stir sticks of various sizes and doctors tongue depressors, which I trim and cut to length.Then take a mix of 75% nimbus gray-25% raw umber acrylic paint and add lots of water to the consistency of milk and brush it on.Let dry and repeat as many times as necessary to get the coverage that looks good to you.(I use Jo Sonja acrylic paint almost exclusively as it dries flat)Personally I like the wood grain to show through as it looks more realistic.When dry,take a pin and make a pattern of holes in the wood to represent nails.Twist the head of an HB graphite pencil into each hole and then and then add a final watery coat.This swells the pin holes back level with the surface .When dry,you can add a tiny drop of watery burnt sienna to each nail for a rusty look.(Later you can add burnt sienna chalk pastels to intensify the rusty look if required)Now take an old toothbrush and some very watery raw umber and flick on a very fine spray of crude.After you have finished handling the boards and the structure is built ,you can come back with your siennas,browns grays,and black chalk pastels and play with it until you are satisfied.Pastels can be used to great effect when creating shadows.Just remember to be subtle in your approach to weathering,if in doubt use less not more!
  14. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  15. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  16. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Now that my 4th aircraft diorama is underway my mind has been wandering as to what will be next.I decided on a Bleriot XI for the airplane,the diorama part is still unknown,even to me!

    Amati Bleriot XI
    First look inside the box!
    What a disappointment,this is not a museum quality model,not by my standards anyway.It is probably worth about what I paid for it ,about a quarter of what it originally went for a few years ago.I got mine as a closeout special from Model Airways.They will not be re-stocking them in the future,now I think I know why.
    This gives the term "museum quality "a bad name.My idea of museum quality would be a 1/10 scale model of the real thing,period.This is not even close.
    I still plan to build it using what I can of the stuff provided but it will only be a starting point.The engine ,the spoked wheels and metal fittings look OK at first glance but only time will tell.Just about everything in wood seems to be a figment of someones imagination.I haven't yet checked the overall measurements for accuracy but the building methodology is all wrong.The only way those wings would look OK is fabric covered,which I would recommend doing as an out of the box build.The fabric would as least cover up a multitude of sins.There just is no excuse for this in 1/10th scale.More on all this later.
    Here is my plan.I will use only the parts that I find acceptable or that can be modified to be accurate.I will use this as a starting point like I did with all my other structural type builds.(you gotta start somewhere)
    As I mentioned before I am a member of the Canadian Aviation Heritage Center which is only about ten minutes down the road from me and they have a 1:1 scale Bleriot XI now nearing completion.This aircraft will be flown in 2011 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Canadian air show and flight over a Canadian city,Montreal.
    Because it is actually to be flown the MOT has forced upon them some more modern modifications for safety sake.It will therefore be my task to find which is original and which has been modified.I want to build the original version. to be cont........
    For all you military airplane fans out there,yes this was a military airplane.
  17. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  19. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Weekend Summery.
    This week was all about making and weathering fencing.It can be a long and repetitive process but you can make it less so by being a little creative and making each section just a little different.
    The sections are made to be removable until final assembly .I build each panel as it would be done in full scale and do not use jigs.This way it allows for a build which is more like the real thing,mistakes and all.Posts are installed first ,followed by cross members and then the vertical boards.Weathering is the same method as I used for the barn siding in my other dioramas.I figure that most fences in middle class neighborhoods in those days would be left to age naturally, due to the cost of paint.
    In the original picture the fencing looks to be about 4feet internally and the outer perimeter about 6 feet or higher.(My mock shows all the fencing at 4feet.)I decided to go with the picture and use the higher perimeter fencing.The only problem that I can see now would be to make the whole thing look a little walled off from the viewers perspective.If need be the height could be reduced in he future.
  20. SAustin16

    SAustin16 Member

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    John,

    I love watching your thought process. Your dioramas are "like being there". They literally transport me back to those eras.

    And your comments on photography (film/digital) are spot on.