Diorama building – Old Dock (6 inch scale)

I am always looking to make better photographs, and set my figures in dynamic poses.  One way of doing that, I had discovered a few years back, was to make a scale model diorama to get the figures into a scene.  The first diorama I did was the back alley with a million and a half bricks.  It turned out so well in my mind, and I was hooked on dioramas.   My second diorama was more recent and a lot easier.  It consisted of a fake rock wall, and a sand base.  That one was really easy, and allowed me to utilize it by any scale from Marvel Legends up to Power Rangers Zords.

Now I have embarked on my biggest and best diorama yet.  Phase 1 is the dock that I had imagined and is now a reality.  I thought ahead enough to take pictures along the way so I could take you with me on the journey to completion.

Step 1: I used thin redwood strips used for latice work. I had them left over in my shed from an arbor I built. I hacked them off at around 8 inches across. Then I split them twice to get three thinner strips that were uneven.
I built a frame with the same wood. I used an air powered nail gun that had tiny little nails in it. This probably could have been done with glue as well, but this was way faster, way cleaner, and will probably hold together better.

Step 1a: Since I used a dull chisel, the wood broke unevenly to leave the ends ravaged by the sea.  Of course if you were going for a new dock look, you would want to cut them evenly.

Step 1b:  I nailed two pieces together to make a more dynamic dock that will give me more options for photo shoots.

Step 2:  I bought a long dowel rod that was about an inch across.  I cut it into two sizes.  Three I made longer, and the rest I left short.  To get the old texture with cracking wood, I smashed them with a hammer around the edges.  The closer to the top, the bigger the split.  If parts fell off, I let them fall off.  The wood has a great weathered look at this point.

Step 3:  I nailed the posts all around the dock.  This is a good time to make sure you are keeping them all level.  I managed to get them all flat except for one on the back side that is about 1/4 inch off the floor.  Oops!

Step 4: I painted the whole dock with a wash of watered down brown acrylic.  While the paint was still wet, I added some washes of black.   Overall there wasn’t a whole lot of need for more of a wash, since the redwood already had a lot of different colors.  I used the black wash mostly around the base of the piers where water would be eating away at the wood.

A closeup of the split pier.  A hammer is all you need.  Hit it all the way around, and it will start to split.  Make sure to get down in the cracks with the wash.  You want it to be as dark or darker than the exterior wood.

Spidey is checking out the dock for the first time.  Since this is Phase 1, I don’t have a base of background for the dock yet.   For now it is sitting on the sand display.  That works, but there is a WAY bigger display coming for this one.

Up next, I am working on the base of the display. We will see how it turns out.  My first time working on making water.  So far so good.  Pictures and instructions to follow.  For now, we will get back to some toy reviews.  I have a back log starting to pile up.

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