Here I go again…
I had some insulation foam laying around, and Ithought I could put it to good use. The base is 2″ thick foam board cut to a 2′ square. Liquid Nails was used to glue down pieces of pink 1″ foam board, to make the contours of a hill. Once the glue dried, I carved the foam with our electric turkey carving knife (don’t tell my wife!) to smooth out any straight pieces.
The next step was to attack the whole thing with a metal file, breaking most of the surfaces into tiny bits. I wanted a really rough ground cover that would eventually mimic rocks and leaves, like you would find in the forest.
All those little pieces needed to be glued down before I sneezed on them. I usually would have used watered-down Elmer’s glue to make sure it got in all the nooks and crannies, but drizzling it straight out of the container seemed to work fine.
The glue was left to dry overnight and then a heavy coat of cheap brown house paint was painted over the whole thing. The paint helped to secure any loose pieces that might have been missed by the glue.
After the paint dried for the most part, I spray painted some areas with a mix of black, brown, and grey, using a totally random approach.
I sprinkled some landscape dirt onto the wet paint–the kind that model railroaders use–but I could have just used regular old dirt. I plan to use this diorama for photography, where I will only see a small section at a time, so I wasn’t too concerned with the details, plus I plan to add a lot more scenery, which will conceal the blotchy look of the base.
I couldn’t wait to get a figure on the diorama to see how it would look. Not bad. The paint is still a little wet, which is why the background looks glossy.
What if I add a few props? Oops, I forgot to turn off the camera’s flash.
Much better. No flash is always better when photographing your action figures. These photos were taken with my regular old point and shoot camera and the lighting in my workshop.
You might wonder why I don’t just take my camera and toys outside and shoot them there, and the main reason is that indoors, you have total control over the lighting. I’m looking forward to making shots that look like they were done under a full moon or during early sunrise.
Another advantage of this backdrop is that it will be built with scale in mind. Blades of grass and plant leaves you find outdoors look gigantic alongside your toys, and your figures will look like stars in Honey I Shrunk the Kids. This diorama will give me the ability to try new things, and experiment with different props and lighting, much like the last backdrop I built.
This weekend, I will bring a little outdoors in.
I plan to turn the diorama into a heavily wooded forest, and after pruning a few trees in the yard, I selected some of the best twigs that I thought would look good for 3 3/4″ scale action figures. The next post shows how to turn this diorama into a heavily-wooded forest.