Monday, June 16, 2014

Who watches the watchers?

Hidden in the woods, two French hussar officers are investigatting the enemy positions - but they have an unexpected witness...

This little display was my multi figure entry for this years' FIGZ in Arnhem. I built it between December and March of this year, while having the hussars almost completed in my bin since October. The figures fell into my hands at FIGZ 2013 and within a second, I had exactly this scenery in my mind. As Conny said - if you have a picture in your head, go on and make it real. So I did.

At first, I bought a couple of old picture frames at the local thrift shop. Usually, I work with putty of different degrees of granularity. That works great for merely flat landscape, but in this case I wanted to raise up the middle part without having to wait weeks for the putty to dry out. So I decided to raise up the center part with lighter material.
Old base plates, plywood - I glued together every little piece of wood that I found in my material box.
Honestly, I'm still a bloody beginner when it comes to diorama building. I read lots of internet articles and some books, but bringing all that stuff - which is mostly discribed for 1:35 scale - onto an own piece of wood is really a totally different story.
Next I brought the figures into position and put the putty on. The stones on the left side marked a small gap in which I decided to try to create a small well in order to find out if my wifes' transparent window colour sealer could be an adequate material for simulating water.

Well - it is not. Or perhaps it is, but the putty doesn't correspond to it very well. First, I painted the ground completely in a muddy brown and marked the position of the trees and bushes with some old autumn leaf laying around the tree trunk. The streambed was painted with dark brown. A day later, I filled in the window colour sealer, which is pretty liquid. First time, the liquid found a small gap between the putty and the frame and disappeared somewhere below. I sealed the gap and retried - this time the streambed putty cracked and, through the new gap, the liquid flew out once again. It took me three tries to get to something that merely looked like a stream, but as I weren't unable to get rid of the crack without removing larger parts of putty, I decided to camouflage this error with static grass just as if that grass was growing in the swampy bed of a little well.
To bring in more green, I now added static grass, two sorts of fine flock and a rougher sort of flock in order to simulate small bushes. I also tried to implement 3d-prints of dandelion which normally is designed for 1/87 scale train modelling. As you can see, the leafs are really large in comparizon to real dandelion- imagine that for figures that are smaller in scale. Creepy, isn't it? Unfortunately, the shaft with the blossom on top looked much too much 2d. I finally decided to cut them off.
Here's a close-up of the path on which the woman is walking. The different sorts of static grass and the rest of the bushwork doesn't look too bad. :-)
Next and almost final step: the trees. After I learned how to create my own trees by using really simple material, the tree and bushwork prototypes are now installed. A little drybrushing for the trunks, and here they are. Okay, I'm still not too satisfied with the trunk shapes, but for my first try, I was happy enough with the result.
So here they are, standing in the wilderness, hidden under them trees, looking for the enemy.

And here are some closeups of the figures. All are from ART Miniaturen ( who produce really nicely detailed metal figures.
I'm really pleased with the result and I hope that you like it as well. Feels as if this won't be my last little diorama. :-)

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