I was recently contacted and asked to make a street light as a bolt on to a clients existing diorama . The street light is made from 6 mm foam board strips, the centres sanded out for the LED’s cable. I glued the two strips together, sanded it down giving it shape. Repeating the same process with corner and the lights neck. A small piece of foam cut for the light cover and using a small plastic tube to complete the street light.
I have also been asked to make a removable base for the light. Using both 6 & 10 mm foam boards, glued together and paving stones etched in the foam with a cable run drilled through the foam. I might redo this base to make sure the light fits slots into it more securely.
I decided in the end to completely remake the base, I was just not happy with it. The new one is double the size of the original with a hole big enough for the streetlight to sit securely in it with a cable run drilled in between the two layers of foam board. Pavement flags and curb stones where etched into the board, then damage was applied to the flags.
Satisfied with how this turned out, I applied the first coat of paint to the streetlight and base.
When the base coat had dried I went over the paving slabs with a light blue/grey, the curb using a light grey. Taking a fine brush I painted in between each slab and crack with a dark brown. I dry brushed a dark grey over all the cracks, the tarmac at the back and the edges of the curb. Using a thin brush to dab black into all of the cracks, dry brushed black over the tarmac at the back, dry brushed white over each of the paving slabs to complete the base of this piece.
While this was drying I turned my attention onto the lamppost, painting the bottom and the neck join using the light blue grey, then the rest of it with a light brown, with a coat of metallic silver cover it.
After it had dried, I was not overly happy with how it looked so I mixed up a lighter brown and went back over it. While it was still wet I added a light coat of white and blended it in.
I turned my attention back to the base and dry brushed white across the entire surface and edges, the effect I have to say I am rather proud with how it turned out!
Turning back to the lamppost I dry brushed a light grey over the body and neck, followed by white then finishing dry brushing black over the entire post.
With lamppost finished, I have put both pieces together and here it is. I will be putting up my usual final pictures soon.
After completing the last Church Ruin I was asked to build another. As you can see I’ve started work on the outer walls and floor.
As you can see I have marked out the tall windows, the door and the brick work on floor and back wall.
The long windows, where cut out and sanded down using my rotary tool, the doorway was also removed. A piece of 6mm black foam board was cut for the archway to the door.
As with the previous Church Ruin diorama I made, I cut a piece of 6 mm foam board to fit over the wall and then cut out three arches which will house the three tall windows. I cut a couple of 10″ x 1″ strips of 6 mm to go either side of the window, 1″ x 1″ brick work were etched into these strips before applying damage to them. All the pieces were glued to together before cutting the top down as I did in the previous model.
The back wall as with the former I etched in 1″ x 1″ brick work before marking and cutting the top of the wall off as I did before. Like the before all the broken pieces will be reused as rubble for the final piece.
The right wall I have built it similar to it’s predecessor, using a combination of 10mm and 6mm foam board. I marked out and carved 1″ x 1″ brick work on this wall. Glued a 1″ x 8″ pelmet over the door which I will be taking my rotary tool too like, marking out 2 x 0.2″ top and bottom border. Taking a sharp knife I removed pieces from the top corners which will be used as rubble to scatter round this piece, damage was applied to the brick work similar to the last piece.
With the floor I marked out slabs of 3″ x 4″. I then stuck a piece of 6 mm black foam board 3.5″ x 8″, glued it down to the far right corner. This is to be the entrance to the room, I carved out 2″ x 3″ slabs on it.
After spending the past couple of months doing nothing but Doctor Who sets, I thought it was about time to do something different. This series of dioramas I wanted to a quick, simple but effective models which can be used for any five inch or bigger figures.
To start this series off I have gone with a room in a ruined church, using the same basic size as my Apartment Room 2 diorama I did last year. To start I cut a the base piece of foam board 8″ x 15″, then starting with the left wall I cut a piece 8″ x 11.5″. I wanted this to be a tall medieval window, I marked out three tall long windows and then cut them out. Taking some black 6 mm foam board I cut a piece out to match the display size of the last the piece, marked out three arches that would go round each of the three windows and glued that onto the first piece. Two long strips of 10″ x 1″ where then glued to either side of this wall, brick work was then carved into these two pieces. To give it the ruined look, I marked out where I wanted to cut pieces out, cut into the foam and then ripped out the unwanted pieces.
The middle wall was done but cutting a piece of 10 mm foam foam board to 11″ x 15″, marking out each brick as 1″ x 1″, carving them out then putting in cracks in the bricks, weathering them before taking big chunks out of the top of the wall like I did with the window.
With the floor I marked out slabs of 3″ x 4″ then treated them as I did with the middle wall. I then stuck a piece of 6 mm black foam board 2.5″ x 8″, glued it down to the far right corner. This is to be the entrance to the room, I carved out 2″ x 2.5″ slabs on it and then weathered this to match the other.
The right wall I cut out an arched door and like the window opposite, using a piece of black 6 mm foam board I cut out an arch way to go around the door. I marked out and carved 1″ x 1″ brick work on this wall. Glued a 1″ x 8″ pelmet over the door, marking out 2 x 0.2″ top and bottom border, taking my rotary tool and sanded out the middle. This wall like the others I cut out chunks of the wall to give it the ruined effect.
Using the cut away sections from the walls, I have placed them around this diorama to add to the ruined effect.
I cut a couple pieces of bolsa wood to used for the doorway, marking out and scoring in slates of wood. Using a wooden coffee stirrer, I cut it up and used it to make the door hinges.
First coat of paint has been applied, a light grey/brown acrylic mix has been used to cover the entire of the inside of the scene. A dark brown for the inside of the door.
Waiting on a delivery of magnetic tape, it was time to start painting this. A base coat of a light grey mixed with a little brown over the entire dio. Brown for the base coat of the door.
When it dried, a second coat added to exposed first layer of foam board walls. A darker grey was used on the floor, large wall and the side walls 2nd and 3rd foam board layers. Dark brown wash over the floor and areas of the walls for weathering.
The magnets are in place to hold the walls in together. I’ve used magnetic strip for the bottom of the walls and small magnets placed into the corners to keep the walls together.
For the door I have made a door handle, two bolts and rivets for the hinges out of green stuff. When it has cured I’ve given them a coat of black gloss and when dry I will age them.
To add to the scene I have scattered small piles of scenic ballast around floor.
I went over the black gloss and the ballast with a light grey wash to weather them and match the surroundings. With all of this done, this diorama is now complete.
Here are a few extra pictures showing that this diorama can be used for multiple action figure genre’s.
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 tweaked the back wall a bit because I was not happy with it. I took a second print out of the wall, cut out supports, cutting out strips of 5 mm foam board. The foam board was stuck onto the was and the cut out supports were the stuck onto the foam board. The monitor was glued into place on the wall, another light box was cut out and fitted to the other side of the wall.
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 back, I realised that there were areas where you could still the blue of the foam board. 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 Doctor 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 have dedicated my Dalek Lair diorama to the museum as apart of the Doctor Who theme of the festival. I have been told it is going to used in the animation activities for schools, I’m very excited to hear this.
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.