Making boats for dioramas


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Some dioramas I plan for well in advance and the idea of a dockside or water based diorama started about a year ago and have been collecting together parts and boats to add when I start on this one.

It all started with a boat being sold on Ebay by a member of one of the toy forums I belong to, he had started converting a cheap plastic ship into a 1:72 scale cargo boat, and decided to sell it as an unfinished project, so I bought it, it also came with a second ship that was as bought, so here you can see what he converted it from.

As yet I am still collecting parts for it and no doubt will be subject to a later article.

Among my scrap box was an old Matchbox patrol boat and although in fair condition had one of the police figures missing, and I think the remaining one had a few knee problems, the good thing about this one is it already has a flat bottom.

This is one of those boats fitted with wheels and numbered 52, it’s correct name is ‘My First Matchbox Police Launch Rescue Boat’ and is more colourful than the standard version.

I am going to convert this to use on the water based diorama so have stripped it, replaced the base where the police figures were and ground off the patrol boat sirens and detail, the base has had the wheels removed and the holes filled, both parts have then been primed.

The diecast part was sprayed cream and will be detailed by hand.

Once dry the plastic base is glued back to the main body using epoxy resin adhesive in the old rivet holes.

In the mean time I found what was once a Matchbox speed boat No9 and would of been supplied with a trailer, the boat is all made of plastic and had suffered major damage at the bottom of a box of diecast I bought.

This nearly got thrown away, but then decided to see if I could breath life back into it for the water based diorama.

After a good clean and check over all the parts where there.

For the diorama this boat needs to have a flat bottom so out with the Dremel and sliced off the bottom of the hull.

A new base was glued on the remaining hull and trimmed to fit.

Then carefully all the parts were glued back together and left to dry.

Next will be the painting and detailing.

The launch was the first to get done and now the main painting is complete.

I decided it needed a steering wheel so carefully drilled a 1mm hole in the bulkhead.

Then using an old Matchbox car interior, fitted the steering wheel after painting it by hand, although it doesn’t really show in the picture the cream paint has been faded down a bit by dry brushing as most white and cream boats look a bit grubby at the local marina.

The speed boat finally got painted and treated as a wooden boat, my only regret was not painting the interior before I glued it together, painting the inside though the open windows and the doorway was a long and tedious job.

So that’s about it for now, add some people and a water base and  you have a mini diorama.

To see how I made the water base, Click Here


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