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Diorama of Steven Spielberg’s 1941 Movie

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

The diorama was built for an online website iModeler at the Movies Group Build. It is 1/48 scale. Everything is scratch built except for the Hasegawa P-40E and the cab of the Wespe Models Ford 917, converted to a 1939 Ford pick-up truck.

The scene was made from several screen grabs from the movie. Using known measurements like a door height, I was able to create scale CAD drawings, which were used to laser cut the buildings, gas pumps, signs, pick-up truck bed, reptile farm fence and cages, and the 1947 Aero Flite Falcon Travel Trailer. I made signage artwork using Photoshop Elements.

The original explosion I made was huge, but it overpowered the scene and blocked the scratch built buildings, gas pumps and island. I decided to go with the explosion when it first ignites. There are micro LED battery operated lights inside, which doesn’t show up in bright light.

The P-40 has a tiny motor to spin the prop scavenged from an old scanner/printer.

The photo with the real background was created using Photoshop Elements of a screen grab from Google Maps of the exact location on the road where the movie scene was shot.

I have yet to connect and program the Arduino to control the prop spin, explosion lights and the dialogue and music, as I’m still learning the process. There is still some weathering to do with pastel chalks and pencils. I ordered some EZ Line for the electrical wires for the utility pole. I will continue to “junk up” the scene with parts from the spares box as I go.

Screenshot from the movie 1941.

Link to the scene in 1941 that I recreated


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