Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Diorama for Dinosaurs Part 2

Picking up where we left off, the bases are built, the foam is glued in and shaped. Now it's time to start adding color and texture, but first we need to coat the foam.

The Finish: 
I wanted to try two different techniques, as I've never done a diorama before.  Some of the foam tiles I painted with Plasti-dip- a rubber coating.  Other foam tiles I plan to apply plaster. I'll update later with how each version held up to the rigorous tests of a child.

Once your terrain is shaped, and you're using the plaster method, rip paper towels to form 2" wide stripes. Mix your plaster of paris with cold water. It will dry in ten minutes, so don't mix too much. Soak the paper towel in the plaster and apply it to your terrain. You will want to try to maintain details.

I taped off the wood base and stained it brown so it looks like earth.

The Paint:
So, you've created some great messes, but hopefully your project is shaping up and looking how you intended. Now is the time for paint. Greens, browns, blues, grays

Applying multiple shades of color provide a lot of depth.
 For the mountains and rocks, start with black and dry brush from darker grays to lighter grays, then white. You can add plain clay cat litter for small pebbles at the base of mountains. You can also use gravel or other found rocks. Use watered down glue to attach.

I was running out of black, so the drybrush is just white. A better drybrush job would make this look much nicer.

Add green paint where you want grass, brown paint where you want sand, and blue paint where you want water. For deeper areas of water, gradually darken the blue. Vary the shades of green too.

Have some fun by adding dino footprints. Eventually I will add
 clear caulk with some white highlights to mimic a stream of water

The Realism:
You could spend a lot of money at a hobby store for flocking and various supplies. I used sawdust as I have a lot of it. Water down green paint and mix in sawdust. It will look best if you use multiple mixes of green shades to mimic natural colors. I just used one color of green though.

Use watered down glue, and apply it where you want flocking to stick. Then add colored sawdust. I had just mixed the paint and sawdust and drained the water, so the sawdust was still damp when i applied it. It formed a hard surface that will hopefully stay in place. Then again this is for a two year old, so there may be no hope.

The shades of green came out varied and look great.
 As I was under a time limit, I only applied to the green sawdust to one tile. I applied it while still wet and it has formed a hard and so far durable shell.

Use real sand for sandy areas, using the same glue techniques. I used sawdust as it was wet outside.

I have yet to do this step, but for the water, I plan to use clear caulk. For the ocean tiles (not pictured or even finished), I will use acrylic sheets rubber banded to the base to act as a mold so that the caulk would stay within the confines of the tile. Hobby shops make many water-like materials, but I don't want to spend the money on that, so caulk it is. You can add ripples and different effects, and a white dry brush highlight to add realism.

The Final:
I'm pleased with how it turned out. I'm happy I finally got to build a diorama, and I can always build additional tiles for future fun. I have yet to try the plaster method, but what I have has held up well so far, though it's yet to be used as a frisbee. Once that happens, I may need to apply liberal amounts of glue.

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