Meet Pedro: The Rally Diorama Enthusiast

Pedro Gonçalves is a Technical Colour Seperation Artist from Trofa, Portugal and in his spare time he found a passion for moulding dioramas of Rally moments out of household materials. I first came across his work during my many hours of browsing Reddit and was instantly impressed by the level of detail and time that had gone into making the dioramas, so I dropped him a message and asked him a few questions about them:

So, Pedro, how did you get into building dioramas?

“Well, I always loved to build stuff, I studied at art school and as well as painting and photography, building models was one of my passions. I look at dioramas like a 3D photo and that fascinates me. Here at home, I’m the ‘go to guy’ for the kids’ science projects, when there is something to do there, I am making it.

My first diorama was a Roman Aqueduct that my daughter had to make for a history project, and I built it brick by brick realistically and actually functioning, the teacher was so impressed she kept it on display for a full year. That got me into learning more techniques to make more complex Dioramas and even more realistic.”

And what materials do you use to make these dioramas?

“I try to only use materials that I have lying around the house, experimenting with what I have to get the most realistic feel as possible, discovering different textures to apply. Also using natural things, like rocks, sand, wood and some plants. I make my moulding paste using just paper, glue, and baking flour. I love to work this way, the less I have to buy the better!

Not only that, but I like to challenge myself, it’s also a good opportunity to teach my children how to reuse what we don’t need. Furthermore, I study as many tutorials as I can, and then it’s a lot of trial and error to get these results. Of course, every diorama is different. It takes a bit of planning, studying techniques, experimenting the textures then building.”

What made you choose Rally as the subject of your dioramas?

“I’m a rally enthusiast as most Portuguese are! It’s one of our national pride. I love the action of the drift and to see the dust clouds in the air, feel the sound of the engines as the cars fly by. That’s what I try to capture in my dioramas, when someone looks at them, they can hear and feel that moment as if it was really happening.

To see the look of that dirty car picking up mud and dust with rocks flying around, seeing that flying car with the suspension bending the wheels, I try to make those feelings into a Diorama. I don’t want people just to look and say that’s cool, I want them to look and imagine themselves at that moment seeing that happening. But I also do other kinds of dioramas, war scenes, castles and a bit of everything.”

Have you been to any Rally events?

“Yeah, I mostly go to local rally events but it’s a tradition that when we get the chance to have WRC Rally de Portugal, my friends get together and we go to a famous stage in Fafe which is actually the jump scene Diorama that I made. It’s a big and long jump, and we go the night before, camp there and just party until the cars start passing by. It’s just fantastic! But I really like the local events, there more passion for the sport in my opinion, the display of our home-made cars, and watching them race as if it was a WRC event.”

What are your favourite Rally memories?

“My favourite rally memory I must say is watching as a kid, the crowds of people standing in the middle of the road waiting until the last moment to run to the side. Going to my father’s hometown and standing on the side, I remember clearly just hearing the engine sound, and everyone just running to the middle of the road. Really cool.

I love the old cars of the 70s and 80s. Being my favourite Lancia Stratos HF, it’s a stunning car just to look, but the Audi Quattro S1, Toyota Celica GT-Four. That whole era, the brute power in those cars is just mind-blowing.

In Portugal, we actually have very good rally drivers, the most famous being Armindo Araújo, who I am a great fan of. At the moment, however, I have to say my favourite is Sebastien Loeb, but both drivers have a very humble beginning in the sport, they are extremely talented and have extraordinary driving skills.”

If you would like to see more of Pedro’s work, you can do at his facebook page:

[This was originally posted in February 2021 on]

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