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WIP: 01430 Nativity

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It's time to start looking at working on my Nativity if there's to be any hope of getting it done by Christmas 2016.  (And if I can't get it done then I need to find another gift idea for my mom.)  I've looked at a lot of other examples and I've got some ideas but I need to formulate a definite plan. 


The goal is to make a series of three dioramas:  angel, shepherds and sheep; wise men with camel; Mary, Joseph, Jesus and stable.  The idea is that then they can easily be arranged in different configurations with reduced risk of damage.  (If there are 10 little people somewhere then guaranteed a child will try to play with them.)  It is likely that they'll get put on either a fireplace mantle or the wide windowsill. Have I mentioned that this will be my first diorama?  Nothing like jumping in with both feet!  ^_^


I plan to do the core piece first, and I actually bought the base nativity set last year during the 12 Days of Reaper.  Unfortunately this is the part where I'm not quite sure about the composition.  I've bought a bunch of wooden plaques and I've got a couple of possible candidates. 



So the choice comes down to round or rectangle.  I'm hoping to include the donkey, which is why it's there.  Obviously the barn/baby/Mary/Joseph bit has a traditional presentation.  I've been pondering what else I should add to fill out the scene without making it too busy. This is more important with the round one since it feels a bit too large.  I'm fine with purchasing more stuff like the farm animals but I don't want to add more people because I want this to be the quiet moment before everyone else shows up.  I'll probably go with the classic approach and try and sculpt some extra hay to tie everything together. 


Feedback very welcome! 

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I recently made such a diorama.


For reference:




Maybe you can use some of it for your own.


I believe there are more people who tackled this.

Look at a few and you might get a better feel of what composition would work for you.


Good luck!

It's a nice project to tackle.

Hope your baby Jesus has a better face sculpted though, mine was not really nice...

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Is there a reason you ruled out an oval plaque? It seems it would be the ideal shape.


Also, rather than sculpting hay, you might consider just using some straw colored static grass:


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I ruled out an oval plaque when the store didn't have them!  (Not a great reason, but I don't have woodworking skills.)  My main concern with static grass is with dust.  My mom puts up all her Christmas decorations for the entire month of December and things do get a little dusty by the end.  If there is a great place to buy plaques, please let me know!  So far I've checked two craft stores and this is the best I've got. 


One of my favorite nativities is Corporeas, which I probably can't come close to replicating.  And Xherman did a great job sculpting hay, but I do want mine to be a little more compact based on the display spaces my mom has.  (The cloche is a bit big.)  A lot of people talk about wanting to be able to add on elements, which is why I figured I should go with a classic triptych idea.  (It also enables me to tell more parts of the story, which is a big plus.) 


At this point I think I'll let my husband and the teens re-arrange the bits and see if anyone comes up with a brilliant composition.  Or maybe steal part of Corporea's and have the family not line up with the building frame. 

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I was lucky to find a little round base with a dome.


This is great against dust.


Don't know if that is a possibility for yours?

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