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Old 10-24-2019, 05:14 PM   #1
Outtsyder
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Question Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

Hey, all; in case anyone here might not know, I'm working on a pre-Earth Cybertronian battle scene using figures from the WF Siege line (focusing on 1984 characters). I've gotten all the characters that I want from the line, though I wish we had gotten pre-Earth versions of Jazz, Wheeljack, and Bumblebee. In any case, in these photos, I've got the players in their spots and poses on the field. The big thing missing now is the atmosphere, aside from a few blast effect pieces as tentative markers.







Now since I've never modeled a full diorama scene before, everything about this will be completely new to me, so I'd probably mess up badly using advanced techniques with no prior practice. In any case, if anyone here has any experience with or knowledge about building diorama model sets, I'm looking for ideas and suggestions to create a set representing a Cybertronian battleground; primarily, how to "mimic" a metal planet's surface. This could be anything; from artistic materials and techniques to create such a scene from scratch, to ready-made sets like those often used for making mecha displays (a la Kotobukiya and the like). I'd even accept a proper technique of safely charring a sheet of aluminum foil to make the surface without burning myself (with the scorching effect staying on the foil without being prone to rub off).

Fire away with any suggestions you may have!
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:09 AM   #2
Autobotz24
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Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

This is something I'd love to do as well. I've got no artistic abilities though. I've thought about doing a Junkion one and picking up some rusted out piece of steel from the scrapyard I used to work at but all I have right now are detolfs.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

If you're familiar with Diaclones, here what I've done:












They are a bit rough, but I wasn't aiming for perfect, I was just having fun to see what I could do quickly with cheap materials.

I've started with foam board bought at Dollarama, and walked around to see what can be used and such.

For mine, the challenge was the metal panel as my figures have magnets in their feet.

So went the Walmart and Michaels to see what would work for me.

I designed and printed my computer panels, used silver and gold markers a lot, and my lighting are those tiny LED sets from Dollarama. And lots of hot glue.

So for a simple approach, I would suggest you start "cheap. Get a bunch of these boards, a cutting board (self-healing rubber mats are great!), an x-acto type knife and LOTS of blades (I ordered a 100 pack from china, as locally all I could find were 5 packs that costs almost the same), good markers, if you have a colour printer try and see at making or getting designs (I know some do the "cybertron orange panels" available in PDF format).

Consider both your "floor" and the background, if you're doing 3-d motifs, and go with what you like.

Multiple pages printing (poster mode) can give you a fairly cheap background (you could get those printed on full sized paper at your local printer).
(I'm working on building a lightbox type system for these as I'm not happy with the results I'm getting)





So those are my pointers... hope they help, but I'm curious to see other suggestions...
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:12 PM   #4
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Cool Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

(looks at displays) Impressive. Most impressive. I really like how you pulled off building that big set with foam board. And yeah, I've started scanning places like Michaels and various dollar stores as inspiration for ideas of what I can use for what. I don't know if I'll be ambitious enough to incorporate LED lights or other electronic parts for my Cybertron battle scene, but hey, never know what may come up. Thanks for the tips!

I did manage to get some progress in laying out a "floor" design. Turns out to be rather easy; big sheet of board, wrap it with crinkled aluminum foil, and spread metallic grey craft paint all over the surface. Still got some old paints and an X-Acto knife from past craft work (no, not Kraftwerk) I used to do way back when. Here's how it looks so far, with a few alternate angles of both armies:











I'm probably going to track down the pics from a past convention that showed the Siege figures in their diorama set. Some of those pics may give me ideas for wreckage to scatter across the field, which could cover for the "seams" showing from the overlapping foil sheets.

As for backgrounds, I may skip it for this one, but at least now I know what I can do to make backgrounds for my "normal TF photography work. Thanks again for your help!
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:52 PM   #5
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Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtsyder View Post
(looks at displays) Impressive. Most impressive. I really like how you pulled off building that big set with foam board. And yeah, I've started scanning places like Michaels and various dollar stores as inspiration for ideas of what I can use for what. I don't know if I'll be ambitious enough to incorporate LED lights or other electronic parts for my Cybertron battle scene, but hey, never know what may come up. Thanks for the tips!
......
I'm probably going to track down the pics from a past convention that showed the Siege figures in their diorama set. Some of those pics may give me ideas for wreckage to scatter across the field, which could cover for the "seams" showing from the overlapping foil sheets.

As for backgrounds, I may skip it for this one, but at least now I know what I can do to make backgrounds for my "normal TF photography work. Thanks again for your help!

My suggestion, take pieces of foil and fold them into strips, edges, squares and use these to hide the seams and edges, and even(flatten) your "floor" more. You want more perspectives and details. Think of the whole planet being covered with mismatched panels all wielded together flat.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:25 AM   #6
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Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

Im also into modelling and if you go to a local hobby store they might give suggestions as some modellers build entire dioramas around their models, and those shops have alot of materials like plastic sheets and fake trees and things to make water and things, especially if its a train shop. If its something new to you, maybe try a craft store and see what kind of things they have there...or an art shop and ask the employees, who usually are art students, what they recommend. Id say have fun with it and try different things...also join any Facebook groups that do dioramas on any subject. I would also highly recommend looking into those that do modelling out of paper, they are the ones that likely do larger environments, as it is less expensive to use paper to make those backgrounds. Please share...good luck!
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:03 PM   #7
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Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

A local store has some huge diorama displays. Maybe you can glean some ideas from what they’ve done.

http://www.toytraders.ca/store/displays.aspx
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Old 11-02-2019, 04:44 PM   #8
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Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

And here's my latest thing.. found someone that did amazing files for Ark/Cybertron type printing, so.. just a quick trial, printing for both the floor and background... printed and folded some part to give it a bit more "life" (3-d effect)


















So it would be a suggestion for the "floor" for you.

Last edited by imfallenangel; 11-02-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:38 PM   #9
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Cool Re: Working on a Cybertron battle diorama; need suggestions for set building

Hey, sorry about my lack of replies in the last while; things got super-busy. No updates on my diorama project (that's how busy it got), but I have been scribbling down notes from the suggestions offered in here. I'm definitely overdue to visit Toy Traders one of these days.
I really like that printed backdrop and floor based on the Ark, but while its bright color wouldn't fit the "dead metal" look I'd need for the Cybertronian battleground, I think I'd still need one like that (plus another one based on the Nemesis, if there is one) for other photographic shots of my figures.
Thanks!
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