An S scale (1/64th) diorama by Philippe Coquet

Unity of time... Unity of place...

Click to enlarge 1300 Railroad Drive is a freelance diorama. The initial idea for it dates back to the first quarter of 2001, and it was fully completed at the beginning of 2003 (nearly 2 years of work !), just in time to be displayed at the "Mondial de la Maquette 2003" exhibition in Paris.
It shows an urban scene, in the mid-eighties, located in an medium-sized western town served by the Denver & Rio Grande Western, a flourishing company up to 1988, date of its merger with the Southern Pacific, itself incorporated into the Union Pacific in 1996.

SD50 #5509 has been delivered to the Denver & Rio Grande Western in august 1984. Judging by its clean aspect, it has no more than a few years of service.
Another hint : the price of fuel at the service station (Unleaded @ $1.19/galon) is the one from 1986.

As shown in the photos below, some buildings in the scene have been inspired from actual buildings, such as the Service Station (Colorado Springs - CO), the Yard Cafe (Ludlow - CA), the brick building at right (El Paso TX), or even the backdrop (The Dalles OR).

Building the diorama...

Most of the diorama has been scratch built due to the scarce offer in 1/64th scale and also because I'm attracted by "integral" building techniques.
Most of the buildings, including interior decoration, road signs, street lighting and lighted signs, gas pumps, fences, vending machines, etc... have been home made and required a lot of care due to the variety of material used (hydrocal for some buildings, like Hawken or Bekins, styrene for others like Yard Cafe and Buzz's Skelly, polyester resin for lighting bulbs...).
The following parts were the only commercial products used :

  • The rolling stock (Brass Overland Models for diesel engines and cabooses ; DesPlaines Hobbies plastic Hoppers)
  • The track (Banta Models 1/64th)
  • Automobiles and trucks (Ertl and Code3)
  • The center brick building (plaster - Banta Models)
  • Windows for other buildings (Grant Line plastic for Hawken ; custom laser cut wood for Bekins)
  • The grade crossing gates (Brass - NJ International)
  • The Bekins sign (Laser cut wood - Bar Mills)

Thanks (a lot of...)...

Patrick Besides the buildings, a lot of time has been devoted to the lighting of the diorama and also to add sound effects (a big "thanks" to the great electonics specialist : Patrick Froucht, Jean-Luc who conceived and delivered the sound and lighting module for the grade crossing and also the general power supply for the diorama), as well as the "perspective setting" of the module, thanks to the talent of the great Jean Luc Collard, who conceived and delivered the backdrop, a custom setting made under Photshop by assembling Didier multiple digital photos taken in US towns. At last, a big "thanks" to Didier Lemaître, who gave his good advices all along the project and also contributed to it by providing laser cut windows. Without forgetting Caroline for her understanding, especially during the last months of work.

The photo album...

(Click on the photos to see them full size).

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A few words about the author...

Philippe Philippe Coquet, 39, lives and works in Paris. Practicing American model railroading for nearly 20 years he abandonned HO scale six years ago to devote to S scale (1/64th). His first S scale module, the "Big Horn Sheep Canyon" has been displayed at the "Mondial de la Maquette" exhibition in Paris in 2000.

Contemporary American urban architecture study, implementing various techniques/products (molding, resins,...), painting and weathering, but also photographing complete model scenes are the main sources of satisfaction that this hobby brings to him.

Rainbow Canyon diorama Merchant Row System

Page created by Philippe Coquet
Last update : 01/27/2005
© 2003-2005, Philippe Coquet