• LOTR Diorama




    The Ford of Bruinen ... A "How-To"
    I'm sorry that I didn't take any "in progress" photos. So, I've tried to take as many illustrative post complete photos and will try to be "text heavy" to explain what I've done.






    A top-down shot
    The first thing was to choose a basic layout and materials. I decided to use foam core board as the base; foam insulation board to build up the shore and the cliffs, pour plaster for the water, and use foam putty to sculpt the horse water



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    Building the shore and cliffs
    There are plenty of places on the web to find how to do this. So, I'll be brief. Using foam insulation board, cut pieces that follow the shape of the base. Stack & glue w/ hobby glue.






    Building the shore and cliffs
    After the glue is completely dry, start cutting away at the foam w/ your hot-wire foam cutter. The best advice I've heard on this has a Zen feel to it ... "cut away all the non-rock until all that you are left with is a rock."






    Building the shore and cliffs
    Next, I used Woodland Scenics Flex Paste to fill all the gaps and to add some texture to the cliffs.






    Building the shore and cliffs (the shore)
    Using several grades of model railroad ballast and rocks I added the rocky shoreline. Start w/ the smallest ballast and cover the entire area. As you add the larger ballast and rocks add fewer and fewer and put the big ones closer to the water.



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    The River (making holes in the river & shoreline for the ringwraiths bases)

    We need to hide the wraiths bases. Before you pour the plaster glue the bases in place. As you pour the plaster, it will run around the bases. When it hardens, you can soften the plaster with some water to take them out for basing the wraiths.






    The River

    Now it's time to pour the plaster for the river. I used a material called Vatican Art Stone ... it's pretty strong and it has some grit in it than will allow the water to have some texture that can be painted as foam. I poured the plaster about 1/8" thick

    If you buy this plaster, it'll come w/ mixing instructions ... pour 2 oz of water into a disposable cup and add about 6 oz of plaster ... stir until it's uniform; it needs to be fairly liquid so that you can pour it onto the base, but thick enough that it
    doesn't run everywhere. For something this large, I had to work quickly and made four pouring passes to cover the entire riverbed. While the plaster is setting, use the back of a spoon to shape the waves. The plaster will take 1-2 days to dry.



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    The Horse Water

    To sculpt the horse water I used a bunch of plastic GW horses that I had around and Woodland Scenics Foam Putty; the putty is very fluffy and seemed a good material to create a bunch of white water. I put down one layer of the putty and "fluffed" it up.






    The Horse Water

    When it dried, I glued down one layer of horses. I added more putty to fill in between the horses. When this dried, I repeated the procedure to add 3 layers of horses total to give the horse water some height so that it'd feel like it was filling the ford.



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    Painting the river and cliffs

    Now we can finally paint. First, prime the entire piece w/ Krylon White Primer. On the cliffs, it'll eat away at the foam a bit causing some randomness. I like this because you get a lot of little outcroppings here and there.

    Paint the cliffs & shoreline first. I used Vallejo Dark Grey as the base coat (I used a pretty thick wash). Also, make sure you get some of the dark grey onto the water to simulate the reflection of the cliffs in the water.







    Painting the shore and cliffs

    Then it's several drybrushed, highlight layers ... Liquitex Basics Neutral Gray 5 is first ... then half-n-half mixutre of Neutral Gray 5 w/ Liquitex Basics Titanium White ... finally just some Titanium White.






    Painting the River

    To paint the water, I used Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue and Reaper Sea Foam in 1:4 ratio w/ a milky wash to get the base color down. After this was dry, I used Ral Partha Slate (kind of a blue-grey) and a little Dark Prussian Blue in a very thin wash.
    Once this was dry, several thin drybrushes of Titanium White were used to bring out the foam and crests.



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    Painting the Water Horses

    I used thin wash of London Grey followed by a thin was of the Slate / Prussian Blue wash to barely tint the white water. I then went back over with some Titanium White drybrushing to bring out the foamy nature of the water






    Adding foilage

    Now, I just took my favorite model railroad / woodland scenics stuff and just started gluing it down. Start w/the ground cover first and slowly work towards the taller pieces.
    For the trees, you can use a file (or other sharp pointed object) to make a hole in the cliffs (because they're made of foam this is quite easy) for the trunk of the tree and they'll glue (and hold) nicely.



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    Painting the Ringwraiths

    So, how do you paint these really dark creatures w/out just painting them black and thus leave them w/ absolutely no character what-so-ever? I always prime my figs w/ Krylon White.

    For the horses; First, a little Ral Partha Blood Red in the wounds. Next, Vallejo Dark Umber wash over everything
    Several more washes of Vallejo Black were done around the horses metal bits to make them stand out more. Finally, the hooves. A little ivory (milky) was used to cover the hooves and then a dark umber wash to darken it up

    For the riders; First a Vallejo Black & Dark Prussian Blue 1:1 mixture washed over everything. Now, both riders & horses get about 3 thin washes of Vallejo Black to slowly add darkness. Now, a little Vallejo silver was drybrushed on the riders armor & the horses metal.






    Adding the Ringwraiths

    Now, just a little filing on the holes. Because the GW bases are beveled, you'll need to run a file around the holes to make them just a bit larger and to remove any grit that got in the holes when we poured the water and built the shoreline.

    As you can see the ringwraiths were each based with regard to their position along the shoreline so that some are all water and others have the shoreline running through their bases to make sure they didn't disturb the shoreline.



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    Arwen

    The Arwen fig required some pretty serious alterations to ride the GW Balthsar Gelt horse. I added some skirts and a saddle w/ epoxy putty. Arwen's flesh is Vallejo Light Flesh w/ a thin Reaper Flesh Ink wash and a little Brown Rose to blush her cheeks.

    The pupils were put in using .2mm Pigma Micron Pens. Her hair is Dark Grey wash, followed by a thin Black wash. Her dress is very thinned Dark Prussian Blue wash brushed w/ very thin white to soften it in places. Boots are dark grey followed by a Black
    wash; the horse is Blue Grey wash, a London grey wash, and several layers of thin white highlights. The nose area gets some Basic Skintone. The gold on the horse is Vallejo gold (thin wash) followed by Reaper Flesh Ink Wash. Vallejo silver on the studs.
    Dark Grey wash, then Black wash, over the reins & saddle. The sword was London Grey wash then Silver Grey and White very thin drybrushes to give it a polished metallic look. Foam putty was used to make the white water on her (and the wraiths) bases.







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    At last

    Finally, all of the pieces have come together. This is my favorite shot ... if you're in the right mood, it almost looks like it might be a still from the movie.




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