View Full Version : The Shadow Box Diorama.

03-02-10, 01:45 PM
Want to try something new? Tired of ships on the mantel,in cases,in bottles etc....How about a ship in a box or built into a wall?Want to tell a story and take your ship modeling to another level ? Tired of kits and putting together the work of somebody else? Like to try a little scratch building ? then shadow box storyboard dioramas may be for you.
I have been doing them for almost forty years now ,so I think that it is time to start a tutorial on the subject.I started with a ship, then continued to aviation themes,so now maybe its time to get back to my first love and do something nautical.
I am presently developing some ideas that will require some imagination and skill but at very little cost to the builder.It would be a very good place for beginners on a limited budget to start ship modeling or for old timers( like myself )to take their skills to a new level and think of modeling in a whole different way.Like to give it a try? well stand by. :D
Cheers! John.

hot ford coupe
03-02-10, 03:11 PM
Now you're talking. I'm definitely up for this. If it's what I think it is, I've seen this type of display in museums. Go for it John. Any tutorial involved with some type of scratchbuilding is more than worth posting. 1thumbup11thumbup11thumbup1

03-02-10, 07:31 PM
I guess the best place to start would be to quote someone who is a modern master of this art form,Shep Paine.
What is a shadow box?
"A shadow box is a diorama set into a box and viewed through an opening in one side,and its effect is essentially that of a three-dimensional painting. In many ways,the shadow box is the ultimate form of the diorama.This is because of the degree of control over all aspects of the display that a shadow box affords the modeler.In a shadow box you can dictate the viewing angle,lighting conditions,and,most important ,the atmosphere and mood of the scene."(Sheperd Paine,from "How to Build Dioramas.")

03-02-10, 07:33 PM
I guess this thread belongs over in the diorama section.If I knew how to do this I would.1gramps1

hot ford coupe
03-02-10, 11:27 PM
Ask and ye shall receive, John. It's right where you want it.

03-03-10, 08:22 AM
Ok! thank you.

03-05-10, 06:45 AM
Maybe I should start with a little history.Thirty years ago Shepard Paine wrote a book called "How to Build Dioramas.Aircraft,armor,ship and figure models.In doing so he launched himself into the role of master of the modern diorama.His book became my modeling bible and so it did for many others.His imagination and creativity just blew me away. You can't forget that most modelers of the time ,if they new anything at all about dioramas, they thought that dioramas were all about making a nice base to sit their already completed model on.I say most modelers because the armor guys seem to have been familiar with them for some time and were even then producing very nice work.The same thing can be said for the makers of dollhouses and RR layouts.Aircraft guys really responded to Shep's work after his book came on the market because of the work he did making dioramas for the Monogram Company.You can also see his influence making its way slowly into the world of figures,cars and ships.
Dioramas have been around for a long time but were usually associated with a wooden box with a glass front that would display something of value or interest.Some ventured a little further and added a revel and maybe some lighting.Seldom would anyone go beyond that, although you do on occasion see a display that actually moves using some mechanical device.
There are basically two types of modern dioramas,the traditional shadowbox and the in -the-round type that is viewable from more than just one angle.Until Shep came along there was very little out there for the modern modeler to be inspired by.Then his storyboard dioramas came on the modeling scene and got a lot of attention from modelers because he was working with things that they were familiar with like kits and things found in most hobby stores.But I think that his greatest contribution was his use of dioramas to tell a story.In my opinion this was a giant leap forward taking the making of dioramas from a craft to an art. to be cont....1gramps1

03-05-10, 09:46 AM
Shep's influence on my work was profound, it was around 1980 that I bought a first edition of his then new book.I was building a 1/72 scale model of HMS Victory at the time, and I thought that adding a few crew members would be a good idea, more as a decoration that anything else.Then I heard about the "Drumming Daybreak" ceremony carried out at dawn each day.While I was in the planning stage with this, I also read something about a tradition that when a ship was in harbor under bare poles or furled sails, the Royal Navy had standing orders that the following precautions be taken.
Normally,a marine drummer would stand out on the marine's walk just before dawn ,and start a rhythmic drumming sequence until it was said you could see "gray goose at a mile".He was then to stop drumming, and a single cannon shot would be fired, and the flag raised at the stern.However,while the ship was in harbor all hands would be on deck with the guns run out ready to fire.An officer would then scan the horizon for any enemy ships that may have approached during the night. He then would give the all clear signal. The ships guns were then run back in and the daily routine could begin.
This ceremony fit very nicely into my bare poles type ship rig ,which otherwise would look a little ridiculous sitting there will all its guns run out.This then became my first storyboard diorama.
Years later while constructing a WW1 airplane diorama I thought that maybe I would try my first and only storyboard shadow box diorama, and stick it in an old TV cabinet that was a nice piece of furniture that I was about to throw out.At the time I had no idea that this piece would someday end up in a museum, so viewing angle of a diorama almost sitting on the floor was not of great concern to me.Today the diorama is finished and waiting to be taken to its final home .I had added lighting to both the inside and outside to create a nice effect but I don't think that the outside part would be up to safety code for public display.Anyway this was part of its evolution and afforded me some nice pictures of a "sun through the barn siding" kind of look.How it will finally be displayed is up to the museum. to be cont.....1gramps1

03-05-10, 11:47 AM
Another great book which unfortunately is out of print now is Ken Hamilton's "How to Build Creative Dioramas." It is geared more towards the making of cars and building structures .
Luckily I have his permission to use some of his pics and short quotes from his book.As I have mentioned before Shep Paine has also kindly allowed me the same privilege,in fact a lot of the pics you will see in this thread come directly from him.
As some of you guys might already know I will be posting this thread to different websites dealing with all kinds of models.Dioramas tend by their nature to cross certain boundaries as far as subject matter is concerned.I will however try as much as possible to keep airplane subjects with airplane sites,ships with ship sites etc...The techniques are pretty much the same so I would ask you guys to please bear with me if I am not always talking about your specific area of interest.Of course the moderators will have the final say on this.Please try to tolerate a little crossover.

Other good references for what is available out there to help you make a decision on what to build and in what scale, are the model sellers websites.I especially like the Model Expo site for the variety of subject matter, in many scales.I also use the category section of the Greatmodels website, mainly because of the way they group the scale catgories together and have pics of what you are buying.I am sure that you guys have your favorites too.For example I am looking at a catalog right now and in it I can find many potential centerpieces for future dioramas.Airplanes in 1/16th which is my favorite scale,a stagecoach in 1/12th ,cannons in 1/16th and 1/24th scale,ships and boats in just about every scale.A ships battle station in 1/23 or a armed laucnch in 1/16th,both of which would make the beginning of great dioramas.Streetcars,locomotives and on and on.The only limiting factors here are the availability of figures in your chosen scale and how big the final diorama will be.
Beginners just staring out could use past projects that were never finished,or fell on the floor or the cat ate ,to make great dioramas at no cost at all.Crashed airplanes, sunken ships,things under construction are all potential subjects for these throw-aways.And there is no stress involved because the investment here is only your time.
It is important when developing your ideas to know what may be available to you and in what scale,especially for beginners who want to do the least amount of scratch building.In other words,if you want to build something in 1/48 scale, are their figures available to you in the poses that you want? or are you willing to do a little modifying.In my dioramas I like relaxed poses mainly because they are easier to work with and suit my style of modeling.to be cont...

03-05-10, 12:52 PM

03-05-10, 01:25 PM
Here is another good example of a shadow box by Shep called "Mr. Christian!"Now anyone familiar with ships and the sea will know what this story is all about.Captain's cabin,breadfruit..............
Sorry about the quality of the pic.

03-05-10, 04:59 PM
Picture courtesy of Sheperd Paine.

03-05-10, 07:09 PM
This is where things stand as of today with my first shadow box diorama.The diorama sits on top of its former potential home.If I was to finish this as is, I would have to add a black revel and a picture like frame.Actually the diorama does fit inside but is a little too big for the cabinet to be a true shadow box type.That will be solved by making a new box but that is not my problem anymore!Thank goodness because I am the world worst carpenter in 1:1 scale.

03-05-10, 07:12 PM

03-06-10, 09:45 AM

03-06-10, 09:54 AM
This is the back and its Christmas bulb type wiring going through the roof.The tongue depressors are painted black on the back as they are very thin and I didn't want any light showing through other than through the cracks and spaces between the individual boards.I wanted a barn siding like effect.
The unpainted portion on the left is the garage door when viewed from the inside.On the right is a viewing port for taking pics that has yet to be painted.

03-06-10, 10:04 AM

03-06-10, 10:09 AM
This side view shows my mickey mouse wiring that would never pass the code.I installed it for picture taking only ,as I liked the effect it gave to the interior of the diorama ,which will now have to be sacrificed for safety sake.

03-06-10, 10:34 AM

03-06-10, 10:42 AM
The subject matter is not what is important here as the could be a boat shed or a truck barn whatever.What is important is the lighting and how it sets an atmosphere or mood.With shadow box dioramas this is under your direct control, like it would be if you were creating a movie or building a sound stage.Fun huh!

03-06-10, 11:09 AM
Now as far as our storyline goes lets see how many clues we can pickup just from this one picture.
Well it is either sunrise or sunset or mid winter in the northern latitudes judging by the angle of the sun through the boards.It is an aircraft construction scene of WW1 why? wooden biplane and old chart on the wall,parts on the floor.It is an American hangar probably in France.How come? look at the walls ,the German cross has been hung as a trophy and at an angle, where the American "hat-in-the-ring" squadron signal is treated with respect.Little subtle things like this that help to tell your story.

03-07-10, 09:27 AM
Please note!
Someone,on another forum, gave the shadow box dioramas thread a poor 2 star rating, and I would like to thank them for doing so.Why? because it made me re-read what I had written in this thread.
Sometimes in my enthusiasm for dioramas I go overboard and say things that some may find hurtful.For this I would like to apologize.
I in no way meant to denigrate the work of any of my buds here on the forum.In fact I highly admire those who work so very hard at what they love to do ,working in small scale, using photoetch and creating little masterpieces in miniature ,something I have tried and only wish I could do myself..
I am posting this not because a moderator asked me to do so or because someone send me a private message but because I truly value the friendship of all my buds here on the forum.Everyone here has always treated me with kindness and respect for which I am truly grateful.Thank you! Cheers.John.

03-07-10, 10:35 AM

03-07-10, 10:48 AM
Playing detective is one of the main pleasures in looking at your work, John. Not just "how did he do that?" - as in building the model, but working back into the story from the front and finding the supporting props. I will admit too that part of the detective work is looking for historical anachronisms, but I always do this when looking at any art.

03-07-10, 11:31 AM
Storyboard dioramas are normally planned from the inside out.If your main idea centers around say, a group of figures in a room,you would arrange the figures first.Then determine the size of the room.Next decide on the size and angle of the viewing window.Last determine how much extra room is required for the outer case.
This last pic shows only part of a much larger diorama but it would have potential as a room type diorama itself.The viewing angle eliminates much of the squareness associated with a room,which is a good thing.The scale will be determined of course by the objects used.
Now I could imagine a lot of different story lines here.This could be a barn,hangar or boathouse.I have seen boathouses that open directly to the water, while the boat resides inside.The floor could be cut to allow for the display of the boat inside and actually on the water.You could leave the doors slightly open and using a color photo or a painting you could open your diorama to the outside world beyond.The boat could also be tied up outside or halfway in or out of the doors.
With the proper lighting this could make for a great little scene with light shining through the siding and onto the water.A few pics or posters on the walls could also help tell your story of maybe 1920s gangsters on a rum run.

03-07-10, 06:09 PM

03-07-10, 06:30 PM
This is the same 1/16th scale barn-like structure with some interior light on.The structure is made from coffee stir sticks of various sizes,tongue depressors and pre-cut pine from the wood store.It is painted with flat acrylics and weathered with pastels.

03-08-10, 03:55 AM
Hi John,
I appreciate your work very much. I have attached some pictures of the mothers of all diorama's. As a six year old I stared at the Lone pine diorama and became a modelling addict. The addiction has lasted forty eight years and is still running.
Keep up the good work.

03-08-10, 09:00 AM
Thank you John and thanks for the pics!1gramps1

03-08-10, 10:31 AM
Now that we have chosen a scale and have a idea of the final overall size of our diorama we will have to decide on having figures in our diorama or not.Usually the storyboard type of diorama would have figures but not always.Sometime the hint of human presence can be even more powerful than actual figures.A couple of examples just off the top of my head, would be human footprints in oil across a garage floor or a yellow patch in the snow near where the tail had been of a long departed aircraft that was sitting on the ground.Every pilot could relate to the "nervous pee" syndrome before a mission.While maybe not enough to build a whole scene around, but it could be an interesting starting point.

If we decide to use figures,their proper positioning will be crucial to the ultimate success of our storyboard diorama,shadow box or otherwise.Avoid stiff and formal poses unless the general is inspecting the troops.Personally I use a lot of figures just talking to each other in relaxed poses.It is very easy to do and engages your viewer right away in the scene wondering about what they are talking about.In the larger scales facial expressions would be critical as we all know how to read faces and the emotions implied by them.In the smaller scales body positioning can to used to the same advantage.

Avoid scenes that are square and figures that are too evenly spaced or look like they were posed.Never put anything parallel to the edge of the base unless there is a good reason for it.But also avoid large empty spaces unless there is an obvious reason for it.Avoid placing objects at right angles to each other,always think of random positioning, remember only man plants trees in rows.If you have a lighting effect in mind try to take that into consideration.Dark places are not always bad and can add a lot of drama to your scene if used properly.Unless it is your intention to do so, don't let just one object dominate the scene but let the objects play off one another.It can be a delicate balance between order and disorder to get it right.Too much going on ,on the other hand ,can actually distract the views attention away from your storyline .
My style is old and weathered,I love barns,sheds and old hangers.Try to develop a style of your own based upon things that you love.Also think of the era that you are depicting.You wouldn't want a 60's car in a 50's scene .Also little things like time of year can be important,fall leaves with spring flowers for example or a bird in spring plumage in a fall scene.to be cont......

03-09-10, 11:03 AM
Shep Paine on dioramas as art.
"You don't need to be an artist to build fine dioramas.Although some viewers consider dioramas an art form,few people who build them have any formal art training.If you can assemble and paint a kit,you can build a diorama-you needn't be a sculptor,illustrator,or designer.People trained in these areas may have a momentary advantage in some aspects,but they also have a lot to unlearn.Basically building a diorama is a process of taking existing elements from plastic kits and elsewhere and combining them into a scene.A diorama is only as complicated as you care to make it.All that is required is basic modeling skill,a bit of self-confidence and some imagination." Shep Paine.

03-09-10, 09:01 PM
The Evolution of a Modeler,my story.
My journey to shadow box dioramas has been a long and winding road.My first storyboard diorama was a 1/72 scale HMS Victory which I finished in 2000.
The hobby store that I frequented over the years in addition to having ship models also stocked prastic aircraft models etc.....But the thing that you usually don't find in your average hobby store was stocked there also,dollhouses.I was building plastic WW2 kits at the time which I enjoyed ,but one day I came upon something new a 1/16th Albatros wooden airplane kit(Model Expo)A while later I saw one that was completed and on display.Having worked on real 1:1 scale wood aircraft and the wooden model ship,I felt pretty confident about diving into unknown waters.
While the Albatros was under construction I thought that why not take what the aircraft modelers do and marry it up with what the dollhouse guys and gals do.I hadn't seen anyone do this before nor have I seen it since in 1/16th scale.I simply changed the subject matter to old hangars, of a type that I was familiar with,and voila something new was born.An added bonus was that a lot of tools and stuff that is made for dollhouses ,could also be used in 1/16th scale, because tools come in all sizes.Hangars don't usually contain fancy furniture but the scratch building required was easy benches,toolboxes etc...
Originally I built the hangar mainly as a dust proof case of a size that would fit in my car trunk if I wanted to show it.
My next project turned out to be what was to become my first shadowbox diorama,the subject matter being a 1/16th Neiuport 28.I had this old TV cabinet that was a nice piece of furniture ,so I thought I would put it in there with a glass front.Not really a shadow box but something in between.
The next diorama ,the Jenny ,repeated the same idea as the Albatros.Airplane,hangar and a few figures.Then one of my modeling buds(Ken Hamilton) suggested why not landscape the outside like the car and RR guys do.Well after much encouragement I took the plunge and my original project eventually doubled its size and and tripled its complexity.I liked how it turned out so I thought why not do the same to the Albatros hangar.
Now I have two huge unfinished dioramas and an unfinished Neiuport sitting under plastic garbage bags.
So what did I do? I started another one,this time with no hangar at all but a lot more landscaping, in a backyard scene of a homebuilt flyer also in 1/16th but using only the ribs of a kit supplied Wright flyer.
Now I have four unfinished dioramas,three of which are nearing completion and the Flyer in temporary storage.
Somewhere along the way the Canada Aviation Museum heard about my stuff and contacted me.My wife's prayers were answered finally she was going to get half of the house back again, somewhere down the road ,and as it turned out a long way down the road ,almost ten years now and everything is still here.The CAM is under renovations for the next year and now my wife is still waiting for her big day,and I still haven't completed my first shadowbox diorama.I hate 1:1 scale carpentry so that part of it is now out of my hands ,although I will still have some input as to how it will be displayed.
I am now almost 70 so the Flyer will be my last large storyboard diorama(too hard to move around,the model that is)I now want to concentrate on smaller shadow box dioramas and hopefully have someone else build the boxes.

03-10-10, 09:57 AM

03-10-10, 10:08 AM
When doing any diorama especially the shadowbox type,it is not necessary to finish the object to be viewable 360deg around.Here you can see this Mercedes airshow car is heavily weathered except for the floor and left hand cockpit sidewall and door, which can't be seen anyway.
The Neiuport, my first shadow box ,I built for viewing 360deg around because at the time it was not intended to be a shadow box and I had left some removable panels in the walls for picture taking purposes.

03-10-10, 10:23 AM
Model and photo courtesy of Shep Paine.

03-12-10, 10:05 AM
Dioramas as a one frame movie!
"What we wanted to do at the beginning of all this,was to show what happens when you take human beings and put them through hell,then wonder how in the world they will approach life when they come home".

Steven Spielberg on his new piece The Pacific.

I was reading this in my newspaper this morning and it struck me how similar his idea for making a 10- part mini series on the war in the Pacific, and my idea for my latest diorama "Loss Of Innocence,Will it Ever Be The Same" are alike.(We must be reading each others mail.)
This is exactly what I have been writing about recently on the power of the storyboard diorama as a one frame movie.
A movie tells a story in all its thrilling detail and action,on a big screen with music,dialogue etc... a diorama does the same but with one frame.That is the magic and the challenge of the storyboard diorama reducing it all to one frame and still tell a powerful story.Sometimes the story is even more powerful in diorama form because it is left up to the viewer to connect the dots in his mind.A movie lays it all out for you ,a diorama requires a little more imagination on your viewers part.
This is why I believe storyboard dioramas are as much an "Art "as any of the other visual media.

03-14-10, 01:12 PM
Developing the Boat or Car Shed idea as a shadow box.
Another modeling bud on mine who has had a great influence on my work is Ken Hamilton.You will notice that in my later dioramas I have used a lot of his ideas and techniques in developing my own dioramas.
A good place to start would be with something fairly simple to make, and be able to apply our new found techniques to ,at relative little cost in money or stress.
We don't need to do a fancy captain's cabin with lots of furniture or a Victorian style house etc.. when a simple boat or car shed would serve our purposes very well .
Sheds are relatively simple to build, here I will use as an example from Ken's book "How to Build Creative Dioramas".This book is out of print but is available in its entirety online.Ken has kindly given me permission to use his work here for educational purposes.

03-15-10, 11:11 AM
Model and pic courtesy of Ken Hamilton.

hot ford coupe
03-15-10, 10:15 PM
Hey John. Between you and Ken Hamilton, you have the whole diorama world sewn up. I bought Ken's book and I really love it. You guys really are the masters of the art. Thanks again for sharing your extensive knowledge.

03-16-10, 11:22 AM
This is actually the beginnings of a marine diorama but not the kind you may have expected.It is an Evinrude outboard motor repair station.This is an excellent example of what has the makings of a good shadow box or storyboard diorama.

03-16-10, 11:51 AM
Drawing courtesy of Shep Paine.

03-17-10, 10:10 AM
Drawing courtesy of Shep Paine.

03-18-10, 08:31 AM
Drawing courtesy of Shep Paine.

03-18-10, 09:44 AM

03-18-10, 09:49 AM
Here is what a shadow box may look like with a reveal installed.You could take any image that you think might make a good shadow box diorama and test it out using photoshop.

03-19-10, 08:24 AM
Drawing courtesy of Shep Paine.

hot ford coupe
03-19-10, 01:43 PM
I always thought it was box first then fill up the space. I always wondered how everything was made to fit so perfectly.

03-20-10, 07:58 AM
Model and pic courtesy of Ken Hamilton.

03-20-10, 08:10 AM
I love this pic! It is just full of ideas and I have borrowed many of them for my own stuff.
The way I see it the "this side up" box is what did it for me.The rest just builds upon the story of this mans work habits being just a little chaotic .He likes girls and is probably a non-smoker.
I imagine that most of the boxes contain outboard motor engine parts probably old parts being shipped out because the tape is still not pressed down on the edges.The car tire seems new so he must be importing tires for his truck.etc...etc...
One thing has me puzzled though why the large scale screw on top of the box on the R/H side.? I think that Ken was playing a bit with the viewer to see if he noticed it or not.

hot ford coupe
03-20-10, 02:45 PM
I didn't notice the screw the first time around. Ken's work is very well known. I've seen that picture. Each time I see it, I can't believe how realistic that looks.

03-21-10, 10:39 AM
The Barn Siding look.
Unless you are planning a brand newly painted structure, weathering to some degree will be required.I like the old ,to really old look, for my structures.Old,well used,grimy, oily etc...Depending on the subject, it can be total mess or fairly orderly.Anything military would require a certain neatness about it,civilian its your choice.Actually messy and old is easier to do than clean and neat ,once you get weathering techniques and "thinking messy "conquered. Anything clean and neat and it is easy to spot mistakes,old and messy you can just cover them up.But messy has its own challenges too.For some reason we instinctively like to line things up in orderly fashion. Example:we plant tree in rows ,space them evenly and usually put them 90deg to one another.But the natural order of things, in 1:1 scale, is usually the opposite.
When planing a scene I often have to stop and think "how can I screw this up to make it look more natural".It is a surprisingly difficult thing to overcome.
One big problem is making things too shiny,even cars in showrooms have a little dust and fingerprints on them.Shininess on figures can be a disaster and can spoil an otherwise natural looking scene and make the whole thing look toy like.A lot of modelers seem to go to great lengths to avoid doing figures, and being tooo shiny is a major reason why.You can do nice dioramas with no figures at all ,but a car with no driver, driving down a busy street with no people ,looks just a little strange to me.(something like the TV series "Life after Man")
Once you have the kind of structure you want in mind then you will start to gather a few supplies.I like wood,nothing looks as natural as real wood but you have to be careful to pick the proper species for the scale your working in, unless to plan to completely cover it with paint.The easiest hobby wood to obtain other than balsa(don't even think about it) is basswood for building weathered structures.Select pine from the lumber yard is ok too but you really have to watch for the growth ring patterns.Hardwoods ,for general structure purposes I would avoid, as I would nails for putting it together.Why ? simple answer broken drills.Use wood pegs instead or use glue and fake the nail heads.
Basswood in small scales is usually available in hobby stores that supply the RR guys, as they have been using it a long time.For larger scales I have seen on occasion scale basswood in framing shops.The larger stuff is usually easily available from lumberyards or woodcarvers supply houses.I use a lot of select pine in my large scale structures,which I buy already cut to size or I trim it myself on my band or scroll saw.For the smaller scales just about everything you will need comes pre-cut although you may have to compromise a little on scale.
Plywood is usually available anywhere in most thicknesses but use only the best stuff for hobby work,usually clear white birch. to be cont......

03-21-10, 11:33 AM
Courtesy of Ken Hamilton.

03-23-10, 08:59 AM

03-23-10, 09:34 AM
Underside of subfloor assembly.
Here I used "good one side plywood" and cheap but straight pine from an old wall construction.Sometimes salvaged wood is the best as it is very stable.Glue together on a flat surface,do not use nails or screws except to temporarily tack things together while the glue dries.

03-23-10, 04:51 PM

03-23-10, 05:14 PM
Topside with tongue depressor floor installed and painted.
Select your flooring for different shades of wood.Apply thin transparent washes of brownish-gray flat acrylic paint to the bare wood and let some grain show through.I use a paint called JoSonja acrylic mostly because I got into it when I was decorative bird carving.The color on the floorboards is nimbus gray with a touch of raw umber added.Paint individual boards before gluing to sub-floor to avoid glue spots. Draw guide lines on the plywood sub-floor as a guide for laying down your strip wood ,after you decide which direction the flooring will run.Sometimes running your floor boards at 45deg to the walls makes for a different look.

03-24-10, 11:30 AM
http://www.scalemotorcars.com/forum/images/imported/2010/03/191.jpg (http://s6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/JohnReid/Ken%20Hamilton/?action=view&current=Kenschart001-1.jpg)
Courtesy of Ken Hamilton.

03-24-10, 12:02 PM
Here is a good example of how to do a simple framed structures.How much of the structure that you will require will be up to what you are planning to reveal.The floor? plus a side wall?back panel plus two sidewalls,maybe even a little of the roof structure?
This would be a good time to get out some cardboard or foam board and do a small mock-up of your ideas.I use foam board as it is easy to tack together using pins.I like to do mine to scale ,as then I can use the mock-up for measurements if I decide to go to a larger or smaller scale.
Once you have your mock-up done, you can start being a little creative as to how you want to position the objects relative to one another, always keeping in mind the point of view through your reveal.I sometimes take a small piece of cardboard and cut out a reveal in it and look around the mock-up,looking for the best angles.You can also take pics with your camera and then go to photoshop and play with it there making your own reveal and even framing it.
Fun stuff eh!

hot ford coupe
03-24-10, 12:27 PM
This is really great info. The shadow box is an excellent way to show off a dio and keep it protected. I for one am enjoying this tutorial. 1clap11clap11clap1

03-24-10, 12:36 PM
Thanks ,the subject matter may not be the most popular,1/16th dioramas and shadow boxes but it appeals to me and I hope to a growing number of modelers too.1gramps1

03-24-10, 12:44 PM
http://www.scalemotorcars.com/forum/images/imported/2010/03/192.jpg (http://s6.photobucket.com/albums/y250/JohnReid/Shep%20Paine/?action=view&current=ShepPaine16.jpg)
Courtesy of Shep Paine.

04-02-10, 11:29 AM

04-02-10, 11:38 AM
This is the way most of my structures are built.I start with foam board and draw on windows,doors etc.,then holding an Xacto # 11 blade at right angles I cut them out. (Save the cutouts in case you change your mind and want to re-glue them in.)
I then begin framing the wall with the straightest pieces of wood that I can find ,following the same methodology as if you where framing a 1:1 scale structure.
If you want a barnsiding type structure do not seal the wood and watch for excess glue stains.
In most cases for shadow boxes you will only be sheathing the interior walls.
Warning! when using foam board and unsealed wood ,warping can be a problem.Find a flat surface and weight the structure down flat with books,bricks etc.. overnight,when using any type of water based glue.

04-03-10, 09:07 AM

04-03-10, 09:16 AM
I changed my mind after putting this together and moved the garage door then glued and taped over the old opening.

04-04-10, 10:40 AM
Courtesy of Shep Paine

04-25-10, 11:25 AM
Hi Guys! I know it has been awhile since I posted anything to this thread.
I have been very busy getting my aircraft dioramas ready for donation to the Canada Aviation Museum.The new part of the construction is to be finished in Feb of next year but my dioramas will need to be ready to go well before that ,as they will be doing the finishing for public presentation.The fourth and last large 1/16th scale aircraft diorama will only be finished in a year or two after that, then I plan to concentrate upon bread box size shadow boxes of various subjects.I am very anxious to really get into shadow boxes but my other commitments must come first.
Cheers! John.