I’ve wanted to build a detailed city street scene for action figure photography for a while, but never got around to it until now. Building 1/12 scale dioramas take up a lot of space, so this needs to be a modular display, where I can add buildings over time. The diorama will also need to break down for storage, which is why most action figure dioramas are built with high density foam boards and magnets, but I prefer to use medium density fiberboard (MDF).
Buildings built with MDF are rock solid and can take a lot of abuse, which can occur when you repeatedly set up for photo sessions. Styrofoam walls can get dented and dinged up with the slightest amount of pressure, but you can throw a brick at an MDF wall and not even make a mark.
I started this diorama with a plan in my head and a simple drawing, and am making the rest up as I go. This diorama is going to be two store fronts on a New York City street. After some Google research of storefronts, I narrowed down the initial layout and went to work.
One of my goals for this diorama is to use technology as much as possible. I recently got a 3-D printer and have had success printing out free models I downloaded, but didn’t know how to create my own models. This would be a great opportunity to learn Blender (3D software) to create custom elements. Youtube was a great teacher, and I have been able to cobble together some basic architectural elements such as windows and doors. Once I got a little more comfortable with the software, I was able to make some more elaborate scenery items like trash cans and milk crates.
I’m super stoked at the possibilities the 3D printer brings to the crafting table. Once I create the file, I can replicate that part as many times as needed, which will be a huge help with things like windows and doors. It takes a bit of time to create the file, but once that task is completed, I can literally print the parts in my sleep! I’ve been running the printer while I’m working in the next room, and at the end of the day, I have a few items to add to the diorama. The 3D printer is going to be an absolute game changer and i am excited to see how far I can push it in adding realism to my dioramas.