The Research

The first part of this project was the research. The idea to build a crime scene had been hatched in a couple different conversations with my favorite miniaturist over the course of a couple different years. The first ideas were bits of macabre little brainstorming, discussing how odd scenes of tragedy are when they are modeled. I’ve played with some very small scenes of horrific happenings, working in 1:144 scale. It’s hard to convey the information or, more importantly, make something of educational value when it’s that small, though. I played with a scene of a bear attack (it’s what I had on hand). Limited use when the bears are less than 1/4″ tall.

I started doing web research to find a good case to model that has solid lessons for criminal investigators, the market I chose to appeal to. There is a fair amount of information on crime available on the interwebs, fair people. Enough to choke you. I spent weeks pouring over the most horrific aspects of human interactions. Just how bad can people be to each other? Pretty bad.

The one thing notable for web based crime information is that incomplete nature of it. Laws exist in most places that protect victims and keep information out of the public view that are pertinent to trials. In order to construct the kind of educational tableau I was looking for, I’d need access to as much information as possible. Complete case files are notoriously difficult to come by if you don’t have the access of, say, a district attorney or the FBI. Or someone with a bunch of FOI requests and the time to pursue.

The crime scene I chose to model is the murder of three people, Colette, Kristen and Kimberly MacDonald. Through a variety of web sources, virtually the entire case file is available on the internet. Crime scene photos, maps of the home, evidence reports, interviews, courtroom testimony…


This is my collection in its infancy. It continues to grow as I read more and find more details pertinent to this project. My poor printer. And not just mine.

With the research well underway, construction begins.

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