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Hi there! I've started a diorama project, and I thought it would be good to post my progress here. This is my first diorama attempt- I have just been trying All The Things to see which ones I like best!- and so far, so good, I suppose. I'm one of those folks who learn best by doing, so here goes.


I'll be using Reaper's 03172 Hippocampus and Pegaso's Nymert, along with some Morland Studios Sea Accessories.  I've built the base from scratch using Excalibur casting stone poured into a laser-cut plywood disk, along with lava rock, bark chips, and some hydrostone...so far. I'm going to need to add some Milliput along the edges to finish the angle, and do a bit more work with the Dremel before priming.


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I was having a hard time envisoning how the figures would interact, despite sketches, so I decided to go ahead and start attaching the one element I'm certain of: the hippocampus. After cleaning him up a little and using the Dremel to modify his base somewhat, I glued it in. I tried to twist him a little, to give some spiraling motion that would match the nymert, but this is one tough seahorse. I am going to do a little torquing when I pin to the tail, but that's it. The nymert was a little tougher; she'll have to be pinned to a coral tower in the back, so I had to add an extra pin. I did it before cleanup, and I am crossing my fingers that I can get it to look natural in the end.


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As I was deciding on the final placement of the nymert figure, I realized that I hadn't thought enough about the most important element of the dio: the story. No matter how I placed her, she looked like she was attacking the hippocampus! Not what I want! So I need to add a third figure, some sort of baddy for the two of them to be fighting. But there's very little room in this design for any additions. Soooo.....




Tentacles. This is a Fimo armature for what I hope will be a few evil-looking tentacles trying to trap the two figures. I sculpted it onto regular armature wire, attached it with CA glue and 2-part epoxy, and carved back into it to whittle it down a bit. I will use green stuff to sculpt the final tentacles, maybe more wire if necessary.


(Also, if you look closely, you can see the hole I drilled into the lava rock 'coral' for the nymert's pin. More of the lava rock drilled out than I wanted- it basically disintegrated- so I'll need something fairly sturdy to fill it when I'm ready for final assembly. Maybe Durham's. Or more 2-part epoxy or JB Weld.)


And that's it! That's how far I've come. Next week I'm going to mount the hippocampus and the nymert, I think, even though painting will get trickier; I can't really finish the tentacles until I do.


Fingers crossed....











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Edited by bluecrowlaura
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Thanks, Glitterwolf and Rigel! I absolutely love the nymert figure; it's so sinuous, such a nice shape to work with. I just hope I can pull off the design I see in my head.


I started the tentacle coverage this morning, and I think it's going to work. I used Pedro Navarro's alien skin technique from a Chest of Colors tutorial; I'm modifying it somewhat to meet my tentacular needs. I used a red Sharpie to mark the planes of the tentacles; I want them to twist, so I need a guide to keep the underside/sucker plane consistent as I add the skin. 




I'm using regular Milliput. I've had problems working with green stuff so far; it's too stiff and it sort of...pulls back, I guess you'd say. I've only tried a couple of brands, though, but both weren't comfortable for me. This is my first go with Milliput as a direct sculpting material, and I like it, though maybe the Superfine grade would be better for this much detail.


I do have to stop for the morning, at least. This needs to set before I fat-finger any more suckers and have to resculpt them...again.





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Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. This thing is taking a long time, and it's great to get some positive feedback along the way.


On 1/29/2019 at 11:22 AM, NecroMancer said:

Really cool!  I am excited to see where this goes!


Are you going to do a clear resin over the whole thing?  


Necro, I don't think I'm going to do the resin. I considered it, but I think I'm going to leave this one open. I've only worked with resin as water once or twice, but I'd love to try it sometime. I've seen some amazing things!


As far as an update, though:


I've attached the hippocampus and moved well along on the tentacles. I'm only able to work a couple hours each day so it's taking a while, but I'm almost finished with the time-consuming sculpting part.





Before I do much else, I need to do some Dremel work, I think. I'm a little worried about the vibration, now that I have all this Milliput sculpture. I should've done my base touchup first, but I was impatient to see how the alien-skin tentacles would look!




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I finally have some pic-worthy progress! The past two weeks' worth of work on this little project has been mostly waiting for things to dry; it seems that all I've been able to do is fifteen minutes of sanding and puttying, then put it up for 24 hours. 


But things are starting to come together. I put a coat of primer on everything yesterday, and then did the big glue-up today. 





Apologies for the lack of decent angles and the super-unattractive dirty fuschia cutting mat backdrop. I have 2-part epoxy and Milliput curing, so I couldn't really move anything and I needed some sort of temporary background. (The red stuff is regular modeling clay, also a drying prop.) 


I hope to start airbrushing tomorrow, but if things go as per usual, I'll have another unanticipated round of gluing and drying instead. [sigh] Eventually, painting will happen.






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This is a very well-executed idea so far.


Last year I was working on some resin tests and discovered a technique for getting a decent base shape for coral.


Fill a cup with chipped ice- there needs to be some space between the ice chips for the resin. Because of the temperature difference it's not going to make it very far down inside the cup, so you'll need to do a few test runs to get good results.


The resin comes out with a naturally twisting shape that can easily be worked into some coral.

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