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 been asked to exhibit my work and hold workshops on how to build diorama’s based around the theme of Dr Who, to which I am very excited about. I have always been a fan of Dr Who since I was a small boy watching the adventures of Tom Baker’s Dr and K-9 travelling through time and space.
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.
Eight strips were cut which are to be used as borders on two edges of each tile, each strip has a two inch width. I decided to make one set overhang and the other cut shorts by half an inch, this makes them interlink. and interchange with one another.
Two inch squares where cut into the border, then the sides were sanded and the edges of the borders softened.
I took two pieces of 5 mm foam board for the road, I took my steam cleaner and used it to remove the top card layer. When top layer had been removed, they were glued onto the tiles and a black base coat was applied. Once it was dry I airbrushed a light grey coat evenly over both boards, I also added a couple of pot holes.
I began painting the borders of each tile with a light grey, using a sponge to dab the paint on. Doing this I was ale to get a nice even coat all the way around, then using a brush to to paint the sides.
The road, I have added a couple more pot holes and cracks in the tarmac, being a dessert road and with today’s standard of roads it needs imperfections. I then used to the sponge and lightly dabbed paint across the road and then gently blended it all in to lighten the tarmac. Where I will use my airbrush to then weather it.
Mixing sand with PVA glue and water, the mixture was spread evenly over the tiles. The first tiles done were the helicopter pad and one of the road tiles. With the addition of the sand, it has trebled the weight of each tile.
After 48 hours the first two tiles are dry that applying sand to the other two tiles could begin. Due to the weight of the sand, I have had to add another piece of 600 x 600 5mm foam board to each of the four tiles to help strengthen them.
I have embedded a piece of foam board onto the tile which the bunker will be housed, it is then surrounded by sand giving the bunker a foundation to sit on.
Another couple of sand/water/PVA mixtures were made and spread evenly over the two remaining tiles. Once they are dry I can start doing the final touches:
Paint touches to the road
A black border edges on each tile.
Before I started working on the final touches, I had to take some test pictures for my client on what he could do with his diorama and the overall size of it. You have to agree it is very impressive.
After seeing all the tiles put together there were some final paint touch ups to hide any exposed foam board. A black boarder around the white foam board base, and a second coat of grey on the two borders of each tiles. For the road and sand areas, I touched them up using a sandy brown hiding any exposed blue foam and to weather road.
The final part of this commission build is to create eight barriers for my client to position where ever he would want them. The barriers are made from 10 mm foam board, each one cut to 5 inch in length and 2 inch high (not including the base). The base of each I have gone a quarter of an inch in, using a sharp blade I have cut diagonally across both sides to create a ramp (mind your fingers!)
With the 5 x 2″ blocks, I have scored them on both sides at 2.5″ from top to bottom, making them look like they are two slabs joined together. In the centre of each slab a rectangular hole has been pressed in on either side.
With all eight of the barriers made I gave the one face of three of them battle damage, applying bullet holes and crack in the concrete. This giving my client variation when photographing his figures on his diorama. With the changes made it was time to apply paint to them. A light grey base coat was applied first and then weathered using my airbrush.
The completed Diorama
With barriers dry, it was finally time to put the completed model together and fill it with Cobra action figures and vehicles to show my client exactly what he has bought and some of the potential it has for him.
I hope you will agree with me he will have hours of fun setting up his figures and taking plenty of pictures.
The final pictures of this completed commission diorama.
I had a great day at Bradford Unleashed, lots of visitors, plenty of compliments about my dioramas. It was a wonderful but tiring day! Thank you to my wife who spent the day with me again. Thank you to everyone who visited my stand today.
This latest diorama I have started, takes influence from Aliens and Predator genres, it is scaled for the Kenner Aliens vs Predator figures made in 1991, scaled for 3.75 to 5 inch. I’ve done a lot of buildings and alleyway’s recently and wanted to do something and a little out of this world!
To start, I have constructed the front of the outpost building using a combination of 10 mm insulation board and 5 mm foam board to build up the doorway and the front wall of the outpost.
While exhibiting at Bradford Unleashed February 2018, I carried on working in my AvP diorama. I cut out the base of the outpost, marked out a walkway around the front and right side.
Next I given the idea of sliding doors, I cut out a piece of foam boards and carved markings into the door. Using 5 mm foam board to add details to the reverse of the door.
With the doors made, it’s time to work on the inside wall. After cutting out the doorway, I’ve etched wall markings into the wall, adding a wall bracing. With these done, I can start adding extra accessories to the front wall before working on the side wall.
I carved in to floor 6 grill plates and then using the top of a bread knife ans pressed it into the foam board to make the slates in the grill plates.
Using 5 mm foam board for frame, 10 mm insulation board for depth. I used 5 mm board for the reverse wall, carving the wall slates to match the ones on the front wall.
Above the door I have added a cable run, moved the wall brace to the other side. Before I start fitting together, I will be adding a small wall on the opposite side to hide the join of the front wall.