First Model Diorama

Got a question about techniques, materials or other aspects of physically building a model? This is the place to ask.

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First Model Diorama

Post by slookabill » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:04 pm

So wonderfest spurred me into an idea mode... I now have an idea I want to build a diorama to try and enter next year. Having never built a diorama at this scale before I'm wondering at the basics of basic engineering of the base and structural elements. I have the 2 kits that I'm currently planning to use, and also an idea for certain other elements I plan to use.

I'm mostly wondering how to build the base, and sizing everything properly. Also how to build appropriate walls and other elements and also best ways to get greeblies? and placement. Wanting to do something similar to the loading dock/shipyard on Courscant in Star Wars Episode III, that's shown when the troops are loading and Yoda's talking with someone before heading to help the Wookiees.

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Re: First Model Diorama

Post by wowyz » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:51 am

Start with sketches from various views, angles.

For layout, placements again use figures, etc on a piece of paper to mark.

Rest depends.

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Re: First Model Diorama

Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:44 am

There's a book by Sheperd Paine called "How To Build Dioramas." But that book and read it cover-to-cover. As others have said, planning, planning, planning. I bought the book years ago and have read through it many times, using it for making display bases mostly. However, my first true diorama I just entered in WF - and took a silver. What did I do? I read the book and did what it said. The only exception is I worked in acrylics (Vallejo, AK, Apple Barrel) on the figures instead of oils.

The main thing is figures and eyes. If your figures look stock or wooden and the eyes are wrong, your figures will look like...well...mannequins on a display base instead of a snapshot of a split second in time.

Get the book. :)


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Re: First Model Diorama

Post by dizzyfugu » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:54 am

Second the Sheperd Paine book, and there are also some books from von François Verlinden in English language available.
Another, more generic work that helped me a lot when I started with bases/dioramas was a book by Daniel Puiboube, but I think it's only available in French or German language.

The key is that a diorama is not simply a base with a model on it. It is a scene that tells the observer a story, and setting this up well - and then creating it - is a tough task. Not many display bases deserve IMHO the title "diorama". If you have a creative idea, make sketches and build a dummy of the scene. This will help with proportions and where to place what. The size of the scene and its elements will come IMHO naturally, when you know what is supposed to "happen". Too much and too big can be distracting, so every element in the diorama should be considered well, as well as the audience's perspective.

Another thing to keep in kind is to be open for improvisation. You can buy lots of scenic stuff, for lots of money, but the best ingredients come from mother nature, e.g. natural moss or self-built trees, because the stuff from the model store just looks artificial and is by tendency much too small. If you use figures, you should also be open to modify them in order to convey your idea and story.

Sound scary, but creating a diorama is actually real fun. Your imagination is the limit! :D
DizzyFugu - Reporting from Germany

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