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Diorama idea

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  • Member since
    October, 2017
Diorama idea
Posted by Jay Bones on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 10:26 PM

OK, so I live on an island in Lake Erie (Kelleys Island), and the closest model store is on the mainland, an hour away when the ferry boat is running ($20 round trip), or about a halfhour drive once the ferry shuts down and the only way off is by flying (~$100 round trip).  So I'll be most likely ordering things online to be shipped.

Have an idea to build a Shelby GT350H kit, and another first gen Mustang then have them parked with an engine swap being done.  Alegedly this happened, as the Hertz employees wouldn't be any wiser.  Any 289 would sound and look superficially like the 289 Hi Po Shelby unit.

Like to use this kit


for the house.  Then some accessories like an engine lift and tools/toolbox.

Don't know if I should put any figures in it, since I don't know how realistic they could look (given my noobie skills, they'd probably look like cast resin figures, stock just like everyone else uses).

Also like to build a Sunbeam Tiger MKI 260V8 like my dad owned.  Might go period B production racer, just add a roll cage and drive it to the track.  Tape the headlights and put a number on the side.  Sort of a fantasy of my dad's, except my mom wouldn't let him.

Another racing scene would be a Shelby GT350R, with some light damaged from bumping fenders, some tire rubs on the sides.

A couple guys (again, not sure about the figures) putting a flathead Ford V8 into an MG TD (written about by Burt Levy in The Last Open Road).

Any tips or advice?

I think I already have a handle on how to make pavement (dry wall mud with some black acrylic paint mixed in, build up temporary foam sides and use a popsicle stick to screed it off.  As it dries it'll crack and I can make patches or highligh the cracks with a makeup brush and powder.  Then spray satin poly to keep it from moving), and dirt/sand.

But as far as making buildings look realistic, I'm going to maybe give them a wash with dark water based paint then wipe it off with a paper towel.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Thursday, November 09, 2017 5:04 AM

Hello Jay!

I think you should try to do those figs - after some practice I'm sure you can get satisfactory results and they really bring life to a dio. Without them it can look like "nice, but where did everybody go?".

As for the pavement, you can gat a very good pavement out of fine sandpaper, like here:

1:87 papre model house by Pawel

As for concrete, I got nice results by laying acrylic putty (wall repair style) and some black wash on top of that:

1:35 M55 Quad 50 Diorama by Pawel

By the way that shows you that the figures are important!

Good luck with your dio, have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Thursday, November 09, 2017 7:08 AM

Hi Jay;

 Nice little old house .You can use oils ,  enamels or acrylics to get the weathering you need . I would , if you can  ,get some clear sheet and do the window glazing . A sooty black drybrushed between the foundation stones , or even dark grey would look swell .

  You also can use a wash on them Wiping away the overage .Now on the roof use ash , flat black and some light runs of deep hull red . Start at the roof ridge and wipe downward toward the eave edges .This will age the roof ..

  You should have weathered the porch deck Before you assembled it . But you can still weather it . Take Light grey in a wash Pour it on the porch and then tilt it and let it run off the edge . Before it dries wipe away a bit of it in the traffic areas .


 You want to put something inside to keep from looking through the house . Model RailRoad guys put Black or Dark Brown baffles inside to keep the see-through appearance away . Another thing .When you glaze the windows , Paint curtains on the inside of the glass or represent roll up old fashioned shades half drawn in the window . Or do both !

 I would also paint the porch pillars and rails the same color as the outside window trim .T.B.

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:14 PM

Rotate the house slightly, too, so that its walls are not parallel to the edges of your base.  That adds a little visual interest.  And thanks, Shep Paine, for that tip, back in the day.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.



  • Member since
    July, 2012
  • From: Douglas AZ
Posted by littletimmy on Thursday, November 09, 2017 9:09 PM

 Tanker-Builder and The Baron pretty much said it all.

I have used sandpaper for pavement, but I spraypaint a light coat of Panzer Grey over it then seal it with Dullcoat. Then if neccissary I use a Flat Black wash.

DO give the figure's a try at least..... they lend so much to a static display. They give the viewer a "Hint " of  action.

 Dont worry about the thumbprint, paint it Rust , and call it "Battle Damage".




  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, November 09, 2017 9:33 PM

It's always helpful to work from photographs. They don't have to be the thing down to the last detail, for instance a crew taking an engine out of a car would be enough. But you'll get all kinds of information that you'd never be able to include otherwise. Like what they took off the mill first, or where they put the hood, or what you set it on while you get the other car ready.

  • Member since
    October, 2017
Posted by Jay Bones on Friday, November 10, 2017 1:12 AM

OK, I can't (and won't) take credit for the house.  That was the picture of the kit from the online listing.

Good tips on the weathering.  Would have never thought of doing the porch that way.  And the windows are another cool tip.

Probably will give the figures a shot. Figure I can give them a wash of thinned dark paint, wipe it off leaving some in the creases.  For grease/oil stains, probably use a grease pencil or warm up a black crayon.  Then do a spray sealer of some sort.

As far as what an engine swap looks like, I've done enough wrenching to know what it would look like.  Never taken a water cooled engine out with a lift, only dropped air cooled VW engines from underneath.  The car up on jack stands or stacks of block/bricks.

Since I'll be building the donor vehicle I probably won't install the hood.  Either set it on saw horses, stacks of tires, trashcans, crates or barrels.  Even lean it against something (a tree, house, wall, etc).

For the MG TD flathead Ford V8 swap, I figure an engine model in the same scale could sit on a stand with the hood and sides removed from the MG.

The Sunbeam Tiger weekend racer would most likely by an outdoor scene, trees and grass background with a pit road surface in the foreground.

The Shelby GT350R would be a more professional racing team garage.  Spare engine(s), welding tanks, extra sets of wheels/tires, maybe make damage to the sides with heating the plastic so put some minor dents and bends.  And again the grease pencil/black crayon could be used to make convincing tire rubs (at speed) on the sides.

  • Member since
    May, 2017
  • From: Park City, Utah
Posted by Frankenpanzer on Monday, November 13, 2017 11:40 PM

ICM makes some 1/24th scale figure sets. They aren't hard to convert. 

  • Member since
    March, 2005
Posted by philo426 on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:01 PM

Yes the renters would weld in roll cages and take the 350 Hs racing then return them sans rollcages on Monday,


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