The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

Every year one of the largest model making competition and swap meets takes place at the Canadian Heritage Warplane Museum in Hamilton and I do my very best to attend. Back when I was a lot younger, I used to build primarily 1/48 Scale WW 2 aircraft (everybody has their niche) and while I always appreciated the work and detail of dioramas I never possessed enough of a skill set to build my own. Once I got married (ironically I met my wife when she was working in her Grandparent’s Hobby Store) and we began to have a family, the model making fell by the wayside and life crept in. Still, I love good work in miniature and always will and some of these builders really do magnificent work.

As far as the photography goes, the CWHM has very high and very bright lighting of the standard metal halide type and while the wall with the hanger doors has plenty of glass, lighting conditions are a challenge at best. I’d meant to pick up an LED fill light but hadn’t had time since my Rotolight pooched on me. Because it’s a show, I didn’t bring a tripod either as who wants to be stepping around that while they’re trying to enjoy things? You’re also shooting on the extreme edge of the macro settings on your lens. In this case a Sigma 17-75mm. In order to get better DOF, I was shooting at around f6.0 and because of this I had to run my ISO at 2000 and my average shutter speed was 1/30.

So right away, you can see the struggle with DOF but it looks not too bad considering this figure is only about 1 1/2″ tall. I’m at 17mm and pretty much right up against it.
Tinkerbell by contrast was a much bigger figure and I believe scratch built.
I love the model within a model vibe of this one.
I also really enjoy dioramas that offer historical context. Lots of research went into this one.
Another angle
This one looks real enough to ride.
Apollo 15 Landing Site and the debut of the Moon Buggy.
Great attention to historical detail.
A really nice Millenium Falcon
Not sure what this was from but it was pretty cool to look at. With lots of stuff going on.
I loved the plywood finish on this one.
A nice, “Flower,” class Corvette.
I’m also a big fan of more interesting subjects you’re not used to seeing modelled.
The Great Eastern one of Brunel’s greatest achievements. A ship well worth reading about.
Indian Troops working with armour.
Nice action in this diorama.
A very impressive Engineering vehicle.
Great weathering on the mine plow.
A Nice 1/32 Typhoon
A very well done Shackleton
Grumman Avenger
Some 1/144 scale armour. My lens is pretty much right up against this model.
Here I’m trying to impart the action in the diorama relative to it. Makes me wish I’d brought my flat focal plane lens.

The use of active LED to create a welding effect was a great touch in this diorama.
This guy has seen some shit.
Sean Connery in miniature from, “The Man Who Would Be King.”
A nicely done B-Wing from the Star Wars universe.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these shots. Swing by my author page to check out my books at

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