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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Diorama Updates

Sorry, but I've been a little tied up.

As readers here know, I have been diligently constructing 1:12 scale dioramas for my son's action figure photography hobby he posts on Instagram. My last post on this showed the beginning stages of a warehouse and dock. Since then I have completed the warehouse and dock, an X-Men-style "Danger Room", and most recently a sort of indispensable superhero prop.....the ubiquitous high-tech containment chamber! Here are some shots of them all along with some background info and some posed characters (some of which have also been modified):

No, not a diorama, but the real thing. I loved the look, color and vintage feel of this old, fading wall advertisement and wanted to use something like it for the side wall near the outside of the dock.

I also found this T-shirt for Marvel fans advertising "Fogwell's Gym"......which is the business I wanted to feature on my wall, so..........

Here's how it turned out. All flat surfaces here started out as insulation foam, and then were glued, shaped, and painted. And yes, doing those bricks was a monotonous BITCH!

My son also got a relatively in-scale truck to use by the dock that came with a forklift. Unfortunately it was noticeably undersized and would not accommodate a 6" figure......until I modified it as seen in this photo. It works perfectly in scale now. You can also see parts of the dock door and truck.

And here is how it all comes together for a posed shot. Here Daredevil is seen leaping into action to infiltrate whatever illegal shipping is going on.

And here is the Danger Room. It too is made primarily of foam, but certain random panels are sheets of metal glued to the wall and painted so that accessories which I rigged with supermagnets can be added as desired or removed. Even the door is removable and can be replaced with open doors and a white hallway behind.

A training session at the X Mansion! 

Here's a close-up showing Nightcrawler skirting across the ceiling while Cyclops and Rogue watch from the control room. I added removable supermagnets to the soles of Nightcrawler's three-toed feet.

Here is the humble origin of the containment chamber. It is a prop chamber from the old X-Files Movie figures  and used to house an alien/human hybrid. I extended it and changed out the resin-looking sides with clear glass and ......

Here it is all complete. There are now all sorts of little goodies to use inside as the needs arise. 

I designed it so that it can accommodate a larger figure like Sabretooth or Omega Red and still be able to work with more average-sized characters.

This shows how the doors open.

And here are a few "scenes"......which are the point behind doing all this.

Our goal is to tell a story of sorts.....just like panels in a comic book.

I was also thrilled that after I was done, I saw our "Weapon X"-Wolverine on his base, and the whole thing fit snugly inside the unit I made like I had planned it......which I did not. 

But tell me......planned or accidental good luck......isn't this cool? (And X-men fans knows what happens next in THIS little story!)


  1. Hi KD,

    What fun! I love miniatures, but didn't know they were a kid thing too. I saw an episode of Dragon's Den (like the US Shark Tank) where a guy was promoting backgrounds for children to use in their play scenes. I didn't understand how kids would use them, but now I do.


    1. Thanks, Hermione, but the truly funny part is that it's actually not a 'kid thing'. Adults are doing this and spending quite a bit of money on sets, lighting, and props. My son is well into his twenties......though he does still act like a kid pretty often. LOL

  2. Slow to comment, but I have to say you definitely have skills. Very creative use of materials and beautifully executed.

    1. Thank you, vic. I'm currently working on a city streetscape with typical NYC storefronts.