With the science festival now days away, I wanted to mock a simple Dr Who diorama which I will be doing workshops based on. The images where courtesy of AFT Downloads, their diorama decals are free to download and print out.
I printed out the 1st Doctor’s Tardis interior, stuck the walls onto A4 card, stuck two pieces of card together for the floor. Cut out the monitor, light box and Tardis console. Folded them to make their shapes and here are the results, I have added a contact lens container and placed it upside down on top of the console as an added extra.
As you can see a quick and easy Dr Who diorama but I recommend using a laser printer or you will go through a lot of ink.
I have cut a square base of 62″, cut two further pieces of foam board for back wall, standing at 15″ x 62″. Across the back the wall I have constructed a raised platform for the Daleks roll across, I have also marked out an exit along that wall.
The left wall at present, I have cut out another entrance which I will build upon. The idea is I will build out the wall making a walk way above and it will be a tunnel entrance. I have marked the floor with how far I think it will come out.
Building up the left side, creating the basic structure for the left entrance tunnel which will also ave a walkway above it. Cutting a length of 10 mm foam board which will be the new entrance running from the side of the black walkway to the end of the floor, cutting two side panel for stability and a top piece to act as the walkway. With the top piece I have added two notches which (when I cut the holes) will slot into the side the wall.
I have placed two lengths in the corner to see what get an idea about placing a corner tower with a balcony, to which a Dalek can sit and over look the room.
I have placed magnetic strips to the base of each of the two walls and to the corresponding edges of the base piece, this is to make this diorama flat pack able. I then cut three strips of 6mm foam board which I have used to create the tunnel for the left hand entrance.
Two corresponding wholes where cut into the left wall which match up with the notches of the walkway, another piece of 6mm foam board was cut and placed onto the walkway to strengthen that section under the weight of the figures placed on it.
I cut a notch out of the walkway along the back wall for the left hand tunnel section to fit in. The rear door way was also cut out along with two 6mm door frames for both entrances into the diorama. Two long 10mm pieces of foam board where cut to create the central tower between each walkway, with a door cut out leading onto each level.
With the all the main pieces cut, it was time to start developing and shaping them. I started with the central tower, taking a compass and marking a quarter circle to the top corner. I cut out the circles, sanding the them down and when combined together the tower now has a domed top. Taking my carving tools I marked out paneling on either side, glued on the door frames, glued both pieces together. A strip of magnetic tape was fixed to the edge of the tower and the another strip glued to the corresponding wall of the diorama.
The Back Wall
The walkway which runs the length of the back wall was glued into place and the back wall had panels and a couple of Dalek style consoles etched onto it.
I wanted to have a couple of windows that run the length of the walkway. I started to etch into the 10mm foam, three windows but when I had finished I was not happy with the way they looked. I wanted the windows to standout because I will be placing images of space into them therefore to accomplish what I had in mind, I cut a piece of 6mm foam and used it to build up the three windows.
A strip of 10mm foam board was cut into the shape of a hand rail, using a piece of sand paper I rounded the front edges.
Finally I cut 3 pieces of 6mm foam board were cut placed on the front walkway extension to look like supports for the walk way. Then paneling and consoles where etched into the front.
A couple of pieces of foam pieces where stuck together and cut into a hexagon and markings etched onto it. It was glued onto a plinth, where a hole was cut into the base for plinth to stand in.
With all the pieces built and markings etched into them the build of this diorama is completed and now ready to be painted.
Starting to paint
With the building work completed it was time to start painting this, I first gave all the walls a coat of black paint. I have learnt from working with this type of insulation board that you can not use ordinary spray paints to cover vast areas, you need to use watered down acrylic paint or in this case a can of chalkboard spray paint. I find this type of black spray paint, it doesn’t dissolve the foam board as a can of Humbrol acrylic spray does. Once the walls and walkway were sprayed, I used a white spray paint to coat the floor.
Once this had dried I mixed up a very light grey acrylic diluted with water, then taking a sponge I went over all the areas I required it on.
Then taking my airbrush where I had mixed up a orange/green/silver mix, I sprayed over the recently grey painted area’s. With the base coated completed I can now start building upon this.
After leaving it over night to dry, I placed it back together to get an idea on how that nights work looked and where to take it from there.
With the base coat dry, I began painting random wall panels using a combination of silver, gold, light and Gun Metal grey. While they were drying I airbrushed the console, the walkway and windows with a rose gold.
The edges around the walkway were airbrushed silver along with the frame work for the walkway, the doors and a light coat around the windows. The front of the console was given a coat of gold and then dry brushed with black.
Taking a step, I realised that there were areas were you could still the blue of the foam board. With this in mind I painted the back of the tower, the side of the walkway which I had left black and walls the tower covered using a combination of grey acrylic with water and applied it to the areas using a sponge. Once that was done I gave the floor a second coat.
Leaving those to dry, I turned my attention back to the walls and walkway, touching up the areas needed, painting the Daleks consoles, circles and monitors. The front of the walkway I gave a second coat of silver, this time bring it round to the side, painting the newly marked out panels which I had missed. All the doors got a second coat of silver and the windows by the walkway I have painted them black for now, with the plan of applying space imagery decals to them.
All that is left to do is paint the back of the walls black, apply the decals and weather this diorama.
I was looking at this diorama and something just didn’t look right about it. It was the floor, to me it did not match flat against the everything. After watching a LOT of Dr Who recently to get inspiration for this project, you will notice (especially with the recent series’s) that everything is metallic and shiny. With that in mind I decided to not to weather this build except for the air vents, then using my airbrush I gave the floor a coat of rose gold to bring it in line with the rest of the structure.
At first I was uncertain of it until the paint dried and Daleks where placed within. You will see further down with what I mean!
While the floor was drying I then set to painting the backs of both the walls, with this being a single sided diorama, the backs of the walls were painted with a watered down solution of black acrylic paint. This stops the blue foam bleed through when light is been shown from the back. To help applying the paint I used a sponge to spread the paint evenly across the surfaces.
With the painting now completed I can now start adding accessories within to set the scene. I have a broken Dalek figure which I am going to customise to make it look like Dalek Caan from the episode “Journey’s End”
You will see from the pictures below the updated floor and the Dalek in question I will be using.
Customizing a Dalek
As I stated above I want to customize a broken Dalek into Dalek Caan from “Journey’s End” episode.
Using my rotary took to cut the Daleks helmet off. I then cut the middle out of the grill section and glued the grill section back on top of the Dalek. Using the rotary tool to slice the removable front section in half, sanded it down and glued the sections to the front of the body as they do in the TV series.
Using hot glue and a toothpick to make the tendrils surrounding the Dalek’s mutant form. I used the toothpick to manipulate the hot glue around the body.
The pedestal Caan sits on is made from insulation foam board. With four extra parts cut to stand at each corner and made to look like vents. Painted with a dark metallic gold paint.
A bronze chain purchased from GreenStuff world was used to wrap over Caan and glued into place at each corner of the pedestal. Cables were with then fitted into the Dalek head, running down its body and fitted into the four vent posts.
The finished piece
With my custom Dalek Caan finished, the decals of outer space placed in the windows and the decals in the two small monitors, I think this diorama is now complete and ready for next weekends Bradford Science Festival.
I recently acquired the 1994 Hasbro Stargate figures based on the film which gave me inspiration for my latest diorama. I wanted to build the scene where O’Neil and his team first walk through the Stargate and end up on Abydos. I would create the stone steps, back wall and a pair of pillars at the base of the step but first I would need to either make or purchase a Stargate as centre piece for the diorama.
I found a seller on eBay who sells 3D prints of a Stargate for a descent price, if you would like one I can point you in their direction. I gave the Stargate a white base coat, then a black spray coat. This was necessary to to get into all the nooks within the 3D print. I applied two coats of gun metal grey over the entire ring, yellow for the lights and then dry brushed black over the complete Stargate.
To build the altar which the Stargate is situated on, I will be using 10 mm foam board. I have cut 6 pieces to see how it would look, to go either side of the Stargate with a couple of smaller cuts for the steps leading to the gate.
The front three pieces I cut them down to 2.5 inch in depth and glued them together, the three rear pieces were cut down t 2 inch in depth. I then cut out six 7 inch by 2 inch, these were used as side pieces of the altar, sandwiching the now two pieces and the Stargate in between them. The four sections were sanded and then glued together. Using 5 mm foam board cut into strips on decreasing thickness, these were used as the steps leading up to the Stargate.
A single piece of 5 mm foam board was cut into encompass bottom of the glued sections with a small section at the front jutting out to act as the bottom step. Using hot glue, the base and the stairs were fitted into place and the whole altar was sanded down. Next I carved stone slabs into the surface of the altar adding cracks to slabs and on the front, either side of the stairs. A couple of ‘L’ shaped pieces of foam were cut and placed either side of the gap where the Stargate is going to act as braces for the Stargate ring.
With altar built a base coat of made up of grey and burnt umber which was spread over the entire altar. To lighten the altar, I made up a medium grey mixed with blue and using my airbrush, sprayed an even coat over the altar and then a light grey/blue mix was then sprayed evenly over. Once dry I went over all cracks and gaps between the slabs with a medium grey/blue.
With the alter complete I can now start to concentrate on the walls surrounding the altar, in the mean time a couple of pictures of the complete altar next to Diamond Selects 7″ O’Neil and Teal’C figures. Yes this diorama was not made them lol.
I purchased a sheet of calm water from www.greenstuffworld.com, cut it to the size of my Stargate. Using my airbrush I sprayed a base layer of blue/green then worked in a lighter blue/green and white for the center.
Up against a dark background I was slightly taken back with how the Wormhole effect had come out.
I’ve started a new G.I. Joe commission 4 x 600 x 600 terrain tiles with a bunker, which I’ve been asked to style it on the Imperial bunker from Star Wars ROTJ. To get the design right for the bunker I’m going completely back to basics. Drawing out the design to scale before going straight to foam. I had realized with the drawing, it’s smaller than I had wanted. I will have to scale it out by at least 2 inches on either side and increase its height by an inch and half.
I have cut two of the tiles required and for scale I’ve placed Snake Eyes next them.
After spending time looking at the design, not only am I extending the bunker on either side but using bringing it forward to. Using my original thought as a porch entrance as you can see in the 3D mock up picture (not to scale!).
Now I have the design, next phase will be creating.
For this phase of the project I will be focusing on the bunker which is built using foam board. Using 5 mm foam board to create the frame around the tunnel leading into the bunker, behind each of them is two layers of 10 mm foam board.
For the front wall of the bunker I have carved in grills into either side of the wall, a two step porch roof added.
After looking at this I decided to add another layer of 5 mm board placed in between the tunnel and front wall, with holes cut out to display grills. This will also act as a frame for the front wall.
While trying to workout the layout and design for the inside of the bunker, I cut two pieces of 10 mm foam board to the height of the front wall and 4 inches deep. These will be the walls to the bunker, then a piece of 5 mm board which will act as the floor to the bunker.
For both side walls, I’ve cut in 11 grills at half an inch thick. Once I cut through the foam, I then scored around each rectangle with a thicker blade, pressed in the top length of each rectangle, punching them in at angle.
Cut out two frames to go around each side wall, both pieces were fitted into the front wall.
The roof was cut along with two foam circles before all the pieces were placed together and sculpted into shape.
The work started with gluing all the external pieces together, sanding them down before attaching each section of the walls together. After each wall had all their parts stuck and formed, I turned my attention to the door of the bunker.
Using a piece of 5mm foam board I cut a cross section and then glued that onto another piece of 5mm board, surrounded it with a boarder. The using 2 pieces of 10mm board to create a runner for door, this was glued to the length of the back of the front wall. The door can slide the full length of the wall.
Before finishing off the main wall, I turned my attention engraving the insides of the side walls. Drawing inspiration from the 80’s G.I. Joe cartoon and the interiors used for Cobra’s hideouts/bases/lairs, using this type of style to carve in paneling into each wall along with an 80’s style tape recorder.
Work began making the final wall match the décor of the other two walls. To start with I cut another piece of foam which would fit on the right side. This stops the door from being able to slide across both sides. With that piece in place I scored the same style of pattern across both untouched pieces of foam and across the pelmet that runs the length of the wall.
What is left to be done with the bunker is:
• As detail to the floor.
• The roof circles need the Cobra insignia applying to them.
• Paint and fixing all pieces together.
The final section of this build completed, floor panels have been etched into the foam all the remains is to sand the floor ready to be painted.
I have done a little work on the roof to which it now matches style of the bunker, I need to cast a couple of Cobra logo’s which will stuck on top of each of the circular vents. This can be done after I have started to paint bunker.
This weekend I have been busy painting the bunker, first applying a black undercoat to all pieces. Once they were dry, a grey coat was added over the top. A coat of desert sand to border of the side walls, the front wall and front porch. Gun metal grey was used on the door, the dome vents and the wall vents followed with silver dry wash over the wall vents. Unfortunately, the floor started to disintegrate, the exposed foam reacted very badly with the black spray paint. I cut another piece of 10 mm foam, then cut the original scored tiles form the other piece, painted them silver and stuck them down on top of the new piece.
On the inside, I painted individual panels with a combination of grey/silver/gun metal grey then a silver dry wash over the top. The more I looked at it the more I was not happy with the look, instead of looking metallic the inside look was dull and grey.
Taking my airbrush I gave all the walls a gold wash after going over some of the tiles and made the colours bolder. The gold wash lightened up the walls, giving it the 80’s cartoon feel I was looking for.
With all the pieces painted and dry, it was time to glue all pieces together before doing the final touches to the bunker.
Using my airbrush I sprayed a dark grey wash over the floor and the bottom half of the bunker to weather it.
While this was drying, I took the mould I had made for the Cobra Stun hubcaps and cast two more, once dried I painted them in dark gunmetal grey and red for the Cobra logo. These were then glued to the dome vents on top of the roof.
With the bunker complete I can now start on the four 600 x 600 tiles.
Before I start work on the terrain tiles, I wanted to add a helicopter pad which could be added to one of the tiles. Made from two pieces of 10 mm foam board, the bottom rectangle piece with one inch squares carved across the surface. the top circle nine inch diameter across with one diameter boarder carved into it, along with a “H”. Both pieces glued together, with a grey base coat which was built up with grey/silver coat, silver for the top ring, green surrounding the “H” and white for the “H”.
The original commission was to create four 600 x 600 squares, with the bunker and helipad done I can spend time building these. An idea is to have a border going a round two of the four edges, this way the tiles could be rearranged to suite the users needs. At present only two of the four are cut with borders drawn into them to see how they would look and with the bunker and helipad loosely added to them before a layer of sand is added to each.
I’ve cut the other two terrain tiles and been in talks with my client on how he wants them set up. We’ve agreed that the bottom two tiles will have a sand texture across 3/4 of them while a 8″ width road runs across them. The helipad will be glued into pace and surrounded by sand, while the bunker will not be glued (due to shipping) but also will be sat on sand. A two inch border with run along the edges of two sides of each tile.