Author Topic: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama  (Read 11874 times)

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tom mann

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Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« on: July 28, 2007, 11:33:52 AM »
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Last week, I bought a picture frame from Target.  When I got home, I noticed that a corner was a little chipped.  I was going to return it, but realized that it's 12" x 20" size makes it a perfect, attractive base for a diorama. 

When finished, the diorama should will look a little Cubbin-esque, since I like using real dirt and silflor grass tufts instead of groundfoam.  Oh, plus I have the art deco abutment set that John made. 

My learning goal for this one is to stain the dirt with paints to get more of a layered, textured look.

Stand by for photos over the next few weeks and months.

Chris333

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2007, 04:48:57 PM »
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Cool  8) let us know if you figure out a glue that won't darken the scenery when dry.

tom mann

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2007, 05:38:10 PM »
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Cool  8) let us know if you figure out a glue that won't darken the scenery when dry.

matte medium...but sprinkle on some as the first layer is drying.

tom mann

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 10:16:23 PM »
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Ok, a little update and helpful tips and tricks from my own experience and from studying Jürg's John Cubbin-made dioramas.

1.  You'll need more ground behind the tracks than in front, since your photos could look down at the subject.  A way around this is to gently slope up the ground behind the tracks for top down photos, or add a large hill for both top down and bottom up photos.

2.  The ground in front of the tracks should be a drastic slope upwards, to allow for camera shots that look like they were taken trackside.  The large hill in #1 *could* be a height that is visible above the freight car or locos at this angle for added depth.

3.  Rivers should be as close to parallel to the tracks as possible to avoid entering the diorama in a manner that would be visible in most photos.  In my previous n scale diorama (due to faulty planning :-\ ), only the most top down shots work well because the river's source is apparent.  Ground can slope up to hide the "back edge", but water can't too easily  (other ideas:  a waterfall at the back edge; or as seen below, a curve and a rock at the edge, with a gentle taper to force perspective and minimize the river entry point).

The following two shots are foam and scuptamold painted with polyscale dirt and mud and Liquidtex raw umber.  I've learned that the rock formations should be installed before painting, so the surrounding sculptamold can be painted and blended in with them

I'll keep the diorama like this for a few days to make sure the rocks still look arranged properly.  If anything looks funny, please let me know.  I have a hard time placing rocks:  I mean, I do what I think is right, but with little rhyme or reason.  If terrain is too steep, I cut it out and slap a formation there. :)
 




I like the picture frame as framework so far.  It provides the structure for the foam to attach to and is a nice semi-matte black finish.

Next step:  placing dirt and rocks and securing them with matte medium.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2007, 10:17:56 PM by tom mann »

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2007, 11:06:12 PM »
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Ok, two things:
1: You've done generic "western" scenery already. I was hoping for something more fitting your Chicagoland interests.

2: Be DAMN careful slapping that glue around, or you're going to have to refinish the the frame, and that would seem dumb. Spend some time masking it off.

Otherwise, top notch work, as usual.

JR59

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2007, 11:55:08 PM »
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Wow, it's coming along real nice Tom! Thanks for sharing the progress with us.
with best Regards
Jürg

http://www.zscalegallery.com

tom mann

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2007, 06:57:52 AM »
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Ok, two things:
1: You've done generic "western" scenery already. I was hoping for something more fitting your Chicagoland interests.


You're right, Ed.  I've sold out to the western demons once again. :(  I find western scenery fun to do, that's all.  Rock formations are fun, sand and dirt scenery is fun, not using groundfoam is fun, etc. ;D
« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 08:26:10 AM by tom mann »

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2007, 11:15:29 AM »
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What are you talking about? Groundfoam is the BEST!!!

Sokramiketes

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2007, 11:28:20 AM »
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What are you talking about? Groundfoam is the BEST!!!


No complaints here...

Mike

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Chris333

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2007, 04:06:14 PM »
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Yeah, stay cool and model dead corn.   8)  8)


 ;)

tom mann

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2007, 04:08:06 PM »
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Yes, exactly Skibbe.  I want to avoid that "grass mat" look.

John

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2007, 04:10:19 PM »
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I have also felt that a layered ground foam approach is the best

David K. Smith

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 04:30:06 PM »
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What I've found to be the most effective to my eye is a combination of static grass and ground foam. I'll start by applying static grass in uneven amounts to the base scenery, then gently vacuum while still wet to get as much to stand up as possible. After dry, I apply thinned glue to the tips of the static grass and sprinkle on blended-color very fine ground foam, allow to dry, then vacuum. The result is what I call "micro-shrubbery," because the ground foam "leaves" are standing up on static grass "stalks." Sometimes I'll repeat the ground foam application to bulk up of some of the weeds and shrubbery and provide greater texture variation. To break up the "grass mat" effect, I'll thow in small bits of WS Foliage Clumps, broken pieces of WS Fine Foliage, moss, twigs, and lots of other stuff, to varying degrees depending on how unkempt the property should look.

I have been struggling for a while now with an online clinic to show how this is done. Someday I'll actually finish it, but it's proving a challenge to photograph effectively. Currently the only photo example I have is far from ideal, but it's all I have for the moment.

« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 05:05:07 PM by dks2855 »
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2007, 04:46:25 PM »
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I had a chance to visit Jim Younkin's layout 2 weeks ago.  He uses poly fiber with ground foam on top.  It's similar to what you're describing with the static grass, in that there are stalks and foliage, and the effect is quite nice.

Whatever you do, there has to be some transition to blend static grass with ground foam, or else the different textures are just too jarring.   I'll have to try the static grass/foliage combination out.
Mike

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David K. Smith

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Re: Mann's Picture Frame Diorama
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2007, 04:53:10 PM »
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I had a chance to visit Jim Younkin's layout 2 weeks ago.  He uses poly fiber with ground foam on top.  It's similar to what you're describing with the static grass, in that there are stalks and foliage, and the effect is quite nice.

Whatever you do, there has to be some transition to blend static grass with ground foam, or else the different textures are just too jarring.   I'll have to try the static grass/foliage combination out.

I use the polyfiber/ground foam combo, too, when I transition from fields to forests. The trick I've found here is to stretch the polyfiber out really, really far. And when I think it's far enough, I stretch it out some more. When it's left thick, it tends to look like polyfiber; when it's really pulled out thin, it can make great brambles.

This is a lousy image to use as a demo, but more or less from right to left are static grass, static grass with ground foam, polyfiber with ground foam, and finally broken bits of WS Fine Foliage to make bushes and trees.

« Last Edit: July 31, 2007, 04:57:28 PM by dks2855 »
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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