After we were able to ship out the first batch of the Truscale Carbon Freezing Chamber, we finally had time to finish the prototype of the smaller Detolf version of this very popular diorama environment. We first turned to the Deluxe version with the iconic Claw.
The prototyping process
We usually start out with our maximum budget, maximum space constraints. We add to that what we really want to see in the diorama and work from there. Because we already had experience making the truscale version, we knew the final size of the claw, how to create the light effect and what materials worked best. This gave us a head start. Then we typically sit in front of an Ikea Detolf display cabinet with whatever drawings, materials and figures we have on hand for the diorama.
Thanks a lot IKEA!
In this case we had a claw, Hot Toys Boba Fett and Sideshow’s Han in Carbonite to keep us company. We want to show the most of a certain environment and make the most of a space, which is why we always design around the quite limiting grey wireframe typically found in a Detolf (are you listening IKEA). This usually means that whatever we come up with, it has to be possible to assemble the diorama inside the Detolf. If we only designed stuff that could be assembled outside the cabinet and just shoved in, we would be limited by the distance between the front wire frame, which is quite a lot less than the actual display space.
Drawings, CAD Files and Programming the Machines
When we do a prototyping session, it’s always after business hours, because for one thing, I have a full time day job, but secondly, then we have a few machines on hand to make what we have prepared in digital drawings and CAD files. In This case, we had the laser machine cutting, while two CNC mills were making the raised floor for the floor light and the metal frame to hold the claw. The background print, which was being cut to exact shape on a fourth machine, neat huh?
It only took us a couple of attempts to get the fit the way we wanted it. The frame is an incredibly solid piece of bent aluminium. Strong enough to hold that claw, no doubt about it. So here is a shot of the lower part of the floor that will hold the light that will shine through the floor. The metal frame will be attached with some pressed in bolts so it can be assembled inside the Detolf shelf of your choice. Just look at that massive piece of metal!
Final Assembly and paint
Then it was time to paint it in the paint booth, add the background image, as well as the special orange plexiglass to get the exact color we need. It’s still rough around the edges, but it gives a good first impression. The lights still need to be added but it’s starting to look like something!
A good night’s work
After that it was getting close to midnight so we called it a night and I added the electronics the next day. Time to get my Hot Toys Chewbacca and my Hot Toys Boba Fett for the first shot outside my Detolf. More to come! I am a happy camper for now! You can preorder yours here
A different pattern for the Detolf Budget version?
Now, based on the feedback from my closed facebook group, the Detolf Budget variant will have the same background and light up floor principle, but I am looking to do a different part of the floor for the Budget, without the hole, so you have maximum floor space and a nice variation if you order both. The Deluxe with the claw will be great for boba fett, han in carbonite, darth vader, storm troopers, whatever, but the budget might be cool for the vader/luke duel! Look out for that. Here is my first sketch of the floor design for the budget version!