In Progress » UC-Hardgraph M61A5 Main Battle Tank » Setting Up The Diorama

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The scene is continuing to take shape. Since the last update I’ve completed the tank and assembling the figures I’ll be using. I’ve also assembled the UC Hardgraph Gundam Arm and will be resting in the wall of the abandoned/destroyed factory.

While putting the scene together it hit me that I could make this a multi-purpose base, something I’ve wanted to do for a while due to limited display space. I have a couple of German rail cars in 1/35 that I’ve been planning to “modernize” and build as scenery or just on their own for kicks. I decided that by adding embedded rails and a loading dock to the scene that I can later build and photograph them on this base instead of creating an all new base for them and thus take up even more display space.

Anyway, I first layed 2 sheets of 1/2″ MDF board to make a raised base. Then I used Basswood as a nice stainable border to clean-up the edges of the MDF and to create a lip for pouring my pavement using plaster of paris. While the Ebony stain and polycrylic finish was drying I sketched my layout on the base and photographed it for later reference. As usual this is subject to minor changes, but is pretty much how the layout will go.  You can see how I later decided to add rails in red and the accompanying dock in blue.

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Once dry I added a piece of scrap basswood and a lip of tape to contain my plaster pour. In the plaster mix I added a lot of rip-rap, talus, ballast and sand to give texture later when chipping out potholes. After the plaster cured I gave the base a coat of primer then immediately sprinkled the base with a thin dusting of baking soda then more primer to seal. This gives it a rougher more asphault-like texture.

When cured I chissled out the grooves for the rails and began scribing in cracks and potholes. Since this is a long-abandoned facility, maybe 3 years or so, nature has begun to take back the landscape. Most of the cracks will have weeds sprouting from them and fines/brush will be growing up the walls and arm. I also started making the mold for and pouring the sidewalk. I made a section of factory wall as well and will make multiple plaster casts of that too once my new silicone mold rubber arrives.

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I began to create some of the details for the dio as well. First was a sheet of signs which I’ll print out later to use. You can download them here. I also made a cable spool from 1/32″ plywood sheet. Mig productions is sending me their Modern City Accessories volume 1 and 2 and modern street lamps to use for this piece. The set contains dumpsters, street lights, barriers, etc… I won’t be able to fit it all on, but all of it will find its way into future projects. I’ve also had a set of “Modern Diorama Accessories” from Blast Models for years that I’ve been meaning to use. I might throw something from that in. Sattelite dish, fridge, microwave, TV, computer, vacuum…

Here’s all the pics:

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