As I mentioned in my recent Ooh! Another Tempting Diorama Project column, I worked for several years on a Caveman Diorama that is currently presented in an old television circa the 1950s or 1960s.

The idea is that this scene is set about 10,000 BC, but there are anachronisms like the gas (petrol) can and chainsaw next to the pile of logs in the far-left corner and the floodlights illuminating the wall to the right. At some stage, I also plan to add a couple of small wooden crates containing bottles of wine and cans of spam.

Current state of play with the Caveman Diorama (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Max Maxfield)

In the far-right corner of the cave is a mockup of a time portal. Eventually, this will be replaced with a small LCD or OLED display mounted on a stone slab and wrapped in a stone gateway showing a series of images of different times and places.

I had thought of adding another small display mounted in a TV cabinet in another area of the cave, where this cabinet would be a miniature version of the real-world TV containing the diorama. If I do this, then cave kids could be sitting on the floor watching episodes of The Flintstones or I Love Lucie. Also, there will be a group of folks sitting around the fire munching on mammoth burgers and chewing the fat (as it were). In addition to the cave people, yours truly will be there sporting a Hawaiian shirt (and shorts, of course).

In fact, this may well end up as part of a series. I’ve been thinking that, if I ever come across another old TV cabinet, I might create a post-apocalyptic version set in a Terminator-esque future. I’m envisaging a scene involving an industrial building with crumbled brick walls and rusty machinery. Once again, the time portal would be located in the far-right corner, but this time the cave people sitting around the open fire would be replaced by survivors in ragged clothes huddled around a fire in a big oil drum. As before, one of their number would be sporting a Hawaiian shirt, possibly handing out cans that look suspiciously as though they might boast contents that rhyme with something of a porcine persuasion.

I’ve also been looking at those miniature bookshelf dioramas. Only recently, I was telling my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) that I could see myself doing this as a hobby when I eventually retire (which will be sometime circa the 2050s the way things are going unless my pension plan — in the form of my winning the lottery — kicks in).

To be honest, it’s not often Gina listens to my wafflings, so you can only imagine my surprise and delight when she sent me a link to this video of an artist who creates tiny rooms jam-packed with exquisite, breathtaking detail.


All I can say is that I am extremely impressed. I would love to be able to create things like this. When I was but a young sprog, I read The Borrowers by Mary Horton. This book features a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and “borrow” things from the big people. Now I’m thinking how magical the world would appear to a kid who had recently read this book if they were to visit their grandparent’s house and “find” a little door in the skirting board. Suppose that door was ajar and you could see this sort of miniature room, and then your grandfather brought his finger to his lips and you both tip-toed away.

Hmmm, I wonder when my 26-year-old son will get married and have kids…