Forced Perspective Diorama Question

thought about using the Tamiya 1/16 Modern US Infantry figure and the
1/35 Abrams tank.
any math oriented people have an idea how to make the two work together
so the scale would look proper?
I figure the Infantry figure would be up front and the tank would be
some distance in the back, just not sure if the idea is doable or if the
base would be too long to be practical......
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I'm not sure there is _an_ "answer." The effect you're achieving is like using a telephoto lens in a camera -- essentially the relationship between the 1/16th figure and the 1/35th tank defines the "focal length" of the lens and the point of view. You could stand the figure right next to the tank, and from a specific point, it would look like the infantrymen was in the "foreground" of the "shot" and the tank in the "background." The problem is depth of field -- in a photo, the lens struggles to focus both the "foreground" and "background", whereas the viewer will see both in focus in the model. This can be used to good effect -- there's a shot in Terminator 2 where Arnie _appears_ to snatch the kid from certain death in front of monster truck, which was done by shooting on a bright day with a _very_ long lens. The truck is a 50 yards away, but because it and the actors are in focus, in forced perspective, it looks a lot closer.
The real problem with forced-perspective dioramas is that you have to view them from a very specific place, so ideally you have to build the viewpoint INTO the diorama. Shep Paine does this in his book for an ?Admiralty? diorama, where you're basically looking through a house window into the scene. To make it work, you need to make darn sure that the viewer looks at the diorama the way it was intended, and the more extreme your composition, the more restricted the place from which it will "look proper"
Assuming you don't want to make a shadow-box -- a complete enclosure with a hole you look through, then you need to make the scenery do the work. For your theme, I'd suggest 2 options:
1) a street scene (which'll need some distorted scenery to match the changed scales) which is viewed from one end "along" the street. The figure could be at the front, and the tank crossing an intersection, between buildings.
2) CNN. Think "talking head". You could have _GI Joe_ doing a "piece to camera," your Tamiya guy, AND the tank in a forced perspective that's really constrained. Build some kind of frame which suggests the viewfinder screen of a video camera, which draws the viewer to look through it, and then the scope of what's being "filmed" is much more up to you. Your audience will work with you on this one, and queue up to take a peek from the "right" place!
Bestest, M.
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Matt Bacon

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