Taking pictures & dioramas

I was asked a while back, “Do I still play with cars?” well if taking pictures and setting up scenes and dioramas constitutes ‘playing’ then the answer would be yes.

Collecting diecast cars and trucks in any scale is a passion of mine, I also build plastic kits, of vehicles and scenery, but taking pictures of them is the ultimate way of displaying them and what better way of doing so than setting the scene as maybe the real vehicle would find itself in.

There are many ways of doing this and if you follow my articles you will of noticed that I have gone from using my green cutting mat to a background scene for most of the later posts.

I don’t have an expensive camera, in fact mine is a compact ‘point and shoot’ with a macro setting and for reference is a Canon Ixus 70.

The picture below is of my standard background and a large 1:18th scale  BMW 850i and quite a convincing picture.

This will work for different scales as there is nothing to give away the scale of the scenery, the one below is of Ertl Landrovers in 1:64 scale

This is easy to achieve with just a few materials, I used some tarmac mat I bought on a roll and glued it to the model room window cill and printed off a back scene from the computer that I found on Google, it’s only A4 size so does limit the width of picture you can take.

I have added some Hornby scenics in the way of lichen to break the joint between the tarmac and the back scene give the illusion it’s all part of the same picture.

By cropping the picture correctly you lose all the things you don’t want to see, and the focus is then on the model.

Dioramas are the next stage and I make many of these mainly small layouts for certain models and by adding other props you can create a scene for your cars.

This base board is one of my standard one’s I make and can be used in conjuction with the above background scene to create a better effect.

I like working outside if I can and using natural surroundings.

Stone and concrete work well as the scale always seem to fit but real plants tend to always be too big, I don’t mind this as the models will always look like models, what it does is create a scene that works.

Finding the right spot for pictures can take a while and I spend a lot of time walking around looking for ideal spots, the one below uses real stone and moss which has a better scale.

You can of course create your own and the following picture use real sand and gravel, the tracks in the sand add to the illusion of a real quarry.

Again any scale will work.

On the subject of real loads for trucks, sometimes an improvised load can look good too, this Matchbox Kingsize pipe truck has become a log lugger with real branches from the garden and to me looks better than the original grey plastic pipes.

Sometimes  you have to be creative to get the right effect.

Like this background for the Corgi Starbug 1, best known in the TV programme ‘Red Dwarf’

This was made from a sheet of black card, filled with holes made by pins and a light placed behind it for the picture, then using a coloured cloth for the planet surface.

Other models such as figures can be treated to the same effect, you just need to be creative and see uses for things that would otherwise be missed.

Below are a couple of pictures of other models set up especially for these  pictures.

Firstly these Cyberman figures, a larger scale figure but the scene was made up a scrap parts and a baseboard but very effective.


You can play about with any scale or model and get a suitable picture, like the Dalek below


Or add extra drama with a Paintshop programme.


This section will also be showing some of the more detailed dioramas I make.

So there you are, I hope this has inspired you a bit to take your own model pictures and create you own scenes.

For more on making your own dioramas click on the following links below.

Diorama #1, Part 1 Making a 450mm x 450mm Garage scene in 1:76 scale.

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