Figure display cabinet/diorama
I used to have loads of
and vehicles jammed together on several bookshelves in pitiful attempts
to re-create scenes from the movies, but it was just embarrassing, and
not for the obvious reason that I'm in my 30s and have toys all over my
room. I also no longer had any room on my bookshelves. Nor
room for my bookshelves either, for that matter, now that I had moved
with my partner.
Then I saw on the web that
people had taken
to just displaying their figures in cases along these lines, which is a
much more orderly thing to do anyway. I went to Home Depot with a
friend and brainstormed what I could make from the available materials.
Back: 2'x4' sheet (~1/2"
Sides: 1" thick, pine 2x4s cut
Sides and back fastened
together with sheetrock
Shelves: 1/4" strips of hobby
Wood dowels cut with a Dremel
to ~1" lengths
used to hold up shelves (these were necessarily thicker than the ones
the Micro Machines case due to the
shelves; use you own judgment on your project.)
Ticky tack to secure the
to the shelves
Held to the wall with a wire
another pair of sheetrock screws (be sure to nail the wall hangers into
A little more than one can of
paint for the cabinet, plus additional paint for the figures' stands
were a distracting shade of white to begin with.)
Total cost: ~$40
These were downloaded
Universe and/or Toys
Empire as well as a few other sources which I've since
In some cases, these were scans of Hasbro packaging materials such as
from the Cinema Scenes line of figures.
The images were then adjusted
and cropped as necessary before being imported to Word. Once in
they were resized to ~4.44" (in most cases) and printed. The
were trimmed and they were laid out to determine where overlaps could
"tiled" to approximate a seamless image. Separate pieces of paper
containing the images were then attached to one another with
tape before being affixed to the backboard with ticky tack (the tape
hold against the more porous wooden surface).
Note: To create the
scenes on the second and third shelves, I cropped a "slice" of the
containing Luke's homestead, then cut and pasted sections within that
"smooth" the edges such that both left and right sides were roughly the
same color of sand/sky. When tiled, these edges are close to
Actually, I built this
the Micro Machines cabinet above, although I didn't finish it until
due to the painting and additional details.
Originally, my idea was to have
rotated 90° such that it would be longer than it was wide, but this
works better with the diorama approach (which was an afterthought, to
honest) in that it keeps the "scenes" shorter. Then again, I
it depends on how "epic" you want to make your scenes or however you
to approach this.
As it turned out, by
many shelves into the case, the figures often lack the headroom they
require. Chewbacca ends up scraping his head. I should have
gone with one less shelf and divided the extra room among the
shelves. I had thought that I had more room than was actually
once you subtract the thickness of the borders and the eight shelves,
total up to 4 inches... just enough to make things uncomfortable.
I probably could have spent a
time sanding it as well, but since it's black, you really can't tell
the pine edges are rough. Just a thought for next time.
I didn't think I had the talent
graphics from scratch, but I would liked to have done a better job of
backgrounds to the scenes than this half-assed effort. Also, I
I could have better matched the scenes by having more appropriately
shelves than just black. For example, the Tatooine scenes look a
little odd with the figures standing on black sand.
Not a regret so much as a
We originally tried using a relatively light gauge electrical wire...
it did not hold. When it broke (about two minutes after
shelf was hung), the whole thing came crashing down. We quickly
to a hardware store and bought a thin plastic wire that reported the
of weight it was rated to hold (75 lbs. in this case) so that there
be no more surprises.
As with the Micro
on this page, everything is arranged
chronological order, only it just covers the first Star Wars
at the present. The plan from here (and this may just be my
manic personality speaking) is to build additional shelves for the
movies, particularly the rest of the original trilogy.
One surprising thing about
case was that I found that I was missing some of the most basic figures
(e.g., R2, Darth Vader, etc.). See, I had only collected one
for each character, but now I discovered that you actually need
of the major players if you are going to pull off a series of
Fortunately, the weekend we were putting this together, Dani and I
that there was a sci-fi convention in Dallas, so we went there and
up some loose extras for a $1 a piece (Only the "mint" packaged
fetch prohibitively high prices).