"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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    Yeah,I know it is not WW1 but all by old Ford T's are in the dioramas.Anyway this gives you an idea of how easy it is to do a vignette composition.I used my own backyard as a backdrop, put in a 1/18th scale classic car along my recently built fence,used one of the hangar doors not yet installed and voila there you have it.Later of course this area will be covered in grass and other vegetation.The car could also be slightly weathered, especially around the wheel areas after a drive to the airport, or I could put in a pail and some soap indicating that it had just been washed.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    Weekend Summary
    Still on the fencing! I have decided to rearrange things a bit.The high fencing will extend along only one side of the backyard that faces the street.The front fencing will be the same height as the fencing that separates the backyards, as it faces the lane way out back and not the public street.I felt that using the high fencing all the way around would give the diorama a walled off look which is not very welcoming for the viewer.The high wall is located at the highest elevation of all the backyards, so I think it actually adds to the stepped down look when viewing the diorama from right to left.
    The exact position of the flier I am still debating.The original reference pic shows it square to the fence with the nose pointed toward the buildings facade.Because the backyards are not square to the base but at an angle,I may still be OK with this.
    How to get the finished airplane out of the backyard ? Well he wouldn't be the first EAA type to tear down a fence to remove his beloved airplane.(I have heard of some who even removed basement walls)
  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    I am tired of the fencing business for now and am ready for something new.Like with most things new it can be a little intimidating at first but I feel that I have some excellent reference material to work with so I am anxious to get started.
    This will be my first attempt at a building other than a barn or old hangar.It will only be the rear facade but it will be my first go at brickwork,stone etc..A modeling bud ,Andi has been most helpful to me in getting started with reference material and a building methodology using foam board and paper.You will be amazed at what can be done with paper ,I know I sure was.Well here goes.......
  7. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    More fun with vignettes
    While I am working on the early stages of building the facade,I thought that I would put up a few pics of the crashed Albatros sitting in the backyard of the backyard flier diorama.(lots more on my photobucket,look for the Albatros album.)When the backyard is finished with all the landscaping in place,I will submit better pics without clothes lines , bird feeders,porch railings and sun canopies etc... Eventually I will be taking a lot of pics of my 1/18th scale old car collection using this backyard, before shipping it off to the museum.
    __________________
    "Once upon a time......." Storyboard dioramas by JohnReid.
    My photobucket:
    http://s6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/JohnReid/
  10. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    When the measurements are done it is time to start cutting in with the Xacto knife.I started with what I call the dining room window which is the largest on the back facade.
    Keeping your xacto (new blade,change often) 90 degs to the surface cut into the foam board.I do this freehand and make a couple of passes until it is cut all the way through.At this stage I don't try to be too exact as the foamboard is soft and easily damaged.Put another piece of foam board behind the cutout and trace the perimeter of the window.Cut this piece out as well and line it up and glue it to the back creating a double thickness.This will allow for a secure surface for our window frame pieces and add a more realistic look to the thickness of the wall.When dry start fitting your frame pieces,do not glue for now but make a tight fit.I cut mine slightly oversize and fit and sand,fit and sand until they fit snugly .Get out a small square and adjust the foamboard until the frames fit 90deg to each other.
    It is time consuming to do but I thank my lucky stars that I am only doing a plain outdoor facade and not your typical Victorian moldings that you would find on the inside.
  17. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    My Victorian Row House.

    After a lot of research the following measurements seem to be consistent with a typical North American Victorian row house.From the lower level floor to the upper level ceiling is about 21 feet 6 inches.
    The top of the piece of cardboard at the bottom of the foam board represents the top of the exterior boardwalk.There are two rows of blocks to the top of the foundation,a 2" cap strip and 2"X10" joists to the lower level floor.From floor to window sill is 30"and from floor to ceiling is 10feet.I have allowed 18" between the ceiling to the top of the upper floor level for joists,plaster ceiling, sub-floor and floor.Then another 30" to the upper window sill and again 10 feet to the ceiling.(Victorian ceilings were high)
    The upper rooms are 12 feet in width to their center lines ,the actual room size would be less due to studs,walls etc...The lower levels widths are 12 feet for the dining room and about 10 for the kitchen ,the rest is the 30" wide door and storage area,the overall width is about 30 feet.Above the door is the bathroom so that the run of the plumbing is consistent with the kitchen area.
    The doors and windows are tall and narrow to allow for indoor/outdoor air circulation.
    The external roof line has yet to be established but it is usually a little above the upper window.
    Please advise me if you guys notice anything obviously wrong with the measurements.
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    JohnReid Active Member

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    The outside window sill is made from a piece of wood ,covered on three sides with glue and then sprinkled with very fine sand.The window frame I will paint an off-white and the bricks red or red-orange like in Victorian days.
    When finished, I plan to treat the facade like a canvas and have some fun using acrylics,pastels,brush and airbrush to see what I can come up with. It will have to be subtle though not to compete with the main subject for attention.I want the viewer to first see the airplane,then the storyline and later pick out the details in the diorama.This is a large diorama and I have thought at times of cutting it back a bit, and probably would have if I hadn't built a 1/48 mock-up to keep me on track.I could really stop with just the one backyard and tell the basic story but I feel that by including the other backyards it will convey a sense of the builders priorities and enthusiasm for his airplane.His messy yard as opposed to his neighbors well kept grass and garden .I think that it will be springtime before all the flowers come out as I want to keep this aspect of the story subtle as well.
    I also like the stepped down effect as if the row houses were built on the side of a hill as it helps to distract the eye from all the 90 deg angles.Also the piece will be placed at an angle to the base which will better allow me to put the airplane straight on as in the picture.