The Start Of A Diorama - Beginner's Corner

The Start Of A Diorama - Beginner's Corner

Hello everyone, Sam from Scale Model Scenery here. In this blog, blogs to come and a video series, I'm going to be documenting progress on my first ever diorama. 

Working at a scale model company you may assume that I have experience building models but the truth is I don't. The only construction I've done is test building products. Over the last year, my interest in the hobby has grown a lot and seeing everything that you guys make has made me want to up my skills!

With this being my first diorama, I wanted to make sure that I had a somewhat decent plan for myself so I didn't spend ages faffing around. Luckily, there was a vivid image in my head of scene I wanted to create - a street corner. Doing this would allow me to model part of a street, a house scene, a garden and then some area around the main house which I could fill with foliage and other little details. To start, I browsed the website and selected a few key products. From here, I got the dimensions of the products and created a floorplan in Photoshop. Here's the plan:

As you guys can see, it's nothing too complicated and it will most likely change slightly as it becomes reality but it's got me excited to start building it! Around the house, I'm going to fill the space up with little details such as bins, some debris, plants and flowers. The size of the document is A3 which I then tried to find a baseboard which was about the same size. You have probably worked this out already but I'm going with OO gauge. I've decided to go with this scale for multiple reasons, you can capture a good amount of detail but it's not too big, it's not too small and tedious like other scales *cough* N gauge *cough* and also the majority of our products are in OO.

First things first, I had to build the baseboard. I got a bit confused at first which is why you see Justin on the floor showing me briefly how it goes together. Also shoutout to Stu for showing me the tape method to keep the joints nice and tight. Anyway, here's the video:


Now that's out the way, it's time to start building some models.


Constructing The Walls



These walls are currently unreleased but they are in the works and should be released soon. Now that we have an established plan it's time to start bringing it to life. The first step in the building process is cutting out the wraps. I would highly recommend using a ruler and a sharp knife to ensure that the edges are crisp. 



Once I had cut the wraps, I began releasing the parts from the sheets using a knife. These come out easily but it is advised to use a knife to get them out as there are small tabs keeping them in place.



To make sure the sides are smooth, use a bit of sandpaper and sand the MDF. Don't sand it too much otherwise the wraps will be too big!



From here, it's a case of applying a bit of glue to the MDF and then lining up the wraps and making sure they were properly glued down.



I did the exact same thing with the pillars - released them from the sheet, sanded them a little bit and then glued the wraps on. The only difference is for the pillars it is 2 pieces of MDF instead of the one for the walls. It's also worth noting that I did end up cutting off the top part of the wrap once it was all lined up.


The reason why I cut off the top part is for the tiles. The tiles seem to stick better to the MDF rather than the paper. This step was simple, all I did was apply some glue to the top of the walls / pillars and made sure the tiles were secure.


Constructing The House



Time for the main attraction - the house! Annoyingly, the video I recorded of the main wall construction got corrupted so I don't have any photos of the process except for this one. These main walls were pretty easy to build as instructions are provided.



Stupidly, when I first initially cut the wraps I cut out the wrong sided porch wrap but I quickly grabbed the kit and cut out the correct side.



When gluing the wraps down, make sure you smooth out the wrap to ensure there's no bumps. Also I would recommend using our SX021 folding and scoring tool for the windows and any tight spaces that may be difficult to reach. 



Once the wraps had been applied, it was time to release the windows from their sheets. These windows come in 3 parts, the top, the bottom and the main frame. 



Now that the windows had been released, it's time to get painting. You can go without painting these and leave them in their natural wood finish but I wanted to give it a grubby grey layer of paint.



With the help of Stu, I began glazing the windows. To do this, I got the plastic wallet which the kit came in, split it down the middle and glued the bottom frame onto it. 



Once I had glued them all down, I cut them out and then glued the top frame onto that, followed by the frame on top of both of those.



Andddd this is where I made my first big mistake. I had missed out the window sills. This would come back to haunt me, having to painstakingly try to squeeze the window sills in.



Some of you may have seen this meme on our social media, well this is the story behind it.



Can't forget the door! I painted the door, the pillars and the part above the door purple to add a nice splash of colour, painted the steps grey and glued them in place.



After this, I painted these two rectangular pieces grey to give the illusion of guttering. Once these were in placed, I glued the roof trusses in place and sorted out the chimneys.



After waiting a bit for the glue to dry, I then glued on these pieces for the tiles to sit on. Taping them helped with getting a tighter fit and kept them in place but once I started adding the tiles I got rid of the masking tape.



One step I would highly recommend doing is scoring along the backside of these strips of tiles which will be going along the peaks. This allows them to easily fold over.



Mistake time! When I looked back at one of the sheets, I noticed two small rectangle pieces which I couldn't seem to figure out where to put. Justin then informed me that they were suppose to go under the chimney pots. I then had to remove the chimneys, paint these pieces and put it in the right order.


Once I had finished fixing the chimneys, the house was complete! Here's a quick video of it:


As you can see, my modelling skills aren't all that great. Especially when you focus in on the mistakes. However, I am happy with the results. The corners are nice and crisp. Plus there's window sills.

Well, I think I'm going to have to call this part 1 otherwise this blog will be massive! In the next blog, I will be creating a greenhouse and adding some interesting details to the house but no spoilers here (unless you are in the club then you would've seen my post about this house).

I'll be creating a video series about this build as well with a voiceover but for now, here's a time lapse of the build:


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The videos are much too fast. It's difficult to see what you are doing and/or how you're doing it. A single camera angle does help with clarity of your actions and processes. For instance a real time close up of cutting out and fitting the wraps would have been very useful and a reference tool for future builds. I like the house though