Jump to content

NyarlaBcn

Help & advise with a diorama

Recommended Posts

I'm about to start working on my first small diorama. 

I don't really have enough space to display big ones, as much as it pains me: so I never tried, but I've seen this one on Reaper's catalogue and since it's not too big, monster base size, I will give it a try. 

My idea is to pay hommage to my all time favourite Disney movie, "The sword in the stone". 

The miniatures themselves as Reaper sells them are just perfect to represent a "live image" versions of Merlin and Arthur, on Merlin's laboratory. I also bought one of the familiar packs to have an owl to represent Archimedes. 

Initially I just wanted to work with these items, from this amazing set http://www.reapermini.com/OnlineStore/wizard/price/03186 + the owl. Then I get a bit too excited and I added an open book & a wizard staff leaning on the table. So, two questions: Is it too much? do you think it will look too busy? Is the base not big enough for all of that? 

And the other question... I have to create a stone floor to level the miniatures with the base. I've never done such thing on that scale. I was gonna use that putty, wait till it was a bit solid and mold the floor's texture. Will anyone recommend another method? Part of the reason why I want a big book open on the floor is just to hide how badly will probably look lol 

 

 

image_123923953 (1).JPG

image_123923953 (2).JPG

image_123923953.JPG

  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the models, I think you want your focus to be on Merlin and Arthur.  Right now, my eye is more drawn to the table with the staff.  I think all of those models in that space make it look a touch crowded for the size of the base.  I would remove the table, or make the base a little bit larger by splicing two bases together.  If you make the base bigger, you can shift Merlin and Arthur more to the center and spread out the accessories to the periphery.  that way the viewer's eye is drawn more to the "action" of the scene.

Edited by Bloodhowl
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see what you mean... right now it's a piece on each corner: Merlin, Arthur, Table, Owl. So it's like each angle is equally important, when it should be as you say, with the table as peripheral. 

Idk, I will see if I can find a bigger base. I must have some meant for GW chariots, rectangular, about double the size of that one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking a chariot base would be perfect, if you have one.  If not,  you could take two of those square bases and some sheet styrene (plasticard for our EU friends) about 1mm thick and glue two of those bases down side by side onto the sheet and then fill the gap with some putty and trim to size. Alternatively, you could also square one of the slanted sides of two bases with a razor saw and then butt them up and glue them together.  OR if you have a large round base (I think I have one from a Mierce Miniature critter) it would have enough space and also be round to simulate a room in a tower!

Edited by Bloodhowl
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you should necessarily go for a bigger base. "Base too big for the scene" is one of the most common problems in vignettes and dioramas. To increase the focus on the wizard, you could move the apprentice and owl a few millimeters toward the table, which I think would be a reasonable choice.

 

For the stone floor, I'd probably use Magic Sculp or Apoxie Sculpt and a Happy Seppuku base stamp, possibly cutting away or covering the sculpted bases on the minis. FWIW, in such situations I fairly commonly sculpt the base and just press the minis into it, then remove them while the base sets. This allows you to paint the individual pieces more easily while still making final assembly pretty simple. You might have to do some patching around the bottoms of the minis at the end.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that as it is the base is too cramped.  The staff is distracting and I don't think you really need it. Merlin's book and crystal ball sell the "this is a wizard" theme. An other thing you could consider is removing the owl from its perch. You could then put the owl on a corner of the book, on the table, on top of Arthur's stack of books.... and getting rid of the perch will free up some base space. I would leave off the book on the floor, it increases the clutter and just looks like something the characters would trip on.

I think you have a good start here. Looking forward to seeing the final product.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is your intended viewing angle for the display? Your photos are all from the top. It would be helpful to see a picture or two from the primary direction(s) you expect the viewer to see. (Could be from the top, but usually, it's from the side some place.) The most natural angles for a square base are the flat sides, but you might choose to change that.

 

I suspect it will be the side with Arthur and Merlin both present. If so, you might consider rotating Merlin slightly to his left, so his face is more towards the audience, or slightly to the right, so his back is more to Arthur.

 

None of this is to say that people won't enjoy viewing the whole thing 'in the round', but it is usually very hard to make a diorama equally interesting and appealing from all directions.

 

(ETA: Also: I think I am in the "base is big enough" camp. I'd rather see some of the set dressing removed to make room, rather than the scene expanded to fit them int. I think you'll be diluting the impact of your two core figures.)

Edited by klarg1
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

remember with dioramas we have more than just front/back/side.  We can build up!  think about verticality if you wants to keep the current items.  you could have merlin at the top of a staircase and some of his items below him on the base.  Minimalism when it comes to dioramas is usually the best course, so I'd probably lose some of the clutter as well. Which items make you think most of merlin? what would tell the story best? remember, we want the diorama to tell a story.  When we look at it, we need to instantly understand that something is happening. Is he talking to the owl? casting a spell? is the owl checking out the orb? 

 

I always like picking a viewing angle- your wizard is the main focus, so he needs to be front and center, or possibly up higher to draw our eye to him.

 

You can buy tiles of stone flooring or even little staircases. I use a lot of sculpey for my bases- it bakes, but make sure you take it off the base first or the plastic will melt. the nice thing about sculpey or fimo is that it doesn't dry out, so you have plenty of working time. If you're worried about sculpting, you can buy patterned styrene sheets or use corkboard. cork is fun to work with. 

 

remember your base can overhang the plastic base.  it doesn't have to be square. it can have edges that stick out. sometimes breaking up lines like that can be fun and more interesting space-wise.

 

I know it wouldn't fit the movie quite as well, but I could see a small child- like one of the bones children tugging on his robe from one side as a distraction while he works. you could have the owl peering down in disapproval and lose the rest of the elements.  That might tell a fun story! Or, I could see a spot for the orb on the table, like a holder made out of putty. have him lined up just wrong so it looks like he'll drop it on the floor instead. not sure that one is as strong of a story, but absentminded wizard is cool. the key though it to make the figures do something exciting and interesting.

 

yay for tackling dioramas!  They're a lot of fun!

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow thanks to all! 

Good advise! there is a lot that I haven't actually thought about at all. 

I think I will keep that square base after all, but I won't use the staff or the book on the floor atm. Maybe if I had a pile of smaller books, it could look more natural and occupy less space, but that open book is too much. 

Now I'm thorn between trying to remove those figure's bases or to level the floor around them. If I decide to remove their base, how do you advise to do it? With Arthur will probably be easy; the only union point is one of his feet. But with the wizard and the stand there is a lot more metal to get off

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NyarlaBcn said:

Wow thanks to all! 

Good advise! there is a lot that I haven't actually thought about at all. 

I think I will keep that square base after all, but I won't use the staff or the book on the floor atm. Maybe if I had a pile of smaller books, it could look more natural and occupy less space, but that open book is too much. 

Now I'm thorn between trying to remove those figure's bases or to level the floor around them. If I decide to remove their base, how do you advise to do it? With Arthur will probably be easy; the only union point is one of his feet. But with the wizard and the stand there is a lot more metal to get off

 

When I take off bases, I'm planning to set the figure into the base I'm building. What I do is take off any bits that are visible, then just set the remaining bit (the part under the figure or feet) into the putty in the new base. So I don't worry about any extra metal there.

 

When I do have to remove a lot of metal, I'll start with either diagonal cutters or a razor saw to take off the largest bits of the metal then clean up with knives, files, and a bench grinder (in some order that makes sense for that figure).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see, I definetely need to think carefully about what to do then. I was playing with that idea of completely removint the miniatures own metal base because yesterday I found a beautiful stone textured mosaic resin base on sale on my local hobby shop. 

But even if I could manage to completely remove their metal base, I'm not sure it will look cool. That base's pattern is too fancy for that vignette, maybe... 

image_123923953.JPG

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I wanted to use a base like that, I would take off all the original base and attach the feet/bottom of the figure directly to the base.

 

When removing large amounts of metal like that, I start by carefully taking off any metal up to the edges of what can be seen. Then, for the bottoms, where you won't see the surface, I normally use a bench grinder to hog off the remaining metal. Things to watch out for with bench grinders (these are all from experience, that most unfeeling of teachers <_<):

  • Hold the mini carefully. The disk of the bench grinder can catch a figure and fling it pretty hard. While it's not likely to go fast enough to injure you, it will almost certainly go fast enough to bork the mini.
  • Use gloves to protect your hands from the heat generated. Grinding heats metal quickly and metal conducts heat very well. It's amazing how fast you get to "Yeowch!"
  • Dress the grinding wheel periodically. This will remove buildups of white metal and rough spots on the wheel.
  • Do not grind your fingers. While the blood might lubricate the mini, it also obscures the field of vision.
  • Wear Safety Glasses! Even quite small bits of metal at high speeds can be problematic when they hit your eyes. And the loss of binocular vision would make your next grinding job much harder.

FWIW, I don't think that base would be a problem, but it is a bit harder to work with presculpted bases than with bases you make to specifically fit your minis.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Doug Sundseth said:

If I wanted to use a base like that, I would take off all the original base and attach the feet/bottom of the figure directly to the base.

 

When removing large amounts of metal like that, I start by carefully taking off any metal up to the edges of what can be seen. Then, for the bottoms, where you won't see the surface, I normally use a bench grinder to hog off the remaining metal. Things to watch out for with bench grinders (these are all from experience, that most unfeeling of teachers <_<):

  • Hold the mini carefully. The disk of the bench grinder can catch a figure and fling it pretty hard. While it's not likely to go fast enough to injure you, it will almost certainly go fast enough to bork the mini.
  • Use gloves to protect your hands from the heat generated. Grinding heats metal quickly and metal conducts heat very well. It's amazing how fast you get to "Yeowch!"
  • Dress the grinding wheel periodically. This will remove buildups of white metal and rough spots on the wheel.
  • Do not grind your fingers. While the blood might lubricate the mini, it also obscures the field of vision.
  • Wear Safety Glasses! Even quite small bits of metal at high speeds can be problematic when they hit your eyes. And the loss of binocular vision would make your next grinding job much harder.

FWIW, I don't think that base would be a problem, but it is a bit harder to work with presculpted bases than with bases you make to specifically fit your minis.

XDD I will have all that in account, thanks! 

I doubt thought that I remove the base. I don't have access to that kind of tools, fitting as I do the stereotype of an indoors bookworm nerd lol 

 

Right now, since on my local hobby store didn't had the supplies you people pointed, I tried to make it work with white & green putty, stuff that I already had home. 

The white putty I have is a bit more liquid, so I pressed the miniatures against it to mark their placements; and when it dried, I added some green putty till I had the required thickness, enough to level the minis base. It's not finished yet, and it looks really really... rough, but I feel I can make it work

 

 

image_123923953.JPG

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×