I ordered a wonderful mook (magazine-style book) from Hobby Link Japan called "Old Days But Good Days" which is basically a series of larger scale dioramas featuring scratchbuilt figures. A majority of the models are set in the Showa era, 1950s and 1960s, although some are 1940s and some are modern, set after the Showa period... well, one of them is.
Here are some photos:
There's so much inspiration in here... I'll never be able to scratchbuild figures like that, but the dioramas themselves are certainly within my skill set... I love this book.
I would also like to thank my former Japanese teacher Yushin Toda for helping me search for Showa era photos on the net... why didn't I think of using a JAPANESE text rather than English? Baka! Thanks Yushin, my reference library just increased many, many times.