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alan barton

Ausmodules - a modular diorama concept for model car shows.

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Posted (edited)

Hi guys,

This thread was intitiated by Rocking Rodney Rat's green T show rod display.

Back around 2008 I introduced a concept to our NNL called Ausmodules.  The idea is that at a model car show you create a diorama of a hot rod show and have entrants bring their own standard sized module to combine to create a whole car show.  The idea was to be able to create a terrific diorama that would entertain show patrons but, at the end of the show, everyone takes their module home and no-one has to store a huge, fragile display until next year.

The concept is extremely simple.  The host club obtains a 4x8 sheet of 1/2 inch  plywood, chipboard or mdf as a base - no further preparation needed.  This is the only large item that will need storage and hey, its a big flat board so someone in the club is bound to have room in their workshop where it can stay out of the way til it is used next time.

Next, the club gets some walkways cut up , also from 1/2 inch or 12mm mdf, and paints then grey or some walkway like colour.The measurements need to be fairly accurate and I can't lay my hand on those specs right now but I will find them for sure. The host club lays these walkways in place as the modules are laid out.

The entrants need an accurately cut base - we used 300 x 150 x 12 mm but we are a metric country so if this was to go international (my original vision) we might have to  reconsider the specs to suit feet an inches scenario. 300 x 150 will handle pretty much any 1/24 or 1/25 scale car and most light and even semi trailer tractors. If you need a bigger space ( and personally I would avoid this except for the host club entrants) you make them in multiples of the original size - for example, 600 x 150

The rules from here are simple.

1. Base must be 300mm x 150mm.

2. Nothing is to be attached to the edges of the board, to avoid interference. Raw cut timber is just fine.

3. Now, the biggest rule of all.   Everything, I mean EVERYTHING (except the actual model) must be firmly glued to the base board. This is to avoid bits falling off and damaging someone else's model or ruining their display.  The host club simply has a box or bin alongside the display and when an entrant turns up, you politely request him to turn his display  upside down over the box.  Anything that falls off  (ground cover, mirrors, angel hair, display accessories etc) doesn't go on the Ausmodules display.

4. Go nuts!! Build whatever display you want for whatever model you like.  That's why it is a hot rod show - every car in the world has been seen at a hot rod show at some time. The same couldn't be said of a classic car show, or a race car show, or a one marque show.  Everyone is welcome. Hot rod, custom, rat rod, vintage, classic, showroom stock, muscle car, race car, lowrider - I could go on.  As long as it is 1/24th or 1/25th, it is welcome.

Thats it - four rules!!!

My vision was that this would be run at shows and NNLs all over the world.  Imagine the excitement of having no idea what your main display looked like until everyone had submitted their module?  You could go travelling with one module in your baggage and place it in every show you attended and it would look different each time.

We ran Ausmodules for three years and it looked awesome every year but we could see interest was starting to peeter out - we live in the most remote city on the planet so we don't get an influx of new entrants each year.  Then, for  one last shot, we made a new set of blank modules and walkways covered in model railway grass sheet and distributed them to our entrants.They went home and created swap meet bays and brought them back for a giant swap meet - what a way to use up all your old parts!

One thing you might notice from our photos was that there aren't many figures on the display - this was mainly because a) our clubmembers didn't have many back then and b) it takes a while to set them up.   Our club now has over 400 figures in it's ranks and we would definitely use them if we do it again. 

I hope you enjoy these photos, taken over the three years that we did it. We had club displays, speed shops, a T- shirt shop, even a stereo shop with a working video! Rocking Rodney Rat's display, on a 300 x 150mm base, would have been the star of the show!

If anyone decides to have a go at this next show season, all I would ask is that you refer to it as an Ausmodules display, just to acknowledge where the idea came from.

Cheers

Alan

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Edited by alan barton

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Here's some more shots from the second and third years.Looking at them reminded me of one more point - we didn't put entrant cards next to the models - they would have ruined the whole effect.  Instead, we had a board in front of the display with the entrant cards positioned to match. Did you notice the pedal car display in the last lot of photos - the guy made them from Hot Wheels cars! Cool or what?

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I think its a VERY cool idea. 

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I really like that idea.

Heck, that's just an excellent idea for my own stuff. 

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Thanks, Rob and Ian.  I'm glad you appreciate the concept.  However, it doesn't look like the world is ready for it just yet - I thought that more interest might have been shown by people who organise or attend model car shows..  Not to worry, at least here in Australia we know the concept works.  It's just a matter of who wants to take it on and make it a truly international project.

 

Cheers

Alan

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Thanks Carl. I'm glad you like it.   It was a big hit at our shows but unfortunately it hasn't caught on anywhere else. "If you build it, they will come!" doesn't work all the time, apparently. When COVID is over and we get back to holding our show again, we will probably do it again as it is close to ten years since our last one.

One other thing I forgot to mention earlier, it pays for the host club to knock up half a dozen or so spare boards with simple ground covering, maybe a fence or a few trophies so that if not enough entrants bring enough boards to fill the diorama, you can fill the spaces with spare models from your members.

Tom Geiger, you REALLY need to try this at NNL East!

Cheers

Alan

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A very cool concept. It reminds me of NTrak herein the States.

This diorama system would also help cut down on the visual overload of having the display tables with so many models packed shoulder to shoulder.

Thanks for sharing this.

David G.

 

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