I’ve been thinking about creating an Alpine road diorama, with a sharp curve or two and a dramatic drop off such as you’d find on the Gross Glockner Hochalpen Strasse. Back in the ‘90s when I was stationed in Germany, I was able to drive that famous road, albeit in a rented 316i: yes, a 1.6L 4-banger from BMW! How did it handle that twisty, steep road? Let’s just say that along with biergartens and bratwurst, one of the favorite memory-inducing smells from that time of my life is roasting clutch.

Of course, I just don’t have Alpine mountain vistas hidden down in my basement. I tossed ideas and sketches around about how to build such a scene. I knew I could craft the road and surrounding textures like rocks and grass out of supplies I have on hand, but in order to create that sense of danger you get from sheer cliffs and sweeping mountain views, I’d need to print out some dramatic scenery as a backdrop, and photograph the diorama in front of it.

To test this, I grabbed a photo book of Tuscany scenes, placed a simple foam base in front of it, and took a few snaps with my iPhone, just to see how convincing it would look.

Here’s the setup.

And here’s the test shot:


The human eye isn’t really fooled by such a simple trick, but I’m convinced it’s worth at least trying to see how it comes out. Stay tuned!

First I traced a few sections of 1/43 Carrera Go slot car track to get a sense of the curves I wanted, then I traced the shape onto foam core and cut it out.


With some pink foam I had lying around, I formed the basic shape of the scene.


Next step will be gluing on some real rocks, then a coating of plaster or putty.