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Advice on C'thulhu diorama


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#1 damnitall22

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 06:14 PM

So my brother is a Huge C'thulhu fan and I went in for the big C. I want to make him something awesome but I'm not sure how to do this exactly.

I want to make a diorama where C'thulu is coming up out of the ocean onto a beach with probably a cliff side and have either the Nova Corps or IMEF Marines on the cliff. I am decent at painting but it is the terrain building that has me stumped. Besides adding detail to bases I have never done any of this. How do you all think I should try to tackle this?

#2 Qwyksilver

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 07:00 PM

Foam insulation board to build your cliff. Will also help keep the weight down
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#3 Caffiene

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 07:42 PM

Theres some good tutorial stuff here on the reaper site under "The Craft" that might give you some ideas. Especially this one for the water part of the beach stuff, maybe. Or the sand cast foam terrain one.

Mostly what youre looking at for cliffs and beach, though, is just a matter of finding a cheap and easy to work with material to "bulk out" the rough shapes, like the foam insulation Qwyksilver mentions. You rough out a basic shape with the big stuff, and then refine it with small areas/layers of something a little more detailed like sculpting putty and put little details on the same as you would do for a base.

#4 Doug Sundseth

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:58 PM

For a large cliff diorama like the one you described, I'd take a look at model railroad scenery books. Model railroaders like both cliffs and water features and they commonly work on a much larger canvas than most miniatures painters.

Specifically, I'd consider a Hydrocal shell for the terrain: light and easy to work with.

#5 ced1106

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:54 PM

+1 for model train sets.

You can also haunt Michael's Craft Stores for Woodland Scenics diorama kits. I know there's one with a mountain:

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Retails for $20, but Michael's has 40% off one-item coupons.

fyi, Here's a thread of R'yleh terrain:
http://www.lead-adve...p?topic=16766.0
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#6 Dai-Mongar

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:20 AM

You could use one of those railroad dioramas along with some smaller-scale humans, like 10/15mm scale. That would make Cthulhu look even more impressive. Khurasan have some nice deep ones and cultists in 15mm.

#7 TheAuldGrump

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:23 PM

Hmm, giving some thought... perhaps Cthulhu in an almost quadrupedal stance?

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Couple that with him exiting the vault of R'lyeh

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So that he is looking down at some poor explorer....

Foam insulation board and gesso for the stonework.

The Auld Grump, then there is Cthulego... Lego meets Cthulhu.
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#8 Heisler

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:28 PM

I would seriously sit down and re-think your concept or at the very least mock some stuff up with cardboard before you actually try and start construction. This is very ambitious and has a lot of diverse elements some of which are not going to be easly to pull off. A good diorama or vignette tells a story and I think that part is missing from what you are proposing. Just take a little time get some stand-ins for the components an see what you really think and then get the opinions of other people (posting pictures in the WIP section should get all the comments you need).
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#9 buglips*the*goblin

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:33 AM

The #1 rule of a good diorama is: if it doesn't tell a story, it's not a diorama.

Action in still form is implied more than shown. You're telling a story in a snapshot, but it still has a beginning, middle, and end.

By way of example:

Say I want to make a scene in a ruined city with a group of US Marines fighting Velociraptors. To capture this scene dynamically, I need to have a snapshot of past, present, and implied future. So I'd maybe have two of the velociraptors down and killed, and a guy on a .50 with a lot of spent brass around his ankles. I might have another soldier in the act of firing (sculpting a plausible muzzle flash is difficult, but do-able) and perhaps have a charging raptor in the process of taking hits (again sculpting impact is difficult but do-able). Then a third velociraptor, being sneaky, has outflanked the team and is in the process of leaping toward the .50 operator from his blind spot - and his buddy, hunkered down and possibly reloading, has spotted yon beastie and is pointing with his mouth open to shout a warning that's probably going to be too late.

So you can deduce that the .50 operator, and possibly his reloading buddy, have taken down the two raptors (past action/beginning). Another is in the process (present/middle). And the leaping raptor is probably going to get a MRE (Marine Ready to Eat) for supper when he finishes his leap (future/implied end).

Note this also raise questions in the imagination of the viewer: Why are the raptors attacking? What happened before this scenario? Will any of the marines make it, or will they all be raptor lunch? The purpose of a diorama is not to answer these questions, but to provoke them. Human imagination is compelled to assign meaning to things, so if you create a dynamic scene each viewer will fill in the blanks individually.

Pull that off, and you have a winner. So planning, as Heisler mentioned, is crucial (I've been planning the raptor dio for a few years, but it won't usually take nearly that long).
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#10 Heisler

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:09 AM

As an example I'll throw up one of my more successful dioramas
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  • pocketcthulhu likes this
* It's NOT denial. I'm just very selective about the reality I accept. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)
* Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war - Shakespeare's Julius Caeser
* Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
* We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. Winston Churchill
* Tardis Express: When it absolutely, positively, has to be there yesterday
* Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, ... - Shakespeare's Henry V
* My two hobby blog; Wargames and Railroads

#11 TheAuldGrump

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 04:43 PM

It is even possible to do a decent diorama that can be used in games - one of my favorites is the Warhammer unit/diorama 'Squabble' -
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By Victoria Lamb on Cool Mini or Not. She has some nifty scenes.

Those are for the most part plastic figures, for the nonce.

Kings of War actively encourages dioramas as units - and since the figures do not need to be moved from the unit base they can get quite involved. (I am working on one of a swarm of ghouls crashing through a cemetery gate, a watchman, surprised, in the act of turning around. Again, all the figures, and most of the incidentals, are plastic.)

In the case of Great Cthulhu... perhaps have some of the fish men Bones figures can be posed as in the midst of a sacrifice. ::): There is even an altar in the Vampire pledge, add the smaller Cthulhu done up as stone and you may have something caught in media res.

The Auld Grump, heck, I may do that one, with the figures detachable so that I can use them on the tabletop.
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#12 damnitall22

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 04:58 PM

Thanks for the information all. Just an idea in my head and I have plenty of time to work it out some more. Just helps me think things through when I have some other input. Thanks again.

#13 TheAuldGrump

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:56 PM

You could always have Cthulhu recoiling in terror from... this!
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Beware the wrath of Chibithulhu! (Coming soon from the Chibi Adventurers kickstarter....)

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#14 buglips*the*goblin

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:18 PM

Cutethulhu can still eat your brain. Possibly more effective at it.

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#15 Bloodsbane

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:16 AM

If you want to really push Big C's size, put him on a base with 15mm scale humans. Khurasan has a pack of zombie survivors that could work: http://khurasanminia.../adventure.html
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