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  • Sculpting an Elven sentry post

    This article will demonstrate how to create a diorama like this:

    Sculpey polymer clay was used, in all three varieties: Original sculpey (white) Super sculpey (the flesh toned color), and Sculpey III (the orange and yellow color). As I mentioned in my White Tree of Gondor article, each version of sculpey has certain properties of hardness and sculptability once baked. These are the tools which I normally use for my dioramas:

    Note... the wooden handle tools are used for carving the sculpey once it has been baked.

    Here is the first stage. You can see that the base of the tree was done in white 'regular' sculpey. This is to provide a place to sink the armature wire, which is the most critical element of this piece. When doing a tree such as this, balance and stress points are a major issue, and have to be planned out carefully. Using wire provides strength, but also give you a chance to move the elements around a bit to achieve a better overall balance.

    This close up shows the more narrow gage wire attached to the heavier wire, so that finer branches can be made. It is best to have at least 3 sizes of wire on hand. The thinnest wire used was green planting wire, as it is very flexible. Once the clay bakes around it, however, it becomes very solid.

    This picture shows the clay being wrapped around the wire.

    The following photos show all the different types of clay. Note how the stronger Sculpey III was used on the thinnest outer branches, which the Super Sculpey bulked out the main branches. The bark textures were done at this time with the metal sculpting tools.


    Here comes the trickiest aspect of the diorama, the platforms.

    These have a lot of detail, but they must be kept extremely light at the same time. This makes armatures all the more crucial. You can see that only Super Sculpey and Sculpey III were used here. The armatures were created first, and then the clay was added later.

    Here is a series of pictures showing the two platforms in position. Green stuff was added to the junctions with the branches after baking for added strength.

    At this point, I sculpted in some more details on the root system of the tree with my wooden handeled tools.

    Once all the sculpting was completed, the entire piece was primered black, and painted with various coats of Reaper and GW browns. Some greys were added as well as green to simulate age and weathering.

    These pictures show the final phase... adding the landscaping materials. Woodland Scenics fine foliage was used quite heavily, along with moss, static grass, and flock.

    I had also purchased a few varieties of dried flowers from Michael's Craft Store, and they proved to be quite helpful. This was a few months before Hudson & Allen studios came out with thier line of landscape items, so you have a few more options available to you than I had :-)

    Good Luck!
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. MD40K's Avatar
      MD40K -
      Looks great
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