I write this in full knowledge when I hit my 30’s… wait.. (counts) my 40’s that I’ll have to wear glasses from loss of eyesight. I sit in front of a PC all day long working then come home and sit in front of a PC all night long… non-working.
Though on rare occasions I do make my eyesight worse by creating diorama’s for my action figures. It’s a terrible addiction… I see now why small school girls love doll houses..errr.. not that I try to associate with school girls.
So anyways, I’ve always made diorama’s even when I didn’t know what they were. My afternoons were filled with the making and and deconstructing of diorama’s for my action figures. The Lair of Darth Vader, Assault Cobra Volcano Mountain, TMNT in the Jungle were some scenes/battles that took days and sometimes weeks for me to put together and play with in my early grade school days. One might say these more advanced playing helped my friends at the time hate me since I didn’t throw my figures in the air to watch them fall and break and actually wanted to tell stories with them, which eventually led me down the path of table-top RPG miniatures… but that’s another layer of awesome for another day.
Now I’m a little older… ahem. So now I like more detail in my diorama’s, I had stopped making them for quite a while after college mostly because I had tried that whole 9-5, being a responsible adult thing. Pffff that’s a sham. So now when not looking up the most heinous of websites on the internet I set up diorama’s to make photo-novels. Whats a Photonovel Rez? Well think of it as playing with action figures and making scenes like diroamas’ but a bit more advanced.
I’ve had some model makers tell me they feel the same way about the exactness of their pieces when I build a Dio trying to get each part perfect. Sadly taking almost 15 years between my last diorama surge and now my renewed one my skills have diminished. However I have to say the $0.99 canvas pieces Walmart has helped start making my Grand Admiral Forash office walls more respectable.
When I think about it. I suppose it’s just RPGing in a much looser form. When TableTop RPG’ing we go on an adventure with a story and narrative. A photonovel has a narrative (it’s almost required) as well as a compelling story to go with the figures and sets does seem to crossover quite well. Players of TableTops in the late ’80s early 90’s may remember HeroQuest … and it set me down on the diorama path..
I will admit when I was MMORPGing with Everquest I & II and WoW I really wanted action figures of my characters I had to make do with some of the EQ1 and WoW figures that were Legendary characters but I did get the figurine from WOW’s figurine service.
Let me ramble for a few minutes, seeing as if you’ve read this far then your a diorama and/or action figure fan as well. Back in 1995-98 I would play Star Wars RPG table top game but… WestEnd games if I remember correctly. However my friends and I used character sheets.. until we got the idea to start customizing the plethora of POTF2 action figures to be our characters. A week or so later and massive amounts of acrylic paints and hot glue and we had customized bounty hunters, stormtroopers, rebels, imperials. Putting the figures on the board while not a huge change to the table really gave the scenes character (pun intended). We eventually wanted to bring our vehicles into the RPG.
Thankfully we all had plenty of POTF2 vehicles which for the most part were re-releases of the old vintage ones. As an imperial I usually played the valiant imperial fighting against Rebel scum. But I noticed that (at the time) I only had tie fighters or ground vehicles for use. So about a year into it around late 1996-97 we decided to make capital ships. Now we made a deal either make it out of scale and make the whole ship. Or make a diorama for your ship and add your figures.
Now a few weeks later my rebel scum friends made a few plastic or scuply mon-calamari cruisers. One person even made one of the old Katana fleet dreadnaughts. I however was in a predicament. The Imperials didn’t have much in the way of varying capital ships. The ISD, the Death Star were all we really had seen. We knew that Interdictors were in the novels to. I almost made one to… as the Death Star was ruled out for being OP. So I decided to grab a bunch of sheets of HIPS (High.Impact.Poly.Styrene) plastic and put in my VHS copy of Empire Strikes Back and paused with Vader on the Executor’s bridge. It took me weeks to make, cutting with an exacto and bandaging slices to the hand and fingers. Days of painting.. and eventually detailing. Needless to say as I was making it my fellow players had already decided that eventually the diorama of an ISD’s bridge would need to be made into a scene/campaign.
Eventually it was finished. Now we had to set it up for the stats from the WEG books. But we didn’t want to have every game with the ISD bridge as the main (or final scene). So we set up it as an eventual grandiose conclusion to a long grinding campaign. It was my friends adventure taking on my ISD Kumo every weekend. To be honest it took almost 6 months of hit and run attacks before they finally broke through the defenses and boarded it. Once or twice the dirty scum made it to the bridge and took on my legions of stormies and naval troops. Admiral Jaeger and Captain Kai (made circa 1998 well before the Chewbacca character) defended the ship like master and commander. Even in defeat my friends saw they were gaining power enough to start attacking my ISD over and over.
Over the next year the rebel terrorists finally brought the Kumo down, in tri-fecta suicidal attack no less with 2 mon-calamari cruisers and a planet full/possible home of the Assemblers .
Sadly when the Kumo crashed we put actual burning and score marks on the bridge to represent it’s multiple campaigns smashed the bridges into pieces to represent it as crashed and used it again as a place on the planet to use/go to. We figured it’d be OK we were were 19 and knew we would have tons of time to make more ships bridges.. (sighs so foolish were we). The last grand Rebel raid that brought down the Kumo would be almost 2 decades in the lore of the our fandom of diomaking.
A few years ago when I heard Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced new movies I took a while to consider what I wanted from my Star Wars fandom.. .action figures and diomaking was the answer (maybe eventually RPGing again) So… the story of the Kumo will be told to a certain point again as a photo-novel using dioramas and the newer articulated figures.
Deep down the dreamy 6 year old kid, the brash 19 year old young man and the aged veteran I am now can’t help but get giddy with happiness over starting a massive amount of diowork it’ll be.