Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wrath of Kings Diorama: Part 2

I've been asked a few questions about the footprint (something I omitted from the previous post). The table is 3' x3' with the height capping out around 24 inches.

I've also gotten permission to post the concept art that I'm working from. This is one of the Goritsi cities, which have these shadowy elementals lurking within.

Building the Goritsi City

The city will serve as the backdrop for the action, which will take place in the foreground of the diorama.

As I mentioned last time, The building foundations were set into the hillside using 2-inch foam. These change position a few times over the course of the build. In fact, if you look at the bottom, you'll notice that the buildings on the left are vastly different compared to this early stage. 

I begin with the core structure, and work around it, gradually building up the levels and details. The large tower is made from layers of 2-inch foam, cut into circles and sanded smooth. Here, you can see the foam core roofs starting to take shape. The seams in the hillside have also been covered with wood filler putty.

For the stonework, I cut the individual stones with a hobby knife, and trace over the cuts with a wood pencil. Then each stone is pressed with my thumb and the pencil's eraser to create an uneven surface that will drybrush up beautifully.

At the top of the city is a pair of arches with two statues. To create the arch, I built the floor and wall, and created two curved pieces to go on each end. The backs of the pink insulation foam were coated with Liquid Nails. When the Liquid Nails dries, the surfaces can be super glued together. Most of the larger pieces are joined using only Liquid Nails, but on the smaller parts it's easier to use super glue for an instant bond. I simply cut the parts, coat them, and work on something else as they dry. Then the pieces go together in a snap.

The center arch is made using a piece of segmented art board.

The foam stones are then glued over this to form the arch. Before attaching the arch, I coated the interior with a wash of wood glue, and then black latex paint to protect and basecoat it. The entire table will receive this treatment prior to painting, but I did this interior portion now because it would have been difficult to reach with the arch in place.

The towers on the left, like the large round tower, were made by stacking layers of foam, secured with Liquid Nails.

Once the adhesive was dry, I sanded them into shape on a belt sander.

The belt sander creates a pretty rough surface, so I "polish" it with a small handheld sander with a fine grit. This little sander is also used to remove the "crispy" surface of the insulation foam. (The flat sides of the insulation have a bit of a shell, which makes cutting the stones difficult; the surface tends to crack and is a little to smooth.)

Here are the sanded towers, on the table.

For the tower rooftops, I use insulation foam, coated with Liquid Nails. The coating will protect the foam, and I can super glue shingles right onto the surface.

In this shot, I've cut out the arch for the high doorway.

Then, foam stones were glued around the frame.

Building round towers is always a challenge. I picked up this crayon bank, which was the correct size, and even has a conical shape for the roof (although that cone will get cut down significantly). The smooth plastic surface has been sanded rough and coated with Liquid Nails.

This was the point when I realized that the buildings on the left weren't quite right, so I altered their angles to get their positioning closer to that of the concept art.

I refer to this as the "jigsaw puzzle building." Four pieces of foam, and lots of minor adjustments to get it into the proper shape. (In this image it's still not quite finished.)

The Gotitsi city is shaping up quite nicely. The crayon bank has been covered with individually cut card "stones" and all the roofs are awaiting their shingles. Coming up, I'll tackle the large tower.

Check out the rest of the project journal:

Part 1: Shaping the Hillside

Part 3: Rooftops and Chimneys

Part 4: Resin Casting Windows

Part 5: Painting and Final Details

'Til next time!


  1. This is shaping up nicely! I am eager to see some more progress. How long did it take you to make this much progress?

  2. Wow, that looks nice!

    And for future reference, how much would you charge to make one more?



  3. Awesome! I'm really enjoying watching this come together. Keep it up.

  4. Looking great. Maybe I missed it in the post, but how did you do the foam stones? Are they individual bits?!


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