"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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    Kees found me a third pic to go along with the other two.Mr. Mair is on the left in this pic the other man is unknown.
    There is a lot of good info in this pic besides what our builder looks like.The front building facades confirm this to be a fairly well off neighborhood.I can't see a roof on the building but this could be a separate apartment building ,different from the row houses that I am building.
    Some of the airplanes structure is shown but on first impression it looks like what you might expect ,a very primitive build.This has been identified as a copy of the Wright Flier but I beg to differ for many reasons.First and foremost is the square wingtips more reminiscent of a Curtiss design. I still believe that this was a true backyard flier of Mr Mair's own design, with a little Wright and Curtiss thrown in.(more on this later)
    From the picture Mr. Mair looks like a young ,intense,intelligent man(look at the eyes)who got caught up in the excitement for aviation at the time.An early EAA'er for sure.
    If you look closely above the upper wing you will see what looks like a porch or veranda probably from where the first two pictures were taken.
    Note Miss Nosy Parker peering from behind the curtains,I guess there is one in every neighborhood.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    This is the pic that first inspired me to do a backyard flier.Somebody identified it as a Wright brothers copy, which is wrong for a number of reasons.Besides that, what is really interesting is that the builder looks like he was experimenting with some type of design for longitudinal control, other than wing warping ,a patent at the time that was jealously guarded by the Wrights.If you look carefully at the pic you will see a hinged flap sort of design outboard near the wings leading edge.He has cut the ribs at the spars and hinged it to the trailing edge of the front spar on both upper and lower wings.There also seems to be the beginning of some sort of rigging for their control.If this is what I think it is Mr Mair was surely involved with some very early innovative and creative aeronautical engineering.
    I love this pic as it tells so much about the human creative spirit.Don't forget this is 1910 when many looked upon aviation as a oddity and a foolish thing to pursue.I can only speculate what his family and neighbors might have thought.
  5. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    I was going to use 3 different colored bricks as seen in this pic, but I am afraid that those long vertical lines between brick wall separations may distract the viewers eye away from the airplane to the wall.
    When I first look at this pic I see the policemen,then the brick wall and then the cars.In my diorama.I am looking to reverse this a bit and put less emphasis on the building and more on the airplane.The figure because of its position in the diorama would not be the first thing the viewer would notice but would probably be replaced by the "welcome home" sign.
    I know that I seem to be going overboard with all this but it really is very important to the success of diorama.The connections to the storyboard part will come after the initial visual impact.The solitary figure,the sign,the weathered flier,the different backyards etc..will come later into the viewers imagination. (I hope)
  7. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    More what to leave in and what to leave out decisions that I soon will have to make is regarding the flier itself.As you guys who have been following this thread already know,my storyline is a lot different than what is depicted in the original pic.
    As it is already it would make a very nice story about an early EAA'er building a flier.The very busy Mr. Mair working intently on his flier pretty much unaware of all the things going on around him. The kids more fascinated by the lady with the dog (I think but hard to see) ,the boys sitting on the fence either too shy to approach because of the girls(this is 1910 remember) or maybe Mr Mair doesn't want them around his airplane.The washing on the line etc..etc leads me to believe that the photographer really knew what he was doing when he created this composition.Mr. Mair himself was probably staged but the rest is probably spontaneous.A wonderful "slice of life" story in itself.
    I have however decided to cut down on the complexity of the story .I want to make it simpler but with more emotion.My story revolves around a single individual and his relationship with his love for aviation.It is a story of the loss of innocence both of the individual and aviation itself.What seemed like such a wonderful,innocent thing to do in the beginning now turned out to be just another instrument of war.Looking at his flier he is probably wondering "can I bring myself to complete it" knowing now what I know to be true?
    The feeling among the general population after all the killing in WW1 was not very positive about machines of war,airplanes included.Most fathers would not encourage their sons to become pilots.Most pilots couldn't even find jobs other than exhibition pilots or barnstormers.So it was the mood of the times that I want to capture in my diorama.I am not sure that everyone will get it but I bet a pretty high percentage of servicemen will.Those who don't will still have something interesting to look at.
  8. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    A fellow modeler has just informed me that these buildings on Fullerton St in Chicago still exist,in fact he lived not too far away on the same street in the 1970's.
    Art is truly a living thing and does provide us with a little comfort knowing that it does really have a life of it's own, beyond the lifespan of the individual artist.
    I wish I knew the photographers name ,in his day he would be at the top of his game which really comes through to me in the pics.In fact ,that is what first caught my "artist's eye" ,the creative angle from which the pic was taken.Rather than just the usual airplane pic he captured a story which lives on to this day.100 years ago an artist/photographer takes a pic and all these years later an artist/modeler builds on the foundation of his work.Maybe a 100 years from now, using a medium that we can't even imagine today ,another artist will be influenced and expand on our work.And so it goes.........
  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    Bricks,bricks and more bricks!
    Last night as I was painting the sun was setting at a low angle and I decided to take a few shots.The brick face looks very rough from this angle and magnification but at scale distance under normal lighting conditions it is fine.The cement grouting is hidden in the shadows so very little shows in this pic.I now have to repeat the same thing again ,in mirror image, for the other row house and then another quarter or so for the partial house.A lot more bricks to go I'm afraid but it will be worth the time and effort in the end.At least that it the story I keep repeating to myself.
  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    After studying the 1/48 scale mock up I decided to stay with the multi-level idea after all.I think that it is visually more appealing and I like the fact that the flier's backyard is on the highest level as this tends to put more focus on the airplane and main storyline.
    It may complicate the landscaping of the backyards but I will deal with that a little further down the road.In the above pic I haven't yet cut the roofline so it looks a little odd ,but it too will show a slight drop just like the foundation line.The joint between each row house will be covered by the evestrough's downspout.The brick will be the same color but the trim will be French Blue.All those windows need to be built and installed.I am planning to put lighting and curtains behind the windows with maybe a half concealed ,shadowy, nosy neighbor looking out upon the scene.This will be down in such a way as not to draw the attention of the viewer except as an afterthought.
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    JohnReid Active Member

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  14. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    With a small,soft,cheap brush and gray pastels I have worked a little cement color into some of the spaces between the bricks.The abrasive nature of the bricks are really hard on brushes so be aware.
    Any unnecessary gray color on the face of the bricks can later be removed using brick colored pastels.

    When putting it all together I will do a final weathering of the facade using my old toothbrush and thin acrylic paint spray technique.
  16. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    JohnReid Active Member

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    For those who maybe interested:
    I took the rare opportunity to take some really closeup pics of a static display Bleriot XI that usually is hanging from the ceiling at the Canadian Aviation Heritage Center at Montreal.They are changing the prop for a more authentic one of the period. One wing has been removed for convenience.
    These are very good reference pics for those wishing to scratchbuild a static or a flying model of this famous airplane.Please note that these pics are for your reference only and may differ significantly from the real airplane.
    See my photobucket album CAHC, then click on Bleriot model at CAHC in the sub albums.
  19. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  20. JohnReid

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