Dioramas

These are pictures from completed dioramas.  I am not a professional artist, so the minis are not done as well as those in the catalogues; however I do this for fun.  Much like a model railroad hobbyist, except in most cases my presentation is only 4 inches across.

Star Wars 2017

Without intending to meet any lawyers from Lucas Arts or Disney, the following is a mash up of multiple genres.  The basic theme is that a Sith Lord (in purple) is facing off against three intrepid Jedi from various parts of the Old Republic.  Lead by now Jedi Knight No-iian Singh from Catbox IV (see below for when he was a Paduan), along with his two Paduan:  Els-Beth from Dikeen and the first Jedi from Glibbernarsh Gr-og. 

The Sith “Lord” Darth A-Rabrab a fearless and implacable foe, except when it comes to cats, which is why the Jedi Council sent Singh.

Our fearless hero, a modified Cat Samurai miniature.

Els-Beth, a modified Reaper Iconic Elf Thief.

Gr-Og, a modified Ahoggya from Empire of the Petal Throne

 

Have Yourself a Huber Little Christmas - 2014

A Christmas gift to my Sister and Brother-in-Law Margie, Noelle and Scott Huber (the youngest Brother-in-Law from the ballad further down).  I offered the family $10 if they could tell me what was wrong with each figure as it is supposed to represent Margie (pony-tail), Scott (guitar) and Noelle (trench coat) dealing with Zombies at Christmas.  I gave one away – Scott’s figure has hair, which Scott is losing rapidly.  Answers at the end…..

The answers:  Ian guess his mom’s hair was too dark as it is “salt and pepper” these days.  Nobody got the last answer about Noelle, which is:  For once she’s dressed for the weather (she will wear short sleeves in a snowstorm). 

For a Few Dollars More - 2017

A made-up encounter from the movie “For a Few Dollars More” (which I think is better than Good Bad and Ugly in many ways).  Outside we have The Colonel, Manko, facing off with Groggy and El Indio at Agua Caliente, while the rest of Indio’s Gang is preparing an ambush behind the walls.

 

Complete view from behind the adobe walls of Indio’s gang.  A little liberty is taken as on the far right is the outlaw The Colonel shots as the start of the movie and the henchmen from White Rock are in the loft.  However, had to keep Wild (the hunchback) and Nino on the left.  One of the more complete sets with lots extras, such as laundry cauldrons (or is it greenish soup?), dirt, a crucifix along with curtains and a flower pot.  I think the key to this type of view is the little stuff you eye catches.  Do you hear a watch chiming in the distance yet?

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - 2014

 

 

Katie knew humans made noises around this place, but where was the music coming from?

GBU: Katie is not amused to be involved in the iconic showdown.  These are 45mm minis (will find the link sometime) from the movie.  Larger than the standard 28mm version these are easier to paint, but I did these before getting the 3x lenses so I could improve on the detail.  This view from Tuco's shoulder gives you the best perspective of Blondie and Angel Eyes.

GBU:  This is looking straight at Angel Eyes - best view of him in the shots.  The floor of the diorama was fun to do; after watching the movie (more times than the Social Director likes), I figured the best way was to pour plaster and then break it to represent what looks like a dry pond in the movie.  Unlike "Sister Sara" this diorama used more plaster to achieve that gray/dry look from the movie.  The dust and blocks in the wall are plaster.

GBU:  The best view of Tuco in the set - it was difficult to get all that dark hair to come out OK without looking funny.  Blondie has a lot of detail and if I do this one again will try for more detail on the Poncho.  The diorama is designed to sit under a small bell jar (4") so I don’t have to dust it

GBU: The Director's Cut. Top view of the diorama giving an overall perspective. I added the rock in front of Blondie where the name on the grave is (or isn't) written.

Two Mules for Sister Sara - 2014

 

Sara was happy to have a hero help her out on the quest for guns, but why was he so short?

2MSS:  Front view of this diorama.  This was the first set of minis I did after a 20 plus year hiatus.  The Ral Partha figure "Dwarf with No Name" is one of the iconic (and expensive) figures out there.  He came from the UK as I didn't want to repaint my original.  The scene is supposed to be of them hiking down a river bed, but from the photo it looks like a large set of rocks.  I started using sand for figures after this set.

 

FYI - Searching the internet for "Nun" and "Mule" can come up with some interesting sites.

2MSS: Side view and maybe the best of the good Sister. The figure isn't the best and as this was also done before the Social Director got me the 3x glasses her detail could be better. I may have gone overboard on the dry grasses in this diorama but it was my first trying that out too.

2MSS:  The "back view" showing the good Sister and the pack mules.  As you can tell the rocks are a little big but it does look better in this view. 

 

2MSS:  The other side - this was my first attempt at a rock wall and it definitely could be better.  The air dry Terra Cotta clay works pretty well for this and when dry is like a rock.  As you can tell it's easy to make rubble from parts of the wall and crush the clay when dry to give it a real parched look.

 

One thing I do different from some of the model railroad folks is to use clear silicon sealant (bathtub stuff) to glue stuff down - it holds better than white glue and is paintable.  However to lay down dust or rocks - good old Elmer’s is nice.

2MSS:  The Top view - this gives the best perspective and actually shows that one of the mules is leaning on its haunches and Sara is reaching out to give it a push.  These go well inside those small display jars sold by many craft shops.

Ahoggyas in a Bog - 2014

 

Grog like the pay and the mission was easy; however when the pond began to bubble he though he should have read the fine print

AB: I have always loved Ahoggya's ever since reading the Petal Throne rules back in 1976. There is something fascinating about a creature with 360 degree vision and a culture that it totally inhuman. For those of us who did RPG games, many of the non-humans (Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, etc.) are simply humans in a funny suit - not these guys.

 

I currently do a play-by-mail campaign with a friend on Tekumel and it is fun to have my own spin on what was supposed to be an interstellar race.  It's a great campaign - sort of like M.A.R. Barker meets Wrath of Khan.

AB: Close up on Grog (handsome devil isn't he) - note the use of sand in this version to emulate groundcover as opposed to rocks.  I'll get landscaping done sometime.

 

There is a nice gentleman in the UK who makes these minis - if you are interested in a set let me know and I'll send you his email address.  Or search for the Tekumel on the net.

AB: The front view of the whole scene.  The priestess is a recycled mini from the 80's - amazing what detail you can get with those 3x glasses.  Her face is miscast but the more I looked at it the more I liked the disfigurement. 

 

The intention of this scene is that our intrepid heroes have done their mission and their employer is about to spring a visitation on them.  Fun for all.  Note the priestess has a pet flying lizard.

AB: Front view of priestess.  She's standing in a pile of red sand (next time sink the mini in the base do it doesn't look like she's on a mound) to protect her from what's coming out of the pond.  I need to find a better location for tropical plants the one used looks more desert like.

AB: The top view - this was my first attempt at water on this scale. I've done it for flower arrangements in the past but this is new. I think next time I might not make the bed of the pond so dark as it makes for a hard to take photo.

 

On the other hand - the acrylic water said to stir slowly or you get bubbles.  Well no luck with that but when it dried it actually made it look better - much like a caldron. 

 

Other tip - you can make colored sand using the beige stuff and food dye - the only problem is that it's not colorfast so if it's going near water try something else.  As minis in general dislike water this is no problem.

AB:  Revised the diorama by adding smaller grass tufts (see favorite sites for location) and a handmade palm tree.  The leaves from the Ming Aralia I used for several silk bonsai creates a fairly exotic palm tree looking plan. 

AB:  Lower shot of the new diorama with the palm tree.  You can see the smaller grass tufts at the transition point between the taller grasses and the sandy soil.    

In the beginning - while not a diorama this is the first set pieces I ever did. This was a going away gift to a friend when he went overseas from the "gang". I was touched that he kept it and there is a bit of a story behind every figure.

Fun in the Desert - 2014

When the Land Agent told Josette nobody lived on the property, he was technically right.

Back view of the diorama showing the Lich erupting from the floor of the temple. The pillars are from Hurst Arts and casted in “rock hard water putty” which is tan in color but no fun to break up and grind.  The Lich is a Reaper miniature and designed to look like it’s leaping.  Snake on the left is an old Ral Partha recycled.  

Aerial view of the diorama looking toward the temple. Hard to pick up the detail but the lady Mummy is holding a mask that was disguising herself (Reaper).   

Side view showing a Mummy squaring off against “Darth” the vampire Elf (both Reaper). In the background you can see Mantis and Josette facing the lady Mummy.   

Our heroes, Josette and Mantis in the foreground with Angelique and Victoria in the back. Darth to the right.  After all these years I think I am finally getting the hang of painting both red and blonde hair.  You decide.   

The best shot of the lady Mummy – a very nice Reaper mini. Note the Lich in the background.  These parts from Hirst casting are the best.   

Josette’s diary  - 4th Seed, day 9

Ifer is a most entertaining host, if one remembers to bring your own drink and not get too close to any unusual artifacts he may want to show you.  Mantis and I had a delightful evening and our host was most impressed by my servants.  It’s not often someone visits with a Vampire and a Medusa/Elder Race, but then I figure Ifer has pretty much seen it all.  We discussed my desire to expand the Estate and as I was considering some sort of vineyard he suggested I speak with Boris in Crystal Point about some property he is aware of that is now on the market.

 

4th Seed, day 12

Boris is obviously another of Ifer’s cronies or on his payroll – how else do you explain a half elf, half Centaur selling property.  It turns out to be a patch of semi-desert and scrub land ideal for some of the grapes and fruits that grow near Trinity.  Yuko remembers the place and thinks it was part of an older temple complex.  I asked Boris if there was anything unusual about the place and he stated it has a few old ruins but nothing unusual.  I asked if anyone lived there as I have dealt with hostile squatters before.  Boris stated nobody lives there.

 

5th Seed, day 8

Boris is technical right about the place, while nobody “lives” there it appears there was a Lich along with three guardians inhabiting part of the Temple complex.  When we first got there a female mummy came out and bid us be gone.  I demurred and two more sprang out of the sand – Darth headed off to deal with one and Angelique and Victoria began to cast spells to deal with the other.  Mantis and I closed with the “woman”.  Right before I hit her with the whip the Lich erupted from the floor of the temple.  Made for an interesting afternoon.

 

5th Seed, day 13

Boris claimed to know nothing so I bought the property, now unoccupied and visited Ifer.  “Alas for old Kal-Fran, I sold him that property originally.  Also helped him make his final transition before you assisted him off to wherever Lich’s go.”  Smiled told him I’ll send him some sketches of the place as he cannot leave Crystal Point and promised to name the first vintage after Kal-Fran and the second after his illustrious self.  Declined an offer for brandy and got the hell out of there. 

The Ballad of the Brothers-in-Law - 2014

 

The Ballad of the Brothers-in-Law loosely based on a true story with the name changed to protect the guilty. This is a return to the glass dome scenes, after doing the larger dioramas this is a little tough as you have to cram detail into a 4 inch circle.  Largest tree I’ve done to date….


View of the Older Brother-in-Law, with him drawing a bead on a leaping fish. They don’t’ make 28mm fish (outside of Sharks, etc.) so this was modeled on an Angle Fish and used a piece of cat food as a starting point; it is suspended on a fiber optic thread.  Note that both brothers are standing in Poison Ivy (doubles as any sort of “ivy”), which can be found on Amazon.  The middle brother has a strange shadow which makes him look like he has a black eye.

View of the Youngest Brother-in-Law running from the scene. You cannot see it in this view but the person who this is modeled off of always labels his coolers and such with his last name – the chest has that name on it (need to see the real thing to get the name, sorry).  Due to a trick in the focal point the fish looks like it’s in the foreground rather than the background.

Director’s cut view of the three Brothers-in-Law

Another Director’s Cut view of the diorama – note the desperado sneaking down the trail to get a drop on a Brother-in-Law.

The Ballad of the Brothers-in-Law

Once upon a time three brothers-in-law decided to go fishing. 

The oldest Brother decided to go armed as he thought it would be fun to shoot the fish as he was a mediocre fisherman at best.  The second Brother decided to bring a book like he always did as he enjoyed the peace and quiet more than fishing.  The third and youngest Brother decided that shooting fish would be fun too so he brought along his shotgun.

At the fishing hole, the oldest Brother hadn’t mastered the art of fishing yet and the youngest was still checking out his cooler.  The middle Brother found a good place to stand where he could read and still watch the shooting.

Just as he was drawing a bead on a nice leaping fish, the older Brother was interrupted by a desperado dressed all in green.  “Hold there” the desperado said, “do you have the right to fish here?”

“Of course I do.” Answered the older Brother, a little sheepish as he wasn’t supposed to be shooting fish.  “I always go armed to fish.”

“That’s illegal” shouted the desperado, “on your knees”.  The older Brother complied. There was a rustling in the brush and both Brothers turned expecting to see the youngest Brother with the drop on the desperado, but he had vanished!

“Bro”, he shouted to the middle Brother, “call my lawyer.”  The middle and older Brother then proceeded to negotiate with the desperado.  After a long conversation citing legal issues, jurisdiction and some cash eventually the desperado left. 

“Where is our Brother?” both Brothers said to each other simultaneously.  Neither had an answer and they began to call the youngest Brother’s name.  After several minutes he eventually answered.

“Here I am” he stated looking perfectly normal.

“Where did you go” asked the middle Brother.  “I was looking for you.”

“I figured it was best to hide from the desperado and stay out of trouble” the younger Brother replied.  The older Brothers looked at each other in amazement and decided it was a good time pick another fishing hole.

Once they got home the older two Brothers discovered they had spent the day standing in Poison Ivy

Barb and Karl in the Later Years

Christmas gift to Barb and Karl – the setting is supposed to be some years from now when Barb’s care of Feral Cats has gone to extreme and Karl is finally forging steel.  Christmas 2014 gift to the two of them.

Front view of our two intrepid seniors.

My sister

Karl about to step on a cat.

Aerial view

Kelly’s Heroes - 2015

An homage to the Eastwood, Savalas, Sutherland and Rickles (my hero) film.  In this case the scene changes from a group of US Army soldiers breaking into a French Bank guarded by a 3 Tiger tanks, but a group of Dwarves taking on a bank guarded by an Orc with his pet Balrog.  The mission report from “Big Joe” doesn’t say anything about this raid into Orcish lands during the last war, although for some reason many of his company seem to have retired to parts unknown with a substantial retirement fund.

Front View.  Per Big Joe’s memoirs, they found the Orc Bank about two days from the front lines.  This scene shows the entire cadre “negotiating” with the Orc bank guard and his Balrog watchdog.  Fortunately for the team, Oddball was able to see eye-to-eye with the Balrog from atop his Warbear “Sherman”. 

Kelly himself; you really cannot tell but he is actually carrying five pistols (three in the back).  The background is really dark as it intended to show a wasteland.  The ground is mostly crushed coal (thanks Karl) and the various rocks are obsidian chips found by the roadside in Eastern Oregon.

Close-up of Sherman and Oddball negotiating with the Balrog.  Oddball had a hard time not cracking jokes about the Balrog’s choice of clothes. 

Big Joe and the Orc discuss terms. Per his memoirs, Joe said the Orc who was names “Louis” left when they did with his share of the loot. Speculation is that this may be the same “Earl Louis” who arrived in the Empire a few years back and settled in a massive estate; it is rumored that he keeps a Balrog.

View from inside the temple – went with a stark white vs. all black motif to really set the stage.  Parts and pieces from various molds (those are really big gold bars), and a lot of glitter which I am still sweeping up in the kitchen. 

Top view of outside the temple – Crapgame is on the right hand side (a little dark); the cigar was hard to add to the miniature but made it look even better.  Think Don R would be pleased.

Dwarves Star Wars (2015)

Parody of Star Wars using miniatures from multiple locations (in fact all 4 are from different sources).  The scene presents “Darth Durin” facing off against our intrepid Jedi “Bron-Go” from the Dwarf cluster and his Paduan No-iian Singh the ferocious feline from Catbox IV.   The Sith Lord has a Storm trooper along for backup; however he expects to do a lot of damage by throwing boulders at our heroes.

Over shoulder view of the diorama giving the perspective from the Jedi point of view.  Three of these miniatures had to be modified to replace their solid swords with something resembling a light saber.  The blades are made from acrylic toothpicks. 

Standing on a pinnacle of broken machinery; Darth Durin invokes the force to raise a rock from the slimy bog they are facing off over.  The slime was made using acrylics and will probably eventually cure and not be sticky in 2017.

The heroes (Bron-Go is on the right) standing on the pinnacle of rocks.  The picture notes how hard it is to emulate a Siamese coloring in a miniature like this given that the light parts of the cat are covered by clothing and all you see are the points (hands/feet/ears/tail).  Khan posed for much of this while asleep; picture does not do him justice.

Director Cut view of the diorama from the top.  Giving an overall perspective of the scene.  The rocks are a mix of obsidian and coal.

Moria Mining Strategy Session (2015)

The weekly strategy session with Tigger, Katie and Khan ends up like they usually do with hissing, growling and swordplay.  The scene is at Katie’s desk and the boys showed up armored as usual.  Once the fault popped up on her screen that was all Katie could take and she jumped up on her desk and the “fur flew”. 

Close up of Katie and her desk, unfortunately her organization skills are not on display as her stack of notes are now scattered across the desk and she’s about to lose her mouse.  The focus on her face is bad, I really need to consider a better camera I guess.  I have the same problem getting Tigger in focus and he only shows up in longer shots.

Shot of Khan once again illustrating that a Siamese marking is hard when the cat is wearing clothes.  It appears that Katie drinks a lot of water as that’s an impressive water bottle.

Top view, and the only picture of Tigger that seems to come into focus.  If you look closely you can see that Katie is a messy eater as there are several large bones included with the day’s trash.

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