DIORAMA AND LIGHTING -

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The "attack at a concert" aspect of the diorama grew out of the first idea I had: I wanted the Martian Spiders to attack during a club gig, but the number of people, tables, etc. involved in fleshing out a crowded club quickly made that impractical... I settled on making it a full-on concert stage, with only the stage and band showing, leaving the audience implied. I wanted the spiders bursting in through the wall and showering the stage with debris. And I wanted concert lights!

Since I'd pickup minis for this diorama, or had some at hand that would fit the bill, I had those taken care of. What I needed was a cyperpunk-looking "industrial" stage, much like is shown in movies like "The Crow", etc - an old warehouse/factory converted to a concert hall. The spiders would be smashing in the side if the building, spraying debris everywhere as Ziggy's band drew their guns in his defense. Ziggy, true artiste that he is, would keep singing! (The show must go on... ;^)

THE STAGE -

Because of the "moderness" of the scene I had to scratch-build almost everything that was used in the diorama (something I'll probably never do again! At least with fantasy dioramas you can find resin pieces to help out...)

Styrene was the predominent building material. Sheeting of it made up the understructure for the walls, floor and front of the stage. I added some styrene "planking" and brickfacing from a scale model shop to give it the "old factory" surface textures. Some girders added the side-supports for the lighting rigs. The rigs themselves were kitbashed from model railroad crossing bridges.

I scratch-built the drum stage from some styrene and the remnants of the railroad bridge. Speakers were sheet styrene and trim, with some of my wife's old panty-hose used for the "cloth" facing ;^) Amps and moniters were made from styrene blocks and microphones/stands from plastic dowels. I added some fine jewelry wire for the guitar and mike wires. Finally, plaster scale-model brick rubble was cut down to match the size of the bricks in the wall sheets and strewn about the place, along with cutting a matching hole in the wall for the spiders to emerge through.

THE LIGHTING -

Concert lighting was a must. I tapped my father-in-law for help with setting up the lights, since I'm not that great with electronics. He helped me build the controls for the lights, which included a circuit board he designed to use a LED to time the two sets of colored concert lights (actually dollhouse Christman Tree lights). Each set of lights flashes once during the LED on/off cycle, and since I intermixed the two sets in the lighting rigs, they appear to go off fairly randomly.

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The only thing that backfired for me here was the fact that I put in a few dummy bulbs. When you see concert lights, not all the lights go off at once, and usually banks go off together, so these blanks were there to make it look like some lights were dormant while others were in use. What ended up happening was people always saying "Some of those lights are burned out, aren't they?" :^(

A dollhouse spotlight was added to shine on Ziggy. It does a great job lighting the whole scene, while the concert lights add ambiance. The spiders needed some mood lighting also, so I drilled out their eyes and added a green bulb in the hollow chamber behind each one's head (the design of the Grenadier Arachnodroid mini makes this a snap). A light bulb placed behind the hole in the corner of the build adds backlight for the spider just entering, as well as lighting up the cotton I was using to simulate smoke.

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All this is triggered by a remote motion sensor unit. This was added to save battery power, since it only triggers the lights when someone walks by the unit. It was a blast to watch in action, as people would wander by at GenCon, sort of look a little at the darkened diorama, wander by, and the lights would go off! The person usually hurried back to check it out. The motion sensor is a Radio Shack unit Rich adapted to run the other lights - I built it into an Itty Bitty Book Light battery case (see How *Not* to Build a Diorama) and cycles for about 30 seconds before shutting off the power.

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All images and text Copyright 2000 Laszlo Jakusovszky