Diorama finished

Yes finished. I started working on it nearly ten months ago and still can’t believe that it took so long. I hoped that it would not get in the way of The Town module construction but in the end it completely overtook that project.

The completed scene.

The project was started simply because I wanted to present models in a realistic setting while I worked on them doing detailing and weathering. A photo-box is an ideal way to display models in their natural setting under controlled lighting. The concept evolved quickly from a simple embankment located along the branch-line in flat countryside and was eventually set in a wilder and more spectacular setting. This change occurred because I wanted more of a challenge and a chance to really dig deep and learn as much as I could about landscaping models.

Things went slowly though. I scratch-built everything and this probably slowed things down. Also it was my first attempt at landscaping and the fact that I had to figure out how to do the various tasks involved (such as making realistic grass, build the embankments, build the bridge etc) ended up with the project taking more time that expected.

What was interesting about the project was how much more I paid attention to the world around me. I closely observed nature and wondered how to replicate in miniature form the wide variety of plant life around me. I realized that compared to real-life modelers have a very limited range of products and techniques at their service. Moving forward I want to figure out how to model a wider array of plants.

While working on this I kept these qualities in mind as a guiding force:

  • Matching or complimentary colors: colors should not stand out or clash. They should compliment each other and look as much like real life as possible.
  • Vivid colors – colors should radiate light rather than absorb light in the way that white reflects and black absorbs.
  • Just the right amount of contrast – there should be no major changes in contrast between the objects and the landscape should give off an even spread of light.
  • Variation of texture – as much change in texture as possible as provided by rocks, stones, sand, grass, bushes and trees. Every element on the diorama should have a texture of some sort: from the weathered wood of the trestle to the gravel road.
  • Scale – make sure all elements are to scale from the sizes of the fence posts to the grain sizes of the gravel and the height of the plants.

I think I came close to achieving some of these qualities but didn’t get quite as far along as I hoped. For example I was over-cautious with color and things look a little flat. I’ve since figure out how to make the grass ‘pop’ more (using brighter static grass and also spray paint the grass a variety of colors) but this lesson will have to be put to use on the next project.

Anyway enough ‘overthinking’ here are some final pics:

I added telegraph poles and the rails and may still add a no trespassing sign to warn hikers off the bridge.
Adding the rails to the bridge was one of the most satisfying moments in the project.
I did a gentle weathering job on the truck. Any color would have worked nicely here, such as blue or red, nevertheless I’m happy with this pale grey color.
The vine was extended to quite a height. I used Silflor flowers stalks to build the vine and left a few flowers attached here and there.
The view looking west. The high sided and curved backdrop is essential for the realism of the scene.
I wanted the diorama to look as realistic as possible close up. I selected a wide variety of materials and colors. This area is about 3 inches by 3 inches.
The previous two pictures were taken from this image and show more clearly the west side embankment. The trestle is set near the end of the branch line at the start of the climb into the hill region.
I like the contrast of the road and river: two channels with very different purposes that both needed to be crossed.


A hikers view of the creek bed. There is a lake in the distance. I need to adjust that lake view which I will do at a later time.
The original purpose of the diorama was to display newly weathered and detailed rolling stock and to be able to view them from different angles such as below.
One of my first weathering attempts. I hope to get better at weathering and detailing models moving forward.

Anyhow I’m glad the project is over. It was immense fun but I’m ready to go full speed ahead on The Town project. This poor project has been sitting somewhat forgotten under my workbench. I’m hoping to get back to it this weekend.