abandoned Japanese shops building

Abandoned Japanese Shops Building Diorama


When I was in Japan in November 2022 I went by this building every day for a week bringing my daughter to Japanese elementary school.

I was intrigued by the building which clearly looked abandoned and it brought up lots of questions.

  • When was it built?
  • Why was it abandoned?
  • What shops were in there when it was still open?
  • Will it ever be opened back up and used again?

I took just one photo:

abandoned Japanese shops building

I knew that when I came back home to Canada that I wanted to model this. In hindsight I should have taken more photos but I didn’t have much time (and my wife already thought it was strange that I took this photo). Luckily however I was able to find this stretch of road on Google Maps and used Street View extensively to research various details as I built the diorama.

Once home after completing my Lighted Steam Loco Diorama I started this project.

I had to first take the photo and try to create a 3D model of it so I could get accurate dimensions. I used Sketchup’s Match Photo feature on my old 2017 version that I still had installed.

Check out the video on how I did that:

Once I had my model and printed out the front view at scale (I decided on 1:48 scale), I started building the basic shell of the building out of Sintra, a sign-making plastic that I had some scraps that a sign-maker friend of my mother’s gave me.

Check out the video on how I assembled this shell:

And then the next step was to make some doors and windows, all scratch built from styrene:

A bit of texture and paint (except I ended up using a paint that ended up being too yellow!):

And let’s add some details!

Every diorama project needs a good solid base and I wanted to capture a bit of the road in front of the building as well as a small tree on the right and an area with some discarded items, a water tap and some low bushes on the left.

This was a long project, with many stops and starts. But after adding a few final details (some 3d printed), the diorama project is finally done!

Similar Posts