Author Topic: Reef World diorama  (Read 606 times)

Offline JPSA

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Reef World diorama
« on: February 28, 2024, 08:40:37 »




[ Click on the images above to zoom in, and use keyboard arrows to scrowl around ]


About the diorama ( material aspects ):
  • Background images were printed on foam core, with a UV LED printer.  Note: It is, however, possible to order aquarium backdrops on cloth/vinyl, via AliExpress, as a substitute.
  • Playmobil sets were supplemented with aquarium decorations ordered on Aliexpress ( e.g. solid resin coral pieces, as well as lighter-weight, plastic coral and algae )
  • Support stands were manufactured out of clear acrylic discs and rods ( parts ordered on Amazon ).
  • A handful of PVC figurines ( namely: tunas, trevally, puffer fish, grouper, and 3 jelly fishes ) were drilled and added to the scene ( all ordered on AliExpress ).
  • Nighttime key lighting is provided by a water wave lamp, projecting animated caustics over the diorama, while a handful of 'finger' LEDs supply accent lights ( both ordered on Amazon ).
  • The base is a yellow yoga mat.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2024, 11:56:47 by JPSA »

Offline GrahamB

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2024, 09:20:26 »
Amazing diorama JPSA! And thanks for the extra details (source of parts, scenery, background, lighting etc.)
At that moment the ship suddenly stopped rocking and swaying, the engine pitch settled down to a gentle hum. 'Hey Ford.' said Zaphod, 'that sounds good. Have you worked out the controls on this boat?' 'No,' said Ford, 'I just stopped fiddling with them.' (With thanks to Douglas Adams)

Offline JPSA

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2024, 09:38:42 »
Thanks GrahamB!  The credit is not mine, though: my 12 year-old nephew put it together, staged, lit, and photographed it.  I merely supplied the pieces, and published it here. :)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2024, 11:17:09 by JPSA »

Offline JPSA

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2024, 11:04:51 »




Manta patrol is heading toward the ridge, Spy Team diver in tow.



Meanwhile, Spy Team sub captures a robofish, while police divers corner another at spearpoint



Spy Team sub shines a light at robofish #2, while police divers block its retreat.  ...Got to neutralize that nasty piece of kit ASAP, before Team Shark gets any "real estate" ideas.



Team Shark thug is being pursued by a third police diver



Nearby, the mer-prince is living his best life, basking in the glow of youthful insouciance



Mer-prince pampered by his retinue



The mer-kingdom...









The octopus is a (major) hoarder.  ...If you "lose" something on the reef, check there first!



Elsewhere, beyond the immediate bounds of the mer-kingdom...



Strangely, snorkelers and divers seem completely oblivious to the mer-kingdom at their backs



Uh-oh! A gang of ghost pirates is camped out on the ridge, contemplating invasion ( or should we say infestation? )



The gang leader raises his staff, as the pirates' pet hydra — still a baby, fortunately — looks keenly onto its next devastation playground ( with baited stinky breaths! ).


Leader: "Look at 'em pathetic bilge suckers, boys!  We be running this place in no time. ARRRRRR!!!"
Hydra: <Growls>



Ghost pirates planning their attack



Meanwhile, in the reef valley below...



Diver 1: "Huge coral.  You could sleep in it!"
Diver 2: "I prefer my mattress."



Diver 3: "This shot's worthy of National Geographic!"



Diver 4: "So you said last time.  Make sure the camera's on, okay?"



Diver 3: "Don't worry, I am a professional!"



Mer-mage is casting a distracter spell over the mer-kingdom.  Unfortunately, such a spell doesn't work on magical creatures, like hydras, nor on ghost pirates!



Mer-queen gets her hair done, while the mer-king surveys his kingdom.  All seems well — on the surface. :D



Mer-prince has a crush on a mer-maid.  Sadly, she's a low-born; Mom and Dad will never allow it.






Thanks to the mer-mage's distracter spell, divers remain unaware of the mer-kingdom, just a few strokes away.



JELLY-CAM 01
Jelly fishes are mer-kingdom sentries, stinging and ensnaring unwelcome visitors.  Naturally, merkind is all but immune to their venom, though some say they tickle.






Meanwhile, back on the ridge: ghost pirate briefing



Leader: "Listen up, boys!  Invasion starts at midnight.  Our first objective is to secure yonder shipwreck, as our new base."
Sensitive pirate: "What about mer people?"
Gang: "HAHAHAHAHA. ...ARRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!"









Mer-warrior mindmelds with a shark.  Shark reports sensing decayed human flesh on the current.  ...Ghost pirates?!!



« Last Edit: February 29, 2024, 11:06:44 by JPSA »

Offline Tiermann

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2024, 00:28:57 »
I love the dark shots - wonderful lighting! This is a great diorama

Offline JPSA

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2024, 01:05:53 »
I love the dark shots - wonderful lighting! This is a great diorama

On behalf of my nephew, thank you, Tiermann!

I agree, the lighting takes it to another level, by tying everything together.  The backdrop also makes a surprisingly big difference, too, in bolstering immersion (pun!).  Last, are the various supplements — aquarium decorations + PVC figurines — without which the environment would likely appear somewhat sparse, and perhaps even disjointed, at this scale ( unlike a dense, vibrant reef ).

Lighting-wise, I was inspired by some of the Lego underwater dioramas I saw: one or two of them were using wave lights.  Some were even using blacklights, but that's probably not a good idea, as the UVs in them would fade the Playmobils' colors over time.  Note: I have ordered a "Ulanzi" LED light bank, from Amazon, to add some bluish or purplish fill lighting in the future — so shadows are not so dark, particularly on the mer-kingdom's side.

This is the second incarnation of the reef diorama; we had a more modest one before.  More elements will follow for version 3, particularly as tensions flare between ghost pirates and merkind, and maybe between Spy Team and Team Shark.  Looks like the mer-prince might have some quick maturing to do, imo, as the world potentially tips into full-fledged (epic?) armed conflict.  ...Then again, it's up to my nephew to decide what goes on down there.  I am merely a supplier and occasional chronicler.


LEGO reef inspiration:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LZkkKgbJDQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VLzT-I4I80
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxkbq_Aa3dI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmooOOrVg5E
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_8GjbH7Qv0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkpo4Oixc_s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD0J4OIdv_E
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNR5On4HkvQ


Playmobil underwater dioramas:

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqiakTxgKEw
   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac4kk1zrybk
   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM652kmvgQs



... Our previous Reef World diorama ( version 1, aka. "Scuba World" ☺):



« Last Edit: March 01, 2024, 13:44:44 by JPSA »

Offline Eplay

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2024, 07:11:27 »
Wow !!!!!!!!!
I love it. Great setup, great lighting and funny stories below the pictures
 :love: :love: :love:

Offline JPSA

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2024, 01:09:47 »
Wow !!!!!!!!!
I love it. Great setup, great lighting and funny stories below the pictures
 :love: :love: :love:

Thank you, Eplay!  I was surprised, too, when my nephew sent me the nighttime photos.

Offline Riccardo

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2024, 21:22:16 »

I loved it, thanks. The stories were really what "made" it! So funny and relevant, its like a book.

Amazing!

Offline Macruran

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Re: Reef World diorama
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2024, 20:25:20 »
Astonishingly beautiful and detailed work! And by a twelve year old?  :(o): :(o): :(o): The kids are alright!  ;D
"We like things in little." - G. Stein  
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