A diorama

Foxbat

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I was looking for an inexpensive way to improve my model painting skills (particularly a technique called 'dry brushing') so bought a set of cheap, plastic skeleton miniatures. I don't do tabletop gaming so, after I was done with them, they were just lying about. I decided to build a diorama for them (something I'd never done before) and went outside searching for materials. I gathered up some hedge cuttings, topsoil and a few lumps of cement (I'd recently been cementing my path). I had an old bit of polystyrene that I smeared some acrylic paste over. Then I built the diorama, primed it all and finally (and very roughly) gave it a lick of paint.

Here's the result.

IMG_5437.jpg


Now I'm thinking - if I can modify the skeletons to hold swords, get rid of the bases and find a suitable miniature that I can modify to look like Sinbad (or Jason), I could maybe try and recreate a famous film scene:)
 

Toby Frost

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You definitely should get a Jason for the diorama! The rocks scale really well with the models: they must be quite small but they look like boulders.

One thing I found really useful when painting bone was a product called Strong Tone, which is a sort of inky wash stuff. It's dark brown and settles into the spaces between the bones very well. It might be worth getting some: it brings out the details of the bones very well.
 

-K2-

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If I may... You could go to the effort of cutting off the bases, setting pins and so on, however, I would ask if you intend on the ground itself being some smooth, white-lava flow looking solid chunk of rock like we see the plaster? If not, consider laying down actual sand or soil, and then saturating it with a high water content glue (actually, Elmer's glue w/water thinning it water will work).

That will leave it shiny if you do nothing more. So, after you get the base contours, footprints, etc. fixed in that layer, then coat it again with slightly thicker glue, and cover it (by sprinkling on top of it) fresh soil/sand etc.. Naturally there is also the option of painting that initial layer to knock down the shine.

Be aware, organics in soil will continue to decompose, so if you do not use sand or similar, it could all ultimately come apart if simply using dirt.

K2
 

Foxbat

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Thanks for the comments and tips folks.

I've been looking at some videos regarding washes and whatnot and intend to try them sometime in the future. From what I've seen, they certainly do seem to enhance the detail.

Regarding the ground, to be honest, it was just thrown together quickly with whatever I had to hand. I didn't put a lot of thought into it but you're right, it is a bit smooth. I did indeed use a sprinkling of topsoil but I hoped that sealing it behind primer and paint might stop any decay. It's basically just a throwaway piece of practice so I'm not intending to keep it anyway. If I can find a Jason type figure, I will certainly put a lot more thought and care into the terrain:)
 

Toby Frost

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There's a chap called Rob Hawkins who has a blog where he makes dioramas. They're absolutely amazing (I think it's his job) but he has some tips that would be useful for anyone making scenery.

Rob Hawkins Hobby
 

SilentRoamer

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Hey guys,

I do (still do but nor anywhere near as much) a bit of model painting and I normally always create custom bases. So if you want any tips from another hobbyist then by all means ask. From looking at your diorama above I can offer some suggestions which will really quickly improve the overall look.

1. Liquid talent - otherwise known as shades. The easiest way to do this is just to really water down a paint so it is a wash and lightly brush the model. The paint should be watered enough to settle into the natural grooves on the model - wash the whole model. Depending on the quality of the model there may be edges and angles your eye fails to pick up as well as the paint. Then drybrush with your first colour, then more lightly with the lighter colour and then finally line edging with a paintbrush for the final highlights.

2. Adding colour depth - mentioned above but the diorama doesn't have any colour depth which removes realism, a good tip for painting rocks is to use a sponge to create a mottle effect, let the natural dips and hollows collect some paint, and also think about the shaping factors of how the diorama gets the way it did.

Anyways i'll try and post a few of my models when I get home (no skeletons though I'm afraid!)
 
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