Sergio Leone Movie Set Diorama

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by JohnReid, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    The plastic in these Bachmann cars is perfect for bashing.It carves well with both hand and power tools and does not clog up your burrs at low speed.It is flexible enough to stand some pretty rough handling and doesn't scratch easily.It sands well with not to much airborne dust around.There is a warning on the box however so a good mask and other safety stuff would be advised ,especially when working indoors.I should have no problem working with this stuff at all.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    This door on the set is open so I cut it out with the Xacto knife and plastic cutter thingy.In this era did the doors open inward or outward ? I wonder....maybe I can find a frame from the movie that will tell me.....
  5. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    The fellow who owned "The General" kit many years ago had already painted up the base so I am using it here to sit the old coach on with the railway tracks running through the middle.Judging by the distance between the old coach's original floor and the rail ,there are no wheels at all on it but it is only resting on the track.Cool idea because right away you know that this flick is about a railway.
    I opened up another hole on prop side because there was a little room built off to the side next to a brick wall which is part of the shack.
    On the set side I will have to open another large hole and move the car's wall outward to become part of the shack's wall.Clear as mud right ! Well I hope to get this done tomorrow and a pic posted when finished.I temporarily put in the WC and wood stove to see how it looks.
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    Some of my buds online have expressed an interest in seeing this Movie.If you do be sure to get the original 3 hour letterbox edition.Hollywood made a two hour version and hacked it to death.Better still see it on the wide screen to get the full impact of the cinematography.
    Don't even bother wasting time on the 2 hour Hollywood version,it is like viewing half a painting and then trying to understand whats going on.
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    The mock up in HO scale is three feet. in G scale (1/24) the outer plywood circle is four feet .Somewhere between the two will be the final diameter.The G scale cars on the40" table looks about right to me.
    I have added the shack to the HO mock-up. In G scale it will be lower than shown here as the car will not be on its wheels.
    The logging car represents the yet to be built locomotive with tender and the box car will be Morton's private luxury car,also yet to be built. If somewhere down the line I decide to add more of the sound stage, modules could be added around the perimeter.
    The last pic is a mod I have made to the station by cutting out a portion of the cars wall ,pushing it outward to create a door, and adding a ticket wicket as in the film.The shack will be built over this portion of the car for now and changed later if required.
    The passenger car has been completely gutted to get it ready for its new(old) interior.I think that I will start with the cars curved ceiling in plywood for now,later I can add individual boards if I want. I am assuming here that the passenger car was not cut completely in two and the ceiling of the car extended the full length of the shack as well.
    There are over head drapes that roll down to presumably cut down on dust entering the passenger car half in a wind storm( in real life.)The shack was required to provide air and shade from the desert sun,rain of course would only be an occasional problem.The whole thing is heavily covered in dust,should be loads of fun weathering this.All that rough cut lumber will be quite a challenge to simulate in scale as well.
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    I thought that I would start with the ceiling and do something new for a change to see how it works out.Instead of plywood I used cardboard to cover the ceiling.I took an old box and measurements from the model and cut it to fit.An xacto knife with a #11 blade is best for this as it leaves a nice clean edge.I sealed the card using my standard 2/3 lacquer ,1/3 lacquer thinner mix and applied it with a soft brush.When dry I then used some burnt umber gesso as an undercoat.For those not familiar with gesso it is a medium that artist have used for centuries as a sealer for canvas,wood etc..and can be picked up in any art store usually in white, gray,burnt umber and black.I thin mine down with about 25% distilled water (although most tap water will do) I then apply this with a soft brush over the dried lacquer on the side to be painted.Usually about two coats will do and let air dry.Drying can be hastened up by using a hair dryer but don't hold it too close to the surface or you will fry your paint.Normally, gesso because it tends to be applied a little thicker, is best air dried as little cracks can form on the surface if dried too quickly.The great thing about gesso is that it sticks to about anything and anything sticks to it acrylics,oils whatever.It also dries flat with no shine,if you want a little shine you can add a little varnish medium.The trouble with most paints is that they dry too shiny,especially for figures but we will get into that later.
    I then glued it to the ceiling using two part epoxy.
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    Because this diorama could be years in the making,rather than me posting a bunch of pictures which just takes you to my photobucket anyway ,I will post my photobucket site address only ,the occasional pic I will post direct to the thread.In the text of my posts I will identify the picture number that I am talking about.This should make it easier for everybody including me.I plan to add a lot of "How to's......" to this thread as my way of doing things maybe a little different than most, which you may(or may not) find interesting.Thanks. Cheers! John.
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    Weathering wood,everybody seems to have a different method here is mine.
    The woods I generally use for model making are basswood,pine , birch tongue depressors and various sizes of coffee stir stiks.In pic 024 in my G scale album you can see the different types that I have collected till now.They are very strong. The raw wood has only been highly polished.
    I like the barnsiding look and this is the way I do it.
    Mix up a thin wash of paint using flat acrylics. Why flat acrylics ? because there is no varnish in them, to make the paint shine and who wants shiny barnsiding.For this wash I use Nimbus Grey with a touch of Raw Umber added plus lots of water.I brush this on the wood letting it soak into the raw wood.Do not use a sealer at any time during this process.After 2 or 3 thin coats you should have a nice gray with some of the wood grain showing through.You want to take advantage of the transparency of acrylics for this technique.When happy let the wood dry or use a hair dryer to speed up the process.This wood is now ready for use and should have an aged look about it. To be cont....
  20. JohnReid

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    ......because of its transparency it is necessary to hand select each piece of wood used for color,grain,unwanted out of scale imperfections etc.....
    With this station /passenger car I have lots of leeway with the wood but remember that at one time this was a functioning RR car, so I will build it aged but some of the original car will still be there.When I get to building Morton's luxury car when using various hardwoods ,I will have to be much more careful with both the miniature carpentry and wood finishes.
    OK so now we have a lot of stained wood of various wood tones and grays.Now we will have to decide whether or not to take the weathering process a little farther at this point or not.If you will always have easy access to the wood like on the outside of a shack wall ,go ahead and use it as is, but if it is inside in a confined area you can take it a few steps further at this time.
    (With this method no airbrushing is required and the methodology is very forgiving of mistakes.)
    Get an old toothbrush with stiff fine bristles,then mix up a very thin wash of raw umber and water.Raw umber is best for this step as it makes for a nice representation of mud flecks,fly sh.t etc...Dunk your toothbrush in the mix and flick off most of the contents onto a sheet of paper with your thumb.When you get down to a very fine spray then flick it on your work ,either board by board or section by section that you are working on.If you have prepared your boards properly it with instantly sink into the wood and dry very quickly.Keep doing this until you are satisfied ,and remember some boards that are close to the ground may require a gradual change in intensity top to bottom.Later some may even require a little mossy green were they come in contact with the ground.
    to be cont.......