Plaster, Sand, and Gel

So I took the shards of plaster I made from earlier and placed them around the base in hope that they would add extra depth to the rock texture. Before coating the base though I had to get the footprints done. Originally I tried using epoxy putty but when I tried it I realized that not only does epoxy putty have a shelf life but that in order to do this it would take a larger amount of epoxy then I was willing to use. So instead I used plaster as the foot mold with baby powder as the release. It managed to get the job done but the print wasn’t as detailed as I would have liked.

Once the prints were dry I went ahead with the main challenge of covering all the styrofoam with plaster. At first I tried mixing the plaster with sand and rocks but as I went on it seemed pointless to do it in that fashion as the sand and rocks were getting visually lost in the plaster. It made the plaster harder to work with, and the amount of plaster used made the trouble of adding things to it in every batch not worth it. Once the base was covered and dried completely I added some random beams here and there similar to what can bee seen on axis in Char’s Counter Attack.

With mostly the plaster the base lacked a good ground texture so I used a mixture of white glue, water, small pebbles, sand, and fine sand and covered as much of the plaster as I could except the footprints. I let this new layer dry overnight and like with every other diorama I have done in the past I covered the entire base with a mixture of water and acrylic gel medium to seal everything in.

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Mail and more base details

I got the package I have been waiting for today, 80 pre wired 3mm LED’s. I got them off ebay for about 20 dollars all together. I haven’t tried them out yet but the wiring seems nice and compact. Mixed in with the 3mm’s are a 4 pack of surface mount LED’s I got a few days ago and they are amazing. If they were as cheap as the other LED’s I wouldn’t hesitate to use them in more builds. The other photo is of metal beads I got off amazon for 10 dollars and I plan to use in place of more common after market items.

As for the base I added the machinery that will be encompassed by the plaster. It took a bit longer than I thought as the thing I initially brushed off as randomly placing scrap pla plate became a carefully thought out placement of objects and how to add detail to them without overdoing it.

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Base work

I’m still waiting for the majority of LED’s to come in the mail so I decided to just work on the diorama base first.

Went to Micheal’s and bought a 20×10 inch frame and a block of styrofoam and started cutting. First I cut it to the size of the inner frame as much as I could (the foam was smaller length wise). Then marked off the areas I wanted cut and dug them out bit by bit. I used a small Tamiya saw to do the cutting.

I eventually reached a point where I was unhappy with the lack of verticality so I cut the base in half and elevated one of the half’s. With extra foam I built up areas and filled in all the large gaps. I then used toothpicks to skewer the foam together and hot glued them to secure them.

I find some of the best looking dioramas have sides to them so I bought some thin basswood and cut it to the appropriate sizes and shapes. Afterwards I applied some super glue followed by wood glue to keep the sides together. Put the foam back into the walls and started stuffing any remaining gaps with ripped up paper. Finally using the hot glue gun one last time to seal the paper.

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Artificial rock work

When doing a rocky textured diorama like a asteroid or a mountain range or even a destroyed city having large slabs of rock are advised. There are a lot of options when it comes to this from using molds to using real stones. For me I don’t want to go and buy molds for rocks nor do I want to work with heavy and non modifiable stones, so I just used some plaster to easily make my own.

I used a small cardboard box and placed a large piece of parchment paper (wax paper would work just as well) at the bottom slightly lining the walls, pored plaster and water into it, and sloppily mixed them together. After 24 hours or so of drying time I took it outside and dropped it on to the ground.

Repeated it two more times until I was satisfied with the amount of breakage. From there you can snap a few by hand or even shape it with some tools.

Very easy and cheap slabs of rock that are light and easily modified.

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MAC competition third entry

I can now finally show what I am working on for my main attempt at the MAC contest. I didn’t want to enter them into the competition until I snap fitted and cleaned the nubs so it took a while before I could even mention them. The entry this time is in the diorama category and will consist of 4 HGUC models, the Nu Gundam, the Jagd Doga, the Geara Doga, and the commander type Gear Doga.

The battle scene will be of the Nu taking all 3 enemy suits down in succession on the surface of axis. For a long time I was considering if I wanted to take the plunge and make this either a hidden support type diorama (some of the models are in the air but have no visible support elevating them), a LED type where everything from the thrusters to explosions are illuminated, or the normal type. Eventually after finding a good deal on LED’s decided to just go for the LED type.

Here are some pics of the basic concept.

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