Author Topic: Building Dioramas/Shadowboxes - Tips or Tricks?  (Read 1849 times)

Offline aeseven7

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Building Dioramas/Shadowboxes - Tips or Tricks?
« on: February 1, 2006, 04:19 AM »
I'm hoping to put a few of my customs into mini-enviroments using some smaller scale shadowboxes I picked up yesterday on one of my toyless toy runs, lol.

I have ZERO experience with building dioramas or shadowboxes (with the exception of a MicroMachines Star Wars diorama I did way back in elementary but I'm not counting that lol) so any help is appreciated whether its links to 'faqs' or personal tips you might have.

What I'm looking to do is create a type of 'ground' like rock or earth, etc etc.  I'll probably just use a printout for the background but I'd like the ground to be more 3-d since they'll be standing directly on it.

Thanks everyone!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2006, 04:17 PM by Jeff »

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #1 on: February 1, 2006, 11:03 AM »
Hi Aeseven!  Have you checked out the latest Monthly customizing thread?  We have a project for just this kind of thing for Jan-Feb, it might offer some tips.  I definitely like using foamcore stuff as much as possible.  Also, you can use styrofoam too as a base and paint it, and add in shrubbery from a hobby shop, buy mountain type backgrounds, etc.  I don't know if you follow the Rykrof photonovels or not, but here's a pic from one of the stories using that method -



The only thing that was added in digitally was the leave-like ground.  It was originally a styrofoam pained green, and actually looks pretty good but it wasn't the color I needed for the photonovel.  And a couple of the green plants were added too.  Hope that helps.

 :P

Offline jokabofe

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #2 on: February 2, 2006, 12:07 AM »
What I'm looking to do is create a type of 'ground' like rock or earth, etc etc.  I'll probably just use a printout for the background but I'd like the ground to be more 3-d since they'll be standing directly on it.

The best thing to use is the real thing. I've made dioramas in the past and used sandbox sand from TRU to cover the ground. Just take some foamcore or whatever you're using for the base and cover it with a thin coat of white Elmer's glue. Sprinkle some sand on, be generous, and wait about an hour. Then just tilt the base and all the loose sand will come off, back into the bag. Then, you can repeat on any areas that you may want to add more onto, or any areas that may have been missed.

Go to the park and pick up some rocks. You can put them in the oven on a low temperature just to "cure" them, to kill anything that might be living on them or in them. I used to do this with rocks when I was keeping various lizards as pets some years ago.

You can go to a pet store and pick up aquarium plants in many different shapes, sizes, and colors to match just about any look you are going for. And since they are plastic, you can always paint them if they aren't the correct color. You can also  pick up sand in different colors at the pet shop, if you were looking to make a more "alien" enviornment, that maybe doesn't have normal earth-looking sand. You can also pick up pieces of driftwood that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

If you have a hobby center or train shop near you, there are plenty of options for making fake rocks and scenery. Or you can order supplies like that online. One place that I have ordered from in the past is Tower Hobbies. Good prices from what I've seen, and quick shipping.  They have plenty of great stuff that can be used, like grasses, earth and ground cover and scenery molds and accessories.

Good luck, and make sure to let us know how it turns out :)

Offline hemble

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #3 on: February 2, 2006, 02:12 AM »
Gday mate

sounds like a great idea, for the ground work I use foamstyrene and cut it out to the desired shape and then glue it all in place leave it to dry for 24hrs.

Once dry I use plaster of paris and add water till I get a tomatoe soup type texure then I add a 2 tablespoons of real dirt then a 1&1/2 tablespoons of woodglue.

The dirt once mixed in with plaster will give it a sandy texture and the woodglue will adhere all the compounds together and will also help adhereing to the foam styrene. I've added 2 pics to show you what it looks like on a 1/35 scale indy model I did

Pic 1

Pic 2


As you can see in the pics it gives this is in the cave's so the rocks are a little smoother then they would be out in the open.
So to archive a more realistic look for sand stone and rocks let the plaster dry just a little and with a coarse brush, brush over the area you want to look like stone till you get the look you want.

Or the other way is to get a piece of real sandstone and let the plaster start to dry and once it starts push the paice of sandstone into the plaster this will leave the impression from the stone on the plaster and once dry paint it and drybrush it to look like reall sandstone.

Now for the shadow box I'm gathering that this is going to ba a permanent thing for the figure if this is the case you'll have to make sure that you use lighting to set the mood for your figure and diorama inside. because you'll need light to see inside the box.

I have a book of how to make shadow box dio's I will find it and scan the pages and send it to you in the next few days if you need it just let me know.

Ron

Offline aeseven7

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #4 on: February 2, 2006, 02:34 AM »
Wow!

Thanks to everyone for replying with such great tips!  I think my biggest obstacle is just getting up the gall to try some new things out! 

I may head to Riders Hobby Shop tomorrow and just see what kind of stuff they have available, but that plaster of paris method sounds REALLY cool and something I'll have to try out.

Thanks again:)

Offline CHEWIE

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #5 on: February 2, 2006, 10:34 AM »
Geeze Hemble, it feels like I'm one of those Indians in Raiders of the Lost Arc watching Harrison Ford jump out of that temple!

 :P

Offline hemble

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #6 on: February 4, 2006, 09:16 PM »
Thanks Chewie I actually had a great time doing this dio.

Ron

Offline BrentS

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #7 on: February 5, 2006, 01:28 AM »
Hemble, that Indy Dio is Sweet!  With something like that, how much is foam coar? 

You guys are definitely inspiring me to branch out.  I've recently acquired a number of Jabba Palace figures.  I'm wondering if I should attempt a diorama.  I don't think I necessarily want to start with such a large project.  Better cut my teeth on something smaller first.

Offline hemble

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Re: diorama-shadowbox tips?
« Reply #8 on: February 5, 2006, 02:52 AM »
Hi Brents, Thanks mate, I actually used foam sheets for the indy dio which cost me about $1.50aus as for foamcore I pay $4 aus for a sheet.

Ron