How to Build a Model of the Circus Maximus

Written by liz tomas
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How to Build a Model of the Circus Maximus
Foam is frequently used in modelling. (model iii image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com)

Circus Maximus was the largest stadium in ancient Rome. It was an entertainment venue where people watched chariot races, gladiator fights and other sports. The track was created in 329 B.C. The race ground was rebuilt three times after fire destroyed the wooden structures around the track. After the last fire, the stadium was rebuilt using marble. Circus Maximus had its last race in 549. All that can be seen today is the grassy interior; the marble was dismantled and used in other buildings.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Foam
  • Model base
  • Knife or wire cutting tool
  • Wood glue
  • Picture of Circus Maximus
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Dirt

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine the scale of the model. This is best done by determining the size of the track. Pick a piece of wood that is of the desired size. The dimensions of the Circus Maximus track was 2,000 by 660 feet. Keep this scale when creating the track. So a 1/1,000 scale would be a track that is 2 feet long by 8 inches wide. Choose your desired dimensions, keeping the ratio of the length to width the same as the original stadium.

  2. 2

    Draw the track and the placement of the buildings. With the track positioned so the long side runs from left to right, draw the placement of the gate and the royal boxes. The gate was to the far left side of the track and spanned the width of the track. Place the royal box along the top wall, about 8 inches from the gate, if you use the scaled dimension from step 1. The royal box covered both tiers of seats. The rest of the stadium was enclosed by spectator stands. There were two main tiers of spectator stands. Refer to the picture of Circus Maximus to help with the placement of the structures.

  3. 3

    Build the rough structures of the Circus Maximus. Styrofoam is one of the easiest materials to use to sculpt structures. Sculpt the gates and the royal box from one piece of styrofoam. Sculpt the spectator stands in sections. Some pieces will be straight, but you need two sections that curve for the ends of the ovals. You can use a knife, but a hot wire foam cutter will produce the best results. Do not worry about detail, just form the basic shape of each piece.

  4. 4

    Add the details to your rough structures. The amount of detail you add will depend on how intricate you want the model to be. Keep the objects mainly as shapes or carve in all of the seats and windows. This can be time-consuming and is not recommended for beginners. Beginners can paint the details later.

  5. 5

    Glue the styrofoam pieces together and to the board. Wood glue is best. Make sure the glue has completely dried.

  6. 6

    Paint the styrofoam. If you have left the structures as rough shapes, paint in all of the windows and other details. Apply a base coat, then dry brush to create the texture of marble. Paint in all of the details. Add lines for the seats. Paint the windows and other decorations. The amount of detail you choose to add is up to you.

  7. 7

    Paint or spread dirt down for the interior of the stadium. Use sandy dirt to create a realistic ground.

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