I have recently felt the urge to take up modelling in 1:35 scale again. It has been several years since I built anything in that huge scale, preferring HO or O scale.
One of my joys of building a model is photographing it when it is complete, sharing the photo on the web and being able to look at it whenever I want. Therefore, my first priority returning to 1:35 scale was to build a simple diorama or scenic base to serve as a place to photograph my models on.
The inspiration for the photo diorama came from Miniart’s new set, #36042, called Village Road Section. Miniart makes very nice products, but really excel in finishing their models and photographing them so well, that visiting their site always make me want to build everything there.
The new set of a cobblestone road would be great to display both road vehicles and figures on.
While playing with the cobblestone sections from the two kit I had bought, I quickly decided that the diorama should contain railroad track as well for displaying rail vehicles.
I already had a bit of standard gauge track from Trumpeter, that came with my now almost-finished model of the WR360 tractor. Inspired by the many narrow gauge railways of WWI, I decided to add some 600mm or 2′ track. This gave the diorama extra flexibility for whatever I might build in the future. The track came from the British company Peco.
After a lot of fiddling, I decided on a base measuring 53 cm x 42 cm or 21″ x 17″. A wooden base made from MDF-board was cut out and a layer of styrofoam on top gave it some additional height.
Then everything was spraypainted brown and black before being glued onto the board.
At this point I gave some thought to where the diorama would belocated and decided it was just on the outskirts of a larger village with a railroad station, servd by a single-track line. During WWI a narrow gauge track had been constructed from the station and running into fields nearby, that might have been a part of the Western Front in France, Germany or Belgium.
This meant that the main track should be well-kept, while the narrow gauge line should look abandoned and overgrown.
The 600 mm or 2′ narrow gauge track was ballasted with fine sand, bought from a pet shop as Chinchilla Sand! The sand was then carefully arranged with a brush before being glued on. More about that later.
While the glue was still wet, I added some fine green powder to the top of the ballast, simulating moss growing on the old tracks.
For the main line, I used a coarser sand and arranged it in the same way as the narrow gauge track. Then I used an old syringe filled with a mixture of brown paint, water and glue to drip the mix onto the ballast, gluing and adding colour to the whole thing at the same time.
In this article about my O scale castle diorama you can see a short video of the process.
The cobblestone received several washes and highlights before I was satisfied with the colour. Dirt was then added to the side of the road, and the diorama was now almost complete.
The last steps were to plant a lot of static grass using an electrostatic device to make the grass stand upright. I mixed three different colours of static grass in vairous quantities to give the grass a varied look. I also made sure to plant the grass in patches, so the earth showed underneath.
I completed the vegetation by added numerous little tufts with and without flowers. Later I might add some bushes, but first of all it was time to take some test shot to see how it worked.
The grass had almost completely hidden the old narrow gauge track, just as planned. When seen from thi angle, the grass cries out for more variation, so perhaps I should add more tufts in various colours?
As you can see on the main line above, I used weathering powder containing real rust for adding an extra touch to the railroad tracks.
I had prepared some photo backdrops in advance. I found some nice images on Flickr containing lots or blue sky and printed it on the largest paper my printer could fit. I then glued the prints onto large pieces of cardboard, making them stable enough to stand on their own. On the image above the setup used to shoot the first image in this post is shown.
The light comes from four 50 watts multifaceted reflector light bulbs mounted in a lamp in the ceiling, which gives a nice clear light similar to sunlight.
So far, I am pretty satisfied with the diorama. Some more variation in the vegetation might be needed and more and larger backdrops would be nice.
But the diorama can now serve its purpose, and I can begin to build new models with a place to photograph them.
Any ideas on how to improve the photos or the diorama?