Wednesday 27 February 2013


At this stage, a reflection of the direction that this blog is going, is in order.

Although I started with fully appreciating the artistic merits inherent in zinnfiguren flat figures, and was primarily interested in using them centre-stage in dioramic displays, it is pretty apparent by now that the dioramic display is the endpoint here. I am discovering that, far from being fettered solely to zinnfiguren, I can create more personally satisfying dioramic displays either with or without zinnfiguren.

Lately, many of my boxed dioramas have been featuring picture cutouts which allow more latitude in terms of subject matter. What I appear to be pursuing for now is a hybrid artform of various traditional handicrafts - zinnfiguren, silhouettes, decoupage, pop-ups, toy theatre, shadow-boxes, paintings and so on.

I hope you have been enjoying the ride so far. Read on.

Monday 25 February 2013

The Titanic 3

I painted the background and ice bergs. The pieces are arranged and framed before final painting.

Dark background with white ice bergs create a dramatic composition

test frame to ensure that all elements can be seen

Saturday 23 February 2013

More Egyptians

At this stage, I am organising the sets. I will give the historical context later.

Nefertiti, Caesar and Cleopatra, Egyptian workers


Pharoah inspecting building works

Gifts for Pharoah

Stocktaking of the Egyptians

I have quite a number of Egyptian sets and I continue to update the painting on these sets in-between the other projects. In this way, I build up a visual understanding of Egyptology and can start to mix and match the sets to suit suitable displays.

 I prefer to paint the Egyptians in a darker shade, to distinguish them from the Ptolemaic rulers such as Cleopatra.

Nefertiti riding out of El-Armana

Egyptian Dance

Pharoah Hunt, Egyptian Rulers

Three river crafts obtained from Western Miniatures

Baby Moses with river craft and workers from various sets.

The Titanic 2

I solved the problem by removing the mast and rigging, and replacing these with metal tubing and thin wires glued into place.

The Titanic posed against iceberg cutouts

The base was raised, basic wave forms rippling away from the sinking ship was created.

Close-up showing the life boats pulling away from the Titanic.As the oars were also removed, these would be replaced with wire.

The Titanic

I decided to do the Sinking of the Titanic.

A suitable picture of the Titanic was selected, pasted on cardboard, and cut out. The scene was framed to test for composition.

At this stage, it was problematic on how to cut around the mast and rigging to remove the printed background.

Friday 22 February 2013

The Good Ship Lollipop

Started on another mid-size diorama to feature another seascape. This gives me a broad canvas to paint the background.

The box case

The cardboard folded to form the background

The basic background

Greek Mythology By W Hafer

This delightful set is finally framed.

Top row L-R Hercules shoots an arrow at Nessos the Centaur, abducting Deianira, wife of Hercules, Leda and the Swan (let's not even go there).
Bottom row L-R Pan and Syrinx the wood nymph who was turned into hollow reeds which Pan used to create panpipes, Daphnis and Chloe, a couple of shepherd lovers.

I don't make up this stuff...:)

Wednesday 13 February 2013


I finally decided to mount this set of early Impressionists by Braune into a display.I read that this set was design by Mohr and sold to Helmut Braune, who had learned engraving from him.  Berthe Moriset, one of the founders of the movement, is also represented here, taken from a Neckel Roccoco set. Vincent Van Gogh referred to this group as the Petit Boulevard salon. The last person represented here is Pere Tanguy, an art dealer.

pieces mounted and ready for framing

The finished display

An unusual treatment was given to this set by Jon Redley (IFFS Journal 45) who painted all of the artists in their own unique impressionist style.

Greek Mythology by hafer

Starting to finalise the pieces for a framed display. The last piece Samson and Delilah will not be featured in this set, but will be used in a display on Biblical themes.

Ilya Repin and the Cossacks 2

                                                Here's a better picture than the earlier pic.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Ilya Repin and the Cossacks

One of the best Russian realist painters. This set by Braune captures the essence of his most famous painting on the Cossacks. I finally mounted this delightful set in a simple frame against a red backdrop.
Happy Chinese New Year 2013!.

My feature wall with all my larger dioramas wired up and displayed.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Some Fechner pieces

I got some Fechner pieces to supplement my other sets.

Some palm trees for a beach or jungle scene

A large sailing ship pre-Napoleonic era suitable for various port scenes

two sailing ships 

two gypsy caravans and a bear, to supplement my gypsy scene

Friday 1 February 2013

Moby Dick Part 3

I couldn't stop now. Following a test fit to the frame, I decided to add more foreground waves (oxymoron- groundwater...:)) so that all the untidy edges are carefully hidden, the box was spray-painted and a warm LED light was fitted.

  More waves added. The forefront waves are painted with a little  more green. The whale's tail was lowered, notice the wave element in between the two halves of the whale's body, the head was raised to allow a better view of the whaling ship. I added a thin steel wire to the main character's harpoon. Notice that the angle of this harpoon is different from that of the raised whale's head. There is a smaller boat being tipped over by the Whale's tail.

The scene nicely framed.

And when the warm LED lights are turned on, even the end result surprised me.

Moby Dick part 2

The waves are now carefully juxtaposed together with the main elements.

 The mat frame was placed over the scene to assist in placement of the pieces.

I started painting the background. The waves were painted with a deep blue green colour with white. I used a very free and loose style of painting, including impasto techniques.

The scene with the elements added. Pretty exciting, huh?