Sergio Leone Movie Set Diorama

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

  1. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  2. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    I have doubled the set side of the train station /shacks width to be more like it is in the film.At first I thought it maybe was too wide but I set everything back up on the 40 inch circular table I use for reference at it looks fine.A mock-up cardboard roof has been added to work out the dimensions and angles.Because the cars roof is blocking any view of the shacks roof interior I can fake the roof and use well lacquered cardboard.I want to build it with a slight curve in it and then sheath the exterior with wood tongue depressors.The set side of the roof will be faked with only the ends built to a point where max camera angle would reveal it as such.
  3. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    You know the modern dioramist (word?) is soo lucky ! I am surprised that more of us haven't really used all the tools available to us for research and especially for visual playin' around.Sitting here at my computer I have available to me, in my own home,all the possible visual reference I could ever want.I can scan for the minutest detail and teach myself things that only a few short years ago you would have to go to film school for and even then it would be filtered through a teacher who has his own biases.
    This is really the golden age for visual artists who want to take advantage of all the tools now available to them.
    I never in my wildest dreams thought that this level of research was possible until just recently.When I was a kid going to the Saturday movies, my buds and I would come home and act out what we saw in the movies.Endless hours of childhood arguments over who did what or how, can now be solved instantly.
    This may or may not be a good thing for our childhood imaginations but now at least we can get on with playing the game.
  4. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  5. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Moving on to the shack portion of this RR diorama I am starting to put up the roof rafters and boards.I want to make both the cars roof and shack roof detachable for ease of working on and any future maintenance that may be required.
    I want this roof to look old so I put a little sway back in the beams.The wood was bent by simply steaming it a while over a stove top pan,then I took an old curling iron ,heated it up and hand bent it over the round tip.The center beam and rafters were then cut to length and installed right on the model.For this I used extra thick crazy glue to tack it all in place.Generally I don't use a lot of CA but for this tacking operation it really is the best way to go,from here on I will use the yellow carpenters glue as I am sensitive to the CA's fumes.
    This shack is a lot of fun to do,it is easy in one aspect as exact standards are not required due to the nature of what I am building but then again you really have to study your references to make it look right.
  6. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  7. mysteroid

    mysteroid Member

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    Looks awesome! :thumb:

    OUATITW is one of my favorite movies. Moody, stylish, great atmosphere and characters.

    Looking forwards to watching your progress!

    Steve
  8. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Tongue depressors make great roofing boards.The boards may look wide to the modern eye but they really were easily available in those days.Each board was hand selected for color,pattern , texture and lots of defects.Ten years ago I had bought a whole load of these second quality depressors and used the best of them for hangars that I was building .I kept what I thought was junk just in case,and a good thing it was that I did, because they are perfect for my purposes now.As a modeler one thing I learned early on was not to throw anything model related or what could be model related away.
    I used my usual nimbus gray/raw sienna mix and lots of water and created a wash.I put on three thin coats and dried between coats with a hair dryer.It is my normal practice to color my boards before putting them on the model but in this case I only want to paint the film set side and leave the prop side natural,like a prop would be in reality..You don't paint what won't be seen in the film!
    The carpentry is crude in keeping with what I see in my references.I haven't yet decided on the weathering I will do on these boards, because the desert environment is something new to me.There are two ways I can approach this, either the rail car was brought from the east and was mostly weathered in a damper environment with lots of rust etc... or leave the wood bleached from the sun ,or something in between.
  9. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Making a little progress on the station/shack area.That hanging board fascinates me,you can be sure that it was not put there accidentally by Sergio.If you look closely at the pic you can see the top of a cowboy hat on the L/H side of the pic.That is where the famous" fly on the face" scene happened.I have not yet weathered this area until it is finished,both sides of these boards will require finishing as both areas are in the film.One of my modeling buds actually went out and took some pics for me of old desert railway cars near Carson City Nevada.That was very kind of him to do so! It always amazes me that the vast majority of modelers can be so kind to their buds.
  11. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  12. JohnReid

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    These Bachmann kits are super for kit bashing.The way that they have been designed to go together makes them very easy to work with.They could be broken down even further by cutting the walls in four separate pieces.This wasn't necessary for my purposes here as I am not doing a lot of fancy detailing on the car/shack.When it comes to the luxury car though it will be necessary in order to do all the carpentry that will be required.The car/shack piece has turned out to be the best place to have started to become familiar with the construction methods as the work here is fairly loose in the tolerances required.

    For the luxury Victorian car I plan to buy a lot of the furniture in 1/24 scale from the miniatures world (dollhouses).They seem to love Victorian furniture and have loads to chose from.Building fancy furniture is another hobby itself so I might as well take advantage of what is out there already.My principal is "buy what you can and built what you must."Up until now this has meant just about everything as what is available is very limited in 1/16th scale but in 1/24 the sky is the limit. (or should I say my hobby budget)I should have lots of time to build it back up again as after this car/shack I plan on doing the locomotive which will be mostly out of the box.I will be doing a lot of bashing on it however, as it will be depicted as a fake locomotive built for film purposes, not like the other two pieces that were adaptations of real cars.(in my world).I am sure that the way it was really done in the film studios would have been much different than I am depicting here.What I am trying to create here is an art piece using lots of artistic license,just like they do in Hollywood ! This will be an empty sound stage with no figures at all just the empty directors chair which is what the story is all about anyway.Sergio left us much too soon just when he was getting it all together as a director,who knows what other great stuff he had planned.I wonder though could he have ever have topped "Once upon at time..........? a recognized masterpiece of film making.
  13. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  14. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    You know it is funny how it goes with art. I started off wanting to do and learn about everything.Take figures for example,I wanted to learn how to do them as I thought at the time, that they really completed a diorama.Normally this is true ,they add a sense of scale and life to the scene.In my work I only used them in relaxed positions,standing talking in groups for example.No action not even walking as I felt that it broke the illusion of "a moment in time."My first diorama had three figures,the next five,after that too many for the fourth diorama, then it was back to one, and now none.
    A lot of artists are the same from what I see around me.In the beginning they want to prove that they can master the techniques,then having done that they want to experiment with their own ideas and a lot of the time it is about minimizing things to the point where you can get say what you have to say as simply as possible.
    Some artists minimize a whole aspect of their art and tell an even more powerful story by letting the viewers imagination fill in the blanks. Making a film with 15 pages of dialogue in a 3 hour piece is a wonderful example of this.When you do it right it can become a masterpiece !
  15. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Changed my mind again . I won't be doing the interior of the luxury car after all.I reviewed the film again today and it just contains too much stuff.Fine scale furniture building is not something that I really want to do and buying that stuff costs a fortune.It really would not add a lot to the diorama and actually it might be distracting.The primary purpose for the car is to have a Morton Railway logo which is on the outside anyway.I can just make up some wooden blinds ,light the interior through the blinds to add atmosphere and put a sign on the stage door side saying something like "Movie Set,please keep door closed."
    The car/shack plus the fake locomotive should get the sub-story line of movies being mostly about illusion, across to the viewer without going to all the trouble involved with building the interior of the Morton car.
  16. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  17. JohnReid

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    Next up will be the locomotive "The General".I have gathered most of the reference I need.I plan to make this locomotive a complete fake and build only about half of it so that it looks real only when viewed from the directors chair on stage ,as if he would be waiting for the actors to come on the set.(or maybe it was the other way around,they were waiting for him)I am sure that you have seen this kind of thing many times in the movies and never even realized it.Movies are all about altered reality and deception,were not doing History here.A lot of so-called history is illusion anyway but that is another story.
    I really like this kit and I am really looking forward to bashing it into something completely different than what you usually see in scale modeling.In full scale 1:1 modeling it has been a long established tradition to fake it.Even for the"Titanic" movie they built a 3/4 scale fake of the real thing.How many models life size or scale model have I seen blown up and destroyed in the movies ,especially before the modern era of animation.
  18. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    Hi guys ! I wouldn't be posting as often(some will say thank goodness) or working on the train diorama for a couple of weeks. The aviation museum called and they will be picking up their stuff within the next month. I am not expecting a lot to do to finish their first three dioramas.The fourth aircraft and the train diorama will be worked on over the winter.I will however still be doing research on the train diorama and will post anything interesting in the meantime.
  19. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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  20. JohnReid

    JohnReid Active Member

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    This is pretty much the final composition of the major components of the diorama in HO scale, in G scale that is a diameter of almost four feet.The space between the locomotive and the station/shack, as represented here by the red car, is as close to a front of the diorama that this design gets.The empty directors chair will be in the center.The green boxcar will be Morton's luxury car, which will be a closed set, with a sign on the rear sliding door saying" closed set ,do not enter".From the directors point of view everything will look normal and lifelike but from the viewers point of view it will be a movie set.This diorama will be my idea about how movies were made in the past before all the animation we see today.
    It is essentially an artistic license piece about artistic license.A behind the scenes look at how I think the magic was made.