Ship Model Dioramas

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Welcome to all those interested in building dioramas. I have been a maker of dioramas since around the early 1980's when I discovered Shep Paine's book "How to Build Dioramas" I was blown away by what I had found within its pages. It is still in print after all these years and is the basic book for all model diorama builders.
He didn't only build models but he was a teacher and mentor to a lot of modelers including myself. He retired from active modeling around twenty years ago due to illness but continued judging shows, mentoring, and writing books. I will be referring to those books a lot within this thread. So let's begin...
 
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Welcome to all those interested in building dioramas. I have been a maker of dioramas since around the early 1970s when I discovered Shep Paine's book "How to Build Dioramas" I was blown away by what I had found within its pages. It is still in print after all these years and still is the basic book for all model diorama builders.
You can borrow that book free for 1 hour on the Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/howtobuilddioram00pain_0
 
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Thank you for that but I assure you that you will spend many hours referring to this book as you go along learning about this wonderful art form.
Yes I agree. I just took a brief look at it, and yes you would need more than an hour. It is an interesting art form.
 
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Thanks for the "heads up" Dave. Yes, I knew Harold many years ago and have his book and a lot of his ship's plans. It was going to be my next step in my modeling adventure but I got an offer I couldn't refuse from an aircraft and space museum building aircraft dioramas on a 1/16th scale. That kept me busy for 15 years. It is only now that I have got back to ship modeling my first love. actually my plan was to build his models as dioramas as he had done.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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i am a big fan of dioramas they add so much more to a model than the clean static models you see.

Thinking about dioramas they too can be a static display so i created an on going diorama where a scene is set up, photographed and then taken down and as the build progresses so does the diorama.

ac1.jpg

With todays technology the diorama can be taken to an entire new level. I have been researching and planning a diorama of the steam ship Mississippi. My first thought was can i do the entire ship? well that would be a 7 foot model. So maybe just a X section of the engine room?
What is interesting is the "how" this ship was built, the ship was built in a building with a built in gantry crane something like the photo, some of these engine parts weighed 20 tons.

Building such a diorama you would have to go see it or look at photos of it. BUT what if you were able to explore the entire diorama in a virtual setting? Walk in the building, look at the engine, walk on deck look at the parts up close?

Building a virtual diorama starts out the same as building a model of one. It starts with CAD design then from the CAD design to 3D modeling, once you have the 3D parts it all comes together on a virtual platform where anyone can visit the build.

sounds fantastic and futuristic but not impossible it takes a team of experts who are highly skilled.
it takes 100s and 100s of hours doing the basic CAD work and then you need to understand exactly what your building so experts in period steam engines are needed along with architects for the building and the actual ship. Once all that is said and done then come the guys who put it all together in virtual reality.

This is bringing a piece of history back to virtual life.
There are so many 3d printers and laser cutters and CNC shops out there it is nothing new, it has become common. Walking on the decks of these old ships? that is something else

002905pvx.jpg
 
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Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Thanks for the "heads up" Dave. Yes, I knew Harold many years ago and have his book and a lot of his ship's plans. It was going to be my next step in my modeling adventure but I got an offer I couldn't refuse from an aircraft and space museum building aircraft dioramas on a 1/16th scale. That kept me busy for 15 years. It is only now that I have got back to ship modeling my first love.


Harold lived 20 minutes from me so him and i spent many ,many hours together. He was the one who taught me ship modeling.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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virtual vs real dioramas
my dad was heavy into HO railroad model building and i loved the hands on building of stuff like working with wood, plastic, plaster etc.
the virtual part of the diorama thing is more towards bring to life in 3D historical data or as a learning tool to actually see how ships were built, one will never replace the other but i see them side by side.

what i find interesting in the virtual diorama there is no limit to fine detail. i can actually put the threads on a nut and bolt and bolt together engine parts now that is something you can not do at 1/4 scale
 
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I find it so exciting to think about where we will be going with our art form in the future. We are only really at the beginning of what is to come in the future. It gives me a great feeling to be on the ground floor of all that is to be.
 
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Gun Deck of the Victory at Trafalgar. This used to be in the wonderful Forbes Museum on 5th Ave in NYC. Sadly it has closed and the collection dismantled. Paine put a mirror at the end of the diorama that extended the action and created the impression of a much larger diorama. You viewed it through a rectangular opening and it communicated the claustrophobic and chaotic action brilliantly.

1613883620096.png
 
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i am a big fan of dioramas they add so much more to a model than the clean static models you see.

Thinking about dioramas they too can be a static display so i created an on going diorama where a scene is set up, photographed and then taken down and as the build progresses so does the diorama.

View attachment 214599

With todays technology the diorama can be taken to an entire new level. I have been researching and planning a diorama of the steam ship Mississippi. My first thought was can i do the entire ship? well that would be a 7 foot model. So maybe just a X section of the engine room?
What is interesting is the "how" this ship was built, the ship was built in a building with a built in gantry crane something like the photo, some of these engine parts weighed 20 tons.

Building such a diorama you would have to go see it or look at photos of it. BUT what if you were able to explore the entire diorama in a virtual setting? Walk in the building, look at the engine, walk on deck look at the parts up close?

Building a virtual diorama starts out the same as building a model of one. It starts with CAD design then from the CAD design to 3D modeling, once you have the 3D parts it all comes together on a virtual platform where anyone can visit the build.

sounds fantastic and futuristic but not impossible it takes a team of experts who are highly skilled.
it takes 100s and 100s of hours doing the basic CAD work and then you need to understand exactly what your building so experts in period steam engines are needed along with architects for the building and the actual ship. Once all that is said and done then come the guys who put it all together in virtual reality.

This is bringing a piece of history back to virtual life.
There are so many 3d printers and laser cutters and CNC shops out there it is nothing new, it has become common. Walking on the decks of these old ships? that is something else

View attachment 214600
How cool is that, says the Admiral!
 
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Look at Modelboatyard.com and John Earls boatshop diorama. It’s worth seeing.
 
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