Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Bend it, like Shelsley...

Come Winter, I go very much for the indoor pursuits.  Model railways and cars, Model scenery.
In order to show the model cars I have been amassing for years in the best light, should I  wish to flog them orff, I resolved to make a diorama.  NOT, you will note, my usual set-piece, but a proper diorama. A scene with false perspective (why DO people say "forced"?). Viewed from one place for best effect.
My chosen spot was the Start line at Shelsley Walsh Hillclimb, the world's oldest motor sports venue.
The place has changed a bit over the last 110 odd years, but I figured the most interest could be shown if I did it as it has been for the last 30 years or so.

As it happens I had made the commentators' box already in 1/43rd scale for my son's hillclimb track in that scale.  This got me to considering the false perspective notion.  In the view from behind the Start line, Vox Villa,as this structure is wittily known, would be at the far end, so ideally scaled for a bit of occular trickery, as the foreground would be in 1/32nd scale, that of the bulk of the cars that would be photographed.
This left the buildings in the mid ground having to be made a very strange shape indeed. 1/32nd scale this end and 1/43rd 'tother.  Being shiplap construction, this was accentuated by the ostensibly parallel lines of shiplap, but which now were engraved with a degree of perspective, to an imaginary vanishing point.

The track too, which rises slightly at the very beginning as it curves first right then left was reduced in width substantially, so that anything disappearing round it would probably have to be about 1/50th scale at most.  Of course any lines of mad keen spectators standing above the track behind the hedge and fence would have to be made/bought in several different scales, but I am considering photographic figures that far away.  It could just work, as I hope will a photographic backdrop to the whole thing.

These are obviously just plonked on the board, hence the tilt to the Starter's hut.
Vox Villa actually stands on 6 brick pillars around a foot square in section and has a stair case externally to access it, so will be a fair bit higher.


  1. I suspect people say "forced", or should say it, when the viewpoint is forced on the viewer. Obviously that tends to work better on a diorama than on a layout where playing around with perspective can be counterproductive.

  2. But the perspective isn't forced, James, it's false. And a true diorama can ONLY be viewed from one place, a la Jack Nelson's superb work in that field. I used to sit next to one of his masterpieces every Friday evening when I was in my teens, drinking his excellent cocoa. His tea, which everyone else enjoyed was too strong for me!