"Essential" Diorama Supplies

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Thread: "Essential" Diorama Supplies

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    Deep South, USA
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    10

    "Essential" Diorama Supplies

    Hello all. Not only is this my first time posting here, but I'm about to re-embark on my first 1:6 scale diorama. However, I'm having some serious issues with picking back up the hobby, because well, I'm definitely no art student and I obviously haven't spent enough time around arts & crafts stores.

    Already know exactly what I am going to do. I already have location info and just need to gather a few remaining supplies, and draw a makeshift blueprint. The issue is that I am torn between literally building the foundation and textures with wood, grout, some kind of foundational element like joint compound or stucco versus seemingly going on the cheap with the usage of the pink foam insulation or various other syrafoam/polystyrene sheets. I guess when I originally got into the hobby back in 1999ish, I had per-conceived notions that serious dioramas needed to be sturdy and not, well, flimsy facades. Does this makes sense? How do some of your other diorama folks feel about the subject? What would be a good mix of the two approaches when approaching mixed media?

    Also, I'm struggling with finding out what specific brands and products people universally use (especially paints/adhesives/related chemicals) or at what materials are generally viewed as the best. Futhermore, I would also very much like to know if there are brands or products out there just just flat out suck and should be avoided. So, please, let me hear your recommendations!


    P.S. What do you folks use to prime? Flat or matte acrylic black or white, right? Does anyone use any alternatives like gesso? Should priming be not overthunk, and one should use whatever is serviceable and affordable at hand, or should you use the good stuff for this step?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Eastern US
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    Re: "Essential" Diorama Supplies

    Honestly, there is no one right or wrong answer for creating diorama's. My approach has generally been to first envision what kind of diorama I want and then to peruse Amazon, Lowes, Michaels, AC Moore and other shops for materials that could do the trick. I'm currently working on a fantasy vampire catacomb/temple room for display. First is the poster/background I selected via an internet image of a temple/chamber and printed at Walgreens. I've purchased a 6 inch resin coffin and a small desk fountain made of resin/stone (that resembles a sort of stone altar. I purchased a sinlge grey marble flooring tile from Lowes and cut it to size. From Amazon I purchased a red velvet pad used for jewelry display which will serve as the rug/color contrast to the grey stone/resin objects. Add some grey & black clay for molding around any unrealistic edges, along with small rocks. I also like to use lighting on my projects, which I've purchased USB led light strips from Amazon. Last of all is the positioning of the figure(s) and I'm done. That's how I do create mine.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Deep South, USA
    Posts
    10

    Re: "Essential" Diorama Supplies

    I mean, in general, are dioramas that are made with actual building materials and actually "built" perceived as being better quality, or at least more desirable than those made predominately with colored insulation foam?

    Hypothetically, if you to came across a diorama builder that built a 1:6 scale suburban house and cut all of the lumber for the joists and studs, actually had copper tubing for the piping, maybe even tacked on a working electrical system, has shingles made from like-materials, maybe even got a small can of tar for an asphalt driveway. The house looks fantastic; it's well done, and all of the bells and whistles work.

    Now, let's say in a stall next door, a different diorama builder built an exact replica of the previous house, but used colored insulation foam & paint, with magnets (or dowels/pegs), and maybe even the lights are wired to turn on too. The end product is equally impressive looking to the first. Would you scrutinize this diorama due to the attention to detail of the first?

    When I am building my pieces, sure I want to be economical, and of course I want to be as quick to finish as the next person, but I feel this constant push/pull and defeating self-criticism if I don't "build" my diorama. I am just not convinced this is an appropriate way to feel or approach diorama building.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Eastern US
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    Re: "Essential" Diorama Supplies

    IMO the more realistic detail a diorama has matters most. I'm sure there are a multitude of techniques in producing realistic dioramas. Mine tend to be of smaller dimensions so as to place on a shelf or similar area. I have not ventured into the larger area dioramas but would absolutely key on realistic looking detail with whatever technique is utilized. Foam can appear very realistic if augmented with the proper details. There are plenty of materials that can create the effects you describe (and yes I like using light effects on all of mine, typically some form of LED). I'd say there are no right or wrong answers, so long as the end result is detailed in a manner that satisfies you. What type of diorama are you constructing? Battle scene?

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Re: "Essential" Diorama Supplies

    Visually, Realism is the ultimate achievement, in my opinion. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods and a plethora of materials.

    Creative, outside-of-the-box thinking is especially practical at this scale.

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