I had been looking for an eye catching diorama to bring to the shows where I vend my products for years and finally decided on replicating a fairly famous scene from an old photo of a wreck that happened at the New Haven’s Hartford roundhouse in 1904.
When I first began this project I established a few points I needed to adhere to. 1. It had to be built with it’s own traveling box. I knew that if I had just carried it around open it would have gotten destroyed, by me, so I built a box for it travel in that also acts as a stage. 2. I wanted it to be at my eye level. I’m considered average height, so it made sense to use my eye distance from the floor as the benchmark. ( 65inches ) Most tables at train shows are 30 tall. The traveling box is 20 tall by 24 x 24 square. This kept is reasonably sized and manageable for getting it through doors and being able to fit in my vehicle. It’s still a bit clumsy being 24 x 24 x 20, but still manageable. It’s been show tested and I need to make some improvements, but as far as I’m concerned it works well. I went ahead and built the box first and then the diorama frame to fit inside. The box and most of the diorama’s structure is made from 3/16″ thick luan sheet. Luan is a sub board used on floors to smooth them out before adding another flooring material such as parkay, or carpeting. Anyways, it’s cheap and lightweight although rather potato chippy. Meaning, it warps (in compound curves) like a potato chip. It needed a skeleton of 3/4″x 3/4″ pine strips to straighten out the waves, but didn’t get every twist out completely. Luckily, those areas are not noticeable.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures in the beginning because I was so into getting the box and diorama frame together. I do have a few.