Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Laputa Diorama - Part 5

Hi everyone,

Today I would like to talk about the flora in the diorama.  This was by far the most interesting aspect of the project for me, for the simple fact that I never attempted anything like this before.  At least not on this scale.

Before I could start though, I had to do a lot of research into the subject - on the Internet and in several books.  The techniques and approaches were many, but in the end I settled for three types of techniques that I will describe here.

The first approach was buying artificial plants.  These are mostly from aquarium ranges.  They come in various sizes, types and qualities and the choice depends on the modeler and his intentions.

The second approach is with clump materials of various types.  The train hobbyist peoples have been using this stuff for ages with top notch results.  Below is a picture of the selection I used
For the base of the garden I used the simplest yet most effective and realistic approach for a garden I could find - grass mats.  These can be cut and fitted just like a carpet.  I was going to use static grass and an electrostatic applicator, but I found this system more 'filling' so to speak.  This is not enough though.  You have to embellish the grass mat with tufts, plants and rocks if you really want to bring the thing to life.

The ivy on the aqueduct is also an artificial product anyone can buy from train or hobby shops.  This consists of a mesh that one has to pull apart, cut and tie/glue up to the wall.  I found this product to be time consuming, but with a bit of patience the end result is great in my opinion.  There are several scales to chose from as well.

The last, but certainly not least approach is with natural products that have been preserved.  This is probably also the cheapest option, but also the one that takes up the most time.  The easiest way is to collect dry plants that look like smaller plants, or from which you can construct other plants from.  For example I made flowers from dried pods of a type of thorn that grows locally.  all I did was paint them up - see the pics below.

In some cases, I left the plants to dry and used them as they were.  I just gave them a coat or two of watered down PVA glue and let them dry out again.
If you decide to use plants that are not dry, you need to preserve them with glycerine.  This is a viscous and gelatinous substance used to make soap with.  Just mix one part glycerine and two parts warm water together and immerse the plants in the solution for about two to three nights.  Then lay them out to dry for a month or two in a dry place.  After which you can paint them up.

Many of the pot plants I built up were made in this way.  As I said, it is not the easiest way, but it is certainly worth the effort.

Once again, that is all for today.  Next week I close this string of articles with some insights on the figures and then I will move on to other projects that I need to complete.

Farewell and good health,


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