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DIORAMA OR DISPLAY SHELF ACCESSORIES

As someone who is basically all thumbs, I regretfully don't have the talent to build from scratch some of the fantastic dioramas I have seen but I find I can still dress up the presentation of my fire engines by adding some suitably scaled items and the same can be done for other collection themes. Items that are nearly suitable can also be painted or repainted accordingly.

What exactly is scale? SCALE is the size relationship of a model to the real world. Usually, it is expressed in fractions. Thus, a scale of 1/24 has dimensions that are one twenty-fourth the height, length, width and depth of its real-world counterpart. This means that one-foot (or inch or millimetre) of real measure equals twenty-four of the miniature. In America this is generally measured by the foot and in Europe and many other countries in millemeters.

HOWEVER, trying to sort scale out nearly gave me a very big headache as sometimes ther is an exact conversion and at other times it is just "close". Scaling, "sizes" can be listed as 1/32 with a "slash" or 1:32, or by letter such as "G" Scale or by metric sizes such as 54mm. They can also be prefixed by a manufacturers name such as Bachmann "G". Scales seem to be calculated in two ways, a) in Railway gauge terms using the standard track width of 4' 8" and b) in human terms using a standard adult size of 6 feet.

RAILWAY CONVERSION - Vehicles and buildings are generally based on the standard 4' 8" railway gauge, for 1/32 scale, 56" is divided by 32 and gives a scale size of 1.75" or 45mm = 1 foot (305mm / 30.5cm) in real life. For FG's 1/34 you get 1.65" (42mm). For all other scales take 56 and divide it by the scale number.

HUMAN FIGURES - for 1/34 FG items, figures 2.125" or 54mm is the correct size. This calculation is based on a 6-foot adult, with 72" divided by 34 giving a rounded figure of 2.125". If you scale up 4' 8" (1.45 metres) to 6 foot (1.83 metres) the figure of 2.125" works out exactly the same. 1/32 is just 1/8th of an inch smaller, so not really noticable on a shelf or in a Diorama. So, for all scales just take 72 and divide it by the scale number and you end up with the exact height for the scale.

HANDY REFERENCE TABLE FOR FIGURES
Based on data extracted from a numer of sites.
There are other scales, see Wikipedia's list.
1/??
SCALE
EXACT
INCHES
NEAREST
DECIMAL
FRACTIONMMSCALE TYPE
220.327.31255/16"8"Z" Scale
160.45.43757/16"11"N" Scale
87.828.812513/16"21"HO" Scale
76.947.937515/16"24"OO" Scale
641.1251.1251 1/8"29"S" Scale
501.4401.43751 7/16"37A European Diecast Scale
481.5001.5001 1/2"38Also used as "O" / "O27" / "ON30"
431.6741.6251 5/8"43"O" Scale
352.0572.0002"52Military Model Scale
342.1182.1252 1/8"54First Gear's Main Scale
322.2502.2502 1/4"57Gauge 1 / British "1" Fine
/ I / Int. Toy Soldiers
302.4002.3752 3/8"61First Gear's Power Wagons
292.4832.5002 1/2"632.5" / 60 mm Soldiers
252.8802.8752 7/8"73"G" Scale - Secondary
and First Gear's Large scale
243.0003.0003"76"G" Scale - Secondary
22.53.2003.18753 3/16"81"G" / "LGB" Scale - Original
20.33.5473.5003 1/2"90"F" Scale

Whilst First gear's main scaling of 1/34 (1:34), offers nothing much in terms of accessories, 1/32 (Gauge I or British "1 Fine" or I), is close and this does offers a range of items. FG's other main scale is 1/25th, which offers much more choice for accessories. Try EBAY for both of these and 1/32 also but try every combination of wording you can think of as people list them in various categories and not always the obvious ones.

"G" Scale (1/2"scale) was originally 1:22.5 but "G" is also applied to 1/25 and by Wikipedia as 1/24. Some Pola "G" and some Woodland scenics are "G" about 1/22.5 and also apparently Preiser "G" and Bachmann "G". Preiser figures and are produced in a number of scales including 1/25 and 1/29. In conversion terms 1:22.5 = 3.2" - 1:25 = 2.88"

Nought / O, or Zero scale is also quite common. In British scale this is 1/43 but the same "O" in American scale is apparently 1/48. A straight calculation makes this = 1.17" or 30 mm but other sources have listed this as 1.25" or 31.8mm, thus showing some contradiction. This anomaly is conveniently overlooked as 1.25" works out at about 1:43.5 in UK terms.

Confused or what? For my figures I will stick to the recognised method of 72" divided by whatever scale. So its 2.125" (54mm) for my 1/34 models, 2.875 (73mm) for my 1/25. Figures about 2.5 seems to be a compromise between the two scales. For my 1/43 non-FG items it will be figures about 1.675" or 42/43mm. 1.5 will also do for these. Other Scales used by FG are 1/30; 1/50; 1/64 and 1/87.

See Wikipedia's scale Chart and for a longer explanation of each scale looks at Wikipedia's scale listings.

For general information on model painting techiques etc. try:-
HOT WORLD CUSTOMS.
BRIFAYLE.CA
BRITISH MODEL SOLDIER SOCIETY
WIKIPEDIA'S FIGURE PAINTING PAGE

For detailed parts and accessories for various scales try:-
DON MILLS MODELS (USA)
TOWER HOBBIES (USA)
MODELS FORSALE.COM (UK)
The following figure items were some I found on EBAY under firemen, firemen figures, firefighters and firefighter figures etc. etc. etc. but try different search criteria as not all items are listed under one search name. Construction workers and other figures can also be found on EBAY. The unpainted figures are useful for cutting up for parts like helmets and axes etc. or for painting.


FIRE / POLICE / EMERGENCY 2.125"

STARLUX FRENCH FIGURES 2.4375"

Hong Kong Water Cannon 1.5"

CONSTRUCTION/FIRE/POLICE - SELF COLOUR

OTHER SUITABLE VEHICLES
Although my main interest is FG, I also look out for suitable complimentary vehicles.

BELL JETRANGER FIRE 1:34 SCALE
The only Fire one they currently do in this scale

BELL JETRANGER POLICE 1:34 SCALE
The only Police one they currently do in this scale
The following are based on an MT-55 Freightliner. It would appear that at present there are around 10 of these in various liveries, some have been produced in limited numbers and have long since been sold out but they have appeared on EBAY. They are 1/32 scale, which is very close to FG's 1/34. Also on sale you may see an all white model with no decals so that you can personalise your own vehicle. The roof lifts off all of these vehicle to display a detailed interior.

CHICAGO FIRE SCUBA TEAM
2,000 of these were produced by Code 3 in 2005

ATF TREASURY SWAT MOBILE
These are produced in small "one-off" style quantities.

CAPITOL POLICE K-9 COMMAND CENTER
These are produced on an open issue basis.

BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
1,000 of these were produced by code 3 in 2005

APPROX 1/25th SCALE - FROM PSF HOBBIES

CHAINSAW

POLICE GUNS

POLICE LINE TAPE

JOHN DEERE PUMPS

BOTH "G" 1/25th AND "O" 1/43rd - FROM RAIL PRESS

PALLETS

CRATES

STRAW BALES

POTATO SACKS

BARRELS

OIL BARRELS

MILK CANS/CHURNS

BURNING BARREL

SOME OF THE OTHER ITEMS SPOTTED ON EBAY

GENERATOR

WORKMEN
( 1/32 scale many available)

CONSTRUCTION TOOLS

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT

PRINTED BACKGROUNDS AND BUILDINGS
Take a look at EVAN DESIGNS
Aimed initially at train Dioramas, the software can be used for any type of Diorama. There are different CD's for buildings, brick & Stone walls plus beginners help in making buildings out of chipboard, which in the UK we would call cardboard, as chipboard in UK terms is a wooden board. The items can be reproduced in various scales including "G", 1:32 and 1:35 amongst a number of others.


BUILDINGS SOFTWARE

WALL SOFTWARE

US SIGNS SOFTWARE

US ADVERTISING SOFTWARE

BACKGROUNDS IN ACRYLIC DISPLAY BOXES

For shelf decorations the walls or buildings can be placed as flat backdrops behind your models. Alternatively, they can also be used as backdrops in Acrylic cases, depending on how you show your models. To see see how this diorama was made, look at Fire Diorama. You can also use photos as backgrounds, see Photo Display.

Both of these diorama ideas came from FIRE ENGINES.NET , which is dedicated to collectors of fire vehicles of all scales.

LOOKING TO ADD WATER TO A DIORAMA
WATER EFFECTS This is an aircraft on a beach scene but has a tutorial on how water can be created in a Diorama. The principles apply to the creation of any water scene. On the website you can also see the beach are and how the diorama was built up.

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