September 19, 2016

Joseph Svec's Plastic Fun With Dioramas - 1700’s Port Royal Harbor

Greetings Hobbyists and toy soldier collectors, Its diorama time again.
As a child I really enjoyed creating dioramas with my toy knights and toy soldiers. Now as an adult it is even more fun, as I have greater resources and more figures. And It is very simple to set up epic sized dioramas. The detail and quality of toy buildings and scenery available today is outstanding! And we must not forget the sand and lichen. 

Please Click on images to enlarge them

Today I am going to share with you a 1700's Port Royal Harbor diorama set up on a 5'x9' table. I have created three different versions, using 54mm painted figures, 54mm unpainted figures, and 60mm unpainted figures. The harbor and ships used will remain the same in all three versions.



The Port Royal harbor is made using medieval buildings produced by Playmobil, and Simba, while the fortress walls and towers are custom made. I have always felt that the best part of the Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean ride is when the ride chamber opens up to show the large pirate ship to the left and the curved harbor fortress on the right, firing cannons at each other.  The size, detail, and appearance of that scene is truly outstanding! I knew had to recreate that in 54mm. That is what my Port Royal Harbor is based on.


I created an inner anchorage for two ships, with docks, wagons, and warehouses for the East India Trade company, and other buildings appropriate to the era and location.  Fortress walls defended by naval cannons surround the harbor. You can see numerous brass pencil sharpener naval deck cannons. They work quite wonderfully. Sand, palm trees, small sea shells, and lots of crates, barrels, and boxes help finish the scene.



Returning to the pirate ships used, the two single masted ships are different versions of the Playmobil schooner. The blue deck version is shown crewed by Ideal Pirates. The large tan deck, two-masted ship with tan sails, is a Playmobil pirate ship that is 40 years old. The other two tan deck ships called are called the 'Flying Shadow,' and were made by Simba, (another German company) in the early 2000's. They also produced red deck and blue deck versions of their Flying Shadow pirate ship.





In the painted figure version below , you will see 54mm pirates made by Safari Ltd. Hing Fat, Conte, Reissue Marx hard plastic, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toysmith, and a few unidentified figures. Defending Port Royal, are painted British, French & Colonial 1776 infantry produced by Awsome Kids, (sadly they are no longer in production) and Safari Ltd. Jamestown settlers..


One of my favorite photos is what I call "the gunners first day on the job". He is trying to read the instructions for the cannon, but they are in Latin!



The island of the Marx cake toppers! (with a few friends)

In the second version, I use unpainted pirates by: Reissue Ideal, (the best sculpted pirate figures ever!) Hing Fat, Toysmith, and Reissue Marx, while the defenders are Accurate, CTS, MPC, and Marx reissue British AWI infantry. I have added the Simba blue deck pirate ship as well.





For the unpainted 60mm diorama, I used Reissue Charbens and Reissue Marx Warriors of the World pirates, Reissue Cherilea Elizabethans, Round hats & Cavaliers, and BMC AWI British & French Infantry. The Marx figures are a bit limited in pose variety but they look good. The Cherliea figures are excellent!





Each version of the diorama has its own flavor and style, creating its own unique feeling. The painted figures version has the most color and detail, and is quite dynamic, while the unpainted 54mm version has the largest number of figures and different poses. The 60mm version is more limited in poses, but the Cherliea Elizabethans add a great deal of excitement with their realistic action poses. 

Using the different types of figures, I can create three different dioramas, and get three times the fun! My younger self is so jealous.
Thank you!




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