Jump to content

Advice on C'thulhu diorama

Recommended Posts

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?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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




Couple that with him exiting the vault of R'lyeh






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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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' -


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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...