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Project Notes

#638 Man Overboard

A little 1:700 diorama in a walnut featuring a little drama while mooring a Mitsubishi F1M2 observation seaplane. Part of the Just Making Conversation podcast Walnut Challenge group build. No electronics in this one.



The Walnut Challenge

The Walnut Challenge is organised by James and Malcolm of the Just Making Conversation podcast. Essentially:

Make a diorama entirely inside of your Walnut. Opening the walnut will reveal your work. Closing the walnut will hide what is inside.

It sounded like a very niche idea, but amazingly at the time of writing, there are 89 members of the facebook group and at least a dozen finished builds.

Man Overboard

Basic concept: The diorama features an F1M2 Pete being met by a tender. Someone was a bit careless and one of the crew is going overboard. Unfortunately, there’s a shark lurking below.

To fit that all inside a walnut, I’m using 1:700 scale parts salvaged from spares or scratch.

The F1M2 Pete model is from the Waterline Series W Sprue. The W sprue that is found in a number 1:700 ship subjects from Japanese manufacturers - I think I got mine from a Tamiya kit.

The Mitsubishi F1M “Type Zero Observation Seaplane” (零式水上観測機) (Allied name “Pete”) was a Japanese reconnaissance floatplane, and the last biplane type of the Imperial Japanese Navy. F1M2 is the two-seat production variant.

The boat/tender also came from the W sprue. Oars are left-overs from an old PE set.

The figures come from the amazingly detailed North Star Models 1/700 IJN Navy Pilot 3D Figures set

The shark is fashioned from some spare PE.


Preparing some walnuts, these are medium size.


Getting an idea of the staging..


Hinges are made from some electronic component lead offcuts, epoxied into the shell halves.


Some grout is used to make the beach and sea floor.


PE shark and priming some figures and the boat..


The F1M2 Pete, with an custom PE prop.


Painting the seafloor and preparing the jungle..


A first resin pour to make the water, parts ready for assembly.


First assembly:


Not too happy with this - the rope is a single strang from a white cotton thread, but still looks huge at this scale!


With some 1:700 white rigging to replace the cotton. A much more believable rope?

build04a build04b build04c

Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.