Thursday, June 26, 2014

Arcadia Quest Diorama, Part 1

I've been mostly absent from my blog (and life in general) for the past several months due to my latest project– a diorama display for Arcadia Quest. Similar to the Wrath of Kings diorama, this one is a large cityscape and it incorporates three different settings:

The District of Hammers– a large stone fortress topped with barbed wire. The Alchemist District– a collection of buildings whose windows glow with an eerie light produced by the arcane concoctions brewing within. And the University Plaza, a large clock tower overlooking a courtyard.

So this will be a multi-part assembly journal focusing on the highlights of constructing each area. Once the table debuts in the Cool Mini Or Not booth at Gencon, I'll put up some photos of the finished diorama.

Part 1: The District of Hammers

As with every large display, a wooden frame is constructed for the base. Atop that, insulation foam is layered to create the landscape. 



The foam is sanded to form a smooth gradient. You can see the outline of the Hammer fortress at the back of the table. The rectangular area on the left is the base of the University clock tower. But we'll get to that in a bit...



First, the Hammer fortress. Layers of insulation foam are stacked to form the building shapes and the surface is textured with a stone pattern. Here you can see the main structure with the smaller buildings that will be set atop it.



The windows are cut out during the stone texturing process. To protect the foam, it's coated with a layer of wood glue. The doors are then glued in place, and the metal rail is made by attaching styrene strips to a sheet of foam core.



The balcony is textured with cardboard chits and sand to create stone flooring.



The roofs of the buildings get a covering of styrene sheets, punched with rivets. L-strips frame out the edges.



At the base of the fortress is a moat. The shape is cut out and the front edge is roughed up with a wire brush. The back is textured to match the stonework of the fortress. Then the surface of the water is made by smoothing wood filler putty into the recess. 



There is a bit of a waterfall and stream as the water flows down the slope and off the edge of the table. Finally, sand mixed with glue is painted in lines to simulate ripples in the water.



Here is the District of Hammers fortress, nearly finished. It only needs a few final details, like a drawbridge, barbed wire, flags, and some roof shingles, most of which will be added during the painting process.



Coming up, the University Plaza!

'Til next time!


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