Sunday, 28 September 2014

TechTip IX: Non flat diorama surface

Techtip V was a tip for creating a flat diorama surface fast but what if you want to have non flat surface? In that case I recommend 'Oasis'/'floral sponge'/'designer blocks' etc:

No doubt everyone will have seen this foam and perhaps worked with it. It's properties are that it is light weight, easy to cut, easy to deform, it soaks up water very easy and is incredibly cheap. The fact that the foam can be cut and deform easily make it perfect to form diorama's surfaces:

There are also some downsides to this product. The fact that it soaks op water very easily makes it difficult to paint, I solved this problem by buying gouache and solving it in water. (Essentially I had water with a bit of paint instead of diluted paint. The 'paint' must be very this). Paint the sides and surface of your diorama appropriate. The easy deformability of this product turns into a downside once the surface has the right shape and should not be reshaped any more. This can be overcome by covering the surface in undiluted PVA glue after which it becomes very hard. After this step the surface can be covered with sand, scatter etc. Be sure holes for placing trees are present before applying the layer of PVA glue. In the diorama on the next photo I did after the PVA glue was dry and I really had hammer in the poles for the barbed wire creating far to big holes trough which the green oases can be seen. In the diorama 'Duel in the forest' in the second picture I applied the right order of working and the trees fit perfectly.

So the right order of working once more:

  1. Cut the foam to shape.
  2. Glue pieces together to make hills or large rock formations.
  3. Deform the surfaces into a more realistic shapes and add smaller features such as craters, tracks, ridges and footsteps.
  4. Stick in trees or other objects to create holes where they have to fitted, but remove those object for the time being.
  5. Paint the surface with paint which is diluted to make it as liquid as water.
  6. Cover the surface with undiluted PVA glue. You can also use this to fix sand, grass or snow you want to apply.
After these steps the diorama is ready to be finished as you would normally do.