Most modellers in the west, when building dioramas and display bases are pretty-well catered-for in terms of buildings and diorama clutter. Resin accessory sets from the likes of Verlinden can supply items such as street lights and cobble streets.
Newer companies such as MiniArt produce ruined buildings and scenic bases in plastic for reasonable prices. You can basically cater for anywhere in the world using accessory sets intended for military models... except Japan.
My intention is to build several Showa era diorama bases for the cars... but what to use?
Luckily Arii comes to the rescue again. Some time ago they produced a series of models called "Memorial Showa Diorama". There were basically around three separate, distinct scenes, but Arii simply mixed and matched the parts to produce a lot more. Among the more memorable items are a telephone box, post box, a small tobacco shop front, a big torii, and traffic lights, all from the 1950s-1960s era.
Here are a couple of these sets:
Lately Arii have combined several of their smaller car kits with the dioramas to produce ready-made scenes, but they have left out such items as the trees and grass flocking.
The dioramas were well-made and really give the feeling of another era. Luckily I still have a few and bought some more with cars, so I have plenty of parts such as wooden fencing and post boxes, lamps, etc.
Luckily they have omitted the worst parts of the models - the figures. They were terrible!
Another improvement is the replacement of printed paper markings with proper decals... a major step forward.
For more rural settings we can call on Aoshima, and their Edo and Warring States periods diorama sets. I only have the Edo set, and, like the Arii sets they are a mix of great structures and awful figures.
In this set we have items such as a lean-to, benches, some gate-posts and a soba noodle stall, plus things like bowls and chopsticks, wooden buckets and even a tree stump. Also supplied are some fluffy fibre for foliage, some flocking material, thin dowel and thread for fence-posts. There is also a substantial, if featureless vac-formed base.
The set supplies a lot of goodies for those countryside roads and dirt-roads to some creepy village where mysteries can be uncovered... sorry, too many episodes of "Trick".
This is the set I have:
Anyway, these models are really the only readily available sources for Japanese diorama parts, at least in this scale.
In 1/24 it's a different matter - Fujimi go out of their way to produce all manner of items for modern day Japanese cars, from telephone boxes to traffic lights, from Japanese road signs to pavement barriers.
Once the Mazda has been completed I will work on a display base and the Toyota Publica in tandem.