NEW Runway/Taxiway project - Mark III

Many of you have followed my photography since the begining of this site. Last year I constructed a runway diarama that I was pretty happy with, but over time its pretty much worn out! For a new diarama I chose the end of 24L at LAX and a couple of it's surrounding taxiways. Here's the main photo I'm using as inspiration:


I was pretty sucessful in painting the lines on my current diarama, so I thought I just needed a more durable surface than thicker concrete colored card stock. I decided on plaster of paris - I've read it's durable, can be dyed, and I can sand it and paint it, too! Best of all it won't warp in the sun the way my last version did!


I had to start by making forms to hold the plaster where I want it! As you can see from the picture, the runway and the taxiways are all concrete so I made froms to allow the light colored plaster to show that.

Next, plaster doesn't stick too well to anything, but especially a smooth MDF board. So I stapled plaster wire to the bottom of the runway and taxiway areas. This will not only strengthen the plaster but hold it to the board too.

Then, it was time to pour the plaster. I mixed in some tan paint, to try and get more of a concrete color than white. So we'll see how that turns out....

In the next few days I'll be sanding, and adding the green and gray stay tuned to see if it turns out! Or not!

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Comment by Brian Sherman on April 24, 2013 at 11:01am

Comment by Brian Sherman on April 19, 2013 at 11:33am

Done painting the surface, and etching the concrete separation lines. Now the hardest part...painting the runway and taxiway lines....

Comment by Brian Sherman on April 17, 2013 at 9:41pm

Alright, now I've got the shoulders in place a real nice smooth and sanded finish. It took a lot of patching and sanding, but the end result is good, and I think it's going to look great once I paint it. I know it doesn't look like much now, but it will! Now, on to the painting!

Comment by Mikeindigokiloecho on April 9, 2013 at 11:03pm

This is exciting!  Brian, you are the "Rembrandt" of our hobby when you use those dark backgrounds...  If you could do it, lights would absolutely be an awesome feature!  Light up signs would also be great....  I look forward to the upcoming developments! 

Comment by Brian Sherman on April 9, 2013 at 4:32pm

After much patching and sanding, I finally have a nice, smooth surface to work with....

Next, I'm going to be making the green and gray shoulders. I'm going to try and dye them a color close to the picture, and then paint more accurately, when I'm finished with the plaster work.

On a separate note, I've been thinking ahead a little. Hobby Lobby sells these little jewels a little bigger than what Gemini uses for it's beacons in 1/200. Do you think they would suffice for neat runway and taxiiway lights if I embed them in the surface of the diorama? I know many of you have mentioned using real lights, but how do you do that? I'm not sure I want to go to that length, considering I take all of my photos using sunlight. But those jewels on top of the Geminis reflect in the right light, I thought that might be cool.

Comment by Brian Sherman on March 28, 2013 at 8:05pm

Thanks guys! I'm looking forward to the finished product, too. Plaster takes longer than I thought to dry - it's still pretty damp 24hrs later! I may try filling in the low spots tonight, though.


Adam- How big is that diarama going to be?? Sounds awesome!

Comment by Adam Barber on March 28, 2013 at 6:51pm
Pretty cool mate, im going to be working on a 1/72 military diorama with a WWII type Control Tower and a Hardened Aircraft Shelter so I can get proper justice in photos for my models.
Keep up the good work mate and I cant wait to see the finished product!
Comment by Ron Rees on March 28, 2013 at 6:32pm

Very nice Brian

I am very much looking forward to seeing this project progress.

Comment by Brian Sherman on March 28, 2013 at 1:10pm

Today I have the forms off, and the surface somewhat flattened. Next, is going to be patching all of the "potholes" and low spots, and sanding to a smooth, flat, and level surface.


Comment by Krish on March 27, 2013 at 9:39pm

Nice work Brian.

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