Profile Photo
G. Ley
29 articles

A diorama within in a diorama ~ or ~ details, details, details!

October 10, 2018 · in Diorama · · 9 Comments

A diorama provides a scale snap shot of life in four dimensions. Height, breadth, width and time. The diorama is three dimensional image of a moment frozen in time. The beauty and treasure of the diorama is that, unlike life, whose moments pass instantaneously, one can stop and ponder the diorama's moment at length. I cannot count the times I have paused in reflection while examining the detail of someone's moment and how they constructed that moment.

Here is such a snapshot

Even people who were there, never saw it from this perspective. It's like that scene from "The Great Waldo Pepper", where Waldo is enthusiastically waxing on about a battle he never fought to Ernst Kessler who was there. Kessler replies, "You probably know more about it than I do. I was there, of course, but there wasn't much time for me to study."

This miniature diorama within a diorama presents an amalgamation of moments in my life. A collection of memories in a tiny shadow box. The shelving in my Caribbean operations hanger took quite a bit of time and planning to figure out what I would put in and where it would go. It was built from a collection of miscellaneous, unused parts and figures from various kits including the cargo Beech I'm building. All in all, the modifying, sanding and painting took a bit longer than the Ruger engine hoist and wheeled fire extinguisher, seen here.

The guy with the red can of milSpec 5606 was from 's "Navy Crew with moto tug," that can be seen to the left here.

The hydraulic filler can (stop me if I get too technical) the mechanic is holding on to, is attached to the shelving with a tiny, 2mm magnet, while the shelving is attached to the hanger floor with a larger version.

Labels are Airscale Decals - Allied Aircraft Cockpit Placards. These are a handy set of decals that can be used just about anywhere in or out of the cockpit as they are too tiny to read anyway. I used the goon's air intake scoops on two of the shelves. However, it wasn't until later, when I was in a conundrum with what to use for filler on the final shelf, that I found a forgotten box of details that included the radios from the C-47 I'm building for the diorama. I left the radios out of the cargo version that had long since dispensed with these relics from the Marconi era.

("Calling Barranca, calling Barranca, come in Barranca" Note "the tail flap" was broken off.)

I cut the radios from the goon's bulkhead and then re-positioned and painted the details before placing them where such radios go in real life - the dusty, top shelf. To this day, I have an ancient Narco VHF antenna resting on my top shelf. I just happened to have had the tube testing tub from a collection of auto shop details, but never realized what it was until I began looking for shelf fillers. I made a tire tube from an ancient, hard rubber tire from a toy airplane or truck dating from the thirties.

It was a great find that came from only god knows where. It looked like a tube and I didn't have to paint anything, just drill it out and then sand the contours before drilling in a hypo needle for the filler valve. Trim the needle and it was done. The tires are from a B-17. Terry Davis had used these as bush tires for his Super Cub seen to the left.

I replaced them with regular Cub tires so de plane would fit in de hanger. What else might one do with old B-17 tires?

Here is the shelving in final position.

If one looks closely, they can see the positioning magnets holding the shelving in place.

The German helmet, from a Tamiya Afrika Corps kit, was taken off the U-977, interred at Mar del Plata, Argentina, August 1945. Either that or it's just like the one I had as a kid.

26 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Words fail me. Well, almost. This is gorgeous. A build that just keeps giving - thank you! Beautifully written, and a joy to read.

  2. Creative, Imaginative and well done...

  3. What a great use of spare parts. I almost tossed most of mine yesterday, but thanks to you I now have a few ideas. Great diorama!

  4. Great stuff @flyingwrench, They say 'A picture is worth a thousand words', this Diorama will be volumes of short stories!

  5. Very nice! Great re-purposing of left-overs!

  6. Beautiful work! Mil H 5606 a number I'll never forget.

  7. Outstanding, Mr. Ley! I love all the little details, including the corrugated cardboard packing boxes! The details are what separates a decent diorama from a GREAT dio, like yours. Mr. Robinson said it best: "They say 'A picture is worth a thousand words', this Diorama will be volumes of short stories!"


Leave a Reply