Artwork info

Manufacturer: Other
Category: Terrain

by Trull

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just new pictures and the story!

We`re devils,
we`re black sheep,
we`re really bad eggs.
Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!
Yo ho, yo ho!
A pirate`s life for me!
But when the wild, raging storm did cease,
Under the billows two hearts found peace,
No more to part, no more of pain,
The bell may now tell its warning in vain.

Pirates have always fascinated me, and probably motivated by the blockbuster movies in recent times I`ve got the idea to realize the topic not in one but in three dioramas.
2007 starting shot for the first part of the trilogy, called "Black Pirate Phantom". The idea of this "overture" was to show a pirate ship whose crew already was among the dead, spreading fear and terror by travelling over the seas on their phantom, which is half ship, half fortress.

2008 - the project proceeded with this diorama. In this sequel, I wanted to show the counterpart, also pirates, but still among the living. Even if pirates feel most comfortable on sea, they still need a shelter, a secret anchorage to hide their booty, to recharge their batteries. That`s how I`ve got the idea for the construction of the 2nd Part.
Inspired by illustrations in a variety of pen & paper RPGs, such as eg "Five Fingers" (Privateer Press), I wanted to depict a building built on rocks. It should have a defense system and should look as if it had grown over many years, with new parts built every now and then.

The basic concept was clear to me, and without further thought, I started building. First I laid down the basic measures, about 30 x 70 cm (twice as big as my Black Pirate Phantom) and I have built the base from skirting boards to ensure that the size was fixed. To get a feeling for the dimensions of each rock, I first built a rough model from Stryrodur by simply stacking the remains (small Styrodur blocks). On this basis I have set the altitude of the defensive system and the building. Initially, it should get three rocks in different sizes: the defense system, the building and another smaller rock with a gnarled tree on it. But after having finished the smaller rock, I decided to demolish it though, because it didn`t fit into the overall picture.

Then I began to build the defense system. I`s got a big gun, assembled from various guns, which is moved by a gear mechanism in a lower floor, a staircase down to the sea and how it should be for a defense system, an observation tower.
All the rocks are made from Styrodur. First I glued individual plates together and then cut a rough rock structure into the Stryrodur by using a knife, then coated it with commercially building plaster. When this is dry you can very easily carve the final rock structure by using a screwdriver for example. The areas of rocks, which are just above sea level, I plastered with coarse sand, which makes it look like sea shells after having painted it.
The observation tower, the platform and the stairs are made of wood slats, all from the hardware store. I have tried to recreate all the wooden structures from real role models and "statically" correct, so the whole scene should become as authentic as possible.
I have installed here, as in the whole diorama, a variety of small items of all kinds of manufacturers. What I found suitable I used.
There` access to this rock to from two bridges. In the lower bridge, I have designed a simple form from Stryrodur and filled with plaster. After drying, the crude form can be worked by using simple tools, to get it a used look. The upper bridge was supposed to look very airy, it is entirely made of wood.

Now to the main cliff. It represents the shelter, the home of pirates. At this stage I didn`t have the slightest idea how the building should look like. Therefore I have made a crude cardboard working model. I started with the main building (with the two chimneys) and out of a sudden it went of its own volition. Where I found adequate I attached more small buildings and equipped them with roofs and dormers. In front it`s got a kind of terrace, where the sailor's bride looks longingly into the distance. After finishing the work model, I copied it almost 1on1 with balsa wood. Thanks to the working model, I could take the measures for the complex roof construction directly from it. All roofs are designed like real roofs. There are rafters, purlins, ridges, roof battens and more than 3000 individually fixed roof shingles. Erecting the model as I did, I was able to set new ideas very spontaneously during the construction progress, for example parts of collapsed roof, to show the elements of construction below.

Six guns, directed to the open sea, protect the building in addition. Access to the building is a double-winged Dragondoor, which can be reached via a small jetty. From the doorway you get through a partially collapsed staircase outside the cliff top, pass the dungeon with its completely sunken tower inside which you can see a chained prisoner.

The entire building wasn`t fixed on the rock before I finished its painting. This way it was easier to reach those many little nooks and crannies with the brush. The whole part is painted with commercially available acrylic colours, not with the usually used and expensive colours. First I primed everything black in at least 6 layers, because you discover again and again small unpainted points in the white plaster, still shining through. It`s best to add some detergent to the colour-water-mixture, so the tension of the water surface is destroyed.
Both rocks and wood are decorated in brown and grey tones, from the rock towards the sea colours become increasingly dark to black. I work with glazes to get a realistic colour scheme. Finally, the areas that are close to the water I gave a green-brown oil glaze to get it a musty effect, this can be seen by the true model very well. All the rusty bodies are a combination of the "Vallejo" colors "Skin Wash" as the keynote, Maroon brown for the shade and "Sepia" for the very dark areas.

So we have now arrived at the design of the water. In this model I used "Vallejo Water Effects Pacific blue" because it is relatively easy to handle. I've toned down the paste with a mixture of dark green and black, and simply put a thick coat on the previously black primed base plate, with a brush. Thereafter press the brush into the paste and quickly pull it up. This way you`ll get an excellent wave. I repeated the whole process about three or four times, but it`s important to let it dry between every application. Finally, I carefully added the whitecaps with "Vallejo Water Effects transparent", mixed with a very small amount of white colour.

Of course, a stronghold also needs an adequate team. The character`s style of Black Scorpion I considered the most appropriate , since they have a very realistic look. A total of eight characters can be seen on the fortress. All figures are painted with oil paints.

Overall, it took me approximately 400 hours within 10 months to complete this diorama, my biggest project to date.

The third and final part will have to wait. Currently there are so many other ideas that I want to implement, from pirates life I need a small break.

Hope you like this one... yo ho! Yo ho, yo ho!

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Viewer comments:
#391657 Rating: 10 1 Mar 2013
Ugh, this is such an epic, awesome scene. Bravo to this!
#384216 Rating: 10 4 Dec 2012
Finally, I get to see all my childhood visions of ramshackle fantastical medieval buildings brought to life in a model. I used feverishly draw constructs like this, yet never made anything so good. Utterly Brilliant, thank you, thank you, thank you for brining this to life in three dimensions. Excellent, love it!
#375845 Rating: 10 16 Aug 2012
This is BIG
#351573 Rating: 10 29 Aug 2011
I like every single piece of this. It is both breathtaking masterpiece you never get bored and one of the biggest inspirations.
#341385 Rating: 10 1 Mar 2011
Amazing work!!! I'm totally inspired!
#336488 Rating: 9 14 Dec 2010
Can I play on this table? I absolutely love the atmosphere this diorama throws off!
#335898 Rating: 10 5 Dec 2010
Stunning, like Luca said, a true masterpiece!
#324851 Rating: 10 19 Jun 2010
Again it is always a pleasure to see this one! Keep on happy painting! Regards Roman
#324734 Rating: 10 18 Jun 2010
A true masterpiece. 1000000
#324647 Rating: 10 17 Jun 2010
Perfectly executed, imaginary, inspiring ... just wonderfull!!! I'm so curious about your next project already. Fantastic work! 10 all the way






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