01/27/2009 - Today, my kids and I started work on a diorama that I've wanted to do for about six or seven years (that's before they were even born). We started out by using foam board for the walls. The ceiling is not visible unless the viewer is really short or squats down, so there is not going to be a huge amount of detail there. Basically, we painted the ceiling black and affixed three rectangles of foam board to it. While it is still in the very early stages, here are a few photos:
Eventually, this will (hopefully) transform into a fully functional hangar bay featuring two of Rogue Squadron's X-Wings (Rogue Leader and Rogue Nine), a small lounge area for the pilots, a couple of turbolifts, droids, support personnel, mechanics and all of their their tools. Of course, all of our Rogue Squadron figures will be present, along with fellow pilots from Wraith Squadron and Defender Wing.
Adam couldn't resist getting into a photo!
01/29/2009 - Today, Katie and I got the walls painted and we added flooring. The two X-wings are in the photo to show the overall size of the diorama. Tomorrow, we hope to get a bit more done!
01/31/2009 - More progress today! We visited Niubniub's Universe and downloaded some decals to give some detail to the walls of our hangar bay. We added a couple of doors and miscellaneous access panels and control panels around the room. Thanks to Niubniub for providing the downloads for all to use!
We also added our turbolift (that's Star Wars-ese for elevator). It was made from a piece of PVC pipe left behind by some contractors a few years ago (I always say, use what ya got).
The top and bottom pieces are actually rubber rimmed drink coasters. My wife shouldn't mind that loss because they were the hideous ones I bought before we were married. Wait, did I just admit to that? Anyway, the thing fits snugly in the diorama. We used a decal from Niubniub's Episode VI Rebel Briefing Room to make the door to the lift.
Finally, I started using my Dremel with a cutting disc to remove the starfighter maintenance lamps from the bases of four old Rebel Pilot Cinema Scenes. You can see two of them near each of the starfighters in the pictures. When I get all eight lamps cut out, I'll be adding the power cords that run between them.
02/05/2009 - Today, we worked on some of the little details that end up making the diorama as realistic as possible. First, we managed to get pilot ladders painted, weathered and installed. We also cut out four more of the starfighter maintenance lamps and drilled the holes for the cables that will eventually run from one lamp to the next.
Our biggest accomplishment of the day was designing a hoist system that would be able to lift starfighter engines or laser cannon assemblies anywhere in the hangar. We cut two curtain hangar bars to the width of the hangar bay and then pre-drilled a couple of screw holes. After painting them metallic silver, they were screwed into the upper portion of the walls. Another curtain rod (this time the extendable type) was also painted metallic silver and then each end was inserted into one of the "tracks" formed by the rods already screwed into the walls. The result is a long bar that can move back and forth along the width of the hangar bay. The open side of the moving part is facing down, so that we could run our hoist cables from there. We used three of the zip lines that came with the RotS Clone Commander figure for these. To keep them in place, they were draped over a thin piece of dowel which was then inserted into the moving rod. Both of the clamps are dangling free from each zip line. The premise here is that when the deck crew needs to move a heavy item, they activate one or more of the cable sets, reel it out to the required length and clamp it to the item. The item can then be moved around the hangar bay easily.
When not in use, the cables retract so that they do not interfere with starfighters entering or leaving the hangar area.
02/25/2009 - Work on this project has slowed down significantly, but it hasn't stopped. We've gotten to a point where the major work is done. The hangar is essentially finished. What still remains are the finishing details (droids, tools, mechanics, pilots, machinery, hoses, cables, etc, etc, etc). Anyone who has built something like this knows that it will likely change periodically as I buy or make new figures or ships. Some of the things we've done recently are...
Fuel hoses! DarthSchroeder over at FFURG suggested using old speaker wires or computer cables for the diorama. We took his suggestion and found that the plugs from some of these wires worked nicely as fuel nozzles. A length of black rubber tubing was connected from each of the nozzles to the two GP-23 fuel droids we had. A tiny hole was then drilled in each X-wing's fuselage so that the fuel nozzle could be inserted. In the first picture, you can see a Rodian technician about to fuel Rogue One. The second picture shows Rogue Nine being gassed up. When removed, the "fuel ports" are barely visible.
More decals! We printed off a bunch more and used them all over the walls to simulate hatches, panels and access ports. There are also astromechs running all over the hangar now. Additionally, we added a few mechanics and most of our pilots. Down the road, a lot of these will be getting a makeover (or in some cases, a complete re-build).
07/01/2012 - I'm really not sure why we never took photos of this after it was completed. I mean, you'd think that in the past 3+ years, we might have found a little time to share the fruits of our labor. Anyway, we recently cleaned out the diorama (it had been undisturbed for all this time and was quite dusty). After we replaced everything, we decided to take those long overdue photos. We hope you enjoy!