Tag Archives: diorama building

Tree Diorama for 1/6 scale

The 1/6 scale is my favorite to build in. I love the 1/12 scale figures, like Marvel Legends and Star Wars The Black Series, but there is something about working in this larger scale that allows for some finer details, and the ability to play really big.

One of the biggest problems with this scale is of course the size of whatever it is you are building. In this case I had it in my mind to build a chair swing. And the only way I wanted to see that swing was hanging from a tree. Now that posed a few problems since trees are big. That is of course the first problem revisited. Second is that a tree has to be rather robust to hold a swing with someone swinging in it.

The answer came to me as an old piece of PVC sewer pipe I have had laying around for the last 12 years, after I finished remodeling my house and ended up with a bit of extra pipe.

So, now I had the width of the tree. To remedy the height, I figured I would have it broken like it had been struck by lightning. Then I have a display that has an interesting story, it is not too gigantic, and it will still be big enough for the larger 1/6 scale figures.

The material I used is Rigid Wrap. I ordered a 5 pound roll from Amazon made by Activia. The directions were printed on the box. Cut, wet, and stick. That was about it. From there I began to experiment and see what I could do for things like texture, roots and old branches that have been broken off.

I did have one setback when I was building the long branch. I had originally cut a hole in the trunk and stuck the smaller piece of PVC in the hole. I glued it with hot glue. It held well until I started to add the Rigid Wrap. The Rigid Wrap added a lot of extra weight, and started to pull the branch down. I added wire that went around the bottom of the branch and then attached back into the truck. I also added a wood brace under the branch. This was all covered with many layers of Rigid Wrap that covered up the stuff that didn’t belong as well as created a strong cast.

For the broken top, I cut the PVC with a cutting wheel. The triangular pieces that were cut off were added to the top and glued into place to add different heights to the top and gave it a more natural look.

For the leaves, I knew it was going to be tricky to find something that was going to be in scale. It turned out to be really easy. I was in Michael’s and they have a plastic plant display area in the store. A giant bunch of branches with the proper size leaves were $14.99. I happened in at the 50% off sale, so the price was much more reasonable at half. I was not sure I was going to need the whole bunch, but I ended up using it all. The smaller twigs came off with a pull, and I attached them to the tree with bamboo skewers I held in place with more Rigid Wrap cut much smaller. The twigs with leaves were glued in place with hot glue.

Once I got all of that done, it was on to the painting. I started dark and worked my way lighter, creating layers, more in some areas and less in others. I painted from the trunk out, making sure to cover all of the twigs most of the way out to the leaves.

This was a great project for me to tackle. It was something new. I had never worked with Rigid Wrap before, and I love it. I have a few more ideas in mind for other scenery pieces I want to make for some other scales. If I remove the swing, it can be a larger tree for smaller scale figures as well.

Up next, I am working on a car. Barbie’s cars are mostly bright pink, and not anything like what most people would chose to buy. I am working on a much darker but still quite flashy color that should make any of the drivers happy to take the little sports car for a spin.


Diorama Building – Road Construction

Today we are going to take a momentary break from the actual toys, to look at the new background stuff I have been making.  I wanted to throw this out there in case there was someone looking to make some scale equipment and wanted to add some more detail to their backgrounds.  You may have seen this in the background of the last two posts about Marvel Legends.  I was using those guys to test the scale.

I wanted something new for a diorama, and while watching an episode of Power Rangers Wild Force, I was loving the background setting of the construction site. I figured I would start with a simple sign.

The sign is made of the picture printed on printer paper. It was sized in Word for the correct sizing, about 2 scale feet top to bottom. It was glued to a flat piece of styrene to keep it nice and flat. I have found tag board starts to warp after a bunch of layers of paint and glue and Mod Podge.  I made the back from smaller pieces of styrene I had laying around. It got a nice coat of paint to dirty it up and I was good to go.

I moved onto the road closed barriers. They are made with popsicle sticks for the cross pieces and the stand at the bottom. The poles are wood dowel. For the light on top, I cut a piece of wood to a rectangle and attached a section of wood dowel for the light. They are held together with a wire that ran through the block of wood, and into the circle piece. The wire was glued with super glue to hold the pieces tight.

Then I had the idea of making the sandbags. I was lucky enough to have some fabric laying around from when my wife and I added some fabric to our bed spread a few years back. I used a piece of PVC pipe (1/2in) to make a tube of fabric. I used fabric glue to glue the seam. That was the hardest part.

I cut the tube every 2 inches to make the length of the sand bag. I glued one end and then let them dry. It was apparent that it was going to become more of a thing if I tried to glue the and stuff them all on the same day.

With 60 little bags, I started the filling process. I made a paper funnel, since I couldn’t find my plastic funnel. I filled the bags up most of the way, leaving about 1/4 inch at the top. Of course I used sand. I glued the seam and then let them dry.

I needed a test area, so I set them on my back walk that is concrete. It doesn’t look much like a road construction site, since it is pretty clean. When I make my actual diorama, I have a few ideas in mind for what to do to give it a worn road look. Next I will try my hand at some other stuff that might be laying around. Concrete pipes, canvas tarps, and maybe even some equipment. The sky is the limit on this one.


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