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fifthconspiracy 02-26-2008 10:46 PM

Creating a Stone Based Diorama, step-by-step

Here is the third in a series of dioramas for your lip-smacking consumption. I had a crap-load of clay left over from the tree-building episode, so I decided to put it all to good use and make some clay/stone-based diorama action.

And I've been getting tons of email (from many other joe sites) on my previous two dioramas that were created by my son and I. Here's the URLs incase you missed them:

Building a Ranger-Shack (includes making a building inside and out, with brick and wood slats):

Building a Rock Wall (includes working with casting plaster, painting, making huge trees and applying foilage):

Now, onto the stone-cold action! Woot!

Now again, what you see here can be done by ANYBODY. I have never really worked with clay before (except maybe in grade 2 ;-) so... I may be doing this all wrong ~ you decide - and feel free to give some pointers, or just heckle me... whatever floats your boat.

Please note, that my kids and wife assisted with the clay sculpting - and it was crazy-fun.

Okay, onto the project!

. . .

fifthconspiracy 02-26-2008 10:51 PM

Making Stone Bricks

The first thing we thought of was making a large wall of stone bricks. To do this, we had to craft each and every brick by hand using clay. (we're using air-dry clay here again)...

As you can see in the photos below, we used a wooden block to knead the clay around to give it the general block shape. I purposely gave each brick face a different texture so they all won't look uniform.

Onto the pics!

Motoring right along...

We're almost done ~ about an hour later...

And here we're completely done, letting them air-dry in the beautiful British Columbia sunshine. You'll notice that I made a few half-pieces... this is for the rows that will be offset by half a brick so they're staggered on the wall.

Phew! That's done.

Cheers! ~ Paul.

fifthconspiracy 02-26-2008 11:03 PM

Making the Stone Wall
Here's the wall. We used styrofoam for the floor and for the wall backing. Each level of brick is recessed a little bit from the one below it... so the wall slowly slants backwards as it goes up. Gives it a good look and will be allow a figure to stand on any brick on the wall ;-)

Here's some pics of the progress...

And we finished off the fourth and final row. What's the hole for in the wall you ask? I can't tell you yet, it's top secret and quite possibly will blow your mind hole.

Your thoughts? Suggestions?

Cheers! ~ Paul.

Sephron13 02-26-2008 11:22 PM

This sucks and you've no talent.

Can't let people think we're got something going on, now can I (looking at YOU haradrel). I wonder what that opening is for.

Impressive as always, my friend. That technique looks like it'll come in handy in the future. Thanks for showing us this!

fifthconspiracy 02-26-2008 11:24 PM

Sculpting the Snake Head Doorway
This was my son's idea - make a snake-head doorway that looks menacing.

This took a bit. Working with clay is interesting... I learned to use vinegar to make a "thick-slip" to adhere pieces together... the entire process took about 2 hours from start to finish.

First, I made the two lower jaws... then the head, then adhered them together. I had to build some clay structure inbehind everything as I went to make it all hold together. Messy!

The green stryofoam block in the mouth was there to hold up the top part while it air-dried. This sucker is heavy. Very heavy. We added the four teeth last.

Here we go!

And more...

And for a finale!

What do you think of the snake-head? Looks like a snake we think. It was a long process of bending and shaping clay to get the mouth to look right... and the general shape of the snout and eyes. (note: you can see in a few pics up that we added scales... this was done by using thick paper curved and imprinting upon the semi-wet clay)

Was fun! Project is coming together!

Cheers! ~ Paul.

Sephron13 02-26-2008 11:50 PM

OH! A snake-head w/open mouth for an entrance! Shock and awe... :eek: :p

Looks great, and heavy. Are you concerned at all about it shrinking/cracking? I've heard that clay can do that.

fifthconspiracy 02-26-2008 11:56 PM

Warning! Clay really really shrinks when it dries!!!
Ok, so after letting the whole thing sit for a few days, it was quite apparent that the clay was literally shrinking before our eyes as it dried. I knew that clay shrinks upon drying... but not this much. It really really shrunk.

I definetely should have waited until the clay was fully dry before adding it to the wall. My original thinking was to have it semi-dry such that I could mold the bricks together to get a more realistic appeal.

The end result of the shrinking was that the blocks looked really bad with huge spaces between them.

Anywho, my son was like "what are we gonna do cause this sucks monkey-butt!"... and I was like "dude - take it easy... we can fix this"... So I basically pulled off most of the bricks (as you can see in the first pic) and re-applied them closer together with a hot-glue gun action. Our diorama is now 1/8th of an inch shorter ;-)

I'm happy to report that everyone is again happy in my household. What a save!

Below you will see the first pics of us applying the paint. This is the first coat... we will do a few more coats of dark grey... then add some color to it to make it look all Laura Croft Tomb Raiderish.... whoo hoo!

Here's the pics!

I'm sorry folks, but I'm looking at this pic and thinkin' "Damn this is sick!" Woot!

And we got a little order from today ~ four Cobra troopers. We position them on the diorama to take some test shots...

So there you have it... that's where we're at. We'll be workin on the paint for the next day or so... then I have to take a business trip for a few days before we make any more major progress.

Thoughts? Comments?

Cheers! ~ Paul.

Sephron13 02-27-2008 12:00 AM

Looking fantastic! Love the paint apps. How sturdy is the snake head? Looks pretty solid. My suggestion would be to NOT go on your business trip an attend to what's really important here...making more schweet dios. Only punks and Canadians shirk responsibility like this... :rolleyes:

haradrel 02-27-2008 12:31 AM

Originally Posted by Sephron13
This sucks and you've no talent.
Can't let people think we're got something going on, now can I (looking at YOU haradrel).

*Whistles innocently* :D

Awesome project! I just can't figure out how you get time for it all :eek:

Tracker 02-27-2008 07:45 AM

That is soooooo cool.

I can hear Destor complaining about the Cobra Commander's "over dramatic" taste in hide outs.

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