I wanted to show the Spinner in flight—it’s much more graceful with the wheels tucked out of sight. I also wanted to capture the night-time ambience which was integral to Blade Runner.
To meet these requirements, I used the box diorama format described in my previous post. The box started out as a wooden picture frame. I extended the sides with basswood panels to provide more depth. The Spinner is supported from behind by a U-shaped arm mounted to the base of the box. The Duratrans backdrop is back-lit with an LED strip.
The typical diorama uses a flat board as the structural base. This configuration has a number of limitations. It doesn’t usually include a background, which means the artist is constrained to working on only one surface when recreating a scene, lessening the overall verisimilitude. Another drawback is that this configuration requires premium real estate when displayed—either a book shelf or an empty stretch of wall where it can be attached with brackets, usually at waist level. This can be an issue when space is limited.
Enter the box diorama, sometimes called a shadow box. Leveraging multiple surfaces, it offers the artist complete control over background elements as well as lighting. There is also more control over what the viewer sees, since the box can only be viewed from the front. This makes it easy to add hidden supports to display aircraft in flight. And since the box diorama is usually displayed at eye level, it takes up no more space than a painting.
When I decided to create a showcase for my Spinner model from the film Blade Runner, it was clear that the box diorama was the way to go. In the film, the Spinner was shown only at night, which showed off its dazzling lights to maximum effect, and made its medium blue paint scheme appear dark blue. I wanted to capture both these elements.
My next post will feature the completed Spinner Over Police HQ box diorama. Stay tuned!
This conceptual diorama is based on the 1970s TV show UFO, showing my design for SHADO Yards, an earth-based assembly facility where the Moonbase Interceptors were built.
The Interceptors are original Bandai injection molded kits (scratchbuilt interior and missile) and the figures are white metal. The cargo truck is a kitbash of an aircraft carrier tractor. Everything else is scratch-built. The finished Interceptor is lifted onto the launch pad with a gantry crane and moves on rails to the launch position. The launch pad is powered by a low rpm electric motor on O gauge track, using gears and sprockets from a robotics supplier.
In this scene, a boy and his sister come upon the awesome sight of a German tank trundling down a village lane. The long barrel Panzerkampfwagen III was one of the most elegant armour designs of WWII.
Lots of experimentation went into mixing the right shade of desert yellow for this Tamiya kit. The wall was scratch built.