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Sergio Leone Movie Set Diorama

29079 Views 404 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JohnReid
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This diorama is dedicated to the great director Sergio Leone and his film masterpiece "Once Upon A Time In The West."
I like to build my dioramas using the modular idea.Module #1 will be the basic movie set.Other modules may follow and will be added to the basic module depending on how things go.(at 70 you don't plan too far ahead)
This diorama will be in 1/24 scale which will allow for lots of detail and weathering fun.The dimensions of this first module will be about 33"X54".If I stop after building after finishing the first module I will probably put it on an oval base to get rid of all the squareness involved in building on a rectangle.
The first rule of diorama making is not to put anything square to the base so I will build this first module on an angle.
In the movie there a two tracks,one with the train on it and the other with half a passenger car with a shack built over it.Normally these two tracks would probably be parallel to one another which only adds to the squareness of the scene but with proper composition I should be able to minimize most of this.
In addition to the train and shack their will be a water tower and windmill.
I also plan to put an empty directors chair with Sergio's name on the back.
I also have a nice group of 6 figures in 1/24 scale that could be added as spectators or crew but for this first module I will leave them out and use them only if I decide upon adding more modules.As it stands now this is a tribute piece to the director so I will just leave it this way.
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Hi Greg ! I love everything about this film.The coming together of two geniuses to truly create something wonderful.The actors ,cinematography,set design the list goes on and on .No figures on this one just the empty directors chair.Imagine what he might have created had he not died so young? Cheers! John.
I think that 1/24 scale is perfect for this diorama.Sergio was a stickler for detail, so lots of detail there will be.Perfect composition was what he strived for, so arranging all the detail is critical to this piece.He has taught me a lot already but there is still lots to learn and what better way to learn than from the master.
I may make this module in two pieces and then screw them together which will make it more convenient to work on as well as save my poor old back.
I really like this modular idea for two reasons,the above plus an even more important reason.I have seen so much great 3D artwork,yes art work,go in the garbage pail over the years especially the large layouts of the RR guys.The family hasn't room,the interest or whatever.Maybe it is because I am reaching a certain age that I think about things like this but it really is a tragedy in my mind.In some cases they would probably like to keep something in the family from uncle Joe or Grandpa Fred and can't because it would be all or nothing at all.
My solution would be to pick an area of your layout that is the main story or what you are most proud off and build it from the beginning with preservation in mind.Make it in a separate module that can be detached when the time comes.
You say, why should I give a sh't i will be dead.Well I think we should give a s'it for two reasons.One as a legacy for our future family and the other as a history of our artform.If this is truly the golden age of modeling then we owe it to the artform that has given us so much pleasure over the years.Wouldn't you love to have all those trading cards and comic books that you or your dad threw out ? and not for just the material value ? but for the history that they represent and your own enjoyment?Think about it.
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Alright ... now I'm feeling guilty ...

I've never seen the movie ... :(
I would rent it for the train stuff alone.:)
I kind of like this composition for a rectangular type base.Nothing is parallel or 90deg to one another.The two black objects are the volume taken up by the water tower and the windmill.They will have to do for now until I can find the proper dimensions.
Where you see the boxcar in this mock-up it will be replaced by a combo passenger/baggage car which will save me a whole car length in the composition.The caboose will be replaced by a passenger car cut in two with a shack built around one end like in the film.It is supposed to depict a early cattle/passenger station with railway ties for the platform.
Why bother doing a mock-up in small scale? because it makes it so much easier to build the real thing.You have a constant reference in 3D to help.If you build it to scale you can simply scale it up to the scale you are working with.
In the pic of the diorama that I am building now it is in 1/16th scale, the mock-up is 1/48.
This could be considered my layout for the diorama that I am working on right now.It is made up of five different modules.
2 backyard modules screwed together,surrounded by a building facade module and two lane way modules and attached the same way.The whole thing can be taken apart in minutes.With a little planning the joints can run along fence lines etc.. and never show.
Hi guys! I am new here but have been doing dioramas for a long time.This will be my first RR diorama and will be dedicated to the film and its director Sergio Leone.

This diorama will be for me! Long before other models came into my life their was my American Flyer train ,that I played with for years just on the floor, more than 60 years ago now.
Sergio gave an interview once and told of how his interest in the old west was developed in his childhood probably about 10 years before mine.Like he did I went to the movies and sucked in all that old west mythology,then came home and played out the scenes with my buds or my model train.
As I reach my 70's it seems that I want to re-connect with my long gone childhood and play with my trains again.
.You know it is funny how these creative seeds are planted in your brain.When I walked out of the movie theater 40 years ago after seeing this movie for the first time,I knew something had changed,that I had experienced something that really hit home.I couldn't quite figure it out at the time but I new that I had just witnessed a great piece of Art.I have seen the movie many times since but it was only when I got into storyboard dioramas that I really began to appreciate it .The genre I had always loved since I was a kid, "The Old West", but this film was different from anything I had seen before.
I bought the special collector's edition DVD of the film and began to really study it this time.
This edition not only has the movie itself but you can program it for a running commentary on every scene by knowledgeable film people.
There is also 3 documentaries included.
Maybe its because I am an old fart now but for me this is a wonderful tool that I would of never dreamed of years ago.A university course on film making in a box. "WOW"
When studying this film I sometimes just run it with sound,sometimes without sound and sometimes just the sound alone.I freeze frame compositions that I like and note lighting ,composition etc...I take pics with my digital camera right from my computer screen for research purposes.Never before have artists had all these wonderful tools at hand whenever they need them.It kinda blows me away!Home based artists have never had it so good!Now we too can learn from the masters in an exciting new way.
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Well I have changed my plans again,I will build a sound stage.This will give me the freedom to really do what I want.
The story is that for one reason or another a sound stage had to be built. this may or may not have have happened my world it did.Maybe Sergio wasn't happy with a scene involving the locomotive and the station.Rather than go back and re-shoot it it would be much simpler to create a sound stage with a fake train and station.He was a perfectionist so this may have happened in this or another movie of his but it does show the lengths that he would go to to make it right.It makes a statement about his personality which I happen to share.
This will be a story of artistic license in the extreme and how movies are really made.
I plan to cut down the scale of the diorama to just the locomotive and the half passenger car /shack.I think that this is quite enough to tell the story but with the option of adding more modules later on,although this may not be at all necessary.
My locomotive will be a complete fake actually probably only half a locomotive made from wood and tin of whatever.Basically all I need from the kit is the shape and something to weather.
This is definitely a work in progress !
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