Sunday, March 9, 2014

Laputa Diorama : Part 4

Hi everyone,

Welcome to a new installment of my Laputa project.  Today I want to talk about the base construction of the diorama that I made out of polystyrene.

The first thing that I had to do was to judge the size of the diorama.  This is done by first putting the models together temporarily and then placing them on a piece of paper cut out to the size desired.  Naturally you will be very lucky indeed if you manage to get the size right the first time.  When the positioning of the models is done and the size of the base is to your liking it is time to cut out the base parts from polystyrene. 

This can be done in two ways;  with a heating wire or a sharp knife.  I used the later, since I don't have a polystyrene heat cutter.  It worked just fine.

Once again you have to position the model vis-à-vis the polystyrene parts until you are satisfied with the layout.  The next step is to detail the base.  Since this was a representation of a stone castle; the detailing had to look like stone and bricks.

The aqueduct was made first, and I gave it a stone effect with air-drying clay.  Unfortunately I had very limited time when I was doing this so I did not take any progress photos.  But I have done the next best thing.  I have produced a small demo on a piece of polystyrene I had laying about.

The air-drying clay I used was Das.  This is relatively cheap and one 500g block was more than enough for my needs. It is very versatile stuff and produces very little shrinkage, but it does not hold very sharp lines well.  Fortunately I did not need sharp lines.  Other products needed are PVA glue, a roller or round tubular object, and some sculpting implements.

The first thing to do is to roll out a piece of Das to the required size.  Then cover the surface of the polystyrene with PVA glue and place the Das on it.  While the DAs is still wet, carve the shapes of stone to the desired effect.  In this example I kept it simple.  I used wax sculpting tools and a clay pusher that you can buy from any art store.

At this stage, I like to let the whole thing dry properly.  Fill in any cracks with more Das clay and let it dry again.  When it has dried completely the next step is to add texture to the stone.

This is done by adding tissue paper.  Several layers can be added depending on the type of textured effect you are trying to achieve.  To add the tissue paper place some slightly watered down PVA glue (or wallpaper glue) on to the stone and place a layer or two of toilet paper on top of it. Work the toilet paper into the groves with an old brush and let it dry before adding a second layer.  It is as simple as that.
The results can be seen in the several pictures below of the finished base that I took before painting it.



The path way was built up from hobby mosaics that you can buy very cheaply from a crafts store or online.  The advantage with using these, is that they give you nice even blocks all of the same size.  The drawback is that they are made from very hard ceramic that is nearly impossible to scratch or break.
The stone blocks around the pool were made from high density Styrofoam and coated with  several layers of acrylic past.  I have found no better way to build blocks that look authentic and feel real.  The Styrofoam is also very easy to use and cut, and hardly leaves any mess.  It can also be sanded lightly - but I advise a mask as the particulate can harm your lungs.
When everything was put together and left to dry thoroughly I painted the whole thing up using acrylics.
Well that is all for this week. Once again I hope you have found it interesting and informative.  If there is something you don't understand, or is not very clear, or if you need more information, then please to not hesitate to leave a comment with your question or request and I promise to get back to you as soon as I can.

Next week I have another interesting installment for this diorama - I will be talking about how I built up the vegetation. 

Until then farewell and good health.




 
    NR

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