Dio-Bolical Monday No: 2 – “Fools Gold” – Part 1

This last week I have begun work on my “Fools Gold” diorama.  As the Table Top World cottage building is the smaller and much cheaper of the two (the other being the Wizard’s Tower) it made sense to use this model as the experimental one.  As with much of my diorama work my starting point was the base.  Not the base I would build but the base I would build the diorama on.

Now unless I plan to box the completed diorama up and store it away I prefer to have it on display in such a way that it doesn’t get covered in dust.  My wall storage units are not deep enough for displaying larger dioramas so I lean towards individual display cases which I buy from my mate Paul at Just Bases.  I generally buy the larger perspex cases he sells which measure 35cm wide by 20cm deep and 13cm high.  This then governs the size of the diorama I am about to do.  Armed with a ruler and my large cutting mat I worked out that this size base would be just about right for what I had in mind and duly placed my order with Paul.

Now under normal circumstances I would meet up with Paul and collect my base from him within a week or so but as we all know these times aren’t normal.  Meeting up wasn’t the problem but getting perspex was.  With all the screens going up everywhere to deal with Covid-19 perspex is an in demand material meaning it has become a little harder to get and more expensive to buy.  Oh goodie!  Paul assured me all was not lost and in a few weeks he would be stocked up, things would just take a little longer is all and so for now I am waiting on the base.

The good news is that because the design for this diorama incorporates a small stream section the base needs to be built up.  The MDF base that comes with the perspex case cannot be dug into so if I want to achieve depth I have to build upwards.  Does this make sense?  Well it does to me and if it is confusing you then all will become clear in due course as the diorama develops.

While I am waiting to collect the base from Paul I figured there were three things I could work on 1) the mine opening, 2) the Reaper figure and 3) painting the Table Top World cottage.  I decided I would start working on the mine entrance.

Plaster board has very much become my material of choice these days for a great many things.  Having raided a skip for some thrown out board a long time ago I went to the garage to review my stash.  Some suitable bits  were found and using an old tile saw I set about cutting some basic shapes to get me started.


Exciting pictures huh?  I cut out a few of these and then did a Google search for some reference material.  I settled on the image below for a rough idea of what I wanted to achieve.


I liked the idea of the mining track and wagon, the hole in the side of the hill and the wooden lintel to add some contrast to just the earth and stone.  I hadn’t consider the mining wagon and track before but thought it would be a great improvement so I thought I would try and see what I could find to buy.  As luck would have it Zealot Miniatures came up trumps so I ordered a couple of bits from them which hopefully will arrive shortly.  Fortunately their website had measurements for the track so I was able to press on with more of the mine construction.


Now whilst things might look like a mess at the moment you should know that I am delighted with how this is shaping up so far.  Essentially this is nothing more than the skeleton to which the flesh will be added.  The plaster board is building up the side nicely, the wooden supports and lintel are in and slate chippings have been added to show exposed rock from the digging and blasting which created the whole in the first place.  The thing is I can’t do much more on the mine now until I get the Zealot delivery because I need to fix the track in place and be able to get to it for painting before I can put a proper top on the mine entrance.

While the mine work done so far was set a side to dry I thought I would take a look at the Cottage.


It really is a lovely and highly detailed two part model.  On the positive side of things I can’t screw it up with glue (I don’t get on well with glue, whatever I do it goes every bloody where).  On the slightly negative side it is going to be a challenge to paint the inside.  Brush angles to paint the fireplace and windows is going to be tight.

The kits say they don’t need to be washed but I did so anyway and after they air dried I began to prime the two parts.  For as long as I can remember I have always primed using Humbrol White Matt Enamel diluted with White Spirit.  Unorthodox?  Most probably but it works for me.  Time now for the cottage to dry too so for now that is it for this week.

Hopefully next week I will press on with the mine if the Zealot bits come, if not I’ll start painting the cottage.


24 thoughts on “Dio-Bolical Monday No: 2 – “Fools Gold” – Part 1

  1. Lovely start Tim, the mine entrance is looking great, have never thought of using plasterboard, can you peel away the top layer of cardboard and carve it with bricks/stones? or is there a much easier way to get the same effect?

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thanks Roger. The cardboard layer comes away pretty easily. Wetting it a few times and then just rubbing it with your fingers works for me. This time I am using the stuff horizontally and will just carve strata into it using my modelling knife with an old blade or any pointy thing I have laying around. Lines are easy but you can carve rock and stone shapes easily too. I used the stuff vertically in a post I did earlier in the year called OMG! It was a five part post and the link to the first one is below if you want to take a look. It will give you an idea at least of what the stuff can be used like. 🙂


      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thanks so much for that Tim, that is a fantastic diorama, and I also saw some beautifully painted mini’s while working my way through the posts (I love that reaper wizard by the way), Will have to keep my eyes open next time I se a skip in someone’s drive! 😉

        Cheers Roger.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. Off to a cracking start TIM, I see you’ve done a similar approach to the mine shaft as the one I did for my company, good call on finding a mine cart, as from experience they are a pain to build. This is shaping up to be an excellent diorama

    Liked by 6 people

  3. It was really cool seeing the mine come together. It is going to look really nice I think. Thanks for sharing your build process and thoughts along the way. It was illuminating. Painting that home will be tough for sure. If you feel skilled enough, you may be able to do some nice drybrushing on parts of it both to paint it in a reasonable time but also make it easier on yourself. At the same time though, this is a diorama and those aren’t about cutting corners! I’m really enjoying the new Dio-bolical Mondays feature and look forward to more! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Great post mate,sorry I missed it ,been having problem with the ancient computer but tech advisers fixed the problem. I love the photo you have used ! an Aussie mine no less! Its looking good so far, love the cottage ,cant wait to see how you paint that beauty up!

    Liked by 3 people

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