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  1. For Christmas last year, my Mom hired the very talented Andy Pieper (a good friend of mine) to sculpt me a set of miniatures for a Visitation Scene from Luke, Chapter 1 of the Bible. Andy's Sculpting WIP thread is here. In this scene, Mary, just having conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant in her old age. When Mary arrives, Elizabeth says, "“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy." And then Mary sings her Magnificat: "My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His handmaid; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.†This diorama is meant to represent that moment, as Mary twirls and sings for joy in the yard of her cousin's home. These are the completed figures that Andy sculpted. They are 54mm scale: Andy was also kind enough to add a bonus figure, a chicken, which is running away as Mary twirls in the yard: Andy's Sculpting WIP thread is here. I started by purchasing a wooden plaque at Hobby Lobby, sanding the bevels, and installing rare earth magnets in the base, so it will stick to the inside of my wooden miniature carrying case. I knew I wanted the wall of Elizabeth's home on the edge of the diorama, so I glued together a frame out of coffee stirrers and toothpicks. I let that dry overnight, then used Milliput to build the basic shape around the frame, which I also left to dry overnight. When I got out the miniatures to place them in the scene, I realized my wall was angled the wrong way, so I ripped it off the base and respositioned it. Then I added another layer of Milliput over the shaped wall for sculpting the stones. I also used some Milliput for a tiled floor, which peters out into the farm yard. I'm going to put down something for dirt, but I'm letting the putty dry first. I created some palm-like leaves out of twist ties and parchment paper (I will probably do an article on the technique sometime, if there's interest), and pushed them into a piece of cork, which I wrapped with green stuff for a planter. I plan to fill in the top with sand. Here are two photos of what's done so far, with the miniatures in their places, though of course not glued down (and Elizabeth won't be flying in the air like that!). I'm thinking of making some larger palms hanging over the edge of the wall, though I'm not sure how I'd attach them, and I kind of want to see how the little ones look once they're painted. If they're not convincing, I won't bother with larger ones. The wall is pretty well stuck on now, with the floor and everything, but the rest could be repositioned, if necessary, so any feedback on placement is appreciated. I also have a little Milliput left that I could slap on somewhere to touch up the sculpt if necessary. (I used up almost an entire pack!) I'd like to keep some for future projects, but I want this one to be top-notch, so I'm willing to part with it. Really, any feedback at all is welcome and appreciated. Thank you! And, once again, Andy's Sculpting WIP thread is here.
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