Having never actually built anything like this before I was a little apprehensive at first simply due to the size of the components! These kits also come with absolutely no instructions which makes assembly all that much more difficult.
The good news is that there are build guides available on YouTube.
In the end this project was so much fun to complete and being able to take a cruise through my tiny worlds brings them to life in a whole new way.
It the video above I'll basically take you on a journey through the process of building one of these amazing models. A set of written instructions would have been great which is partly why I decided to film this detailed tutorial.
One of the techniques used in the construction process that often draws attention is the process of annealing the brass.
Typically the annealing process will harden metal like steel however with brass it softens the metal.
To anneal the brass you simply use a torch and heat the part until it glows orange, next the brass is quenched in cool water however for such a small part most experienced builders find that quenching is not necessary, the part often cools to room temperature quite fast.
Now the part can be gently bent without risking the part cracking although you still need to be cautious of bending and working the brass multiple times because that will cause the part to become brittle and snap.
For parts that need to be bent multiple times you may need to anneal prior to each bend.
Additionally, you can hide the interior by adding tinted windows. I didn't do that process in the video however it isn't too difficult to do with some packaging plastic or even sticky tape.
If you do decide to purchase one of these kits you will find it at https://www.tiny4x4.com/das87/ which is where I bought mine, I also purchased the electronics from them as well.
One of the biggest tricks to creating an extremely realistic model is always keeping in mind how the model will interact with the background. For example, I will usually try to avoid having the edge of the diorama being a straight line.
In the latest video this was the biggest challenge and I used a few different methods to blend the edges with the background scene.
There are a number of ways to hide or eliminate a straight edge;
As you’ll notice in the bridge model there is a straight edge along the waters edge that is unavoidable. The only practical way of hiding this edge is to round the corner so the lip caused from the resin raising up the tape is below the main water level of the river. That way you will reduce any harsh reflections from the edge.
Even by rounding the edge of the river it will still be noticeable to the trained eye so this is where photoshop steps in, if the model has been built right you should only need a very minimal amount of photoshop feathering to hide/blur the edge.
If all else fails try to set the camera up at such an angle so the water edge is not visible, depending on the size and shape of the model this may be impractical however the bridge diorama is very narrow with quite a long straight edge but it even with the long dimensions of the diorama the water edge can still be hidden resulting is a pretty awesome shot.
In addition to hiding the edges photographing the model in natural sunlight greatly helps, having shark shadows and natural white light is surprisingly effective at making a scene look much more realistic.
And lastly to really fool the eye you can always add a filter to the image, this will often hide imperfections in color that are often the biggest giveaway on a model. It can be very hard finding a good color pallet that matches your background scene but once you do find colors that match your model will just vanish into the surrounding scenery… which is a good sign 😉
Wow, what can I say! This was a huge undertaking that took over a month to complete and it was enjoyable every step of the way!
There were quite a lot of repetitive steps which do become somewhat tedious after a while which could also explain why this build took so long. At any stage I felt unmotivated I took a break which actually helped keep me motivated over the long term.
Another aspect that causes these videos to take so long is the act of filming all the steps of the process. It doesn’t seem too difficult to someone who isn’t familiar with making tutorial videos but to give you an idea, the camera has to be set up for every shot. I keep moving the camera around during any one particular shot to get a number of different angles which also keeps viewers engaged, and sometimes I’ll repeat a step 5 or 6 times just to get the right angle.
I could even estimate how many hours I spent on this model… but in terms of footage, I ended up recording exactly 16 hours 9 minutes and 4 second. That would probably be about 1 fifth of the actual time spent as a lot of the construction of this model was not filmed simply because it was the same step repeated over and over.
Some of the mistakes I learnt from on this model was not doing enough sanding and filling, if you look closely there are a lot of small gaps, if I was to build this model again I would spend a bit more time filling and sanding the gaps to get a nicer finish, that said, this model went together exceptionally well and to be honest not a lot of filling and sanding would actually be required.
Another mistake I made was gluing the finished units together, I used Gorilla Glue (Polyurethane Glue) which was fine however on the first two units I put way too much glue and some oozed out in areas I didn’t intend, on the remaining units I only put a fraction off the amount of glue and it was perfect. So the lesson was to only use a tiny bit of glue, polyurethane glue is very strong so for a light model like this it is well and truly more than capable of holding it together.
Some may say the interiors are overkill and while yes they added a ridiculous amount of time to the construction of this model they do look good, it’s very hard to show through the lens but when viewed in person the interiors look very cool. If I had to build a lot of these building I’d probably skip on the interiors but I’d definitely add the window lighting and curtains, it would be very easy to do with LED strip lights and would easily half the amount of time it took to build this model.
If you’d like to see some extra photos of this awesome model you can see them here in the High Rise Photo Gallery:
And for those of you who are interested in this kit or other similar kits like this check out Custom Model Railroads
I purchased this kit myself, I’m not being sponsored to tell you about them but I can certainly say this kit was a lot of fun to build and not all that difficult to construct!
The idea of creating a 3D version of a bob ross painting has intrigued me for a long time and I’ve finally done it!
Below is the full video tutorial that will step you through the entire process of creating a scene like this.
It might seem simple enough to build a diorama like this and you’d be pretty close however there are a couple of tricks that are a must to create a convincing scene…
The only real downside to a model like this is to really sell the illusion the diorama needs to be mounted inside a wall... unfortunately this is not always an option for a lot of people!
But even so it is really fun to view a model like this if you ever have the opportunity to see something like this in person 😃
The first video for the year 2020 and it's a beauty! It's definitely my favorite river scene I've built so far...
Surprisingly it didn't take all that long to build, I think altogether I spent about 18 hours building the model but that includes making nearly 20 trees which was a whole day in itself!
Below you'll find the full tutorial video that is full of new tips, tricks and techniques that I haven't shown in previous videos.
I think the biggest takeaway from this diorama is the choice or resin that was used to create the water effect.
Commonly Envirotex Lite or the Woodland Scenics Deep Pour Water is used to model rivers similar to this however they are only good for river depths up to 1cm deep... The river on this model was over 2cm at its deepest point!
The resin I used was AA Composites Deep Cast Clear Epoxy Resin and it is used for making wooden river tables. It was perfect because it has a low curing temperature and it can be poured to create very deep rivers.
If I were to use Envirotex Lite for this river it would certainly have cured much too hot and likely caused the surface to crack, I did some preliminary tests and found with deep pours of Envirotex it can melt plastic and foam as well as crack and introduce large heat bubbles as it cures.
The bear, photographer and fish were all 3D printed on the Nova 3D 'Elfin' printer, as you can see it did an amazing job on the HO scale photographer! Even the intricate detail on his face was printed well, I just need to work on my painting skills!
Talking about painting skills... I have a friend that is well worth checking out, Eric from Manscale Models on Facebook is an award winning model aircraft builder and his Facebook feed is packed full of tips and projects he's been working on: https://www.facebook.com/manscale/
One of my favorite techniques in this video is the fish, I spent ages trying to figure out how to submerge the fish under the water and it wasn't until a watched a video from HMS2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEgki4IYB5I where he made a small fish tank that I got the idea to make small stems to mount the individual fish onto.
It worked a treat and while the execution was different from HMS2 it was his video that sent me in the right direction.
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