Got'cha Covered

Product Acquisition
With the basic plan documented, I have a corner scene on a canal with a small park in the opposite corner. Write things down as you plan and work. If you come up with an idea, add it to the list. That way you can always refer to your list so you don’t forget something. The M16 will be a prime focus with figures restocking it. Now is the money part - what parts and products do I need. I need the following to get this ball rolling
  • cork
  • cork backing
  • windows
  • building stone details
  • building roof details
  • shingles
  • roads
  • sidewalks
  • park details
  • canal walls
  • water
  • figures
  • street lights
  • signage
I dug through my bag of tricks and boxes of parts. There I found a large portion of the items and what I didn't have at hand I knew I could get fairly quickly.
Part of this step is to acquire or research the techniques and subsequent supplies needed to assemble all of these items and execute the techniques. The kits and parts are easily found by searching the workshop shelves and on line stores. The length of time I have to build a diorama will dictate if I need to purchase items before starting at all or if I can build in phases. This project allows me to build one phase while waiting for parts to come in for another phase. I find this to be the case with the majority of my projects, but yours may differ. I personally don't let the lack of kits slow me down much.
Techniques are usually more challenging and more of a drain on a work plan. I personally try new skills with every build. In my opinion that is the best way to get better, always challenge yourself. This build was going to my first try at "the cork method", and color stained water and various resin detail kits. All of this was easily researched here on Armorama.com.
The Building
The building is the centerpiece for this diorama with the balcony being the focal point. As mentioned above I was going to use "the cork method" as the basic construction technique. In researching this method you will basically glue cork bricks to a flat backer material as the basis of the building. I noticed that the European members of Armorama have a nice flat stiff 2mm thick cardboard available to them. This is what is used as a backing material to glue the bricks to. I searched high and low in the US for such a material. I looked at craft stores such as Michaels, department stores such as Walmart, hobby stores like Hungates, and even the local fine art supply store. The closest thing that I could find was an architect’s poster board. It was a heavy flat cardboard used for architectural projects. The problem with this was cost it was very expensive. After some discussion with blockhaus about the technique it turns out that the primary criteria of the backer is to be a stiff flat surface. I settled on a "foam board" I found at a local craft store. It is a sheet of small cell foam covered on both sides by a heavy stock paper. It is 2'x3' and costs $.98, cheap. It cuts easily with a hobby knife and is easy to work with (for lots of different projects).
The next step is to transfer the 1/35 scale drawing from the poster board to the foam board. This was just a matter of tracing the overall shape on the foam board. I did not cut the windows out of the poster board version so I had to transfer measurements from poster to foam board. You could also cut the windows out of the poster board and just trace the openings.
I cut all the wall parts, in this case three. With angle joints I had to cut the edge of the two outside walls at almost a 45-degree angle. This would ensure a smooth joint. In my plan I knew the backside of the building would not be visible. This made backside bracing easy to manage. I would not have to integrate bracing into a cosmetically/architecturally accurate structure. I choose to use two solid bass wood scraps as a 'top' and 'bottom' support floor. I cut these two pieces to the correct shape to fit in the back of the walls. I then added a vertical post between the floors to give it vertical integrity. These stiff backside braces are important to consider with such a large building. As the building size and structure increase the chance for warping grows. Stiff materials and backing avoid the situation.
  • aab_planing_sketchover
  • aag_building_roughtcut

About the Author

About Scott Lodder (slodder)

I modeled when I was a teenager. College, family and work stopped me for a while. Then I picked it back up after about 12 years off. My main focus is dioramas. I like the complete artistic method of story telling. Dioramas involve so many aspects of modeling and I enjoy getting involved in the ...