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Orange Bird Photo Hunt


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Tiny Jungle Cruise Model

I recently decided to make a little Jungle Cruise model for my home office. I'd like to share the process in case others might want to do something similar.

I started by cutting a 2"x2"x1.5" block out of floral foam. You know, the stuff you put at the bottom of vases of fake flowers. 

I then carved a waterway.

Applied paint.

Sprinkled generous amounts of fine modeling turf onto the fresh green paint. Once dry, I blew it off.

Added additional paint and modeling shrubs.

These spiffy little trees are called Fine-Leaf Foliage and come in large clumps. They are a product of Woodland Scenics and can be found at your local hobby store.

I chose to construct the tiny Jungle Cruise boat (old-style) from styrene plastic strips.

Boat Construction Update: Since the initial post, several people have asked for more information about the boat construction. The following image might help. The boat is made up of only four pieces of styrene. Use the appropriate sizes of styrene strips to cut each piece. Gently score lines into the top and sides of the canopy with a blade. When joining styrene, hold any two unpainted pieces together and brush a small amount of solvent along the seams. No need to add solvent between pieces before joining. Note: Solvent isn't a glue. It actually melts the styrene pieces together then evaporates away.

Painting the red stripes on the canopy was a bit tricky. I painted the entire top and sides red, making sure the red paint fulled each tiny little groove. Before the paint was dry, I wiped off each surface. The paint inside the grooves remained in place.

After the waterway paint was dry, I added a liquid product called Realistic Water, also from Woodland Scenics.

Several thin layers later, the waterway is nice and dry and very clear. Notice how the boat measures up to a penny?

More foliage.

Tiny palm trees at this scale can be difficult to find. Had to make my own out of straight pins and watercolor paper colored with a Prismacolor marker.

Painted the pins.

For a sturdy frame, I purchased a strip of a nice wood at the hardware store and cut it to fit.

Glued the frame in place.

And finally....... the finished product.

Up on the shelf it goes. Right next to my Ward Kimball Mars and Beyond homemade robot. Read about him in this earlier blog post.



Related posts:

Mars and Beyond Robot
EPCOT City Model [Part 1]
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
Mechanizing a Miniature Main Street Electrical Parade
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [ PART 2 ]


Reader Comments (16)

Incredible, and beautiful. Thank you for sharing it!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKJ @ Plus the Magic

This is very nice! I am inspired to make my own model of something. Thank you for sharing. =]

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteremily

I always wanted to try scale modeling. Where is a good place to start. Project wise?

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Mesure

This is awesome! Believe it or not, I started my own Jungle Cruise diorama today, however not quite this small. I'm building the boat from wood with this blueprint I found.

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

Amazing blog. My son Jacob was inspired greatly by this. We have many of the supplies, I hope you do not mind if we copy your idea!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Cram

What a wonderful project. Would you ever think of making one to sell.

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachelle

That is fabulous. What a little treasure!

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Hi Mitch,
Great, great site!
Is there any chance to post a article about Jungle Cruise ride, the "under water" construction details (like bottom side of boats, guiding rails...)? Maybe some photos, diagram explanations...?

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir Al-Zubi

The magic is in the details, and you've done it with this one!

Nice! Where the hippo? ;-) Cool project!

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I am in the process of modeling a Jungle Cruise-themed resort of my own design right now. The scale is also quite small--1" = 30'. The landscaping methods you used will be a big help to me. Do you know the approximate scale this was modeled in?

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Clavet

Thanks for the great responses, everyone! To answer a few questions...

Ryan- I suggest starting with something simple and small. Maybe even just practice on a scrap piece of floral foam and go from there. Use styrene and Plastic Weld to "glue" the styrene plastic together. Actual glue is not nearly as good. The Weld actual melts the plastic together and evaporates away.

Craig- Excellent idea. I love that blueprint.

Jason- Please do.

Rachelle- I would sell them but they'd be almost impossible to transport.

Amir- Good question. I'm afraid I don't have any resources for you. Check out this fantastic post at Passport to Dreams:

Justin- The closest standard modeling scale would be Z (or 1:200). This piece is in fact smaller than that. I highly recommend the Woodland Scenics Fine-Leaf Foliage that I used here.

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

This looks great. What type of paint do you use? Very brilliant. Is it an acrylic or tempera based or something else? Thanks for sharing. :-)

April 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Matt- Sorry for the late reply. I use acrylic. Easy to clean, dries quickly.

April 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

Looks a little tedious building such a small model, but the results are spectacular!

November 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRick Jaspers

I know there are many different sizes of strip styrene, but which size(s) would work best when trying to replicate what you have done? All of your models seem simple to do and top notch, visually.


February 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

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