Author Topic: Basic Scenery  (Read 1727 times)

Offline Wigglesworth

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Basic Scenery
« on: September 15, 2021, 11:35:27 »
I've bought the 3666 castle for my kids birthday (turning 7 in November) and although the box is in great condition I thought it might be fun to put the castle together in a kind of Playorama TM for them so that it's there on the morning of their birthday.  Perhaps put some blankets in the box to give it some weight, wrap it and let them open it in a traditional fashion and have the castle in another room ready and staged.

They are just a bit young for the "putting it together is half the fun" and are more in to playing with the toys.  So I usually do the dad bit of assembly in the mornings anyhow...

So, on to my question.  I have a square board but need suggestions on making it ready for siting the castle on.  I basically want something like:



Space for castle, little river, for drawbridge to go over, space for red steck house and a small road.

I figure i've the following requirements:
  • Suitable for playmobil figures to stand on
  • Relatively hard wearing
  • Vaguely realistic
I did have a quick look on the forums but perhaps not well enough...

If anyone has any suggestions on materials or techniques that I could quickly get to grips with it would be greatly appreciated.

Comments regarding my sanity are probably pointless as I'm too far gone to seek help.
Regards,
Wigglesworth

Offline tahra

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2021, 12:19:30 »
Well, a sturdy table with a plastic cover (like a tablecloth, I think the word is?) with a nice print... That's what I use for my dios - the "plastic cover part"...

Or just the floor...  ;D


Comments regarding my sanity are probably pointless as I'm too far gone to seek help.

... what's "sanity" ?

Offline playmofire

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2021, 16:08:32 »
Mount the board on a 2 by 1 timber frame  You could then add a removable 5mm MDF upstand to go behind the castle, cutting it wavy topped and painting it green as hills.

Make a smaller baseboard to represent the other side of the moat so the drawbridge can land on it and have another strip of blue painted MDF between the two for the moat.

If you'd rather not have the base raised by the 2 by 1, then just go with what you've got and add the green hill upstand at the back, using a bit of 2 by 1 again.

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Offline GrahamB

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2021, 16:55:23 »
I'm no expert with dioramas, but I think the two following are pretty good for land and water respectively;

1. For land, use a sheet of grass-like base like this, sold in model railway shops for about £7 for a 300x1000mm sheet. You can stand buildings on this, so the grass looks like it is growing right up to the walls. Two slight drawbacks; sometimes it is hard to get figures to stand on the 'grass' and bits of grass get shed from the base. Here it is in use:


2. For water, crumple silver foil and lay blue cellophane over it. Here's one I did earlier.



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 tahra

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2021, 19:43:21 »
2. For water, crumple silver foil and lay blue cellophane over it. Here's one I did earlier.

That looks wonderful...

I think my attempt worked well too - a blueish "plastic table cloth" (cut) covered in plastic film...

If you want to look, dios here:

Xmasy dio 2015 - with the tablecloths and water

Xmasy dio 2018 - The Gathering - with the tablecloths and water

Roman dio 2019 - with the tablecloths (no water)

I also think adding some pebbles and such (I used bits of cork too in those last two) on the ground makes a big difference.

Offline Wigglesworth

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2021, 00:08:03 »
Thanks so much for the responses everyone.  Plenty for me to think over.

The pics shared all look great.  It's funny that the better a background is the less you notice it in a way.  If that makes sense to anyone but my jumble of a mind.
Regards,
Wigglesworth

Offline Tiermann

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2021, 01:24:20 »
Hi, I'm just going to point out that this is a kids play area more than a dio for photos.
My recommendation is to get a plain board or something cheap like a used door and set that up. As long as the surface is smooth you are good. If you have time then paint it green, with blue for the river and tan or leave it plain for the road. If you don't have time just put blue paper or blue painter's tape for the river and draw a line for the edge of the road and let the kids have at it.
I personally use cloth table covers for most indoor dioramas, except when I use the wood surface or heavy paper for an interior floor. On a few occasions large pieces of colored paper. One of the key points of difference is that adults using a dio for photos are not going to be knocking the klickies over all the time and can take their time with set ups. A table for play needs to have a smooth surface the klickies will stand on easily, since it will be constantly bumped and everyone falls down.

Offline tahra

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2021, 08:00:15 »
Hi, I'm just going to point out that this is a kids play area more than a dio for photos.

Good ponit Tiermann!! Think I kinda lost track of that  :-[

For that purpose, like you said, I think a neutral color works best - either brownish or greenish, I suppose. And definitely smooth. With a "river/water" that can be put anywhere - can be made of blueish paper, or cloth.. I think that'd work better than a full painted layout that cannot be changed...

As cubs, I don't think we were bothered by the "ground", and as long as it's not a garish carpet full of different colors, I think it works :)

Offline Wigglesworth

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2021, 12:37:10 »
Good points thanks very much.  I think it's easy to lose sight of the brief and just want to construct something to the best of ones ability.

I'm actually looking at a more fuzzy felt approach now.  So as suggested, just painting the board a solid grassy green but then providing some laminated pieces of different patterns that they can either put in or ignore as they want.

I've printed a few tile and cobble samples from:

http://www.wordsworthmodelrailway.co.uk/brickpaper.html

I'll cut these to size later and then laminate them and see what they look like.  Hopefully they will lay flat enough for the klickies to stand on.

Not sure about the moat/river haven't got a 1m long laminating pocket.  Perhaps if I just do a few blue ones and glue them together.   But I don't suppose it matters if they can't stand steadily on the water.  Unless PM releases a "Miracles" theme.
Regards,
Wigglesworth

Offline tahra

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Re: Basic Scenery
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2021, 15:03:35 »
I've printed a few tile and cobble samples from:

Those look great!

Not sure about the moat/river haven't got a 1m long laminating pocket.  Perhaps if I just do a few blue ones and glue them together.   

Why must they be glued together? I think a few separate "water pieces" would be a lot more versatile  - the could form a river, the edge of the sea, a lake.... They could be grouped together as needed ;)