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Modular Diorama Set
Old 06-25-2008, 10:26 PM #1
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Default Modular Diorama Set

This is a how-to on building a modular set that can be configured in any way you can imagine. You can make Jungle, Swamp or Snow scenes with just a few items and they can be placed in different spots for a fresh scene every time. I build all of my indoor sets inside my light box, for info on that LOOK HERE. First I will explain how I build my trees:

These are so simple to make. Sorry I do not have time to actually sit down and make one right now, but I will try to explain it the best I can. I use PVC pipe as the frame. It is light weight and very strong. Don't use things like paper towel tubes because they are to weak. Decide what size tree you want for your diameter, I use between 1" to 1 3/4" and cut it to 10" tall. Hot glue the PVC to a piece of 1/8" plywood or similar for your base. For my fallen tree I ripped the botton quarter off with a saw & hot glued it to plywood as well.
I use super sculpy for the bark. Start at the top of the tree and apply thin layers and smooth it onto the PVC as you go. Once you have the entire PVC covered with a thin layer, start sculpting in the bark. I use a wood sculpting tool, but a nail or Xacto knife will work as well. Start at the top and just start running lines down from top to bottom. There is no right or wrong way, just make random grooves in the sculpy. Now you need to cure your first layer, I use a heat gun, it can also be baked. A heat gun will let you cure the entire tree in about 2 minutes, plus you can turn the tree in your hand and rub off any burrs as it cures. Let it cool down before adding your second coat. Add more sculpy to any thin spots or any places that cracked while curing. Re-sculpt the new bark as above & heat it again. You want your base to be thicker than the top, so smoothe in a bunch of scupy around the base of the tree. Smooth it real well onto your wood base & onto the tree itself. Sculpt the trunk just like the rest & cure it.
Now its time to paint. Use cheap WalMart craft paints, they work perfectly. Paint the entire tree brown or red for redwoods. 2 coats should do it, make sure you get down in all the crevases. I then use a blackwash of 25% black paint to 75% water and make sure it gets down in there real good, this will give you your shadow look. I use the heat gun to dry the blackwash fast so it will not run. Last step is to dry brush the bark. Tans and greys work very well, depending on what type of tree you want. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.
To be continued......................................... .................

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