scale diorama was built for the Brandon Research Centre, a division of
Agriculture Canada. Measuring 20 inches deep and 29 inches wide, it's an
educational model designed to show what a typical composting system looks
like and how it works, as well as demonstrate the benefits of the operation
and the quick turnaround time of decomposition by turning, churning and
aerating the material regularly. The miniature tractor with the "Wildcat"
turning machine, attached in the place of the tractor's excavating bucket,
runs around the centre pile of the model simulating the turning process
via a motorized chain drive system concealed beneath the diorama table.
The drive unit is activated by pressing the button on the front of the
model. The model is protected with a 1/4" thick plexiglass case, transparent
on all sides and the top for maximum viewing.
behind the miniature trees is a printed photo of the Brandon Research Centre
and surrounding grounds. This "cyclorama" was actually photographed from
my own balcony, which just happens to provide best view possible!
views show the model with the plexiglass cover removed for photographic
purposes. The compost heap at rear simulates the various bits of grass
and hay which is abundant in the unprocessed compost pile. The centre pile,
which is being turned, is darker and more advanced in it's decomposition.
The foreground pile, shown as a cutaway, represents a fully decomposed
and finished pile, ready for use as fertilizer. The working surface of
the model is correctly sloped to show how excess water can run off into
trenches surrounding the paddock, allowing this runoff to enter a
nearby pond (on the right of the model, simulated with transparent resin)
via a drainage pipe with a one-way valve.
John Deere tractor, modified slightly from a commercially available three
inch long toy with the scratchbuilt "Wildcat" turning machine getting ready
for another run. The wheel on the end of the outrigger can swivel just
like the real thing as the tractor swings around each turn.
turning tines which operate much like a garden roto tiller are simulated
here with a folding mechanism which allows the model to simulate the turning
process when running over the compost piles, since it would be impossible
to actually have the model work like the real thing. This is as close as
it can get in a miniature simulation.
of the separate diesel engine and the "works" which run the turning machine,
simulated here with bits of styrene plastic and cannibalized model kit
parts. Not including the outrigger arm, the completely scratch built model
of this "Wildcat" machine is a mere 2.5 inches wide!
The two photos
below show how the Wildcat "cheat" folding mechanism works. The tines assembly
and the rear dust skirt are lightly hinged at the top and allow the simulated
compost to pass underneath as the tractor is pulled along the slotted path.
The four shots shown below were
taken in direct sunlight for more realism. The other shots above were taken
in a studio setting with even but unnatural lighting, but does a better
job of showing detail.
the trees and shrubs, a 3/4 inch long "Space: 1999" Eagle Transporter explores
the forest behind the farm.... Just a little "in" joke!
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