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Slashhamster

Pathfinder Dragon Diorama WIP / Request for input

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Since shortly after the Kickstarter funding period ended, I've known I wanted to attempt a diorama of some kind with one of the dragons I ordered. Now that the package has arrived, and there's an ongoing dragon diorama contest open until the end of the year, I need to actually move from random idea in my head to actual execution. However, I've never attempted something like this before, so it's a bit intimidating. It's probably going to be a challenge for me to finish this by the year end. However, if I can get over a couple of the major hurdles, it may go quicker than I expect.

 

This thread will chronicle my attempts, and also will likely be sprinkled with lots of questions for more experienced miniature artists/crafters/painters. Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

 

I think I've settled on the following figures/layout for the diorama:

post-9097-0-82547300-1373561942_thumb.jpg

 

I will pick up the metal version of the fighter rather than use the Bones version for this project. I'll likely be using green stuff or other basing materials to fill in the base. My rough thought it that fighter guy will be standing in a grassy area, with the dragon's rocky structure rising out of the grass. I need to do a bit of sketching before I finalize this. The base is one of the areas I'm still figuring out in my head.

 

Before even starting, I've got a few questions I'd love input on:

1) I think these two minis are perfect for each other; they look locked in combat and are staring right at each other. It's a very dynamic set of poses. However, I'm a little concerned the base may be too small. I like the close proximity, but don't want to overdo it. On the other hand, if I use a bigger base, it's going to make decorating the base that much more work. What do you think?

 

2) I looked through some of the threads in Tips & Advice, but couldn't find an obvious answer. What's the best way to secure both Bones and metal minis to a wood base like this? I figure I'll need to do some pinning to add strength, but I'm unsure on what adhesive to choose. My thought right now is probably some sort of 5 minute epoxy? Does anyone know if that works ok with Bones material and wood?

 

3) For sculpting/filling out the base, does green stuff bond well to wood? What about modelling paste?

 

While figuring out some of these basic things, I'm likely to start assembling the dragon this week. He'll need some mold line cleanup, gluing, and gap filling. I think I'll need to paint around his head before attaching it; at least in the deepest areas. Once I purchase the metal fighter, I can likely get him mostly painted on his own before adding him to the scene.

Edited by Slashhamster
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Well the minis were both taken from the Core Rules book for Pathfinder, so they should match ^_^ As far as the smallness, It's cramped but I like the dragon is right on top of the fighter & a battle will begin shortly. I took some shots of the actual Core Rules dio at ReaperCon this year. I'll see if I still have them but I recall it's a close dio just like yours is.

 

I glued a wooden shaft to a Bones Bugbear awhile back with superglue & it works just fine. For a bigger piece like the dragon thou I'll drill a hole & pin a metal shaft into the mini & base for support. Epoxy should work too, but I'd still pin just to be safe.

 

Try Aves http://www.avesstudio.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&product_id=28&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1 works great!!!

 

 

Good luck!!

RM

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I've only started recently into the hobby (sometime after the Bones KS finished in the early fall). I did one diorama which consisted of two miniatures locked in combat -- a knight and a griffon. Both were metal and both were completely finished and sealed with a varnish before I affixed them to a small, round mirror.

 

I would opt for a smaller base.

 

I had a devil of a time getting things to stick 'right' and I ended up using a combination of superglue and an epoxy that worked on glass, metal, wood, etc. I applied superglue closer to the edges of the base and the thicker but slow drying epoxy towards the middle of the base (for both).

 

As for Green stuff, I can't comment how well it will bond to wood. What I would do is sculpt it on a flat surface and affix it to the wood along with the rest of it once painted and dry.

 

I just began work on the Pathfinder dragon as well, I have left the top of the head/upper jaw off as well as the 'arm' off but have affixed both wings. I also think that waiting on these two last pieces will help in the painting process for what would have been tighter / smaller areas to paint.

 

Here's link to my griffon / knight diorama. It was done within a couple of weeks and I would have preferred a smaller mirror. However, the mirror was nice to showcase some of the other details of the models without handling. ;)

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=350444015052968&l=c577ab5adf

 

The plan initially was to affix the mirror on a wooden base but I never got around to it.

 

M

Edited by moriarty777
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Well the minis were both taken from the Core Rules book for Pathfinder, so they should match ^_^

You know, it never even occurred to me to look at that. :blink: I'm not actually a Pathfinder player, I just think these figures are neat. However, after your post, I looked up the Pathfinder Core Set book. That should help give me some ideas. Now I'm wondering if I should get ambitious and add Seoni to the scene... That would definitely require a bigger base.

 

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If you're going to use it as a display piece (not game with it) you don't have to be as careful in terms of how you secure it. I like the size of that base, I wouldn't go larger. If you want to use a smaller base, you can elevate the dragon further using your rocky terrain-make it look as if he's on a cliff. A great way to do this cheaply and easily is to use pine bark in place of rocks- but they're light, harder to drill through, and less durable if you're going to game with the model. As easy way to create your terrain could be with something like sculpey- it's cheap, moldable and easy to drill. If you're going to be gaming with this, you'll want to use a segment of thick wire as a pin and use epoxy to secure the dragon and the fighter to the base. otherwise, superglue and a pin would be enough for your dragon. The concern we have when we build a diorama is how often it's going to be picked up, turned upside down and fiddled with- the more this happens, the greater the chance a simple superglued figure will pop free and fall off. Disaster for all the hard work we put in to painting!

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First, don;t confuse your mini's terrain "base" with the display base - you can have a bigger piece of wood under there, no one said you had to cover the whole thing with terrain. For dragons on a wood base, i prefer a wood base that completely shadows the figures - I mean no tails or wings sticking out. So when you display the piece, all is within the border of the display stand. It is much safer that way.

 

Second, a bit cheaper and fun to play with when creating terrain is celluclay - it's a bit like paper mache and play dough crossed. I learned about that from the historical painters. You can even add color to the mix, but it takes paint just fine when dry

 

Third, determine which direction you want it viewed from and turn the figures a bit to emphasize that view. It will look better on the shelf that way.

 

And last - have a great time!

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Generally I would agree with paintminion on having the base larger then the spread out bits of the dragon, but as this is a Bones dragon, it is not in near the danger of damage as a metal, and I find on this size of base, it looks very dynamic. Now for setting out the display, you are talking grass, but I for one would suggest you stear away from making it all grass with just the dragon's stone bit sticking out. To that end, you need to decide and plan out where you want each little bit of terrain. Try and figure out the battle in your head, and who's done what already, what bits of terrain did the fighter use when the dragon let out that blast of fire? Is he going to use that broken column as a launching point to jump at the dragon? Did the dragon knock down that plinth with his tail etc.

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Hi there,

Hopefully, some of this will be helpful.

 

First off, planning. Sketch it out on a piece of paper and see what you think. When you're happy with it, sketch it onto the base. Alternately, place the figures on the base, move 'em around a bit, try out a rock or 2, maybe a tree stump, or a clump of bushes. See what works for you. Once you've got the perfect layout, take a picture of it to use for reference while you're working on it.

 

1)I think the (wooden) base size is perfect, don't change it!

 

2)As far as attaching the figures, I think 5 minute epoxy or something similar would work just fine, but see below.

 

3)I'm not certain how well greenstuff bonds to wood. There are a lot of (IMO) better alternatives to use, though. Sculpey would work, but you'd have to bake it separately from the (wood) base and then attach it. I have seen, but not used, a couple of different types of air-drying clay at my local arts and crafts that may also work well. The advantages to both of these is that you can press the figures into the clay before it sets up to give you a nice flat space to use for attaching the figures once it's dry/baked. You can also scuplt/carve additional terrain features into it.

Paintminion also mentioned a product named Celluclay; I've used this myself for several different projects, and would recommend it. It's cheap (at least it used to be, haven't bought any in a while), easy to use, very forgiving of mistakes while wet or dry (don't like the way that little bit there looks? cut it off with your hobby knife, or add a little more) and it paints up easily. It's also paper based, so you can add grass, shrubs or whatever with white glue. I think it's really great stuff. Not really a bad thing, but be aware that it is a little bit messy.

 

A question for you: is this intended to be purely for display purposes, or will you be wanting to use the figures to play games with? I ask because it affects how you attach the figures.

 

If I were doing this (and I may, thanks for adding another project to my to-do list ::): )I would use Celluclay to build up the base how I want it, press the figures into it while it's still wet to make the impression that you'll attach the figures to later, paint it and add grass, shrubs, rocks or whatever and then glue the figures into the impressions you made earlier.

 

Also, google the book 'How to make Dioramas' by Sheperd Paine. It's geared more toward military/historical modelers, but the basic 'how-to' will work just fine for any period/genre. I love my copy.

 

Whew...that got long. I hope you find something useful in there. If there's anything else you'd like to know, I'd be happy to help if I can.

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Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions!

 

To answer a question: this is mostly designed for display; not for play. I expect it will be handled and may eventually end up on my desk at work, but won't be on a gaming table.

 

I had forgotten Wren tested superglue and Bones/wood in one of her Bones test threads. The results didn't look good, although neither did 5 minute epoxy. I'll need to do some more thinking on this. Although if I follow some of the suggestions here and sculpt a base and then put the figures on that, it may be a moot point.

 

I'll stick with the small base.

 

@ChaosWolf: Thanks for all the info! I printed out my initial photo today with the intent to sketch/color on it to get some ideas.

 

My biggest concern is sculpting a base. I have a pretty good handle on my painting abilities and what is involved, but I have no confidence at all in my sculpting skills. I'm a bit concerned I'd start down that path, hate what I came up with and shelve the project. I am torn between attempting an involved sculpted base, and going for some simple outdoor flocking. Maybe I'll just start by painting the figures and delay that decision to later. ik_wink.gif

 

 

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I also like the close proximity. It's not very "realistic", from a combat perspective, but it makes the scene look very tense and dramatic as a display.

 

Cool project!

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Very minor progress. Cleaned up some mold lines on the dragon. There's a mold line that runs the length of the wings. I was able to very carefully trim most of this with my x-acto blade. I don't have a picture of it, but there's a lot of flash/mold lines on his fingers. I cleaned some of that up, but I'll probably need to make another go at it.

 

I also glued the dragon's wings and body together, since after dry fitting these, I could tell there was going to be a need to do some gap filing, and I don't think they'll get in the way of painting.

 

post-9097-0-50397800-1373902076_thumb.jpg

 

post-9097-0-13343100-1373902077.jpg

 

I don't have a lot of experience with liquid green stuff, so hopefully I'm using it right. Basically what I did was glop it on fairly thick and heavy, and then wet a cheapy brush, and try to work it into the seam. I used an excess of water to wipe away the paste from everywhere it didn't belong, making sure not to obscure any details. One note on this stuff, you need more than you think. In addition, even when you think you're done, after it dries you'll need to do it again. You can probably tell in the first picture than I'm going to need a second layer on the wing gap.

 

The gap on the base was minor, and was probably not necessary to fill given some of this integral base may eventually get cut off, but I had the goop out, so why not?

 

Still unsure which way to go with the base. I picked up a tiny package of Sculpey at the craft store to experiment with. I want to see how the material handles, and what it feels like when baked.

 

Probably won't be much more progress on this until I finish some orcs that I started a few days ago. FLGS doesn't have metal Valeros, so it will probably have to wait until an online Reaper order. That's held up pending the release of the Kickstarter Bones into the online store.

Edited by Slashhamster
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Hi Slashhamster...I have some experience in diorama/vignette building. Using the (2) pieces and base that you have pictured...consider the possibility (from an artistic & dramatic point of view) of having the whole scene play out on a rocky mountain ledge...with the fighter on a flat rocky area so that he is in a face-to-face type situation with the dragon. The dragon would be on a lower rocky ledge with only the head & small neck portion exposed to the weapon(s) of the fighter.

 

It would offer you the possibility of doing excellent & extensive rock work (with selected small tree/shrub work) coming out/growing from fissures on the rocky mountain face.

 

As stated. this is just an idea concept for your consideration. No matter what you decide, I look forward to seeing your progress on this piece that I would title " Death on the Mountain "!

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Catdancer, that is a ...brilliant idea. I will heavily consider it. I'll need to stage it and see what I think. Do you have any examples of some rocky outcroppings done this way I could use as inspiration?

 

I'm a little concerned the pose of the fighter may not work with him being elevated, as he'll look like he's glaring off into space instead of up at the dragon, but maybe I can fix that by how I paint in the eyes. I love the idea of him facing off with the dragon on a cliff.

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Catdancer, that is a ...brilliant idea. I will heavily consider it. I'll need to stage it and see what I think. Do you have any examples of some rocky outcroppings done this way I could use as inspiration?

 

I'm a little concerned the pose of the fighter may not work with him being elevated, as he'll look like he's glaring off into space instead of up at the dragon, but maybe I can fix that by how I paint in the eyes. I love the idea of him facing off with the dragon on a cliff.

I am sorry; I do not have any pieces in my current collection that depict such a setting/scene...As far as the fighter looking direction (from your posted photo)...you can resolve that problem by the placement of the fighter ledge in relation to the exposed dragon head/neck...you can further resolve it by a gentle slope of the fighter ledge in a downward angle. As I stated, it was just an idea for your consideration...I am pleased that you do like the idea (if it doesn't work for this pair of figures...it might work for another pair that you might wish to do at some future time)...Catdancer.

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