Browsing through the Pegasus Hobbies website, I noticed something in the Featured Products section I haven’t seen in a long time: two box dioramas, one ready-made and one requiring assembly. Both dioramas are based on the film War of the Worlds and depict battles with alien “tripods,” tall, gangly invaders that fire powerful energy beams. Pegasus already offers a War Machines Attack Diorama from the same movie, but it’s not in the box diorama format.
A box diorama, as its name implies, features one or more subjects displayed in a square or rectangular box with an open front and top. The three vertical sides of the box form the background (usually printed on cardboard) and the bottom panel acts as the terrain. The box diorama’s simple shape makes it easy and inexpensive to produce, and the inclusion of background panels makes the product more appealing than a standard base-only diorama. I talked about the many advantages of box dioramas in a previous post.
What I like about these offerings from Pegasus is that they provide an accessible entry point into diorama building for modellers who have thought about making a diorama but never got around to it. They’re educational in the sense that they provide the modeller examples of how combining good design with the right number and scale of subjects creates a compelling scene. Chances are that after finishing one of the Pegasus dioramas, the budding diorama modeller will have enough experience and confidence to start building his own dioramas from scratch.
Pegasus is not the first company to offer box dioramas. The concept has been tried by various kit manufacturers, but never gained enough momentum to become a permanent fixture of the scale modelling world. Pegasus has set the price point for these products at a level which should be accessible to most hobbyists, and that should broaden their appeal. Time will tell if these two offerings gain enough traction to become heralds of a long term trend.