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Alpha Team Diorama - "Time to Build Stuff"

Posted by JimbobJeffers , 02 June 2013 · 465 views

Meh, very few people will get the reference in the title. Ah well, I find it funny.

Over the last two days the construction of my Alpha Team diorama has been under way. As with my Drome Racers Diorama, my Dad helped me to build this, so a big thanks to him. It's great to learn this way, soon I'll be confident enough to make these things on my own.

ANYWAY, onto what you're here for.

Step 1: The Basics

The first step in building most things is to create its foundations; its core structure. In this project the simple hardboard used in my Drome Racers diorama wouldn't suffice, as the diorama needed to support a large base. Instead a thin wood material was used - too thick and it wouldn't fit in, plus I would lose the vital space I need in this set up. After precisely measuring out each segment using LEGO studs as guides (e.g. one stud is 8mm), the boards were cut out using a pretty mean saw. These sections of wood were labelled and would be glued together to form the core structure.

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Step 2: The Core Structure

The second step in this diorama was to glue the wood pieces together. A tri-square (a right-angled tool similar to two rulers stuck together perpendicularly) was used to ensure that all boards were horizontal/vertical. It turned out that the dimensions and positioning were crucial to some areas, for example Cam's sub needed to fit down the side of a tall mountain, and the door/Trouble Tube needed a certain area to fit into. Any gaps in the wood were filled too for smoothness and added bonding.

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Step 3: Rock Foundations

Next, once the wood had dried, it was time to add the underlay of the rocks. This would be a simple way of adding 3D formations in the next step. To do this, chunks of cardboard were cut out and stuck to the wooden structure using masking tape. Simple yet effective. In addition, various bits of tissue were stuffed behind some cardboard segments for padding.

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A temporary LEGO door was built to ensure that the final one would fit in. Other LEGO bricks were used to measure out different areas and make sure that the models they housed would also fit.

Step 4: Mod-Rock Terrain

Lastly the terrain was bulked out and made to look realistic. First, mod-rock was dipped in water and laid over the cardboard rock formations. Double/triple layers of mod-rock was required for strength and to mask the cardboard and wood underneath. Then tile grout was brushed and spread around areas of the mod-rock where gaps and edges were overly clear. Tile grout was also shaped around the sides of the river to create its edges, and a large chunk was placed where the river dam was to be. While this was still drying, large stones (from our garden) were placed in the tile grout, and modelling stones were sprinkled at the highest mountain for added texture. Finally, some spare model kit sprues were cut out and glued onto the supporting beam at the front of the cave overhang to give it detail.

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And there we have it, the structure of my Alpha Team Diorama. Next I will paint it, and finally the sets will be positioned. I'll be sure to post a topic for the final product.

  • Cyrem, jamesster, Antillies and 7 others thanked this

May I suggest something? Why not use weathering paints for the rock face?

Jun 05 2013 10:02 PM

May I suggest something? Why not use weathering paints for the rock face?

I will probably use acrylics and drybrush them with a large brush, thanks for the suggestion.

I'm assuming this is Mission Deep Freeze? Can't wait to see what you do... (well, yes I can wait, but...)

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