Monday, March 22, 2010

Maintenance Diorama (Intro)

While taking a break in between my gaming sessions,  I took the opportunity to do a short write out on the materials I usually use for maintenance dioramas (MD). My favourite MD was the one I created for the yellow Sazabi custom many years back. Not many people are into MDs. Some say they are boring. Of course I am not one of them. In fact there are a lot of interesting things you can do.

I did quite a bit of research on such dioramas from magazines, animes and the internet. Although there were not much to be found, I just let my imagination do the rest. In fact, you can derive many ideas from your surroundings, a car garage, air craft hanger, ship yards, container ports etc.

To start thing off, I talk about the base. I ordered it from a local arylic store accordingly to my dimensions. I specifically increased the height of two sides for the "walls". Once I got the base, I started off with the floor, cutting nine squares from pla-plates and layed them on the base. On those plates, I added a little details and panel lines. I also cut more sheets for the walls. Basically, there is no standard shape or line. Most of the time, I worked on instinct. Although preliminary sketches would have make things easier.

In the above picture, you can see that I create the door by cutting the pla-plate and adding another layer behind the one I cut. The same method was used for the shutter door. I use these styrene sheets from Evergreen Scale Models available at a local art store. These are available in various of shapes and sizes.  

For the beams at the ceilings, I used these styrene trusses I bought from Hong Kong (below).   

For any diorama to come "alive", human figures area must. Here, I used the Mobile Staff manufactured by Wave. Details are decent and they are suitable for MDs. I also collect all those figures you get from buying Gundams. Those are pretty useful too.  
For the fences, I use brass rods as supports and wire mesh. As for the barbed wire, I use a spring and stretched it then glued it down with super glue. I use those red/yellow "warning" stickers to add realism. I installed just one LED at ceiling. It was a crude set up with the battery compartment attached to the base exterior. Lighting really add to the realism of this type of set up.
Most of the painting done. I added custom made decals to create my own theme.  
Cargo containers. These are the first few that I built and although still "raw", I am satisfied with them. I regretted for not taking photos of the WIPs because it is pretty hard to describe how I made them without any reference. My main concern was scale. I used these 1/100 figures to make comparisons and it turned out fine.  

It is always good to look out for parts of other genres when sourcing for diorama materials. With the Hasegawa 1/72 U.S. Aerospace Ground Equipment Set, I converted the Hydraulic Test Stand into a truck. The staging was actually a Ammo Trailer for missiles.

I wanted to depict a typical scene on a maintainence bay where crew members are going about with their tasks. The figures were horribly painted I must admit. So for my next MD, I will pay special attention to them.
On a final note, I have always been fascinated with maintenance themed dioramas since young . I really like how other modellers construct theirs and the story they potrayed. For these dioramas, you let your imagination run wild. Anything is possible and you can do whatever you deem fit.  However, one drawback is that it is difficult to have dynamic poses. But what the heck, aren't we suppose to do what we like?

As this one is my 2nd MD I ever built, there is definitely more room for improvement. I'm looking to develop my concepts further, adding more leds, structures and details. Those will come soon. Afterall, maintenance bay concept is one of the factors I started gunpla.  


Nice read bro...I have to get those thrusses. i have no MD or hangar base diorama yet, I want to create one in the near future. will peep into this often. ;)

Thanks for writing this up, it is really informative. I had previously thought of doing something similar but not too sure on where to start and how to start. A search in the internet, wasn't too fruitful either. I will be bookmarking this for future reference.

Containers can vary in sizes anyways, sometimes they can be as large as a normal human's height. Sometimes they can be alittle bit bigger. Overall I liked how you did yours, if possible you could do a tutorial on how you managed to did some raws from scratch.

HI Leo,

You are right. There is no right or wrong to a maintenance diorama. Most often than not, it's up to the individual.

I'm have been thinking of tutorials. But I want it to be structured and informative. I have some plans but will only implement next year as I am right up to the neck for projects this year. Do bear with me in the meantime.

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