Dio-Bolical Monday No: 8 – “Fools Gold” – Part 7

This week I fixed the cabin in place and set about getting the groundwork done around it and the tree.


That was followed once it was dry by getting the groundwork painted and making sure it blended  in with what I had done already.


A few more plants and leaves were added for colour and visual effect.  The pumpkin on the bench outside the cottage dictated autumn and so I went with leaves on the ground rather than just a few on my deadish looking tree.  I also started to paint the edge of the base to tidy things up a bit.


The final touch for this week was adding a barrel, some rubble and planks.  Some more rubble needs to be painted and I have a couple of boxes to add on as well as a steers skull but these will be finishing touches for next week.


All being well I will get the figure painted up for next week and that will complete the diorama.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 7 – “Fools Gold” – Part 6

This week work began on the stream.

I have done water effects before several times but have always used products from Woodland Scenics.  This time I decided to try something different.  Thinking ahead to when I do the Wizard’s Tower I know the Woodland Scenics materials won’t work for what I am thinking of doing so after scrolling through YouTube I settled on using the materials demonstrated by Luke at Geek Gaming.

For this diorama I kept things simple.  I didn’t want a dramatic look so to some extent the effect is a little lost.  The important thing is the material works and I can tell already that this will be the stuff I use on the Wizard’s Tower base.  The white you see in the image below is Woodland Scenics water effects added on top to add a few ripples and to see if the products could be combined and work.  They do.


Once the water effects dried it was time for a little white dry brush to bring out the ripples.  Once that was done I painted up the logs and fixed them in position.  Later they would get a dry brush too.


Time now to think ground work and tree.  It always amazes me how much difference even a small amount of grass and a shrubs make.  Introducing some Green to all the shades of brown works nicely for me.

The wire aperture for the tree was put in place and bedded into some Milliput and then left to harden.


Next step was to get the wire aperture covered in a PVA and filler mix.  This was then left to dry before painting.  Oils were used for painting the tree and further dry brushing will be applied in due course.  I’m not looking to add more in the way of branches to the tree.  A dead-ish looking appearance is what I am after and besides I want it to complement the mine and the cabin and not dominate the scene.


That’s it for this week.  Too much else going on right now but for the next post I hope to have the Cabin in situ, ground work and debris added and some miscellaneous bits and bobs such as barrels, planks, boxes and rubble added.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 6 – “Fools Gold” – Part 5

Having finally taken delivery of the base and case from my mate Paul I was now in a position to continue the base work.

A visit to my dwindling plasterboard stash (I need to start knocking someone’s house down or make a visit to the DIY store) provided me with what I needed to build up the left hand side and bring forward the front of the mine so that the base was suitably covered.


With the plasterboard in situ it was time to carve the plaster board and begin to shape the stream.  I figured the miner would need to ford the stream each day and wouldn’t want to get wet so I found a few wooden twigs to create a basic rustic bridge.


Next up was getting a load on base debris stuck down.  I mainly used the plaster bits which were removed from the carving process along with a little fine sand and dirt and small gravel swept up from the road outside our house.  Oh, and a few stones from the front garden!  A pencil outline was drawn around the house to make sure I didn’t stray into that area.


After being stuck down with watered down PVA and allowed to fully dry for 24 hours it was time to get some painting done.

I don’t own an airbrush and have no plans to get one, it is well beyond my patience level to learn how to use one.  I’ve always stuck with brushes and oil paints thinned with white spirit to paint ground work and I wasn’t about to change method now.


Time to let things dry once again.  Next week the aim is to get the water effects done on the, stream, put the log bridge in place, lay down a little grass and a few plants and begin work on a tree.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 5 – “Fools Gold” – Part 4

This week was all about painting the Table Top World cottage for my “Fools Gold” diorama.  I had primed it a couple of weeks ago so I just need to start painting it.  Things went well and I even made progress beyond getting it done.  So much so that I started to draft a subsequent post for early January which I scheduled knowing it would need amending.  In itself not a problem but WordPress defaulted to January 2020 and not 2021.  Aplogies to those of you who may have gained a sneak preview.

Meanwhile back to this weeks update.

I decided to start with the inside of the building and the inside of the roof and then move on to the outside.  It is at this point that I must highlight another major problem (it has been one of those weeks, again!).  With Work In Progress posts there is a need to take regular photo’s to show the progress being made.  So engrossed did I become in painting this building and pressing on that I completely forgot to do so!  What you have below is a number of images which show the cottage fully painted.  Starting with the inside of the building and the inside of the roof.


Looking at the images which I have just inserted the building looks darker than it is but putting that to one side here are a few things to note in respect of the paint work.

As I have mentioned in a few previous posts these buildings are highly detailed, as you can see from the pumpkin, wall hanging corn, the axe, the rope the water trough, etc, etc.  The inside is much the same in respect of the cracking plaster walls.  I painted the walls using acrylics but went for Burnt Umber oil paint diluted with white spirit as a wash to both darken the base colour but more importantly to settle into the cracks to highlight them.  In my opinion nothing does this better than diluted oil paint.  A similar approach was taken with all the wood which features in the roof, on the floor and in the various supporting timbers.

You may have also noticed that the windows are yellow, with a wash applied over them and the render between the stones/bricks is light in colour and not dark.  Both these ideas were taken from a YouTube video presented by “Real Terrain Hobbies and Goobertown Hobbies”.  If you want to salivate over some cool Table Top World models and a diorama on an epic scale then check this video out.

I must also thank Dave Kay over at Scent of a Gamer who through his blog brought both these guys to my attention, cheers mate.

With the mine mostly done and the building now painted next week my attention will continue with more base work as I now have the main base from my mate Paul.  From here on in it is about bringing it all together on the main base and that is when the whole things becomes make or break.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 4 – “Fools Gold” – Part 3

Last weeks post ended with the image below and I said that I would explain this week why the track over hung at the front and why the carved plaster board, bottom left, hadn’t been painted.

The depth of the base this diorama will eventually be fixed to is 20cm whereas the depth of the mine entrance just up to the over hanging track is a few centimeters shorter.  When I get to start fixing things in place on the base which comes with the perspex case the front will need to be built up and brought forward at which point the track will no longer over hang.

The unpainted plaster board on the bottom left will I hope become one side of a small stream.  Until I start fixing things into place this is something I cannot deal with properly yet and only when I can will I start to think about painting.


On to this weeks progress.

As I am not working to any kind of schedule I can’t really claim to be behind but nevertheless I had hoped to have had more done.  In fairness I achieved what I hoped to do this time last week but because I got it done quicker than anticipated I hoped to kick on a bit more.  Alas life took over and it didn’t happen.  What I did manage was to get the mine completely painted along with the track and the mine cart.  I say completely painted but in due course it will need to be blended with with the rest of the diorama and have more dry brushing done.

The mine cart comes empty so I filled it with some cat litter which once dried was painted too.  I also got a barrel done and a few scatter wooden planks although these are not stuck down yet in case I decide to place them elsewhere.  A couple of plants were added to provide a modest amount of colour t break things up a little.  I expect I will add more debris and scatter later on but until more of the overall assembly has been completed it is hard to see at this stage what is needed.  More is less springs to mind at this point.

A few images below.


Finished for now but certainly not complete.  More work on this bit to be done but it is well on its way.

I did receive a couple of suggestions about having the mine lit up inside.  A great idea but looking closely at the stage I was at I couldn’t get my head around how to do it given what I had built so far.  In reality the mine isn’t that deep and the track turns to the right to give the illusion of depth.  What I did take from the idea though was the thought of doing a diorama at some point which was inside a mine or a cave.  I liked the idea of a dark place lit up but need to give more thought to the theme and figures.  In any event one for the future as I have other things lined up.

Next week my aim is to start painting the cottage.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 3 – “Fools Gold” – Part 2

Now the good news is my Zealot order for a mine truck and a couple of pieces of track arrived quickly and safe and sound which meant this week I was able to spend time doing further work on the mine for my “Fools Gold” diorama.


After checking that the track fitted into the entrance, and breathing a sigh of relief that it did, it was time to start carving the plaster board (see the left above versus the right above image).  With the cat litter covered inner walls now fully dried I could get some paint on them.  The emphasis being on the areas I would not be able to get to with a brush once the mine had been built up further.


With the inside done as needed for now I was able to press on with the build as you can see from the above images.  The plaster board needed to be built up higher to effectively add a roof to the mine entrance and it also needed more carving and shaping.  Other bits of slate and stone were added here and there and then the finer texture was added as appropriate on top.  For this I used the plaster board dust and bits which were removed during the carving process. 

The key thing to note about plaster board is it is absorbent.  Why is this significant TIM?  Well when it comes to painting it once it’s dry the paint will soak in randomly and automatically create shading of its own.


As you can see from the image above the painting process has begun and the track is in place too but for now that is another week over.  All being well next week will see the mine entrance fully painted for this stage (more will need to be done later when it needs to blend in when other ground work is done) and the track and truck completed too.

If you are wondering about the unpainted plaster board carving on the left of the above image and why the track over hangs at the front I will explain next week.



Dio-Bolical Monday No: 1

Welcome to the first post under the catchy little title of “Dio-Bolical Monday“.  Last week saw the last Memory Monday post for a while but it will return at some point in the future for sure but for now it is time for a change.  Let’s get started.

I thought I would kick this series off with a bit of an explanation on what you can, in theory, expect to see in the next few weeks ahead.  If you haven’t figured it out already then the “Dio” in the title is short for “Diorama”.  Every now and then I get inspired to do something on a slightly larger scale and now is one of those times.  I used to do a fair few dioramas in the past but space constraints and storage have made them a rarity of late.

Now the thing with dioramas, well mine for sure, is they aren’t done in five minutes.  With all the will in the world I cannot post a new diorama model every week so Work In Progress posts, with thanks to those of you who kindly responded to my question in Miniatures & Musings No:68, will be the order of the day up to and including eventual completion.

Now one of the things to remember with dioramas (well mine again) is that they can go wrong!  You can have all the plans in the world (although I never work to a plan, it’s all just in my head) and still something will fail to work out.  Under the worst case scenario this means starting over but more often than not it amounts to a modification of some sort.  Sometimes this is an improvement on the original idea which is clealry a good thing but alas sometimes it isn’t and the end result whilst OK is not what I envisaged.  The thing is I have no idea how the build of these dioramas will pan out so the journey I am on is not just mine but yours too.  Together we will see how things work out for better or worse.

So, what do I have in mind for you?

Well I have two dioramas planned for now and because of things like drying times I will probably flick between the one I am working on and individual figures while I am waiting around.  The one thing both dioramas have in common is they feature buildings produced by “Table Top World”. I have mentioned these models in previous posts and they are visually stunning.  The level of detail is incrediable and I am excited at the prospect of painting them and then setting them into a scene.  The only downside is they are made of resin and I hate resin more than I hate plastic.  I am an old school guy but realistic to know that metal for these buildings is a non starter.  I am therefore going to put myself through an emotional spin dryer in attempting to paint these buggers.

The first building is a little rustic cottage.


The working title for this diorama is “Fools Gold”.   The title might stick it might not, it all depends on how things turn out.  The plan is for the building to feature an old prospectors cabin along side a gold mine entrance and I may even chuck in a tree and a little stream.  I have identified a nice little Reaper figure which I hope will bring it all together and tell the story.

The second building, and by far the more adventurous of the two, is the Wizards Tower.


This building is huge and stands almost two feet tall.  It also cost a small fortune so I am going to feel the pressure of not screwing this one up!  The working title for this one is “The Wizard’s Tower”, catchy huh!  I don’t know if this title is going to stick.  Not only do I not like it that much but I have a horrible feeling in my water that my original idea for this diorama will not stay the course which will change everything anyway.  Time will tell and things will become clearer on why I think this as the build gets under way.

Well that’s the introduction done.

From here on in it is going to be a long haul but the journey begins next Monday!  I hope you enjoy the ride.