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Grimm's Mansion Diorama 2020

A new diorama for the Grim's model brings the atmosphere

Shortly after completing the original Grimm's Mansion model in 2009, I decided I was sick of Grimm's, which worked out because my wife and I would welcome our first kiddo in March 2010 and she would be a handful.    Then I learned that the 2010 Narrow Gauge Convention would be in St. Louis - a mere 5 hours from me.  (St. Louis is also home to a bunch of my favorite modelers, who I always love to visit.)   It's a good thing I'm a big-ideas guy becasue I decided to build a diorama for the Grimm's model so I could take it to the convention.  Not just a diorama though, no..... that'd be too easy!   I wanted to venture into what I now call "Environmental Prototype Modeling."  I can't think of anything less "prototype" than a haunted house diorama, but I always wanted to see how far I could push modeling environmental phenomena.  So, the diorama would attempt to control viewing angles and how much light would hit the model.  It would be a night scene.  It would have hidden lighting and sound so that I could recreate a thunderstorm.  Anyway, I worked like a beast to get it done.  I was still gluing scenery down in our hotel room the night before the convention. But I finished and it was COOL.

I was so stoked to visit so many legends of the hobby that I didn't take any video of the completed diorama.  I didn't even take final photos.  So, these photos are from a set I took in 2020 for the Wiley's Scale Modeling Halloween contest.  The only update from the 2010 version was the addition of a "fog" system.  It's built into the diorama and can run independently for hours.  It made the photos extra spooky!

Enjoy the pics and be sure to look in the "Extras" section of the Gallery for a detailed build process gallery full of tips and tricks and spooky goodies!    .~MCG


View askew

Super spooky off kilter shot through the trees


Fog rolls in

Spooky banks of fog now liven the diorama up!



The blue and orange theme works for these but doesn't represent real life viewing


Want to check it out?

This spooky view was designed from the beginning. One of my favorite shots!


Lights reflect on the marsh

A variety of lighting effects keep things "alive"


Lovely Lighting

You wouldn't see this view normally, but I liked how the lights cast shadows on the scenery


Light reflections

The light reflections in the "water" add a lot to the pictures


A "Dead-on" view

This view was also pre-planned and the road wraps off to the right drawing you in...



You can get a feel for the scale of the diorama here. It goes back a long ways!


Spooky Perfection!

Everything just works in this great shot!


In come the fog

Fog creeps in from multiple spots on the diorama


Dark Skies

The backdrop wraps around the corners and does a good job hiding the edges.


Tombstones galore

The marsh keeps encroaching on the cemetery. Wonder how many bodies are in there!?