Godzilla: Bad Day On Bridge Street

Here's a little scene that I came up with based somewhat on a scene in the 1998 version though I have added a, hopefully, humorous twist to the scene.

The Godzilla model is a resin kit that I picked up on eBay sometime ago but I'll be darned if I can remember who I bought it from or who did the sculpt. It is a good size, measuring 15 inches long and eleven inches high. The detail is very good and although the head doesn't really match the creature in the 1998 film nor the original franchise, I still like it's menacing pose.

The rest of the diorama is of my own design and is N scale. I recently got out of model railroading and had a number of items left behind so I decided to use them up in the scene. The car that is causing all the trouble is from Woodland Scenics and as is the case with most of this company's products, the detail is very good.

The base is a two foot long 7 inch wide pine board capped with three layers of one inch insulation foam board (the pink kind) to build it up to justify the existence of bridge. I thought by adding a river along with a pair of railroad tracks running beneath would make the scene a little more interesting.

Long shot showing just about the whole scene minus a bit of Godzilla's tail.

Shot of a some of the cliff face as described in the text.

I rough cut, gouged and slashed the foam to make the river gorge and railroad track bed. I then came back with a approximately ¼ coating of soupy plaster of Paris on the vertical foam surfaces adjacent to the tracks and river bed. When the plaster was almost set (~10 minutes), using an Exacto # 11 blade, I scored roughly horizontal lines across the surface with an occasional angled cut to look like fault lines. The trick is to keep on scoring the plaster as it sets thus making little chunks to break off to resemble a rough stone face. If you're not making a mess, you're not doing it right. To get even finer striations, you can use a stiff wire brush.

Let the plaster sit for at least 24 hours before applying any WATER based coloring. There is no real 'right' color to use but most people expect to see gray or brown rocks so make thin washes of these color to stain the plaster. Once you get to what you are happy with, come back with a final wash of DILUTED black. This final wash really brings out the nooks and crannies in the plaster, resulting in an extremely realistic appearance. Obviously, the more times you apply this wash, a darker effect will result but realize that it will lighten a bit once it dries completely.

Reverse shot of the same scene.

After the rock staining effect had dried, I made the water effect which in, this case was an amalgam of different products. I had some two part epoxy left over from another casting project so I decided to use it up to clear my shelf a bit. I made a dam at each end of the river bed with two pieces of clear plastic packaging material. I glued the plastic to the outside of the base with clear latex adhesive which I also sealed the inside of the river bed where the “rocks” met the base. Because the epoxy and the latex dried clear, I wasn't too concerned if one overlapped the other. It is CRUCIAL that you seal the river bed as well as possible because if there is even the slightest crack or hole, the liquid resin WILL find it and leak out. Before pouring in the resin mixture which I had tinted slightly with olive drab paint, I applied a light coating of cooking or baby oil on the inside surface of the plastic dams. This will allow you to peel the dams away after the resin has set leaving a nice flat face.

The main cause of the traffic jam, a jalopy purchased at Jeff's Junk.

Since I had already made and fitted the bridge over the river, I put it in place before the resin had set, taking care not to make any bubbles. As the resin cured, I added small sticks, scale tires and other debris to give the river a little character. After letting the resin river sit over night, I applied a thick coating of Gallery Glass Crystal Clear (#16081) which, when it dries, has a clear rippled appearance resembling a slow moving body of water. This is my “go to” material for water effects in any scale and I have had lots of success with it.

The next step was to detail the overall scene. I decided on a junk yard at the left rear of the scene. I made a small Quonset hut to act as the yard office and garage and I had some junk pile castings along with a crushed car, skids, barrels, more tire and just junk in general to populate the yard with debris. The fences are N scale kits from Bar Mills which I weathered and added some posters along with the name of the place, 'Jeff's Junk' painted in faded yellow paint by hand.

The railroad tracks beneath the bridge were added along with the road bed but I probably should have done this step before I stuck the bridge in place to make their installation a little bit easier. I had a couple N scale freight cars which I weathered and glued to the track with AC glue to keep them in place.

The foreground and right side areas of the base were painted a dark green for an undercoat color upon which I added ground foam grass, bushes, trees and weeds which I secured with a 50/50 mixture of water and white glue.

What the guy in oncoming traffic saw moments before his untimely demise.

Detail shot of the junk yard that started it all. Note mooshed car under Godzilla's foot.

I populated the road with a number of cars, trucks, a bus and main cause for the traffic jam (aside from Godzilla), two teens pushing a broken down car they had just purchased at Jeff's Junk.

I should mention that Godzilla's fiery breath was made with expandable foam insulation which I had spray painted clear yellow and red. Using a light trigger finger, you can get a relatively small burst of foam that has a nice billowing shape. It takes a little practice but after a few tries you'll end up with a shape or shapes you can work with. I recommend squirting the foam on a lightly oiled piece of stiff plastic or aluminum foil, so you can peel it off easily. Once a skin begins to form, you can squeeze it into just about any shape you'd like or you can just let it cure. Misting the shape with water from a spray bottle will make it easier to handle to.

So, that is how “Godzilla: Bad Day On Bridge Street” came to be. It took a little longer to build than I had expected, most of the time spent waiting for things to cure or dry but I think the final effect was well worth it. 8/15/19

Addendum: This scene won Second Prize in the Diorama category at 2019  Baycon in N. Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Addendum: I have since discovered that this great sculpt is by Shawn Nagle. 3/7/20