A Hidden Hobby

Hector Salazar spends his freetime designing and creating models to place his collection of Star Wars figures on. He views this as a hobby and also sells some of his models on Ebay.


Hector created this diorama to display action figures such as Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett in Jabba’s layer. This model sold on Ebay for $80.

Cristian Espinoza '16, Lifestyles Staff

Most teenagers see free time as an opportunity to get away from any kind of work and go out with friends, play video games, or play sports. However, Hector Salazar ‘16 takes a completely different approach to his free time. As a fanatic of the Star Wars series, Salazar takes time out of his day to design and construct dioramas from specific scenes in the movie.

Ever since he a kid, Salazar has been collecting Star Wars action figures and space ships. Soon, he became bored of just playing with no specific locations for his figures, so he was inspired to make these dioramas.

“For me though, my dioramas are more like environments that I’ve made to display my nerdy Star Wars collection,” said Salazar. “It started out with me wanting to make play sets and then as I got older I started making more display pieces and functional pieces too.”

Though dioramas can be basic designs and models, Salazar critically pays attention to detail and accuracy of each scene.

“I take a scene, research pictures from the movies from different angles and look for key details and what I want to definitely include in the piece. Then I think how I want to display it, what figures or vehicles I want to include,” said Salazar. “But, I like to think my models are never been completely finished. I want to make my model just like the movie, so I’ll add as I notice details that might be missing.”

Salazar’s models evolved as he grew up, as he would add much more complex functions. He would plan before he started his diorama to make his model as precise as possible. “If I want any functions, such as lights, then I draw a sketch or blueprint for it. Sometimes I figure out scale or just wing it, depends. Then I construct a base out of foam core board with a craft knife and hot glue gun. Then depending on what it is I’ll research materials and techniques to incorporate,” he said.

Though he makes his dioramas during the days when students are off school, it takes him a while to completely finish one project.

“It takes a few weeks to finish one project. Mostly just when I have time to work on it. I’ve done some frames in a day, but drying time and other things take a few days,” said Salazar.

Some of Salazar’s friends believe he spends too much time “playing with toys.” Luis Almanza ‘16 said, “I think Hector is a little too old for his toys and wastes his time.”

However, his friends overlook one key reason to why Salazar continues his projects. From the dozens of dioramas made, Salazar has auctioned his models on eBay and has sold a few to as much as $90.

“I was surprised when the buyer and other people asked me for more models,” said Salazar. “I love the attention I get for my hard work, and I determined cost based on materials and the total time I took to make [the diorama].”

Salazar describes this as one of his favorite hobbies. He hasn’t made a model since last year, but he said, “it was always like a fun thing to do and keep myself busy. I taught myself everything and developed my own techniques through trial and error.”

Salazar has learned a few lessons through making his dioramas. He believes that he can apply his techniques to real world situations. Salazar is also a swimmer and many people never thought he would be an artist.

“I think is unfortunate sometimes, like don’t be afraid to show how creative you are,” said Salazar. “Do what you like to do and who cares right? Plus, I made some money, taught myself a lot and had fun with it in the process.”

Salazar currently is debating on making a model from the newest release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to create a new model to display his collection of action figures