MISSING BITS AND A HELPING HAND
The inspiration for this diorama scene began with the purchase, from a local modelling friend, of a vinyl kit of, arguably the most famous monster screened in the movies. Putting him together was an easy chore, Superglue joining the sections permanently. Then came Problem #1 – the tongue, upper teeth inserts and lower jaw were missing from the parts! After scrutinising a photo of the finished model that accompanied my kit, I discovered a website that was the origin of this Godzilla version and, yes, there are literally hundreds of different Godzillas out there! I sent an email to the site asking for help and was contacted by a Mr Nawin Outhaivatnanon from Bangkok, Thailand who very kindly sent me a replacement piece with the missing body parts free of charge. Many thanks Nawin! Problem #1 was solved, however Problem #2 appeared almost straight away. Three sections of the plates/spikes on Godzilla’s back were also missing! (Modellers – check your pieces before assembling! Not wanting to bother Nawin again, I decided to recast the missing sections from those already here. Luckily I possessed the opposite number to each, so this problem was finally resolved. The plates/spikes were originally based on those from the Stegosaurus dinosaur and are in two similar rows, running from behind the head, down the back and onto the massive tail. With the vinyl kit assembled, out came the spray cans of green paint. The one I chose was an acrylic car colour called, “Emerald Green”. This was a deep, bright green that, along with various dark washes and lighter green drybrushing, resulted in a very distinctive looking monster. The teeth and claws were hand painted a light grey and weathered accordingly, while the mouth area was finished in a reddish-orange hue. Tamiya Clear Orange accented the eyes and clear varnish finished them off. Matt varnish dulled the “shininess” of the completed kit.
The buildings themselves were basic, clear plastic boxes to which was added numerous lengths of 3mm wide Tamiya masking tape to represent the many window areas. Evergreen strips, of varying thicknesses and widths became the window frames although, upon reflection, I could have detailed them up quite a bit more and made the window areas even smaller than in the final result. Referencing real buildings certainly helped out with the general look of the constructs, however I wasn’t entirely happy with them, especially around the window areas. Rather than build full interiors for each of the four buildings, I opted to detail the interior window areas with various coloured felt pens. I mean to say; you have to see “something” in each of the windows, don’t you? It’s a problem I’m still coming to terms with – how to solve the problem on a small scale without resorting to an extra month’s work. How much do you show and how much can you get away without showing for the result to be truly effective? In retrospect, more vigorous sanding of the window areas would have helped the problem by allowing far less light to escape from each window, thus limiting the view inside. Perhaps an interior detail for the building was possible without adding a lot more work to the project. As can be inferred from the above text, I’m less than happy with the final building constructs. Not that I’m saying they look awful, but I think they could have looked far better than they do in the final scene. Details such as pipes, toy bits and kit parts were added to improve the general look of each of the four buildings, some of the kit parts beings unpainted to add a little colour variation to the final look. Extra plastic boxes were added to the bottoms of some of the buildings, to give them the “street level” sections needed for realism.
PLANNING OUT THE STREET
After the buildings were complete, my attention turned to what the final scene would look like, something that is, at times, quite alien to me. My models usually are quite “ad lib” in nature; that is, they virtually construct themselves. Yes, I make it up as I go along! This meant placing the buildings on a 3mm thick sheet of styrene and drawing what I thought should go on it, the orientation of the roads, positions of the buildings, etc. I used 1mm thick styrene for the footpaths around the buildings and 2mm thick styrene for the central “island” sections in the middle of the streets. (In hindsight, I should have angled the streets about 30 degrees off the orientation of the base, as most good dioramas are apt to be.) I added a layer of modelling putty to each of the street “islands” as I figures they would be raised garden beds and covered in greenery. The park area in the lower left hand corner was painted Tamiya Park Green (how appropriate) and a kit fence was placed around the perimeter. The actual street asphalt was painted a very dark grey, while the footpath and building apron areas were sprayed in a very light grey, with section details drawn on in lead pencil with a ruler. Model railroad “flocking”, of various colours, was white-glued to the street “islands” and then blended in with handbrushed green paint. A brown path was handpainted through the park and the tops of small-scale trees and extra bits of “flocking” added to give it the necessary foliage. Blending of various greens was performed with a cotton bud dipped in thinners. Some small kit parts became the fixtures in the park, while short sections of unpainted Evergreen square tube and tiny green pieces from railroad trees became the many streetside potplants along the footpath. (Half of these were later removed as I felt that there were far too many of them in the scene.)