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Trolls vs Elves

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The Plan


To make a diorama depicting a group of three elves, as yet unchosen, ambushing a group of trolls across a river, while the ambush turns into a real battle.


The minis so far:


Dire Troll


Slag Troll



I don't have any of the materials yet, but I may as well start from scratch. The materials I need, so far in my plans:


1 One of those square plaques from Michaels

2 More sheet styrene to do the label

3 Brass Rod, for who knows what pinning

4 Woodland Scenics fall trees, or the plain ones to model myself, because it's a fall scene

5 Water effects

6 24 Hour cheap clay

7 Clear fishing line

8 That WS flock that Stern uses with amazing results.

9 All sorts of flocks, sand, gravel, and Hudson and Allen leaves.

10 Pink foam (maybe, not likely.)


Ok, so there's a list of the materials, not including the everydays like superglue, paint, pin vise, etc. My goal (and I haven't done a sketch yet), as I said, is to show a scene where three trolls are being attacked across a stream, and one lies dead in the soil. The slag troll will have just hurled a rock that will be on the water's surface, about to cut an elf on the far side in 2. The scene will be autumn, with emphasis on the reds and browns. Trolls are blue and purple (see troll axer) and the elves are grey and who knows what else (still deciding).


I will buy the expensive stuff tomorrow. Any thoughts?

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It'd be late May if it were me. :)


I've never done a diorama, but I've done big models. Skrag the Slaughterer comes to mind. Those things always take a long time, especially if you experience periods when "life" interrupts painting. I feel like I paint so slowly.

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Can't wait to see how this turns out. I read an article once in one of the "No Quarter" Mags about trolls trying to migrate across a river by taking Cygnar supply boats and tying them together to make a bridge. Course Cygnar got pissed and there was a battle. I could find the NQ if ya need it.


Who do you plan on using for the elves? Legion, Skorne, or some other minis made to look like Iosans?


Good luck!

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Well actually I was gonna use a mishmash of closely similarly scaled elves from different companies, as long as their poses are good. Maybe this maybe that.... do you have any suggestions, because I didn't have a plan. And I would love to see that article if you have it. Thanks. =D

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Looking at what you are thinking about doing and the fact that this is your first diorama I would say that it is way to ambitious. The best dioramas are simple and direct the viewer immediately to the action. This one is going to have to many focal points and each one will distract from the others.


First I would look for this book: How to Build Dioramas by Shepherd Paine and published by Kalmbach Books. You can usually find it hobby stores that have a good selection of plastic kits and at model railroad stores. You might even be able to find it at Michaels or Hobby Lobby (unlikely but you will be there and its worth taking a look).


After you have read and digested that then go back to your idea and refine it. There is certainly no harm in getting the materials since you will use them eventually.


I would probably even suggest appoaching it like this. Take one Elf, paint him/her up and pay a lot of attention to the basing, go all out. You can see lots of good basing in the Reapercon section of the website. Just look at the past winners and pay attention to the bases. Then do the same with a troll, again go all out. Once you have done that and gotten some experience working with the materials and getting them to do what you want. Then I would start on the diorama itself.


When I'm looking at a diorama I'm looking for the story. If I can't figure that out within a few seconds then I feel that the story is muddied or even non-existant.


Good Luck!

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Hey, Heisler. I want to say that this is not my first diorama. Second: I will check out that book, and I think I've even seen it at my hobbytown. I want to thank you for your critique, because that's really what I need. Here is my rationale: My past dioramas have been exceedingly simple, and as a result seem boring (I've gotten the comment of 'bland' numerous times). So I want to try to spice it up a bit. You may be right about the busy-ness of the piece, but I haven't actually bought the materials yet (family emergency yesterday, sorry people), and am still immersed in sketching and planning. I may tone it down, and I will think hard about hat you said. As for the materials behaving as I want them to, I have never had a problem with that. I work fine with my materials.


But you have some very good points that I need to mull over. Again, thank you so much.

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I'm not sure where I got the idea that this was your first diorama, sorry about that. Sketches are a great idea, they don't even really have to be more than stick figures really. If you can scan them you can post them for us to look at. After years of being involved with painting competitions I can tell you that the single biggest problem with most dioramas is size. Most are to big and don't use the space effectively and when there is a lot of space there is a tendency to fill it. Remember you want a single focal point for the whole piece and everything you add should support the focal point. Composition is very important in making an effective diorama or vignette

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I agree; there has to be a balance between empty space and focal points, and not too many focal points. However, I might argue that some of the best dioramas have tons of figures, each telling a part of the narrative. There's one I saw a few weeks ago on cmon, but can't for the life of me remember the name, where about 6-7 spacewolves are fighting about the same no. of tyranids, and a big tyranid is half shown emerging from a big door. In that one, there are tons of 'focal points'.




But on the otherhand, the huge tyranid is the main focal point, bcause he's in the center. So what you're saying is that there should be less trolls and less elves? It'd certainly be easier. I'll think on that, thanks a ton.

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OK, took some pics of my concepts. Two aerial views of space and color. In the first, I notice a lot of emptiness on the trolls' side. Maybe it does need to be smaller. Note: one drawing is a circle and one's a square. I still have to decide.




However, I have thought about my discussion with Heisler about focal points and while I agree that focal point placement is the key to a good diorama, I think that certain conventions with regard to that are not exactly necessary to construct a good diorama. IMO, a battle is a battle, and capturing space and color and placement is what I want, rather than keeping the number of figs down. I recognize that some tweaking needs to be made, perhaps SERIOUS tweaking, but for now, I  have posted these photos :rolleyes: .

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You can have lots of figures in a diorama, you can even have them in their own little mini scenes. As long as they enhance and led the viewer to your main focal point they are doing their job.


If you go with the square base you might experiment with the stream coming through the scene at an angle to the edges. I think you will get a better scene. Obviously on the round base that's not necessary.

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OK; I see it, and my previous example solidifies it. I understand you Heisler! =D


So what if I were to keep the landscape, and the elves and trolls, but in the very center, akin to the huge tyranid, an elf leader, and the biggest troll on the map in one on one. The size of the troll would probably draw attention to him. I need to find some good minis, or transpose the Mauler for the leader. Thanks for the inspiration man.

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