Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wrath of Kings Diorama: Part 3

Note: This terrain project is progressing at a brisk pace, so I may be overlooking certain details that would get better coverage in a "proper" tutorial. I also haven't had time to answer any of the questions people have been asking in the comments, but please don't feel like I'm neglecting them. If you have any questions about the process or techniques, please continue to ask them in the comments section or email me, and I'll compile them into a Q&A post after the project is complete.

This week saw the the major construction on the Wrath of Kings diorama winding down, and the main tower shaping up.

The Rooftops

With the roof shapes cut and coated with Liquid Nails, I began framing out the roof timbers. I use basswood, rather than balsa because the basswood is much sturdier, and not much more expensive. The thicker strips of basswood cover the edges of the foamcore roofs, while the thinner strips are used for the planking on the sides of the roof.

The shingles are cut from thick artboard. Each strip is 1 inch wide, with the shingles cut about halfway through. The edges of some shingle were irregularly cut to create a little variety.

These strips were glued in overlapping rows, starting at the bottom and working toward the apex of the roof. Individual shingles, cut from thinner cardboard, were folded over the corners.

The chimneys were made by cutting a square length of foam, and shaping it round on the belt sander. To add structural support, wooden skewers were pushed through the length of the chimney.

Each chimney will be cut with a stone pattern and attached to the rooftop.

The Backside

I continued the rocks around the back of the city, and began constructing the tower. Like the crayon tower, this thicker tower was made by covering a tapered plastic vase with card "stones."

Here's the tower with the rocks piled up around its base and continuing on to the opposite side of the table.

With the rocks in place, I filled in the crevices with some smaller stones, using a combination of different grades of ballast and play sand.

The Main Tower

Like the other large structures, the main round tower was cut from layers of 2-inch insulation foam, and given a stone texture. The roofs were beveled and coated with Liquid Nails.

To this central mass, I gradually built up the other buildings. I'm still searching for something to use as the elemental's head, but I may end up just shaping it out of pink foam.

From overhead, you can see the layout of the paths and outer buildings. The black dots indicate where the dead trees will go.

After the last of the roof shingles are added, it will be time for the windows. I've made a few window boxes out of styrene strips and Aves Epoxy Sculpt. I'll use RTV silicone to create a mold and resin cast enough copies of the windows to fill out the buildings.

Check out the rest of the project journal:

Part 1: Shaping the Hillside

Part 2: Building the Goritsi City

Part 4: Resin Casting Windows

Part 5: Painting and Final Details

'Til next time!


  1. Inspiring stuff as always Rob

  2. This project just keeps getting better and better. The architectural detail you're putting into this diorama is amazing. Keep up the great work, Rob!

  3. Great stuff! Hope you don't mind a few questions..What did you make the "walls" for that mold in and do you have to coat the mold with something before you cast it?

  4. @Mananrepublic: a quick answer/opinion before the Man himself finds soem time to answer these;
    - It looks like he's used strips of styrene for the mold walls. Another good idea I saw was to build them out of Lego or similar building blocks; easy to get them apart once the silicone sets.

    - A friend didn't have any trouble with silicone sticking to the master or later resin to the mold, but it might be a good idea to use some release agent to facilitate the process and if you wish to prolong the life of the mold.

    1. Thanks Luka! I have seen the lego sollution as well but was contemplating using styrene sheets instead - was just worried that it would stick... It looks like he's used regular transparent scotch tape to hold it together - right?


    2. Np. It certainly looks like there's tape on the outside, but the inside corners appear shiny. I can't tell weather that's tape as well, or if he's glued them to prevent the silicone from escaping between the strips.

  5. Were do you buy your pink foam at? Thanks ahead of time, great work.

  6. Really great board so far. Can´t wait to see it painted. Keep it up!


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