A London Street Diorama
I have made several of these models in N scale (1:148) by printing at 51% full size onto matt photographic card (220 gsm). Where I felt it to be necessary, I reinforce it with thicker card. Windows and doors are also printed and glued behind openings cut in the outer card layer. The pieces I then glue together with PVA glue. I find a Stick It! Glue Pen very useful; it can be bought from several suppliers on Ebay. For larger areas, it can be used straight from the pen, but for small items, I put a blob on a piece of card and then use a cocktail stick to transfer a small amount.
This diorama features several of these buildings which are based in East London. They all can be downloaded from the KIngsway Models website. They are:
- K205 solicitors and estate agent shops. The construction of this building has been described by me in a separate article.
- K202 Walford East Underground Station.
- K208 Little England Street.
Walford East Underground Station
The 2010 free Xmas download was K202 Walford East Underground Station from the TV soap "Eastenders" and can be downloaded as a pdf from the Kingsway Models website. It has an impressive facia and includes an interior with tiled walls and ticket machines.
A problem is that the interior is deeper than the building walls. It is not a Tardis so what can we do to hide the bulk at the back. I built side walls twice as wide as the original width and added a grey flat roof between the walls. The inside of the three walls above the roof were made into brick walls by adding layers of card printed with brickwork. I could have lined up all the buildings to the same frontage, but after trying various options, I felt it would be interesting for the street to have a wide pavement with the station forward of the other buildings.
No floor for the booking office is provided in the kit, but Kingsway do have a separate download for Underground Station floor tiles (K103). That is what I used.
The windows are glazed with an internediate layer of clear plastic, but I am not sure what to think of the windows. Windows look better with a dark interior as with the Home and Colonial. I suppose it could be argued that the booking hall is illuminated with fluorescent lighting and the stained glass windows would appear this light blue colour; I am not sure.
Little England Street
The Home and Colonial Stores forms an attractive building. I have added a layer of clear plastic between the printed windows and the outer layer; this gives the glint of glass to help the appearance of the windows. The shop is also successful with an inset door entrance.
John Howe of Kingsway Models says that the design of this pub is inspired by The Albion pub in Lauriston Road, Hackney, East London. It can be built with a top sign which has degraded representing the current state of the closed pub or with a more complete sign. I close the latter. The windows have a layer of clear plastic over them.
The pub sign is interesting and consists of two printed card layers stuck back to back. I glued mine to a piece of black wire. This was actually a small blackened safety pin from which I cut off a short straight portion with the point on it. The pin was used to make a hole through the front wall where the sign was to be hung. Then the sign was superglued to the pin and pushed through the wall and held in place by a drop of superglue on the other side. A draper's pin in silver would have been equally suitable.
The International Stores is a rather austere modern building which does have a clock on the first floor between the windows to help break the monotony. The windows have dark frames and, although glazed, give little character. The shop is colourful and again has an inset doorway.
Other Items (coach, street furniture and people)
The coach is a B-T Models Leyland Leopard National Travel East - a lovely model. I really must try to get a LT Routemaster bus for this diorama.
The people are from a cheap pack of N scale painted people from Ebay. - perhaps not the best but quite adequate for this diorama. They are kept in place with a drop of PVA glue.
So what have I learnt:
- Printing directly onto card makes life easier rather than printing on paper and glueing onto thicker card.
- My addition of a layer of clear plastic to the printed window helps by giving the reflection typical of glass.
- Finding out how to make pub signs..
- Gaining experience in adding street furniture and people.
There is more that could be done with this diorama (e.g. add streetlights and road markings) but, for the moment, I am content to leave it there. It has not been my ambition to model East London, but instead I hope I can try buildings in Scotland.
Article dated: 02/04/2020