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Does anyone have a good suggestion for making the impression of a large cave?  I want to do a diorama of a scene in a cave but I don't want the shell blocking off more than half the display.  I'm thinking of a wall starting to form an arch but stopping but I'm not sure how to proceed.

 

Any suggestions?

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Perhaps you could just *suggest* the presence of a cave with a textured floor, and certain structural elements, such as stalagmites (which could be arranged around where the "wall" of the cave might be in the back, but with enough gaps to still allow line of sight through if you specifically don't want the back side blocked off).

 

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You can get these half styrofoam balls in garden centres, they come in different sizes.

Use one of those , cut it in half, some wallfiller to create texture, then like Jordan Peacock mentioned make some stuff like stalagmites, maybe  a torch?

Doesn't have to be big to work.

You could even put moss and vegetation, maybe even a tree on top of it.

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Thanks everyone for the quick responses

2 hours ago, Corsair said:

What if you started upside-down? Use spray foam to make a bowl, then you can carve out, flipping it over as needed until you get the shape you want.

This is pretty close to what I was looking for but less round.  I could try to find a large oblong bowl at a their store.  Thinking about it, spray foam does create I pretty good wet cave wall...

2 hours ago, Jordan Peacock said:

Perhaps you could just *suggest* the presence of a cave with a textured floor, and certain structural elements, such as stalagmites (which could be arranged around where the "wall" of the cave might be in the back, but with enough gaps to still allow line of sight through if you specifically don't want the back side blocked off).

 

The question I have is what to use to imply curvature.  My goal is a homey dragon cave so I want there to be the strong implication of stone so if I put down a rug it still looks lavish and not urban, though dragons in an urban apartment has some value too...

6 minutes ago, Glitterwolf said:

You can get these half styrofoam balls in garden centres, they come in different sizes.

Use one of those , cut it in half, some wallfiller to create texture, then like Jordan Peacock mentioned make some stuff like stalagmites, maybe  a torch?

Doesn't have to be big to work.

You could even put moss and vegetation, maybe even a tree on top of it.

Its an idea, I don't know if I can find one large enough for low enough that unwound be willing to destroy it to get the effect.

 

I will take a look around trust and garden stores and see what i can. Find!  Thanks for all the ideas! 

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Funny you should mention it. I am thinking of updating the Gray Scale Cave that I made for photos. SO I had it out & took some new pic for you:

Spoiler

It's 11" deep X 11 1/2" wide X 1' high:

DSCN7579.thumb.JPG.f1683bcd0bc19713d20a1108861a1bc6.JPGDSCN7580.thumb.JPG.c26947d05f7e4904023d438746f48e19.JPG

 

The Eye in the Pit:

DSCN7581.thumb.JPG.d6a9d373732ec6e8829347a2517e274e.JPG

 

AND removable Stalagmites:

DSCN7582.thumb.JPG.cf06917cf9ba7a3f934e47a15a0810fa.JPG

 

There you go.

 I put it in the spoiler so I wouldn't clutter up you thread with my pics.

The Cave is made of layers of insulation foam. The layering adds to the feel of the rock.

Edited by malefactus
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I took your question more as a construction aesthetic question rather than a construction method question. So like @Jordan Peacock suggested, I think you want to be careful about making too large of a structure and opt more toward suggesting a cave with cave elements. If you make a huge cave structure with a wall and/or ceiling that towers over your minis, then your minis are just going to get lost in that and all anyone will see is the cave while your figures become details of the cave. For a diorama, you probably don't want the top of the terrain to be more than 2-3 times as tall as your figures. Similarly, you don't want it to be too wide either, you want the scene to be as compact as possible. You can get away with a bit more height to the cave elements if you've got a big monster in the scene (although I still wouldn't go too much taller if it's a huge monster.) Another way to cheat the height would be to make it multi-level, with each level sticking to only 2-3 times as tall as your figures, but you want to make sure that you've either got a figure on every level or at least an element that's important to the story of your diorama on every level. So, for instance, 3 levels connected by a pathway (or an implied pathway) and figures on two of the levels and on the third level there's some kind of imposing door that they're moving toward or a monster's nest. Depth can be mimicked by setting some elements further back than the main scene and then using your blackest black paint to black out the deepest depths.

 

For reference, I found these pictures of what was apparently a display crafted by Gale Force Nine that they brought to conventions in 2013. It's obviously a show piece where the point of it was to sell their terrain stuff and monster figures from their D&D line, so the size is very exaggerated. I'm using it mostly as a design element example, but also I think it shows what I mean about minis getting lost if the terrain is too big.

 

I made the images smaller here, but you should be able to click on them to see them larger.

834315d6c7452bb2f55754a5e1ee5fe0.jpg.b51620825b9824b451c628705918e063.jpg

 

galeforce9cavernoftheunderdarkbyjasonbuyakicloseupatgencon2012.jpg.42ff30cf77bc4d66922244f15d3efe8a.jpg

 

2a8248b5de794039eb29619c2c35e34b.thumb.jpg.297cd2cab7458dc2b302025722e945d8.jpg

 

acbe7f0382f6c77375927b0bcfdb0bf3.thumb.jpg.c825043c73048391982a400e90ab5558.jpg

 

This kind of thing would be really, really cool for a tabletop game (if you had the space to dedicate to it) and would help players to really immerse themselves in the scene. That'd be awesome if conveying the overall scene were your intent. But with a diorama, what you're trying to convey is an encapsulated story so you really want to provide just a snapshot so that the focus is on the story and not just the scene.

I hope that's helpful in some way.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Check out DM Scotty's YT channel.

He has some of the most playable and affordable solutions for dungeon tiles and scatter. He also has vids on making carved foam caves and rocks.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF-i5kmuwyV6N3xi5z1TElg

He has a LOT of videos and his 2.5D and Tilescapes systems are very well detailed, these include cavern style builds as well.

DM Scotty is responsible for inspiring me to try my hands at crafting and I have made a fair amount of terrain and cave "scatter", it is very easy and affordable to learn. Once you get the basic techniques down then your own imagination is the only limit.

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