Canal Scene diorama started!

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Thread: Canal Scene diorama started!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Canal Scene diorama started!

    For years now I have been wanting to do a large canal crossing scene,I already have many details but I was just lacking to space to do it,I have a room that is almost 12X12 which I had planned on using but it was full of building left overs from the installation and reconfiguring of two trailers,I had one small connector hallway to finish before I could get rid of the leftovers,once the temps started to drop I finally finished the hallway and cleared out the room!
    There is a cabinet shop up the road that gives away some beautiful pallets,they include in each pallet,1 sheet of 1/2 particle board 44 inches wide and 6 foot 7 long,2-2X4s 6 foot 7",2-1X4 6'7",4 2X4's 44 inches long and 4 1X4's 44 inches long,a lot of material! And to top it all off it's all held together with sinker screws,so you just unscrew everything and you can reuse the screws!
    The diorama table top is going to about 7 foot square,the room is almost 12X12 but I wanted to be able to have access all the way around,the table will be stout enough to climb on but it's a better presentation if people can walk all the way around to see details.
    The canal is only 24 inches wide so it will be 12 foot wide in 1/6th,more of a secondary canal rather then one of the big national canals,some detail I want to work into it is the crane I built a couple years ago on a small loading dock and a blown bridge which the GI's will be working to rebuild,I would love to do a single span Bailey bridge but I'm pretty limited to materials in my area so they may just be laying down some big timbers for now.
    Here is where I am right now,I have it all framed up and anchored to the floor ready for particle board.
    One thing I have been contemplating is using real water in the canal! Line the whole thing with chicken wire then lay in fiberglass,we'll see when I get there.


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Duh!... The Netherlands
    Posts
    75

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    You're off to a good start!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I got it all covered in particle board this afternoon,made a mock up bridge profile and set the crane about where I want it to get a feel for how much space I am going to have to work with,it goes away quick when you start putting 1/6th scale item on it!

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Pa.
    Posts
    2,014

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Looking real good so far.
    Scott

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Thanks. After I posted that picture I took a better look and decided it needed a cut out in the bank for unloading,otherwise it would block the canal. I'll line the cut out with rock and blend it into the crane foundation.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    516

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Wow, simply WOW. That is an awesome project! Keep the good work going on
    I like what I do and I do what I like!

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I talked to a friend today and he walked me through laying out the stone work on the bridge, so this afternoon I laid it out on a piece of insulation, I plan on building it out of actual stone,I have access to my friends stone business and I can always find something which will work,or if I want I can pay them to cut stuff for me,now that I have a pttern I can go up and see what I can find in their scrap pile!

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4,616

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    going to be a grand, epic-level endeavor! all eyes are on this thread

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I have done a few fiberglass projects over the years,but it's been 10 years or so since my last one,and I quickly remember how much I hate laying fiberglass,this is worse the usual because all I had on hand was the layered mat stuff,I usually use the woven material,it is such a mess trying to spread the resin,the matting falls apart and sticks to your spreader,plus I didn't have enough resin,but the part I got covered looks good,I'll have to run to the store tomorrow and get some more so I can finish the canal.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    By the crane is going to be a small store house,the bottom half is going to be stone the upper wood, it will also be battle damaged,the Germans would almost always leave behind a rear guard,and since they blew the bridge behind them I would assume they would leave behind a machine gun crew to slow the allies even more.
    My friends with the stone shop gave me a bunch of strips of rock that they would have thrown out,they have seen my hobby so they always keep things they think I can use,these strips are 2 inches wide and a 1/2 inch thick I chop them into 1 inch pieces which makes a perfect building stone,it's a tan sandstone but looks like aged limestone which is what they use mostly in Europe.
    I also have some red sandstone,I cut a bunch of it up yesterday but it looked too much like brick so I'll save it for something else.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I got enough stone cut to do the whole bottom of a 12 foot square building,and I liked it so much I decided I wanted to go up to 7 foot on the wall instead of just half way. I spent a couple hours going through my friends scraps and I think I found enough. Most of the stone they cut is the red sand stone so of course I want something that isn't very common.
    The stone is loose stacked right now I'll probably used a tinted plaster for mortar.

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    caif.
    Posts
    114

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    i like very much what you have done so far

  15. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Thanks! It's all based on this picture,highly compressed and I'm adding a bridge.

  16. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Georgia USA
    Posts
    17

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Very cool! I cannot wait to see what else you have instore for this project!

  17. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I have the floor my the storage shed poured,it's a piece of particle board covered with tinted plaster,it's easier to build it this way in case I want to move it later. I did another coat of resin in the canal,I used a gallon and a half all together,now I have the first coat of brown paint down,I'll probably do at least another two before I spread sand on the final coat,then we'll see if it holds water!

  18. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I tried to use the wet paint as an adhesive for the sand,but it dries too quickly on the canal sides,for flat surfaces it works great but on the slopes the sand doesn't stick enough,but I dug through my cans of spray paint and found a can of spray fixatiff,basically a clear coat,that worked really good,I'd spray about 6-8 square inches and then throw sand at it,after it dried I brushed it off with a wisk broom,any thin spots I recoated.
    I dug up a sink drain from my parts stash and drilled a hole in the bottom of the canal,then drilled a hole in the floor of the trailer so I had a drain, I ran a hose in the window and filled it most of the way up,I have a small leak in one corner of the dock cut out,but other then that it looked good,I'll fill it with silicone and try again tomorrow.
    I have wanted to do live water ever since I started doing modeling 25 years ago in my HO scale trains,but this is the first time I've gotten this far!

  19. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Houston Again! Please let me escape soon @[email protected]
    Posts
    8,748

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    This is SOOOOO mindboggling cool!!! I love your real water canal, and the drain seems like a wonderful idea for the future. Would you ever embed this as a fountain outside once you're done, or keep it on casters so you can move it around your shop when you need space?

    Love the impressive scale and depth of it, I think a lot of us dreamt of making such large scale dios but never had the space or made the time/experiment for it :P

    Look forward to seeing more, and hope you're having lots of fun!!!
    Always do your best in everything you do, and live on, happy. - Aya

  20. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Thanks Saiko, It has been a blast so far,I really enjoy creating things and this has been something I have been planning for a long time and luckily I have plenty of room! It will stay in the room,it's actually screwed to the floor to make it more sturdy,there is access all the way around so I can work from every angle. I still have another 10X12 bedroom that I can build another diorama in! Between the two trailer I use as my man cave I have almost 1400 square feet!

  21. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I fixed my leak last night with epoxy then refilled it this afternoon,once I was sure I didn't have any leaks I drained again so I could get started on my retaining wall in the cut out,I hot glued the blocks into place,gluing them to each other and the wall so it's very sturdy.
    I'm not sure how I am going to do the crane which is why I needed to get the retaining wall up first so I could figure out how to proceed,I am thinking about cutting the concrete base for the crane off of the rest of it,glue it into place then pour new plaster around it to make the cobble stone.
    Some times I have to just take a step back and get a fresh look in the morning.

  22. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    WI, US
    Posts
    3,689

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    This is an impressive amount of work. So cool.

  23. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    48

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Superb work! It all looks so real! love the loose bricks and brickwork on the canal walls! Looking forward too seeing more!

  24. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Thanks Guys, keep watching the more the temps come down the more I can work in this room,it's kind of far from the cooler so it runs about 10 degrees above the rest of the place,but fall is here!

  25. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
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    2,817

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    What a great project -- it's looking absolutely amazing so far!!! I'm not surprised to hear you have a background in model railroading: it shows from the benchwork through to your craftsmanship. If I may, I'd suggest painting the bottom and sides of your canal to make the water look deeper. Lots of reference online, colours can be almost black, to brown mud, greenish, etc. Another thing that can add to the realistic look would be a high water line on the sides that's a little higher than your intended water level -- basically discolouration caused by moss/algae. Here's a good reference shot. It shows mostly wood but you can see the discolouration on the bricks as well. The wooden big gate of the building in the side of the canal with the moss on the edge of the gate Stock Photo - Alamy
    "Impossible is just a stage." Chris Hadfield

  26. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
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    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    Thanks Spitfire! I was planning on darkening the bottom of the canal once I was sure all the leaks were taken care of,and I really like the high water line idea,that would be a nice touch on the retaining wall.

  27. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Fredonia AZ,extreme northern AZ
    Posts
    774

    Re: Canal Scene diorama started!

    I spent a hour this afternoon cutting some of the red sandstone into "bricks",I was trying to figure out what I was going to do around the crane and between the warehouse and the canal,I laid out a couple of the sandstone blocks I had cut before and found they are perfect! I need to cut up some more to finish what I want to do but I really like it so far.

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