Additions to the site, September 2019

My co-editor Barry Biediger made some additions several months ago when I was deep in a book deadline (sorry, we didn’t keep track of those!), but I have just added the latest MFCA gold-medal-winning box to Barry’s artist gallery; several fantastic pieces to Darryl Audette’s gallery; new work to the pages for José María Bolio, Cynthia Parson McDaniel, and Andreas Rousounelis, and Michael Scarborough; new galleries for John Fraim, Alex Friedrich, Robert Santos, and Tommi Samone, and recent finds of interest to the Various Artists, Newer Work page. Enjoy!

Additions to the site, September 2017

SEPTEMBER, 2017: Here are the latest updates to, with a bounty of work featured at Chicago World Expo 2017, as well new additions from fans of the site. First up, and pardon the lack of modesty, but we start with the latest work from the editors of this site. My latest box, “The Whole World Is Watching: Chicago 1968,” was shown at Expo, and the locale of the show inspired the theme; it’s posted here along with an article on the history and a step-by-step look at the construction. Co-editor Barry Biediger also had a new box called “The Other Window” at the big show; it’s a typically mysterious and wonderfully enigmatic piece. Sadly, our third partner, Darryl Audette, could not make it to Expo, but we have updated his gallery page with his latest project, a museum piece entitled “More Comradery at 25,000 Feet: Normandy, 1944.” Darryl also contributed an article about its construction posted here.

Also seen at Expo: Box diorama veteran Dave Browne had a stunning new piece called “The Show Will Go On,” which has been added to his gallery page; World Master Greg DiFranco had a new “natural light box” called “Alexander at Issus”; Doug Cohen tried his hand at a box depicting Francis Scott Key witnessing the assault on Fort McHenry; “Dawn of Independence” by Dennis Levy and Anders Heintz was on display (they’re collaborated on the piece to benefit the World Expo Auction last October); MMSI member Herb Metzler brought a really cool box display of vintage paper soldier figures; Nick Infield continued to merge his Hollywood day job with his passionate hobby of building fantastic box dioramas with a new piece called “Norman Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly,” in addition to displaying last year’s Perspex box, “He Swims Among Us”; John Schley traveled from Ireland to display two of the boxes featured on his gallery page, and our pal from New York, Michael Scarborough, brought his usual enthusiasm for the art form and his exquisite new box diorama “Moonlight Raid”; that piece has been added to his gallery page, along with some notes and additional step-by-step views here. We also have some photos of the box fun at Expo on the News page below, which can be found here.

As always, the site welcomes submissions from modelers; email Work that has come in over recent months includes some great mixed-media/fine art contributions from Cynthia Parsons McDaniel; Anthony Tedesco, a modeler from Rome who has been showing his boxes throughout Italy for the last few years—his gallery is a welcome addition to the site—and Canadian modeler John Ballard, who now has a gallery page depicting his first box diorama showing paratroopers from the 101st in Normandy, with a link to a great step-by-step article on the construction. Also posted on the Feature Articles page: an excellent piece about miniaturist Ali Alamedy, an Iraqi refugee.

In addition to the new articles listed above, we’ve added a bounty of older/vintage articles to the Feature Articles page, including “John Paul Jones: An Exciting New Diorama Built, Photographed and Described by Ray Anderson” (Military Modelling, May 1975); The Loyal Toast: Reginald Franklin describes an historical diorama; the artistic approach to military miniature presentation” (Military Modelling, December 1974); “Stable Duty” by Chris Leason (Model Soldier magazine); “The Virginia Raids: Mike Williams Constructs Two Dioramas from the American War of Independence” (Model Soldier magazine); “Box Dioramas! Peter Hills describes a novel and fascinating method of displaying and protecting figure models in all scales” (Military Modelling, July 1972), and “Cigar Box Dioramas: A How to Do It Handbook” by Arminta Neal (1958). Thanks to my MMSI pal Mike Holverson for the many article finds, and to Joe Berton for unearthing the extraordinary “Cigar Box Dioramas” booklet on one of his many foraging trips to the used bookstores.

Speaking of Joe, his wife and our good friend Gloria Groom, curator of European art at the Art Institute of Chicago, hipped us to a cool exhibit on dioramas at Palais de Tokyo in Paris that opened on June 14 and ran until September 10. We have some photos and a lot of links to read more on the Links Page. In addition to her gallery page linked above, Cynthia Parson McDaniel contributed a fascinating interview with Tom Doncourt, exhibition specialist at the storied American Museum of Natural History in New York City, about the famous dioramas at that storied institution. And finally, we’ve posted an article from the last issue of the MMSI’s journal The Scabbard about the dioramas and other exhibits of interest at the Milwaukee Public Museum.

Enjoy, and thanks as always for spreading the word about this site!

Photos at Chicago World Model Expo 2017 by Penny Meyer. From Left: Joel Glass introduces the box diorama panel hosted by Nick Infield and Dennis Levy; Nick is interviewed for a local Chicago television station, and Dennis holds forth.

Two of this site's three editors at the box diorama tables of Chicago World Expo 2017. Expo co-founder and box diorama master Shep Paine would have been very proud indeed. (Photos by Pat Vess)

Homage - Fletcher Clements.jpg

A stunning piece called "Homage" by the great Fletcher Clement, who really needs to do more boxes! This is not one, but it is an incredible tribute to his friends and inspirations in the hobby, which is why it earns a nod here. Below, godfather of us all, the late Shep Paine, passes the torch to Bill Horan at left, while at right, and it makes me blush to say this, editor Jim DeRo in (what else!?) a box.

December 2016 Site Update and More

Time for the semi-annual update to! We have a bounty of riches to share from what we’ve collected over the last few months, as well as exciting new work that was shown at the MMSI Chicago show in October and the MFCA show in Valley Forge last Spring. To start, we have the newest projects from this site’s editors and founders: two new boxes by Jim DeRogatis, with accompanying articles on the construction of each linked from the artist’s page; two new boxes by Barry Biediger, and the newest project by Darryl Audette, which also features a closer look linked from the artist’s page.

Next, we have a small but striking box from master modelers Dennis Levy and Anders Heintz, “The Dawn of Independence,” which they generously built as a donation for the World Expo Figure Auction. We’ve also added a new photo by Penny Meyer of Dennis’ classic box “Du Haut de ces Pyramides: Forty Centuries Look Down Upon Me.” And (drum roll, please!), another master of the form, Nick Infield, has not only shared photos of his latest box, “He Swims Among Us,” but contributed a fantastic step-by-step (or maybe stroke-by-stroke) article on its construction, linked from his artist’s page, or accessible via our Features Articles page.

Artists new to the site include José María Bolio; Dave Reynolds, and Ricardo Ruiz Gomez; be sure to check out their work!

Quite a few boxes have been added to the Various Artists’ New Work page, including pieces by Greek modeler Vasilis Triantafyllou, a fantasy box by Japanese modeler Mitsuo Kure done as an homage to Shep Paine and Frank Frazetta, and two pieces by junior modeler Mike McFadden. We’ve also added some shots of “Kingfisher Morning,” a charming box by dollhouse miniaturists Sans Robinson (a.k.a. Rosie Duck Designs) to the Various Artists/Older Work page.

Bob Sarnowski took a fantastic new photo of John Long’s box “Meanwhile Up the Street” at the Chicago show, and we’ve added that to John’s page about the making of that box. John Reid has a new box diorama, “Keepers of the Flame, 1918-1929,” and we’ve added some more links to sites on the Web sure to be of interest on our Links Page.

Finally, below you’ll find some links to stories of interest to followers of this site on the Web. And, if you haven’t heard, expert box diorama builders Dennis Levy and Nick Infield will be hosting a seminar on this art form as part of World Expo Chicago 2017 in July. We hope you’ll register for their talk here, and come and show your work at the fabulous Downton Chicago Hilton from July 7-9; be sure to explore the World Expo Web site for all the details. Meanwhile, happy holidays, and keep modeling!

I Built A Miniature 1900s Photo Studio In Honor Of An Old Photographer By Alamedy Diorama



January, 2016

It’s a New Year, and there are some new additions to! First up, from the editors of the site on their gallery pages: as seen at the MMSI Chicago Show in October 2015, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” the latest by yours truly, with accompanying step-by-step article, and “Thursday Evening,” the new one by Barry Biediger, which also has an accompanying article. And Darryl Audette has a new theater set, Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” featured on his gallery page, as well as on a new Web site of his own featuring all of his work.

Also seen at the Chicago show was Brian Duddy’s TV-box diorama “Kelly’s Heroes” (now featured on the Various Artists Newer Work page), and John Schley traveled all the way from Ireland to display two of the pieces featured on his gallery page, “A Fallen Empire” and “Some Had Nightmares.” We are happy to have several new gallery pages for artists who submitted their work or who we discovered on the Web: Anders Runnholm is a Swedish artist who does 1/35th-scale model railroad scenes as box dioramas; Mitsuo Kure is a miniaturist based in Tokyo who was inspired to try his hand at box dioramas by Shep Paine; Alan Wolfson did (and perhaps still does) amazing scenes of vintage New York street life, and the French artist Ronan-Jim Sevellec captured Bohemian Paris interiors in miniature. Finally, also on the archival tip, we have added images of a piece by Glynn Porteous that we hadn’t seen before to the Various Artists’ Older Work page, in addition to creating a veteran artist Gallery Page for Glenn Cunningham, who created several box dioramas of the Life of Christ for a museum in Florida.

As always, we appreciate your contributions, whether you’re sending us your own work or links to things you think would be of interest to builders and fans of box dioramas. Give a shout! And meanwhile, all the best in 2016.

June, 2015

In addition to a stellar new design for the site (thank you, Kyle Hale!) and a new Web host (thanks,!), we have a bevy of additions and updates to announce, starting with the latest box diorama from this site's Webmaster, Jim DeRogatis: "Harsh Awakening: Moscow, 1812," which has been added to my gallery page. You also can find a step-by-step feature article here

Next, we have added a new artist's gallery page for Scotte "Bricks" Turner from the D.C. area; he's a tattoo artist as well as a miniaturist, if any of you want to get some ink! Another new gallery page highlights the work of Japanese modeler Masahiro Fukaya; Shep Paine brought him to our attention--"We don't see many World War II boxes, or boxes from Japan, so I thought these might be of interest for the box diorama website," Shep noted--and, as usual, he was right. We'd love to hear more from Masahiro, if he sees this or if anyone knows him. Other boxes seen at recent shows include a beautifully displayed mini-box of the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Ken Hunt from MFCA 2015 and "Jesus and the Demon Possessed Man" by Andy Axtell, seen at the Tulsa show in 2015; both of these can be found on the Various Artists Newer Work page.

We have created a dedicated video page and added three new videos: "Dioramas from the Museum of Natural History, New York," "A Tribute to Shepard Paine," and "No Small Feat: Reimagining Howard Pyle's Work," all of which we think will be of interest to box diorama enthusiasts. These join the video we've had up for some time, "Fostering Creativity in the Hobby," a great panel discussion moderated by me and featuring Joe Berton, Fletcher Clement, and Shep Paine.

Finally, an the archival tip, our friend Joe Berton found a fascinating book about a series of 20 Lincoln box dioramas once on display at the Chicago Historical Society. The book came with full-page images of 14 of those boxes--we've scanned them and given them a gallery page here--and Joe is on the trail for more, including the boxes' current whereabouts, so stay tuned!

As always, we welcome your feedback and input. Send us your work!