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Old 06-22-2018, 12:14 PM   #1
darklord1967
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Default LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

As some of you know, I have long been working on a "LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY" line of 1:9 scale (8 inch) action figures and toys under my own brand 9ART Elite Edition Collectibles.

I've been showing my work at local toy show conventions by posing them in a series of DIORAMAS I've built. Together, these scenes tell the typical, classic story of a perilous night in GOTHAM CITY!


Last edited by darklord1967; 07-03-2018 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 06-22-2018, 12:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

Diorama #1 is titled “ASYLUM ESCAPE”. It measures 19” (wide)x 19” (long) x 23” (high).

It depicts four of Gotham’s deadliest psychotics... THE JOKER, THE RIDDLER, THE PENGUIN, and TWO-FACE... gathering in Arkham’s shock therapy chamber to set off a massive explosion as they effect a brazen escape from the Asylum!

Seen here during MEGO MEET, ‘17, this diorama is the smallest of the series. Back then, I ran out of time to actually complete the figures, so they were posed unfinished. If you look closely in the group shot, I had not had a chance to paint the pupils in the eyes of the characters. The close-up shots of the characters were done several months later, at another show, after I successfully painted the pupils in their eyes.













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Old 06-22-2018, 12:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

Diorama #2 is titled "SUMMONING THE HEROES" . It measures 24” wide x 26” tall (counting BAT SIGNAL height). This diorama in intended to showcase my custom COMMISSIONER GORDON Action Figure.

When attempting to come up with a design for this diorama, I came across this image online and found my inspiration!


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Old 06-22-2018, 12:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

I decided to build a section of the Gotham City Police Headquarters building and rooftop as the basis for the diorama ...

AND...

... as an added bonus, I would also build a fully functioning, highly detailed BATSIGNAL prop, modeled after a 1942 60" General Electric carbon arc searchlight, my preferred design!


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Old 06-22-2018, 12:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

I designed and built The building section pretty easily, and it turned out to be a pretty impressive piece, measuring 2 feet across, and about 18 inches in height.



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Old 06-22-2018, 12:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

When it came time to fabricate the BATSIGNAL, though, that was a different matter altogether, I'm afraid...

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Old 06-22-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

Back in 2001, DC Direct produced a Batsignal Prop that was of a decent enough size to be scaled with 8 inch acton figures.

It became my plan to build my own custom BATSIGNAL on the basis of the DC Direct prop





Truth be told I actually had many, many issues with the DC Direct Batsignal. It was NOT configured in a way that was even remotely accurate to a real carbon arc searchlight. In fact, to my eyes it looked a lot more like an inverted soup mug mounted on a bracket!





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Old 06-22-2018, 12:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

The DC Direct Batsignal was only capable of projecting (a very dim) Bat insignia, and even then, ONLY when the bat insignia sticker was REMOVED off its face to reveal a small projection lens! Lame.






The notion of a warning plaque built directly onto the rear of the Batsignal was something I did not agree with. However, I did like the idea of incorporating the warning elsewhere on the diorama. I also really liked the round GCPD medallion. That was something I would want to re-purpose somewhere on the diorama as well.



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Old 06-22-2018, 12:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

It was my intention to address ALL of these issues and produce a fully working searchlight prop that was far closer in accuracy to an actual 1942 60" General Electric carbon arc searchlight (my preferred style of Batsignal).


In the end, I built a fully-functional reasonably accurate version of a vintage WW II army surplus Carbon Arc Searchlight to serve as the GCPD’s Batsignal (with some minor creative license applied to the design) I also scratch-built an accompanying electrical power generator trailer AND incorporated the legal warning (about unauthorized Batsignal use) as a weather-beaten sign post. My custom Batsignal features an ultra bright LED light source that is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery pack good for 15 hours between chargings. The activation switich for the custom Batsignal is actually built into the large Carbon Arc Control Box (mounted on the left U bracket arm).

Seen in this photo at its final construction detail phase, the custom Batsignal only awaited final paint and weathering, the addition of a yellow tinted face lens, and several “power conduit” hoses linking it to the electrical power generator trailer.



The Bat-shaped face plate is actually laser cut out of 1/16" gloss black plexiglass sheet from a digital file I created. It is mounted on three 1/4" thick clear mounting spacers, so it is NOT attached directly onto the face lens, rather it appears to float 1/4" off its surface!

I detailed the face trim ring with bolt heads cut off of tiny nylon screws and tiny half beads glued into place.




I used a small plastic 1.75" by 1.75" by .75" jewelry storage box to fabricate the Batsignal's primary Carbon Arc Feeder Control Box Terminal. I performed all detailing with styrene sheet, half moon beads, and military model kit parts. The face plate of this control box terminal is removable, revealing the Batsignal's activation switch. WARNING: DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE LED LIGHT SOURCE! This sucker is BRIGHT as all get out!!! I'm sure it will be much safer to look at when I replace the Batsignal's clear lens with the yellow-tinted lens I will be installing.

The sheer SIZE of the Bat insignia this signal projects above (while sitting on an average table) is awe-inspiring! The circular spotlight-encased Bat projection absolutely FILLS the ceiling of my 18' X 16' bedroom!!





I scratch built the Batsignal’s hydraulic trunnion bracket rotation motor using a section of plexiglass tube, two small dome end caps, and some military model kit detailing…




I imagined that the Batsignal was a very powerful device that generated a tremendous amount of HEAT during operation. It was therefore logical to me that this searchlight would have been equipped with a sophisticated system of cooling and heat extraction. I configured the Batsignal with “heat dispersion fins” evenly spaced all around the circumference of the rear half of the main reflector, and I incorporated a sophisticated heat ventilation duct array at the very top of the unit (as exists on actual carbon arc searchlights).








I re-built the entire rear half of the DC Direct Batsignal with a much more appropriate dome shape. The usual General Electric circular medallion (typically situated at the center of the rear dome) was replaced by the round GCPD logo medallion that I carefully cut out of the rear plaque of the original DC Direct signal, and repurposed here.




Custom 9 ART Batsignal stands 10.75" in height and has a footprint diameter of 10.25".

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Old 06-22-2018, 12:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

With some obscure shapes out of my parts bin, I cobbled together a reasonable facsimile of the typical 6 cylinder inline flathead engine that served as the power source for these carbon arc searchlights. I mounted the whole thing onto a support frame (that I imagined was improvised by GCPD techs).





The engine assembly was then encased in a military trailer that I built out of an “O” scale train boxcar (that I shortened by 2/3rds) , detailed with military kit parts, painted in olive drab and then weathered.



In the end, I incorporated the original DC Direct GCPD plaque warning about unauthorized use of the Batsignal (word for word) onto a weather-beaten old sign post that I created.


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Old 06-22-2018, 12:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

Once I detailed the custom BATSIGNAL with the appropriate power conduit hoses, and other last minute details, and then added paint and weathering, it really came alive!












Custom BATSIGNAL even projects a classic BAT insignia on ANY surface (as seen in this image during a recent convention where I demonstrated it to some fans!)


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Old 06-22-2018, 12:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

Diorama #3 is titled "A CALL TO ACTION". It is a massive, sprawling affair measuring 55” wide x 36” deep, x 19” tall.

It depicts Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson (not pictured) relaxing in the Wayne Manor Study, and their Butler Alfred Pennyworth calling their attention to the Batsignal shining above distant Gotham City. Time to go to work!

This diorama features three Walnut-stained wood panelled walls framed around a customized grand piano, a panoramic window lightbox (for display of the Gotham City skyline image slide and pine topiary trees), Thomas Wayne marble bust and pedestal, working French doors with real glass panes, custom sculpted marble fireplace mantle, Wayne family framed portrait, upholstered sofa and high backed chair, end table, Oriental area rug, and custom made Grandfather Clock (set at precisely 10:47 PM and 30 seconds... the exact hour of the Wayne murders).




















***PS edit*** I've been asked by many people how I created the GRANDFATHER CLOCK for this diorama. Well... The grandfather clock was one of those things that occasionally come up as a lucky accident sometimes in the world of toy customizing:

That Grandfather clock was an old discarded item that I retrieved from my parts bin. It was initially a very simple and cheap 1/6 scaled, hot pink Barbie / Gloria accessory. As wilth most accessories in the world of toys, The Grandfather clock was way out of proper scale for a 12 inch action figure like Barbie. It was, however, the PERFECT size for an 8 inch (1:9) scale action figure like MEGO or my 9ART brand of custom figures.

After I carefully sanded the clock smooth, I airbrushed an all new wooden paint scheme. I then fabricated a face door for the clock with a transparent pane. I installed a mirrored panel to the clock's back wall, and then I fabricated the hanging chimes and the main pendulum bob out of actual BRASS. Lastly, I replaced the graphic of the clock face with something more appropriate for a Victorian mansion.





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Old 06-22-2018, 12:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

And lastly, diorama # 4 is titled “GOTHAM NIGHT WATCH”. It measures 53” wide x 53” deep x 55” (up to top of rooftop water tower). It consists of the top two floors and rooftop of the Gotham Warehouse & Storage building, and It is built out of solid wood. The building is backed by an 8’ x 8’ Gotham City skyline Backdrop.
The rooftop is detailed with...
... a stone gargoyle at each corner...
... a light-up skylight...
...a practical water tower mounted on a tall frame...
... and two smoke stacks linked to an internal desktop fog machine to produce periodic puffs of smoke.

Seen here at the MEGO MEET ‘17 convention, this diorama displays our intrepid heroes, The Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder (as my custom figures) ready to face the threat of the escaped villains of Arkham Asylum!















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Old 06-22-2018, 03:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

That all looks pretty ****ing cool!

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Old 06-23-2018, 02:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

Very Creative.

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Old 07-11-2018, 02:32 AM   #16
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Default Re: LEGENDS OF GOTHAM CITY: Sequential Dioramas

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