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Sometimes a set of model figures, a model car or truck or some other detail object can be the catalyst for an idea for a diorama. In the case of "CITY CABS", the green New York taxi, seen here at the front of the diorama, was one such object.

The diorama, which measures 16 inches by 16 inches (400mm x 400mm) and built in 'O' scale, contains 3 structures, each with different wall materials. 

Click on the image opposite for a larger view

The office building has traditional weatherboards with the lower half painted green and the top painted a weathered yellow. These two colours are the companies corporate colours. Grandt Line doors and windows complete the structure.

The repair and maintenance shed has flat boards on the fascia, with a very peeling paint effect. This is achieved by using a piece of terry towelling material (used in bath robes) with the paint applied to the material and then dabbed onto the timber fascia. The remaining walls are cement sheet which is simulated using a heavy grade of pulp paper, painted with various greys and white. Runs of rust were added using a water colour pencil drawn down the wall and then softened with a damp brush. Again Grandt Line industrial windows and scratch built doors complete the building.

The third, and smallest building in the set is a small storage shed at the rear of the diorama. This shed is constructed using matte board (used to mount and surround photographs). This is also a great medium to build mock ups of structures to get an idea how a building will look in 3D. The walls have a stucco effect, which is a finely sieved dirt sprinkled onto PVA white glue that has been spread over to the cardboard walls. Once the glue has dried, the excess dirt is blown off and the wall painted to the desired colours.

Note: This method is also great for building the mud brick adobe structures seen all over the early west and southwest of America. A nice red soil is ideal for this effect.

The base of the diorama is two layers of 3mm craftwood with a thin layer of water based wood filler applied and painted to represent tarmac. Dozens of 44 gallon drums, car tyres (tires), white metal figures and heaps of other details complete the scene. The diorama is edged with a moulded wood trim bought from a local timber supplier.