Building A Modern Industrial 1/76 Scale Micro Diorama

Building A Modern Industrial 1/76 Scale Micro Diorama

We're really getting into building these micro dioramas here at Scale Model Scenery and they seem to be getting quite a cult following now. In this blog post, we're looking at how to build a modern industrial unit micro diorama to showcase the newly released MP039-OO Industrial Extractor Fans micro pack. Extractor fans are everywhere these days. Many industrial units have at least one or two, either for the actual extraction of fumes or vapours from production processes or simply for ventilation.

Project Brief - Industrial Unit Micro Diorama In OO Gauge

We needed a section of wall for the product photo for the extractor fans pack, so we thought rather than just glue the fans to a piece of brick or industrial cladding paper, we'd build a much more interesting vignette of the side of an industrial unit. The diorama would showcase the fan(s) in situ on the side of a building as part of a small scene that could be virtually anywhere in the UK or around the world for that matter.

Let's get to work!

Step 1: Cover the micro diorama base with asphalt paper. 

The first step is to cover the MDF base with a suitable texture paper. For this project, we chose the popular TX158-OO Weathered Asphalt Paper, coating the top of the base in UHU before pressing it firmly onto the unprinted side of one of the Asphalt Paper Sheets. Once the glue had dried, the excess paper was carefully trimmed away with a sharp craft knife.

Step 2:  Cut slots in the base to locate the wall.

Time to fess up now… Because we wanted to create a wall on this diorama (that the fans would sit on) we customised this diorama base a little, adding two slots that would support the side wall of the industrial unit we wanted to create. So once the glue had fully dried we trimmed the excess paper from the two slots. We didn't make the neatest of jobs of it, but it was fine for what we needed.

Step 3:  Cover the wall section with breeze block paper

Another confession… we made a custom wall section for this too, but you could just simply cut a rectangle of card to use as the wall and glue it on, perpendicular to the base. We made ours to slot into the base though so it would be extra strong should the micro diorama need to accompany us to an exhibition at some point. Anyway, the wall section was covered in a simple weathered Breeze Block texture from our range, again using UHU to fix the texture sheet in place. Once dry it was simply trimmed to size using a sharp craft knife.

Step 4: Glue the completed wall into place on the base

To create our vertical wall, the covered wall section was then simply slotted into place on the micro diorama base and then secured with a couple of drops of Deluxe Laser Cut Kit Glue.

Step 5: Create an upper section of cladding-covered wall using a small piece of card

The next step was to create a small section of upper wall from a simple rectangle of 2mm thick greyboard. The wall section was then wrapped with TX141-OO Corrugated Industrial Unit Cladding. The cladding paper was wrapped around the top and bottom of the wall to give a nice, tidy finish.

Step 6: Glue the upper wall into place

The completed industrial unit wall was then glued into place.

Step 7:  Paint the industrial extractor fan blades & fascia

Next, the two components for the MP039-OO Extractor Fans were released from the laserboard sheet using a sharp craft knife to cut through the tabs. Note: Do not try to remove the parts from the sheet by hand. Laserboard is incredibly tough and needs to be cut with a sharp knife. If you cut from the back of the sheet you'll hear a very positive, and oddly satisfying “pop” when the parts are released.

Once released we gave them a coat of mid-grey acrylic paint (simply applied with a paintbrush). Then dry brushed the blades with a little burnt umber acrylic to represent dirty blades.

Step 8: Assemble the fan

This is probably the simplest step of the whole build, with the fascia quite simply being glued over the blades.

Step 9: Glue the completed fan into place

The next step is to glue the completed fan into place on the wall. As this diorama is being built to primarily showcase the fan itself we opted for a central position. And just up out of harm's way for safety too!

Step 10: Soften the scene with a little greenery (or should it be brownery?)

We liked how the diorama was coming along, but were worried it might look too hard once complete, so we took a Swamp Static Grass Tuft from one of our handy packs and chopped it in half with a knife. Then simply pressed the two pieces into place to add a bit of nature to scene, softening it a little.

Step 11: Weather the fan & cladding a bit

We weren't entirely happy with the look of the fan as it was… far too clean for our liking, despite weathering the blades. So a quick dry brush of the vents & a little of the cladding with some black & natural titanium acrylic paint gave them a more weathered look.

Step 12: Add some tube clamp railings

It was then time to add a bit of interest to the foreground of the diorama, so we opted for a short length of LX097-OO Tube Clamp Railings. These are made from our eco-friendly 0.8mm laserboard and are often thought to be fragile. We can assure you however that these are far more durable than their 3D-printed equivalent and can simply be bent back into shape should they get squashed or knocked. Anyway, these were given a quick coat of bright yellow acrylic, again applied by brush. We didn't use primer or water the paint down… We simply applied it straight from the tube.

Step 13: Add the final bit of detail…

To finish the diorama off we thought it still needed a little something else in front of the railings to add a little depth. A quick root through our scrap drawers unearthed an old pack of LX098-OO Scaffolding Planks that had been cut on the wrong thickness timber. Three of these were simply trimmed to length so they fitted on the diorama base. We then painted them with a little grey and white paint, and immediately wiped it off with a tissue, to give them an older, more weathered look.

Shopping List

Fancy building something similar either as a micro-diorama or as part of a larger scene? Here's a list of everything we've used to create this micro-diorama in OO gauge / 1:76.

Acrylic paints were purchased from The Range.