It’s time to start building my haunted house diorama. I’m going borrower-style here, using as far as possible stuff I find around the house and elsewhere. I begin with a rough sketch of what I’m trying to build.
The finished room will have just three walls – the front will be left open. The rear wall will be fixed in place and the two side walls will be removable. I guess what I’m trying to build here is a kind of miniature film set and the removable walls will allow me to more easily take pictures looking into the room from the eye-level of the Playmobil characters.
The starting point is an old noticeboard, 30cm x 40cm.
The walls will be 8.5 inches (215mm) high, which feels about right as a two-story structure for figures around 3 inches (75mm) tall. I drill out holes in the base and add six removable wooden dowels that will help to support the walls.
Next, I begin work on the floor. This is made from two layers of card, the lower one black and the upper yellow.
I’m planning to include secret areas and clues for Scoob and Shaggy to discover. The first is a secret trapdoor in the floor that will be hidden by a rug – the black card is used to suggest a dark area below the main floor.
Then, I use a black marker pen to add cartoon-style floorboards and the structure of the trapdoor. The trapdoor is held in place with simple sticky-tape hinges.
I also add steps leading down into a hidden area below the trapdoor – acrylic washes are used on pale card to mimic steps disappearing into the darkness. This is my first chance to see how the figures will look in-situ and I’m fairly happy with the result.
With the floor done, it’s time to start working on the walls. I begin with the wall on the left side that includes the front door. All the walls will be constructed by gluing thin coloured cartridge paper to thicker scrap card taken from a discarded box. Then, details will be added.
This is the completed left side wall with door, windows, skirting-board and ceiling moulding. All colours are either acrylic washes or felt pen to give bright colours and that cartoon feel and the details are cut out of thin card and glued to the wall. I don’t need to make the front door open so it’s just fixed in place.
With the characters in position it looks OK, though a little tall. That’s because this is the only wall that won’t feature a first-floor level.
Next is the fixed back wall which is created in the same way. The lower right portion of this wall will be hidden by the staircase and the lower left features an opening secret door that will be hidden by a dresser. The upper part of the wall will feature a non-opening door accessible from the first-floor level, but I’ll add that later when the first floor level is done.
And with the characters in place…
Then it’s on the third and final wall. This includes two windows, one on the ground floor and one on the first.
With that done, the basic structure of my Scooby Doo set is complete.
In the next part, I’ll be building the staircase and the first floor and adding all the details.