Essentials to a good diorama

9 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

I know this is a rather subjective question, but what does everyone think is most essential to creating a good diorama?

In my opinion, composition and story are most important. They're really what set dioramas apart from a car on a decorated pedastal (Nothing against them. They're just not quite the same thing). Having a sense of motion and a sense of activity really bring a diorama to life and help make it memorable to the viewer. It can be difficult to capture, especially when you're starting out, but even small attempts can make a big difference. Making sure the diorama base isn't too small is something else that makes a huge difference. I know it's really tempting to cram as much as you can into a base (There's space and it's there! You can totally fit that in!) but I've found that a bit of negative space makes the chosen elements stand out since they're not crowded out by extra items.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I think the story has to be there. BUT, care must be taken when motion is brought into the picture.

the quintessential example of this can be the "running commuter" on a model train layout. when the train goes past the station, well ... there's a guy with a briefcase standing on one leg!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I think the story is most important. I agree with Joe, you have to be careful when trying to create motion, so that part of the diorama doesn't look out of place. The diorama's I like best look like a snapshot in time, yet tells a story at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I think its how and what model you present in the diorama. you don't want to put a Ford Fusion for example in a 1950's Texaco scene because what sense would that make. But if you were to put a 1950 Ford truck then you would be alright.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited) · Report post

something that can make an unbelievable scene is introducing/ mixing real materials with representative.

it's accepted your vehicle is not sheet metal, but when you place it in front of a stone wall made with pebbles you found last summer on vacation, the wall looks fake.

too much detail can blow it, also. another hot debate is to make nail holes or not. a good guideline is the 12' rule. if it could not be seen from (real 1:1) 12' away, leave it out.

Edited by southpier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The issue I see in most dioramas is one , a scene that to me is totally devoid of any dust, dirt and environment . FEW dioramas here have that element . Now I'm not going to go out an name specific builders who actually know what I'm referring to as most here are already familiar with them . The other issue is having Period equipment for the building . As it's already been mentioned , a Modern car in a "Vintage " setting looks way off kilter .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

something that can make an unbelievable scene is introducing/ mixing real materials with representative.

it's accepted your vehicle is not sheet metal, but when you place it in front of a stone wall made with pebbles you found last summer on vacation, the wall looks fake.

I think it really depends on what real materials and what representitive materials you're using. Real dirt usually looks good in any diorama, but it's a toss up when it comes to things like gravel and rocks. I think it really depends on the scale you're your working in and the size/texture of the rocks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

too much detail can blow it, also. another hot debate is to make nail holes or not. a good guideline is the 12' rule. if it could not be seen from (real 1:1) 12' away, leave it out.

I never thought about this, good tip.

For me, I look for realism. I grew up on a junk yard and worked construction for 30 years so I have a feel of what is real.

Some of the things I see that turns me off on a project is when the Stainless steel trim is rusted or the vehicle is not rusted where that particular vehicle always rusted. An other is a cracked rear window when it would be tempered safety glass. I'm sure there are more but those come to mind.

Research and study the real items you are making or weathering and get as close as you can.

I just need to get the weathering techniques mastered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Size.. the idea of a diorama is to present a small vignette that represents something larger. For instance if you are doing a diner, nobody said you needed to include a 50 car parking lot. Less is more.

And don't go filling that 50 car parking lot with diecast and toy cars just to fill it up either! I've seen a lot of toy like stuff in dioramas, prepainted rail road figures and such just to fill it up. And don't use doll house (1/12 scale) accessories either. I remember one diorama where a 1/25 scale man was reading a HUGE newspaper!

A while back there was a diorama that made some local shows that literally was 8 feet long. It was a car show in a park, but the builder included FULL SIZE tennis courts between the car show and the parking lot. The tennis courts added zero to the story and took up a lot of table space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now