How To Make Or Build The Best Scratch Built Dioramas

I have been collecting Scale Vehicles & building scratch built Diorama’s or creating various scenes for over 30 years. I could never find the right building or scenery or the quality product for what I had in mind so I had to learn how to make everything myself & to my standards. I guess that is why people rant & rave over my Diorama’s because they are a step or two above the competition; I have had many requests to display them at various shows & competitions. I am constantly asked how I make them or if I would sell them, so I decided to put up this Blog to help people create there own Diorama’s because everyone has their own tastes & this way you can learn the techniques & gain different ideas but also be involved in creating them just how they want. People collect different scale cars, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes, trains, etc. this way you can make them fit you personally & not have to settle for the cheap imitations on the market today.

What Is a Diorama?

Wikipedia’s definition is; Diorama’s in modern usage, a three-dimensional full-size or miniature model, sometimes enclosed in a glass showcase for a museum. Dioramas are often built by hobbyists as part of related hobbies such as military vehicle modeling, miniature figure modeling or aircraft modeling.

In this case we are going to refer to them as automotive dioramas, but they can be built to whatever you collect or like. These techniques can be used for any type of diorama from a-z such as military landscapes and buildings for trains, planes and automobiles. Dioramas can range from simple grassy scenes to complete towns set in a particular period of time, such as the 50’s or 60’s with the diner’s and car hops to a drag strip with a lighted Christmas tree and people in the stands. Dioramas can also come in all different materials and qualities they can range from a simple building created out of paper or foam board to metal and wood structures. In this case we are going to focus on quality wood structures anywhere from wood display bases to actual wood siding, oak dowels for log buildings, wood telephone poles, etc. with lines stretched across them & running to the buildings and even lines run for a telephone sitting on the parts counter to air compressor air hoses, this can go as far as your imagination can take you.

In the examples and videos we will focus mainly on one scale (1:24) to keep it simple and less confusing. We will address the different scales and how to calculate the proper sizes for buildings, doors, windows, etc. to fit whatever particular scale interests you and fits with your particular collection. If you are an avid collector or just starting out you need to build quality dioramas as nice as the vehicles you want to display this way they will complement each other and make you proud to show off your collection and have people interested in viewing your displays. Imagine going to purchase your next scale vehicle and already thinking what kind of diorama can I build to make this vehicle really stand out or building a diorama and thinking what scale vehicle should I get to make this look really cool.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven Field June 21, 2014 at 4:50 pm

do you think you can give me some tips on how to build a 124th scale dragstrip diarama?any help would be helpful, like how do I make the face look like asphalt?do I use paint? Or what else would work for the best looking effect?

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admin June 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

There are a couple of options for asphalt, I have used both & they look nice. 1 option is to use flat black paint, after the paint has dried use steel wool and rub across it so the paint doesn’t look even, my Classic Motors parking lot was done this way. The other option is scrap book paper, it is acid free & lasts a long time, I have used this myself for the drag strip track. There are many different designs of scrap book paper, I have used it to look like tar paper (flat black) for roofing material and I have used it (gray) for a garage floor. If you go to a Hobby Train store they will have a couple of options for grass, you can decide which option you like best. At Christmas Wal-Mart used to carry grass for there figurine scenery in there Christmas section but I haven’t seen it in the last couple of years, if you can find it I like that the best it is the most realist look and it also feels closer to grass. My Vintage Salvage yard has a small patch of this grass in front of the building. You can see most of these options in different pictures on the blog HowToMakeADiorama.com click the images to enlarge to get a better idea of what you like, the pictures don’t look no where near as nice as they do in real.

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