Scott's Product Development for The Franklin Mint:

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1930s John Deere Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

In 2001 I had the opportunity and pleasure of working on several projects for The Franklin Mint. This was about one year before they went out of business and unfortunately, none of the projects I worked on went into production.

Below are drawings I created for a 1930s John Deere Factory Assembly Plant diorama. This was a very large project that I was looking forward to seeing in production. It was also a very challenging project because the only reference I had to work from were a few copies of old B&W photographs taken in the office and work shop areas of a '40s John Deere factory. But the most interesting and difficult to work with reference I had was a video tape of a 1930s promotional film the John Deere Company produced that showed how their tractors were built. The detail images were often short and blurry, so it left me making guestimations on many items.

The diorama was to have six, 6-inch stations that depicted the construction of a John Deere tractor from the foundry stage where castings are being made to the final paint room. To create the illusion of depth, the back wall panel of each station showed a forced perspective of a different part of a plant. The foreground had items that would be found in that particular station of assembly, such as in the engine assembly area with machine tools and figures doing work. The final part of the project was the build-up of a tractor.

Every part, panel, and figure had to be designed and illustrated. The stand alone items had to be illustrated to scale with actual dimensions. I also created a facade for what the back side, or "front" of the assembly plant looked like so that the entire diorama would look finished from the front and back.

I'll be adding more images to this section soon.

Click the images to see a larger version. The larger image shows much more of each illustration.


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John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* This shows the front wheels being installed as part of the tractor build-up.





John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* This shows the engine assembly area with workers balancing the engine's two huge pistons.





John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* This is another part of the tractor build-up with a worker installing the radiator. The '30s plants had air wrenches that hung from the ceiling that were suspended from a common I-beam that ran across the front of each station. This allowed us to suspend things to add more dimension.





John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* This was how the stand alone pieces were designed. The sculptors in the Orient would create patterns based on the illustrations we supplied to them.





John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* This a 50-gallon oil drum with a hand crank pump. I was able to glean details like this from the video reference.





John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* Somewhere in the video reference I saw a pallet with tractor front tires, so we added it to the final assembly area.





John Deere 1930s Factory Assembly Plant Diorama

* Another period detail, a wooden box with simple hand tools.



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