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> Naboo Diorama, How to avoid studying the easy way...
Delaton
Posted: Jan 27 2007, 11:58 PM
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So I've been contemplating how to modify Zizzle's Pirates of the Caribbean Isla Cruces Playset to use as a basis for my Naboo, Battle of Theed diorama. Since I haven't seen many dioramas of Naboo to date, I figured people would be interested in a play-by-play account of my endeavor here on the FFORUMS.

For those who don't know what I'm using as a basis, you've been living under a rock. This set caught my eye the day Target and Walmart reset last summer to showcase their POTC line. Zizzle's POTC playset was scaring me off at $29.99 starting retail price but the recent post-holiday clearances have allowed me to pick up several of these sets for $15 a piece.
user posted image user posted image user posted image

The diorama will consist of a fountain near the center of the "street", inspired by this thread HERE.
user posted image
The buildings created from the playset parts will act as background buildings to add depth in front of a printed background of Theed Palace.

The area for this diorama is roughly 21"x78", or the top middle shelf of my collection shown here:
user posted image

I plan to splice several sets together, both vertically and horizontally. I plan to use some unique parts to build columnades, landscaping, and other architecture typical to the SW universe and Naboo. Any suggestions would be appreciated and any criticism/comments will be welcomed as I undertake this exciting new project.


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savrip
Posted: Jan 28 2007, 07:52 AM
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Cool, I can't wait to see more. Sounds like a nice long project with some creative possibilities.


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Delaton
Posted: Feb 3 2007, 07:13 PM
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Ok, so I've diving into this project tonight. Today, I went out an purchase a few more pieces to the project, including cake pillars like these (not exactly):
user posted image
I don't think i'm going to use the pillars directly with the POTC playsets, but they'll be used in the overall diorama. I figure that I don't want to hide the beautiful stone details on the playsets behind and under a columnade.

Tonight, I'll start by splicing 3 front facades together to make the first big building. It'll be about 20" long and 14" high, 3 bays. I'll probably fabricate some modern shutters to avoid doing any interiors like LFL did.

Hopefully, I'll have some pictures up tonight or tomorrow.


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Ashley
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CHEWIE
Posted: Feb 9 2007, 04:36 PM
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Please udpate when you can... I can't wait to see what you do with this.

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Delaton
Posted: Feb 9 2007, 05:38 PM
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Pictures are in the camera. Saturday is open. All looks good for an update.

I've had a little set back with the clay I chose to sculpt onto the building pieces. Air dry clay SHRINKS. I should have known this, but alas, all the pieces I sculpted shrunk. Most are still usable so I'm hoping to continue tonight/tomorrow with infilling missing pieces of the cornice, moulding, etc.


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Delaton
Posted: Feb 9 2007, 09:05 PM
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Ok, I want to first introduce people to the parts since I'll be referring to "left side", "right side", cornice, etc.
user posted image
Left side, Right side, Front, and Filler wall
user posted image
Ramp, Wheel, Right wheel wall, left wheel wall
user posted image
Crane, barrel, platform (3), ladder, roof framing, stairs, cornice, base

I'll mainly be using the left, right, and front walls, but I can see uses for the wheel walls already, using the stone cut from the irregular pattern to form blank walls, etc.
user posted image
Opening up the wheel walls, they have spring loaded levers and gears to operate the water wheel play feature. After removing all the screws, you can get a good section of wall cut off it.

For this first project, I decided not to hide any of the front wall detail under the cake pillars. Instead, I want to combine 3 front walls to form one long building. Since the edge pilasters are tapered, I'd either have to infill between them with stone or cut each front straight on the edges and blend/sculpt the two sides together. I decided to do the former to actually save some time and detail in the pieces.

user posted image
Using my 12" mitre saw with a fine blade, I was able to cut the pieces straight very quickly from the right and left wheel walls. However, I must warn everyone that the teeth of the blade did melt the edge of the plastic and in the middle top piece, the teeth caught and broke off a piece of the wall right on a stone joint. This caused some shrapel, which was not found, to shoot across the garage. Always wear safety glasses when using tools.

user posted image
In order for the stone infill to sit flush, the lip (left piece, before) had to be ground off (right piece, after)

user posted image
I glued the pieces together using plastic glue (Testors), making sure to align the bottom pieces so they sit flush. The glue took a LONG time to set up and had to be weighed down and re-glued in a few places.

user posted image
Using air-dry clay, I sculpted additional trim pieces and cornices to blend the seams together. I also used the clay to infill the gap along the pilaster at the infill stone piece. You can also see some reddish pieces in the holes which will serve to back clay infill.

As you can see, this is a large piece, about 27" long. One of each of the sides will be used to place the building on a slight angle to the backdrop. The left side will be cut slight beyond the pilaster, before the hole. The right side, more visible, will be cut right after the vertical slit. This will cause a forced perspective, slightly, to the background building, making it much more dynamic than a flat facade.

Coming this weekend, hopefully, completed clay sculpt and infill, roof and floor pieces to add rigidity to the piece, and maybe a fine cap to the cornice.


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CorranHorn
Posted: Feb 13 2007, 11:28 PM
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Ash,

We've been talking about this diorama for a few weeks now and it's great to see that it's coming along so nicely. Your modifications to make the long frontal facade looks fantastic and once you paint it all up you won't even be able to tell these were separate pieces. Do you plan to use any of the other side pieces to hold the front in place, besides at the ends? And what of all the side walls from the wheel assembly, any plans for those pieces?

Happy Customizing!


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savrip
Posted: Feb 14 2007, 06:27 AM
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It's looking nice. Your additional sculpts make it just that much nicer.


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Delaton
Posted: Feb 14 2007, 06:16 PM
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The 3-bay facade will be supported by only the two ends. The other 4 ends I have available from already-opened boxes will have a home in something, not sure what yet, as well as the other wheel walls, of which I have one pair left. And I must add, I still have two whole sets available...and plenty more at Walmart. ph34r.gif

Eyeing the gears from inside the wheel walls, I think they'll find a home in my Geonosis Factory diorama someday.... thumbup.gif


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Delaton
Posted: Feb 17 2007, 10:52 PM
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Ok, time for an update. I spent a few hours this afternoon/evening cleaning up the 3-bay facade, fabricating the end walls, providing a "floor and roof" for the building, and sculpting a cornice.

user posted image
I cut the two end walls to keep the non-damaged sections of wall and allow the building to sit relatively flush against the background wall of the diorama. I used a dremel this time and although it took longer, I had much more control than with the 12" mitre saw I used last time!

user posted image
After permanently gluing the side walls in place, I cut a floor and roof section out of foamcore and used lots of hot glue to secure it in place. Using the hot glue while extremely hot allowed me to fill in the gaps solid between the straight floor piece and the irregular stone facade. This picture also allows you to see how the front wall was assembled from behind.

user posted image
I had to test-fit it in the diorama shelf area. I used figures for scale so you can see what size project this is.

I will be taking pictures of the building with the finished sculpted cornice once it dries tonight. I plan on attempting to put a spray-paint base coat on the building this weekend before I proceed with drybrush weathering of the stone. Then, some vines, "copper" flashing and roof trim, and window shutters, and I'll be all set with this piece!


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Ashley
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pbarny
Posted: Feb 17 2007, 10:57 PM
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The wall looks to be coming along. Beyond using the texture there, going to do any other faux finishing when you apply the paint?


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Delaton
Posted: Feb 19 2007, 04:06 PM
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Let there be paint...

user posted image
I finished the cornice, patched the cracking air-dry clay wallbash.gif , and laid down several coats of primer and beige spray paint. After it thoroughly dries, I spray a coat of dullcote over the whole model, then move it back to my workbench for several latex craft paint washes and drybrush layers. The paint will not stay glossy...and it's actually not too glossy now except that the flash brings it out.


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Ashley
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pbarny
Posted: Feb 19 2007, 04:14 PM
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So watching clay dry is more painful than paint? Oh, and what will be the final color? Brick's more the color of the fountain or what it is now or red?


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Delaton
Posted: Feb 19 2007, 09:10 PM
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I'd like to think after a medium brown wash and some yellow/beige drybrushing, it'll be close to the fountain.


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Delaton
Posted: Mar 4 2007, 11:30 PM
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Well, it's been several days...or two weeks, since my last post. In that time, I've made some progress as I show you below:

user posted image
I've coated the entire piece with a diluted wash of dark yellow/beige and dry brushed it with a lightened, non-diluted, version of the same color. What I hoped to achieve was the variations common with natural stone, even it it's quarried from the same stone strata. Window shutters are still coming but have been temporarily bypassed for lack of proper materials for their construction.

user posted image
Now here, you can begin to see the diorama layout, as well as hints of my next two projects. I needed something to screen off the corner where the lighting is plugged in my display shelves. Rather than build a building to cram in the corner, I decided to fill part of the diorama with a medium-sized tree. I used some spare 12 gauge and 14 gauge wire to make the tree frame, then wrapped some 22 gauge wire around it. Essentially, I've created an armature that I intend to cover with sculpey. After firing the clay and painting the branches, I will spray-adhesive some lichen, cover in scenic foam flock, then glue the lichen to the branches, forming the tree's canopy. This should screen the corner and blend out a small printed background that I'll add to give the diorama some depth.

I'm also starting to determine the size of my second building, a small 4-column temple-like front. Using the cake pillars, I'm going to fabricate some column bases, a pediment (triangle) gable roof front, and building wall out of some thin hardboard and MDF. The reason for the MDF over foamcore is long-term durability and eventually transportation (when we move in the future). The building will not use many, if any POTC playset pieces but should blend in well, I hope.

Let me know what you think and how it's coming! Feedback is welcome.


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