Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Building a 1/35 Japanese Kurogane 4x4 staff car diorama - Part VI: diorama base

Pacific Jungle Diorama Base

When we left off in Part V, I had just finished building the staff car and modelling motion and movement.  Now it's time to build a diorama base to match all that action!

From the outset I had planned to make this a vertically tall base, rather than a standard flat base.  This gave it more interest, and suited the tiny size of the Kurogane. Plus I'm running out of display space! ;)

Da Vinci himself could have drawn up these cunning plans.

First I started with a hunk of timber, 10cm wide x 10cm deep x 13cm tall (roughly 4" x 4" x 5")

I stained it, and then I took a jigsaw to the top of it to roughly contour the top to match my planned cross-section drawing, indicating a jungle track or road running diagonally.

Then I varnished the exterior. There was a big split in the timber, but I actually like this - I think it adds character.

I made sure to position the Kurogane off balance, so that it looked like it was being driven fast and hard and was taking a corner.  Again, it's all about giving a static model a sense of motion.

Check out all that movement!

Then  I added a layer of plaster of Paris to replicate the ground, around 5-10mm thick (0.25 - 0.5").   I embedded a couple of "boulders" (i.e. rocks from the garden) on the hill, and made sure to add in tyre tracks and ridges where previous vehicles' wheels had made indentations in the ground.  Then I sprinkled a layer of garden dirt in the still-wet plaster.

Groundwork: plaster of Paris and liberally sprinkled with dirt from my garden.

Then I covered the groundwork in a mixture of 75% white PVA glue and 25% water.  Just brush it on with an old paintbrush, to make sure that all your dirt and plaster is sealed and so that you have a solid surface to begin painting.  We need to cover up that white plaster, people!

After some judicious painting with earth tones, we have the following. I used Tamiya enamels and cheap dollar-store artist oil paints, in various shades of earth, brown, burnt umber - stuff like that.

You can see some of the darker oil paint tones really well here.

Yep. That's a muddy jungle track.

Dirt just adds a good texture.

I was pretty satisfied, this looks like damp jungle earth to me.  Now it was time to add greenery!

Tune in next time for Part VII - Adding jungle vegetation.



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