Dioramas and Models
by Bjørn Jacobsen
Bjørn Jacobsen lives with his wife in a small seaside town in Norway.
He has worked in advertising and marketing and had his own company for many years until he retired in 2004.
He has always been fascinated by aircraft and built his first model of a World War 2 aircraft in 1957, 15 years old.
Since then he has made numerous models, mostly WWII planes, but also a few dioramas.
After years of modelling, he found it more and more rewarding and challenging to make dioramas, because it requires not only modelling skills but also a sense of realism and a lot of research and scratch building to get it as realistic as possible.
It also gives him the opportunity to let the models tell their story – and a story, they always have. For years, he has posted his work to the many model groups around the world and he often has been asked to publish some of his amazing work.
He has now taken those requests seriously and has written these books.
His hope is that his models and dioramas might inspire some to try out this exciting hobby.
Click on one of the books to go to the webshop
The COMPLETE guide to military DIORAMAS and MODELS
This book is the complete guide for all scale modellers who want to take the step from building stand-alone-models to building dioramas – and for you, who are building dioramas, and wish to improve the building techniques, have more ideas, more options and more fun!
The book is written in a way all can relate to, even if you have never made a diorama before.
It’s in a straightforward, and natural language, without making things unnecessarily complicated. Everything is illustrated with colour pictures.
The book includes material from the other books (see below), plus a lot of unpublished material.
The book contains:
More than 2.500 colour pictures
More than 60 of Bjørn Jacobsen’s world-renown dioramas
12 very useful and down-to-earth how-to-do-it articles
590 pages, all fully packed with helpful tips, ideas and pictures
© 2019 Bjørn Jacobsen
590 pages. Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.4 x 11 inches (21.5 x 3.6 x 27.9 cm) Weight: 3,6 pound (1.8 kg)
A tutorial for making military DIORAMAS and MODELS vol 1
This is the first book in the "DIORAMAS-and- MODELS"-series.
This book is not about building the perfect model or diorama.
It is about creating a snapshot of history, to freeze a moment in time and,
above all, to tell a story.
The beauty of building a diorama is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. It is entirely up to your creativity and imagination.
The options are endless and fascinating!
This book describes nearly thirty different dioramas and gives you a fantastic insight into how these were created.
With more than 900 pictures and in-depth description, it gives you numerous tips and guidance which will help you in building your own military diorama
© 2017 Bjørn Jacobsen
ISBN-13: 978-1547075287 (English)
ISBN-13 978-1984024725 (French)
168 pages, Language: English, German, French and Spanish
Dimensions: 8,5 x 11 inches (21.5 x 27,9 cm) Weight: 400g
A tutorial for making military DIORAMAS and MODELS vol 2
This is book no 2 in the “Dioramas and Models”- series by Bjørn Jacobsen.
For all model makers who want to expand their hobby into making dioramas and for all who wish to improve their diorama building technique, this book is a wellspring of ideas and techniques.
The author describes in detail how he built some of his world-renown dioramas.
The dioramas span a wide range of themes, from aircraft crashes to rescue operation and armour vehicles in action
The book is not about building the perfect diorama; it is to show that with creativity and imagination, you can make any diorama you want.
The options are endless and fascinating!
The book has more than 800 pictures and numerous tips and guidance which will help you build your own military diorama.
© 2018 Bjørn Jacobsen
ISBN-13: 978-1722881504 (English)
ISBN-13: 978-1792061226 (German)
198 pages. Language: English and German
Dimensions: 8,5 x 11 inches (21.5 x 27,9 cm) Weight: 1.3 pounds
A tutorial for making military DIORAMAS and MODELS vol 3
This is book no 3 in the „Dioramas and Models“series by Bjørn Jacobsen.
The book has more than 500 pictures and numerous tips and guidance that will help you create your military diorama. All the books from Bjørn Jacobsen have been written with one goal in mind: To give the readers ideas and impulses!
He uses his world-renowned dioramas as examples and explains in text and pictures how they were made and points the reader in the right direction and urges him/her to use their imagination and creativity.
He tries to keep everything as simple and straight forward as possible and are not making things unnecessarily complicated. Building dioramas do not get the same after you have read his books! As one modeller put it: His books should be on all modeller’s wishlist – yes, it’s that good.
© 2019 Bjørn Jacobsen
173 pages, Language: English
Product Dimensions: 8,5 x 11 inches (21.5 x 27,9 cm) Weight: 400g
Some of the books are also available in other languages::
How to make EXPLOSIONS and FIRES in a diorama
This book does not go into details with the building of dioramas but concentrates on the construction of explosions as a part of a diorama.
In this book, Bjørn Jacobsen reveals all his “secrets” in making
true-to-life explosions and fires in a military diorama.
He takes you through the process, step-by-step, in building dramatic explosions and fires.
Sixteen different explosions and fires are explained in great details.
Explaining how to use LEDs in creating lights in explosions and fires.
© 2019 Bjørn Jacobsen
88 pages, Language: English
Product Dimensions: 8,5 x 11 inches (21.5 x 27,9 cm)
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At the bottom of this page, you can see pictures from
the different dioramas which are described in detail in the books.
Deutsch (Vol 1 und Vol 2):
Read some of the responses
from the model building community:
Gordon Nielson: Just got this book from Amazon yesterday. WOW! Don't pass this book up people, you will want this in your collection to learn and to reference from. Thanks Bjorn!
Jan Iversen: An amazing book of top-class artwork in model construction, written by a fantastic model builder. Everyone who builds models – go out and buy the book! Building dioramas do not get the same after reading this!
Claude Zeringue: Received it yesterday. An amazing text that is easy to follow and has invaluable advice and ideas for anyone wanting to step up their modelbuilding. Highly Recommended!
Lyn Gorton: Just got my copy delivered from Amazon, an excellent book full of useful tips and references. I will be using it a lot in the future. Thank you for sharing.
Rick Shanner: Got my copy yesterday!!!! Outstanding Sir, thank for helping us out. So many new ideas. Great book, destined to be one of my favourites.
Jorge Moreyra: Got my copy from Amazon today! 👍👍 Everyone should go and order one!
John Lundgreen: To anyone, who wants to build cool dioramas, this could quite possibly become a bible.
I know that I'll definitely try out some of the cool techniques explained in the book! Brilliant!!
Richard Nilsen: Fantastic reading!
Robert T Walter: Fantastic stories, pictures and «how-to-do» explanations. Great book, great layout! Must be a great HIT!
Svein-Olaf Hvasshovd: It is a very well written book. I have read almost all of it with great interest.
Steve Parker: Great book
Roger Franc: Just received it, thank you very much good work
Jan Iversen: I and my friend had a "Hobby-evening" yesterday. There was a lot of WOW’s when we went through the book! That the dioramas are based on historical facts are so fascinating.
Dingo Dave: Book has arrived Bjorn. Looks great. Should have got you to sign my copy! Thanks again mate
Rick Shanner: Love the book, it will really be used a lot. Thank you, great work.
Scott Standish: I received the book and it's fantastic!
Eric G: This book presents in a simple and understandable way the tips and tricks to differentiate itself from the productions of the masses in our hobby.
Øivind Sletner Nilsen: Your work is stunning! Thank you for the book! Just loooove it!
Mark Dewhurst: Got the book - it’s fantastic!
Alan Stringer: Was most impressed with your book on diorama building
Chandra Stewart: Hi, got your book, amazing and thank you!!!! I have spread the word for you on a couple of groups I'm in you should see some more sales!
Oliver Hoch: This Book is incredible! Thank You!
John Lundgreen: I highly recommend the book. Best step by step tutorials on specific diorama issues (like lighting, smoke and water), I've seen on paper.
Sletner Nilsen: Love the book! When flipping through the pages, I constantly have to remind myself that this is actually models and not "real".
Michael Allen: This book is a must-have! I love it!
Martin Spill: Thanks a lot!! great work!! 😊😊😊😊
Stephen Murphy: Bought your book (in the U.K.) it is excellent, thank you.
Hans Fehrnström: The book came today. A lot of "goodies" for a diorama builder. Thanks!
Steve Holsclaw: Great book, thank you!
Paul Griffiths: Great book well worth it!
Marvin Reyes: I just received your diorama book from Amazon; it is absolutely amazing. The things you can do with simple things like chicken wire and cotton...great book. Thanks for writing it (and letting us all in on your diorama secrets).
William Derek Updegraff: Bjorn, it is an EPIC work, and I’ve already read it from cover to cover. Congratulations!!!!!
Scott Standish: Fantastic book. Makes a great gift for the modeller, or those who admire modelling skills.
Marvin Reyes: I have this book, and it is excellent. You have seen the authors wonderfully, realistic dioramas. Now, in this book, you will find out step-by-step how he does it.
Nick Dransfield: I got my copy. It’s excellent for what I need. Good price. Well done for getting it out.
Bruce's Scale Modeling: After sharing numerous images of Bjorn Jacobsen's work here, I decided to grab his book when it was made available to see how he did it. And it definitely did not disappoint. The book has tons of colour images and steps on how he did his magnificent lighted dioramas. It also has in-depth explanations on why he did them that way. Lots of things you can learn from him. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially those who want their work to stand out.
Michael Snow: I love your book!! Well worth the money.
Henry Jr Laurinat: The book of modelling masterpieces! Incredible builds!
John Howe; I finally got mine off the net it’s fantastic you sir are a legend thank you for your hints and tips.
Marc Gerkinet; I just received your book today from Amazon and it is absolutely stunning!!!!!
John Reunert: Hi Bjorn, bought your book and have read it front to back. A great source of inspiration and know how, thanks a lot.
Wee Kah Huat;: I read the book you have written. Very good book
Chuck Rau: Hi Bjorn. Finally ordered your book from Amazon. Just got it today. Just flipping through the pages, it's simply amazing. I'll start really reading it soon and I can't wait to dream up some ideas to try your technics on. I've been wanting to do some of these tricks for a while. Palm trees are at the top of the list right now for some Pacific dioramas. Thank you, sir, for getting this book out there for all of us!
William Derek Updegraff . . . BTW, Bjorn Jacobsen, I just got your new book (vol 2), and it's epic!!!
Gordon Nielson: Your book (vol 2) came today from Amazon! This is a very impressive and informative book, it should be in every model enthusiasts library!
Sandro Lucio: Received your book (vol 2) last week. What a great inspiration!
Graeme Bane: This book should be on all modeller’s wishlist – yes, it’s that good
Steve Edwards: Just bought your book 2, awesome work, love your stuff, just getting book 1
Dominic A Shepherd: I have your book Bjorn Jacobsen a masterpiece sir!
Roger Hansen: All model and diorama builders: These books are a must! Fantastic tips! The text and pictures are pure pleasure!
George Saltsman: Bought & read both books - excellent job! I especially like the essay on photographing models, as I could not agree more! I enjoy both volumes and appreciate the effort you put in to create them.
Berend Veeningen: Thank you for your book, really loving it! Amazing dio 's, and excellent tips and tricks! Especially interesting is how you made the crashed Messerschmitt, really helpful! I have many kits in stock and many ideas for dioramas, your books are very helpful to realise those ideas.
Thanks again, hopefully, there will be another book someday ;-)
Helena Snyman: Bought your second book as a Christmas gift for my friend. He absolutely loves and admires your work and detail. Amazing job once again!
Βασιλειος Χρηστιδης: I just today received your both books (vol 1 and 2)! They are very interesting and I think they'll keep me awake many nights! Highly recommended for diorama lovers! Thanks for everything! Greetings from Greece!...
Paul Antony Saltwell: I have your books -.superb 👍
Scott Vasey: This man is in a class all by himself. If you want to know to do this get his book. I did, and it is worth it. I'm going to use those skills on my Sci-Fi models. Anyone who would like to do upper-level lighting skills should get them. I have Vol 2. and it was just what I needed.
Enrique García: I just bought your book (Spanish Edition) and it is just great. Thanks for all your advice. It's been like 30 years that I have not made a diorama and now I want to start again. You are a big inspiration for me.
Tim Berg: I had the opportunity to look through your book just outstanding. One day I will produce something this nice!
James Pernikoff: Even though I have no plans to build dioramas, I have enjoyed Bjorn's first two books to admire the superb craftsmanship and photography, and many of the techniques can be used on simple models as well.
Enrique García: I just bought your book (Spanish Edition), and it is just great. Thanks for all your advice. It's been like 30 years that I have not made a diorama and now I want to start again. You are a big inspiration for me.
Svein-Olaf Hvasshovd: I bought the first version of the book. I really love it. It was worth every dime (krone)!!
Frank Palmieri: I received your book today. It is fantastic and I cannot put it down. Its full of good advice and easy to read. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Your book is outstanding.
Reactions to the big “Ultimate Guide to Military Dioramas and Models"
Jorge Moreyra: Great book!! You showed me lots of tips and ideas.!👍 congratulations. I am in awe of the immense information
given. Many questions I had have been answered on it! The best “How To” ever.
Rob Luo: Awesome book !!!!
Ole A. Flattum: The book came today. It looks very good and exciting. 👍 Can't wait to move into the hobby room and start building new dioramas with new techniques.
Andrew Allman: I bought one. Excellent book. Amazon was 68 or so dollars USD
Chris Davenport: Have now managed to read most of this book and found it very interesting. Articles on working with LEDs especially helpful. I thought it could have done a little more on armour, but that is just me, sci-fi modellers, aircraft, and naval modellers will undoubtedly feel the same. 500+ pages of information, quite a price tag, but in my opinion well worth it. Thank you for writing this Bjorn, now off to rest the hernia lol.
David Hall: IMHO (In my humble opinion), “The Complete Guide to Military Dioramas and Models” is worth every cent!
It’s authored by Bjørn Jacobsen. Text pictures and layout by Bjørn Jacobsen. And last but not least, independently published by Bjørn Jacobsen.
If you are getting the idea that this is his book, you are correct and a wonderful text it is. I am going to try and give those of you who may not own it yet some idea of what I found.
We as modellers have seen Bjørn’s work before and it is beautiful. His dioramas are very realistic. This test explains how he does it.
Part 1: Dioramas with LED – explosions and fires, 187 pages. It all starts with an introduction to the materials and methods he uses in the creation of his very realistic explosions and fires. A nice synopsis of the various LEDs available on the market, pros and cons of each and the importance of LED light colour. Since each type of LED requires somewhat different wiring, perhaps heat sinks or resistors, Bjørn leaves that part to you. There are a ton of examples on the web so just Google for the information.
Bjørn then includes no less than 19 of his personal model/dioramas builds where he goes pretty much step by step through the process of the creation of the diorama, construction/preparation of the models and finally how each contributes to the diorama. He then covers the steps he took in preparing backgrounds, adding the models and how the photography was staged.
All in all, Part 1 will keep the average modeller busy for months I would guess. As I digest the following 9 parts I will add more. I also want to give a personal thank you to Bjørn for the tremendous amount of information he is sharing with the modelling world.
David Hall: My previous post dealt with Part 1 of Bjørn Jacobsen’s book The Complete Guide to Military Dioramas and Models. Here I will give a brief overview of Parts 2, 3 and 4. I grouped these together as they share a common thread, aircraft. Part 2 is essentially Dog Fights, Part 3 is crashed aircraft which is often the result of a Dog Fight and Part 4 is a very detailed presentation of aircraft in dioramas. Once again Bjørn does a great job of taking the reader pretty much step by step through the process from concept to the final scene. Uniquely, in these chapters, he goes into some detail on how to make the damage to the aircraft look real and believable. If you think about it the scale thickness of the cowling on your Me 109 model is more akin to the armour on a tank than just sheet metal. Bjørn explains how to correct these issues of damage and scale thickness. By the time Part 4 rolls around the reader is ready for some incredible dioramas. The extent of the detail and the scope are almost intimidating but Bjørn breaks them all down to components and a logical process for building. Of course, once again in these parts, the reader is treated to Bjørn’s own outstanding works, some 26 dioramas in all comprising about 220 plus pages.
David Hall: This is my third instalment reviewing The Complete Guide to Military Dioramas and Models authored by Bjørn Jacobsen. This segment deals with Parts 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the text. These are Rockets and missiles, Ships, Submarines and Water, Tanks and fighting vehicles and Sci-fi respectively.
The actual rockets discussed in Part 5 have been seen as components in four earlier dioramas in the text. This part deals in mores specifics as it pertains to adding rockets or missiles to a model or diorama and making them look convincing.
Part 6 adds water to the mix or rather what will look like water for your dioramas whether you have ships on the surface, submarines partially submerged, aircraft crashed in the ocean. One diorama even deals with a helicopter supporting a surface rescue boat.
In Part 7 we’re back to armoured vehicles. All three dioramas deal with WWII German tanks and armoured vehicles plus cars, motorcycles, soldiers and the occasional building or demolished bridge.
Now comes Part 8, which covers a single diorama is, in my humble opinion, absolutely AWESOME! Now I might be a little prejudice since the subject matter meshes together 2 of my favourite subjects; Luftwaffe ’46 and a Nazi outpost on the moon. There are some American astronauts and aliens as well. The idea for this diorama, though this is only my guess, came from the movie Iron Sky. Anyway, it is absolutely spectacular with incredible detail.
Only two parts left to review.
David Hall: Part 9 of The Complete Guide to Military Dioramas and Models authored by Bjørn Jacobsen covers some Stand-alone models. There are four of them that cover the A-10, A-7, B-17G and the He-219 A-0. Now in these, Bjørn has covered the building of the model, figures to complement the scene and a few variations of scenes that have the aircraft in a very “natural” role. Unlike many of the previous discussions, there are not a lot of extras to construct and are not really dioramic in the truest sense but do result in some incredible photographic displays.
Last but not least is Part 10 entitled How to do it. This is a primer for the photography used in the creation of his scenes and the composition of the backgrounds. There is a section on the construction of buildings, sheds, ruins and the like. Bjørn covers his sequence for painting and coating models, some basic airbrushing and scale effect as it applies to modify paints. Weathering of the models in a diorama, as well as the forced perspective often used in photography, are introduced. He wraps it all up with the basic steps of construction of a diorama and the materials involved.
While I have seen several other “How To” books, this is the first I have found to be so complete that it may very well fit the bill as the only reference needed to produce incredibly realistic dioramas.
As a disclaimer, since I have been asked, I have no financial interest in this book. I purchased the book from Amazon and paid the same as anyone else who orders it. I did ask the authors permission to review it and post my thoughts about it and that was given without hesitation. I do not know Bjørn Jacobsen other than through his works posted on several of the FaceBook forums and in fact have never met the man. That I would like to remedy at some point.
There, that should help make some folks happy.
Review in Modelart (Australia) June/July 2018 by Graeme Bane
(Book vol 1)
This soft-covered 168 pages all colour book should be on all modeller’s wishlist – yes, it’s that good,
There’s so much to like about this book – it will inspire you to build a model if you have never built one and it will inspire you to take your modelling to a new level even if you are a seasoned veteran.
This book does not get into the specifics of building models but rather provides great detail and discussions about making and photographing dioramas. The photography is very important as the creator of all the wonderful dioramas (and Bjørn’s done hundreds) gives them all away or dumps them (oh the humanity) rather than keep them. As Bjørn emphasis, dioramas aim to capture a dramatic moment in history whether it be a tank battle, the capture of a submarine or crash of an aeroplane.
There are over two dozen dioramas detailed in this book that will interest modellers whether they are building AFVs, naval vessels or aircraft.
What struck me was the extent to which Bjørn tells the whole story of an incident or exploit with his dioramas and associated photos.
For example, he tells the story of the battle of Midway with dioramas and photographs of SBD dive bombers on the carrier flight deck about to take off, formation flight towards the Japanese fleet, beginning their diving attack on the carrier, the moment the bomb separates from the aircraft and the recovery phase of the attack.
And he has an eye for details at every stage of the diorama (story) the SBD’s needed to have the flaps and airbrakes deployed or retracted as appropriate for the scene, so he glued them in such a way that they could be repositioned. Truly amazing stuff.
This book is very much a how-to (tutorial) manual on the example making flame and smoke pour from a doomed aircraft or a rocket/missile or a tank having its turret blown off.
He shows how he uses chicken wire, cellophane, cotton wool, wires, painting techniques and of course lighting to create the most realistic effects.
On the subject of lighting, he recommends LEDs for safety but to get the extra brightness he sometimes needs halogen bulbs (12V of course). Naturally, Bjørn warns about leaving lights on for a long time (or you will have a most realistic fire),
Even if you don’t ever build a diorama, this book will be most entertaining as many famous events in military history are recounted in the form of dioramas and their accompanying photos.
Here are some of my dioramas which are explained in great details in the books:
CL-415 the areal firefighter in action Bf 109 E-7 Trop crash-landing Kurt Knipsel - the Greatest Tank Ace ever
Churchill Crocodile, the flamethrower tank Cutlass ramp strike Libyan MIG-23 and the rebels
Operation "Bodenplatte" Hans Joakim Marseille's "Yellow 14" Moon landing 1969 - and the 4th Reich
BV 222 - the giant German flying boat Operation "Tidal Wave" - Ploesti DC-3 Dakota landing on a rooftop in London
Heinkel He-111 Crash-landing in Norway German Tiger Tanks The P-47 that refused to die
F-106 launching the Genie missile The German Schnellboot Launching the SA-2 "Guideline" Missile
Neubaufahrzeug in Norway 1940 A7 Corsair II in the Hellenic Air Force Kurt Knipsel - The King Tiger Commander
Sea Rescue. RNLI lifeboat and RAF Sea King Katyusha - the feared Stalin's Organ Defiant Down
Bf 109 "Black 3" in the Libyan Desert Hans-Ulrich Rudel and his Kanonenvoegel Convair F-106 the "Cornfield Bomber"
Drama in Kattegat, 1940 Blohm & Voss BV 138 at the Far North SBD Dauntless ditches in the Pacific
F-100 "Misty" over North Vietnam Hurricane down He-219 - the ultimate German Night Fighter
The end of Blohm & Voss BV-222 V2 MIG 21 vs F-4 Phantom Bf 109-G crash-landing
Day of the Typhoon Battle of Midway, the story of the Dauntless A-10 Warthog the Queen of Close Air Support
Junker Ju 88 Zerstörer Crash-landing Savioa-Marchetti SM.79 torpedo bomber The Sherman Firefly vs The King Tiger
Lancaster burning Short Sunderland at Malta B-17 "Miss Conduct"
B-17 Crash-landing Heinkel He 177 "Greif" on fire The Battle of Taranto (Italy)
Lysander - the famous SOE's "Spy-Taxi" Achtung Mosquito! Hanna Reitch, Hitlers'd female test pilot
Luftwaffe graveyard The Black Friday, 9th February 1945 The sea shall not have them
F16 runs off the runway P 38 Lightning Dornier Do 335 "Pheil"
Ju 87 G Kanonenvoegel crash-landing F4 Phantom over North Vietnam "Stringbags" at war
The strangest tank buster in WWII
Happy Modelling to all!