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RailRoad Modeling
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Railroad Dioramas
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 - 02:36 AM UTC
Theme update,I am planning to expand the storyline a bit to make it more appealing to a wider audience.The new idea is to do this diorama as a tribute to Leone and at the same time a tribute to old west movies in general.I plan to do this using old west movie posters arranged in such a way as too center on Leone' favorites ,while the same time tell the history of the old west movies in general.It will be an outdoor temporary exhibit set in Monument Valley ( yes red earth and all) there will be villans and heros corners,a movie history wall and very little rain to worry about.I also plan to light it with LEDS.Leone and I had the shared experience of the weekend movie house, showing mostly westerns.His experience was ten years ahead of mine but little had really changed over that period of time. Cowboys were always our heros.Should be fun !
dolly15
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Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 08:38 AM UTC

Here is the basic layout.I am planning a walkway around the diorama right up against the fence.On the fence will be posted a whole series of movie posters by the date the films were made,right up to the making of "Once Upon A Time.....I will have a hero's and villain's corner and anything else that I can think of.There will be room for future expansion if I want to, maybe a car parking lot.All the posters will be lit using LEDS.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 09:15 AM UTC
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 - 09:27 PM UTC

I never knew that there were so many movies produced with an old west theme,so many to chose from.Every poster will require a lot of preparation before being displayed on the fence,spraying,cutting ,gluing etc..etc..It will be a history lesson for me too.
I am really looking forward to lighting this piece inside and out,should be interesting.
dolly15
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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 01:31 AM UTC

Here are the first few glued to a wood board.
If you have a favorite old west film prior to 1969 please advise and if I can find the poster I will put it up in my rogue's gallery walk of fame.I am only doing the movies filmed before '69 because I want to keep it relevant to what might have influenced his work.
On the walls in the interior of the baggage car (out of normal view) I plan to put up posters of the westerns directed by Leone.The roof of this car will be removable for viewing.
dolly15
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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 12:24 AM UTC
Man I sure love the creative process, with so many different options to explore, I keep changing my mind on the storyline.I could appeal to a wide audience by using the poster idea or I could narrow it down to my original idea.This decision has to be made fairly soon before I get too far into it.
All of my dioramas to this point have been aimed at a wide audience in a museum setting.My last diorama " The Homecoming" was originally to be titled "The Road Taken".The idea was quite simple a man returning from war, standing on a spot in the road and remembering making a decision that changed the rest of his life.Now he has returned from the war and is standing in the same spot looking at his "Backyard Flyer" and wondering that after all that he has seen at war could he ever go back to those innocent days and continue his life as before.
Any veteran would understand his dilemma but would a wider audience really get the point of the story.(Fortunately this original story still exists but now in pictures only that I took before I decided to make all of changes.)
The changes that I made came at the suggestion of many of my friends and family to open things up a bit to make it more of a celebration of his return home.
They made many good points,the subject matter is too heavy and most viewers would not get it.It is too stark in nature and does not have enough detail to keep a museum audience interested for very long.The colors are drab and not very appealing.Too depressing in general. These are all valid points but not my vision of what it should say or what I am trying to say in the diorama.And of course there is the money aspect.Originally the diorama was appraised by my appraisers at half the value of others that I had done mostly because of the reasons I have already mentioned.
Well in the end you could say I sold out artistically and went for the buck and pleasing the viewer which of course is true when looked at from this point of view.In the end I had to ask myself are you doing this for yourself or have you already promised the piece to a wider audience when it was finished.
Viewers usually love detail and enjoy searching for it.It has been said that a good diorama is one where you can always find new things to look at.Capturing the imagination of kids and holding it for awhile has always been my primary goal in doing this stuff. I think that I made the right decision.

The next diorama I am doing is for myself and it is promised to nobody.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 01:07 AM UTC
"Something To Do With Death" (The Wages Of Sin)
Heavy ? well I guess it is but it is something that I would like to explore.Once Upon A Time..... is a masterpiece on so many levels.
Storyline ? Haven't quite decided yet but movie posters will still be involved somehow.Actors pics and famous lines from the movie,probably.

Directors that influenced Leone ? Movies that inspired him ? His perfectionism and attention to detail,his cinematography.

Sounds like fun !
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 12:35 AM UTC
Today I hope to finished boxing up the latest diorama and sending it off to its new home on Friday.It has been a long but interesting journey.
The new RR/Sergio diorama is now well underway but the storyline has yet to be finalized.I have mulled this over in my mind for some time now,mostly about how broad or narrow should I make it.The overall theme is a movie set and how old movies were made using a kind of theme park idea set in Hollywood or even as a Monument Valley tourist attraction.
Because I am doing it as an imaginary general public attraction,it should be made appealing to a wide audience just as any creative entrepreneur would do in real life.
The time era would be from the beginnings of the western genre to the present day taking in movies up to the present time.
I want to represent the best examples of each decade ,from silent films to the talkies to today.I will have a special corner for Sergio's work and a hero and villains section as well.
Later if I decide to I can open a parking lot with cars and motorcycles outside the main gates of the park and lots of other interesting things going on as well etc..etc.. Anyway that is the plan for now.Should be fun !
dolly15
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Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 10:25 AM UTC


finally finished !
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 07:23 AM UTC
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 12:49 AM UTC
Well I think that I will go back to my original idea of an abandoned movie set.The poster idea was OK but when I put an example up I found that it was a little visually overwhelming with all those posters.
The grey fence around the property is however underwheming and boring and needs a little work too.I tried putting posters up on the outside of the fence too but it also looks like too much of a good thing.
So,I am thinking of expanding the movie set idea to include things like abandoned actors dressing rooms,equipment storage rooms etc...all weathered and a little rusty looking and only the odd old poster here and there for visual effect.
Well now its back to the drawing board.......
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 01:45 AM UTC
The film portrays two conflicts that take place around Flagstone, a fictional town in the American Old West: a land battle related to construction of a railroad, and a mission of vengeance against a cold-blooded killer. The main storyline revolves around a struggle for Sweetwater, a piece of land near Flagstone containing the region's only water source. The land was bought by Brett McBain, who foresaw that the railroad would have to pass through that area to provide water for the steam locomotives. When railroad tycoon Morton learns of this, he sends his hired gun Frank to simply intimidate McBain to move off the land, but Frank instead kills McBain and his three children, planting evidence on the scene to frame the bandit Cheyenne and his gang. By the time McBain's new bride, Jill, arrives from New Orleans, the family is dead and she is the owner of the land.
Henry Fonda as Frank

Meanwhile, a mysterious harmonica-playing gunman, whom Cheyenne later dubs "Harmonica", pursues Frank. In the film's opening scene, Harmonica kills three men sent by Frank to kill him, and, in a roadhouse on the way to Sweetwater, he informs Cheyenne that the three gunfighters he killed appeared to be posing as Cheyenne's men. Sometime later, Harmonica kills two men sent by Frank to kill Jill.

Back at Sweetwater, construction materials are delivered to build a railroad station and a small town. Harmonica explains to Cheyenne that Jill will lose Sweetwater unless the station is built by the time the track's construction crews reach that point, and Cheyenne puts his men to work building it.
Claudia Cardinale as Jill McBain

Meanwhile, Frank turns against Morton, who wanted to make a deal with Jill. Frank's betrayal is made easy by the fact that Morton is crippled. After having his way with her, Frank forces Jill to sell the property in an auction. He tries to buy the farm cheaply by intimidating the other bidders, but Harmonica arrives, holding Cheyenne at gunpoint, and makes a much higher bid based on his reward money for delivering Cheyenne to the authorities. After rebuffing another intimidation attempt by Frank, Harmonica sells the farm back to Jill. At this point, some of Frank's men try to kill Frank, having been paid by Morton to turn against him, but Harmonica helps Frank kill them in order to save that privilege for himself.

After Morton and the rest of Frank's men are killed in a battle with Cheyenne's gang, Frank goes to Sweetwater to confront Harmonica. On two occasions, Frank has asked Harmonica who he is, but both times Harmonica refused to answer him. Instead, he mysteriously quoted names of men Frank has murdered. The two men position themselves for a duel, at which point Harmonica's motive for revenge is revealed in one last, clear flashback: When Harmonica was a boy, Frank forced the boy to kill his own brother by tying a noose to the top of an arch, placing it around the brother's neck, and forcing the struggling Harmonica to support his brother on his shoulders with a harmonica in his mouth while playing the song that's heard throughout the film.

Harmonica draws first and shoots Frank, and when Frank again asks who he is, he puts the harmonica in Frank's mouth. Frank nods weakly in recognition and dies. With Frank dead, Harmonica and Cheyenne say goodbye to Jill, who is supervising construction of the train station as the track-laying crews reach Sweetwater. Cheyenne collapses almost immediately, revealing that he was shot by Morton while he and his men were fighting Frank's gang. The work train arrives, signaling the arrival of 'civilization' and the end of the Epic age of cowboys and gunfighters; thus the film ends with Jill carrying water to the rail workers and Harmonica riding off with Cheyenne's body towards the horizon. A creature of the frontier, Harmonica can't "settle down" and decides to ride in search of a place where a man like him can still have a role and a reason to exist.
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 02:22 AM UTC
Hi John. Im glad you are re-thinking this one as some ground principles in diorama work is missing. Im not sure the initial idea is the main problm.
Its hard to see clearly from the images but maybe thats also part of the problem as I see it. There is no no focal point. Three huge main assemblies and the first one blocks the view of those behind it. From what side is the model supposed to be viewed from? Parking the three assemblies in front of one another and then adding the posters doesn´t really carry the scene as you thought maybe? I think it will be hard to make any scene/idea work with this lay out, as it is now.

In my opinion some artistic license is needed ... you have the certificate !!!! Maybe some height to lift the back of the scene higher so everything can be seen? Even adding a modern movie crew would be an idea, especailly all their gear ... blue screen backgrounds, camera, lights (ground and overhead), cables, etc, etc. This could bring it back to your more comfortable scenes with enclosed walls (acting as natural backgrounds) and staginbg the scene. Lots of possibilities here .... just my thoughts on it.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 04:23 AM UTC


I finally gave old Morton his dream of a Atlantic to Pacific RR.
dolly15
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Posted: Monday, October 01, 2012 - 02:21 AM UTC
Thank you Frank for your comments ,some great ideas there ! I am a long way from finalizing anything,in fact that is the way I like to work so that there is always something to think about especially on a long project like this one.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Monday, October 01, 2012 - 02:26 AM UTC


I issued one of these to myself a long time ago.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Monday, October 01, 2012 - 03:06 AM UTC


People often ask me why do you love Sergio's work so much ? Here is just one of thousands of reasons why.
Sometimes I ask myself a simple question "How can a man take a child's life for no reason ?" Even a good looking man with beautiful blue eyes? But these are the eyes of a killer as depicted by Henry Fonda.Who would have believed it Henry Fonda a killer of children ? Who would believe that men such as this could be responsible for mass murder.Sergio wanted his audience to be shocked as the camera panned his face,(as Fonda himself said) "Jesus Christ its Henry Fonda !!!)
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Monday, October 01, 2012 - 03:37 AM UTC


I am currently researching old west facades to add to the diorama.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Monday, October 01, 2012 - 10:55 PM UTC

Here is a great old saloon with swinging doors and all !
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 - 04:35 AM UTC

Typical Hollywood back lot.
dolly15
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Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 12:13 AM UTC
I am planning for this diorama to be from the late 60's era when movies were made the old fashioned way.With all the animation of the modern era this is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.Sergio would be very familiar with this way of doing things.
Diorama wise it is also a good way of presenting a certain time frame.The back lot will be depicted as used but not yet completely abandoned.That way I have a lot more leeway with the weathering of the piece.Everything weathered the same way would be boring.
Then if I decide to go ahead with the old west building facades I can make them look as old or new as I like depending upon the movie being filmed at the time.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 04:36 AM UTC

Here is a stationary backdrop that I made for filming,sometimes they were on rolls to simulate movement.
dolly15
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Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 04:47 AM UTC

Models were often used for long shots which could have it's own backdrop as well.Here I have used an HO scale model.
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 - 07:49 AM UTC
dolly15
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Saturday, October 06, 2012 - 01:26 AM UTC

Here is my idea of a dolly without seating or camera equipment.