Sunday, September 7, 2008

A slight departure

A departure for an evening from the vehicles to look at what goes into my miscellaneous files. Photographing models in a scale scene adds something to them that brings them to life. It validates them, rather than being on a stark or some out of scale surface even if there's a nifty background. So I've built a number of diorama bases that put the model in a variety of scenes to let the model have more of a story. Outfitting these dioramas with accessories has become a favorite modeling past time over the years. As I mentioned in my welcome, there's a plethora of accessory details available for HO model railroad enthusiasts. I also have been building what I can't find from scratch in a lot of instances using just about every material known to be found around the house.
I was introduced to some nice resin castings from a place called Rusty Stumps last year. What I acquired from them was mostly shelving, benches and piles of stuff in resin that I painted like the workbench above. It fit nicely in a scene with an old junked truck with tarps on it and piles of debris all around. And some of the pieces helped to dress up the interior of my garage workshop diorama. Most of these accessories don't particularly lend themselves to fine scale modeling but as background objects, help to make the scene more interesting and realistic. What would a junkyard be with only junked cars? Old oil drums, piles of pipe and wood and parts of cars carry the eye all around the scene. And sometimes actually are the focus of the scene. In the photo above of an abandoned truck repair center. there are some old tires and oil drums. Some of the car parts shown are made by rubbing heavy aluminum foil over the part of a car one would want to make like a front fender. I use a blunt toothpick. It's then a simple matter of cutting the excess to form the exact shape and paint.

Sometimes it's just a simple matter of weathering a few old boards and pipes to create details to add to a scene. Of course there's always an obligatory tire or two that need to be strategically placed. Tarps are also a quick and easy detail that I make out of a single ply of toilet paper (without embossed design). Cut the paper to the size desired, lay over the object and then use a solution of 50/50 wh. wood glue and water and let the paper wick up the solution until it lays comfortably in place. Let dry and paint. I actually use the dirty water I clean my brushes in sometimes for the 50/50 solution and the need for painting is eliminated as here in this old retired fire truck diorama. The dusting with a bit of light colored chalks finishes up the job.

Not always are details quick and easy however. In the scene below of a waterfront wharf, you will see a ladder, a water tower and an old tractor powering a pump. All but the tractor itself being scratch built. Here again I emphasize the need to pay attention to scale. Both the size of the wood and the distance between rungs were carefully measured to give the ladder a realistic look because even a great weathering job wouldn't help an out of scale piece here. The one easy detail here barely seen on the left is a heavy rope which is nothing more than a coiled Dacron fishing line.In the following mini desktop diorama, I scratch built the brick wall from plaster and added the details of the tire, oil drums and cardboard box. The box is super easy. Just cut and fold some brown wrapping paper just as you would find a real box cut out and folded. A dab of white wood glue and some trash inside and you have a suitable detail. The little cans you see are tiny resistors from an old radio.
Well I'm sure I'll be spending more time on this kind of stuff and am anxious to go into detail on some of the dioramas one by one as time allows. But for now, this is all the "detail" I am going to go into. Thanks again and have a great week!

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