Last November I went on my first ever visit to the Telford show. In a brief write up afterwards I mentioned that one of the many things I came home with was a very large display case which set me back the bargain price of £50.00.
My plan was and still is to put together an Old Western Town diorama featuring half a dozen buildings and a good number of figures. For sometime now I have been trying to decide just what to do and although I still have no detailed plan I am clear on a few things. With that in mind I decided I would make a start and, like all the dioramas I have ever done, I will figure a lot of it out as I go along.
So, a couple of things to note before getting into some detail. Firstly, the title for this diorama is a working one. I have no idea right now what to actually call it. Maybe this title will stick, we will see. Secondly, this diorama is going to be a marathon. If it doesn’t extend into a 100 posts I will be amazed so this is going to be a long ride for all of us! However fear not. There is no way I will be dedicated to this without deviating from time to time to do something else. All things being well there will be lots of other posts to break things up a bit.
Now let’s get started.
Building No: 1 – Blacksmiths & Livery Stable
Of one thing I was certain, this diorama was and is is going to feature a blacksmiths/livery stable. The question I had to answer was do I completely scratch build something like I did way back when I did this building …
… or do I buy an MDF kit and pimp it?
Before answering that question I decided to take a look at what buildings were out there. After checking out the manufactures I knew and others I found from more searching, I once again settled on Sarissa Precision (I suspect I will use Blotz for all the other buildings I do). Sarissa had a Dutch Barn which I didn’t like and a Livery Stable which looked nice but was just too big for the case. In the end it was the Blacksmiths building which caught my eye. At a cost £20.00 it was a no brainer so I made the decision to “pimp”, made the purchase and a few days later this is what I got.
Now followers of this blog might remember that I have a love hate relationship with MDF. I love the precision fit but I hate the flat finish even when it has been neatly etched. It’s personal but there you are. In fairness I struggle to get the depth on flat surfaces that others can achieve with their painting so adding texture overcomes the problem for me. It does require a lot of effort though. Still that is what I do.
A study of the bits revealed that assembly would be relatively straight forward and also highlighted what I needed to do. The etched brick work has to go as does the etched boarding as well. The flat interior will have to be addressed and the roof needs to be tiled. Signage is something I need to get my head around and I will need to make a decision before too long as to what figures and accessories to acquire before I get to carried away. They need to be incorporated into the assembly before hand and not afterwards.
What figures to buy is still an issue I need to resolve. I have two preferred suppliers for the old west. Kuckleduster are far superior to Dixon miniatures but Dixon’s produce wagons and a stage coach whereas Knucleduster don’t, well not so far. The obvious thing would be to use a combination of both suppliers but Knuckleduster figures are heroic scale and Dixon’s are more like 25mm. I appreciate people come in different shapes and sizes but this difference in scale just doesn’t work for me. As things currently stand I am erring on Knuckleduster and hoping the figures and accessories will continue to expand over the life time of this project. Time will tell.
In any event I have made a start.
The fire/furnace and chimney has been put together and as you can see I have begun to clad the assembled piece with individual bricks. The bricks are a red mix from Juweela and are 1:48 scale. They match perfectly with the etched MDF so just a case of sticking down whole and half bricks in line with the etched pattern and finishing of with some filler to any gaps afterwards. I reckon 500 bricks should do it! That’s me sorted for the next week.
Might even listen to IRO’s podcast while I’m at it!