Sunday 26 January 2014

Construction of some box frames and backgrounds

I spent some time constructing more box frames and backgrounds for more planned dioramas. All three are based on Ikea frames. These box frames are between 3-5 inches in depth.

This last background is in two parts. I plan to have the lower ground portion overlap with the sky portion.

Doodling on some zulus

I got some Zulus from Wilken and have started doodling on them. I noticed that some of the castings are based on two figures with multiple arms. These poses are ungainly and I will have to add putty to cover the blemishes.

                       The alternative poses is in the right hand, either with spear or with club

                         The alternative poses is in the right hand, either with spear or with club

Doodling some medieval sets

I started doodling a few medieval sets in between other on-going projects.

                                                                Bath Scene from Scholtz

Monks and Nuns from Tappert

El Cid from Scholtz. The arch is very striking and appears to be based on architecture in the Mezquita de Cordoba

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Custer and The Battle of the Little Big Horn (Finished)

This is the final part.

The diorama with the LED lighting installed. The whole assembly was now tested for fit and alignment. I also backed the frame cutout with two sheets of black paper to prevent the light from showing through.

The diorama lit up in a darkened room. The lighting conveys a bright and sunny scene. Notice the background edge which showed up at the top right hand corner. The display was re-aligned slightly to mask this.

I stained the basswood box frame dark brown. The whole diorama was sealed. 

Final shot of the main scene fully lit up. 

Finished! Now on to the next project.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Custer etc (Part 5)

I trimmed off the back of the figure bases. I found it much easier to attach the figures directly to the diorama without displacing the grass. Figures were attached with superglue.

 The corners were filled with more modelling paste. The first few figures were attached.

The corners were painted in green and then grass was added to extend the foreground. I adjusted the lower edge figures to fit within the cropped frame. Figures were attached in stages, to allow for optimal placing. At the end of each stage, more glue and grass were added to cover the trimmed bases. Generally, figures at the back were added first, then figures in front were added later to ease this process. Parts of the grass were painted with a darker green to simulate shadows and to enhance the feeling of vibrancy in this diorama.

 A larger picture of the close-up scene

The almost completed scene. I am completing the boxcase as well as adding the lighting next. Pretty good, huh?

Custer etc (Part 4)

This diorama is really great fun to do. Custer was a controversial figure and this battle is probably the most famous confrontation in US history. There are numerous books and illustrations. It is a controversial battle shrouded in myth and legend, with tales of a heroic last stand lasting hours. However, it appears that later archaelogical evidence points to a total collapse of command and a very short battle. Custer was probably killed before the last stand had occurred.

Studying the available site photos, the last stand was on top of a grassy hill. Across the meandering Little Big Horn River, there was a huge Indian encampment of tipis. It would seem that most of the river was hidden by coulees (raised ground) and vegetation, and probably the Indian encampment was too far away to be seen with any clarity.

My proposed diorama is quite compact and shallow, but I decided to represent all the above to capture the essence of this battle. What I have done here is to try to depict a swirling last stand (confused and heroic). In the background, the Little Big Horn River with its meandering loops, partly covered by coulees and vegetation. Across from the river, a huge Indian encampment depicted by Indian tipis.

 Using forced perspective, I raised up the horizontal line to allow more ground to draw in lots of tipis. Groundwork is green to depict grass.

 The river was painted to represent the exagerrated meandering loops. The sky has been painted with clouds and the Indian tipis are drawn in.

 Initial flocking with very short grass was done on the midground area, transiting towards the foreground.

 The above scene was "cropped". Near the lower corners can be seen the edges of the foreground.

I decided to rectify this by adding additional contouring to the corners. Cardboard strips were glued to the lower rounded corners. The foreground was covered with longer grass.

Monday 6 January 2014

Odds and ends

While waiting for the Custer background paste to dry out, I used up leftover brown and ochre paints and on some odd figures from the WIMOR Gypsy range as well as a few Kieler Babylonian camel riders.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Custer etc (Part 3)

I've cut off half of the figure bases as I wanted to create a very tight footprint and I plan to have grass in the scene. A minimal figure base would allow for easier figure placement in closer proximity.

The figures are placed to represent a battle scene

The view from the top. This shows that the front half of the bases have been removed.

The proposed diorama setting. 

The setting with the foreground built up with modelling paste. The sloping foreground would allow the figures to be placed a different elevations, thus creating more perspective depth to the scene.

Jungle Scene

Also painted a couple of trees. I am doing up a jungle scene with some orang-utans.

Custer etc (Part 2)

Further details were painted on all the figures. The reason why I adopted a loose painting style was to create the chaos that would be present at a last stand. The swirling colours are like an impressionistic vision of the scene. I have added very large pics to show you the simple highlights and shading to achieve this effect.