Dio-Bolical Monday No: 13 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 4

Progress this week was slower than anticipated.  Looking back I can’t really account for why that was.  I didn’t lack for enthusiasm but a few bits and pieces domestically and a few model bits arriving in the post provided a degree of distraction.  Still, I’m not working to any sort of deadline so I don’t intend to beat myself up about it.  Looking back at the previous post my aim for this week was to start on the base section and the base itself.  As I managed both I guess my objective for the week was achieved.

The first image shows the base as it was last week with the stone work largely done but with the rocks still to be painted.  In the second photo the rocks have been painted, a little weathering has been done on the tower stone work and I have cut some rough pieces of plaster board to elevate the tower further.  You can also see the wooden base the tower will be fixed to as well.

I’m still going for an overall dark look but at the same time needed some contrast between the dark grey stone colour of the tower and the rocks so I settled on various shades of brown.


The reason for elevating the tower further is because I want to have it set on a wider rock base with the sea lapping up against the rocks.  Well that’s the theory at least although I’m still not entirely sure how I am going to do the sea but I am more than happy with pressing on with the rock outcrop.  As usual I looked to the slate and granite chippings I have on my front garden path as the go to material to use.  I needed a few and although I can’t explain my selection process I some how instinctively know what shape and texture I’m looking for.  Washed and dried I then set bout trying to put them into position whilst ensuring they blend in with the rocks on the model itself.  Far easier said than done and far more time consuming than you might think.

The first image below shows another angle of the base sitting on the roughly cut plaster board pieces which have been stuck together and fixed to the main base using PVA.  The second and third photos show the plaster board having been carved out and shaped with the granite and slate chippings being positioned and held in place, again using PVA.  The last picture was a brief inspection one of how the base of the model and the base being built will line up.

img_0942img_0946img_0945img_0944 There are more stones and chippings to be added but for now these need to dry otherwise everything will slip and slide all over the place.  From a personal point of view I am happy with how this is coming along.  To others, a bit like my Fools Gold diorama, this stage looks like a complete mess but trust me it’s going to look OK in the end! 🤞

Where do we go from here?

Finish adding the stones and chippings and then I need to add filler of some sort to the base while I think about how I am going to do the waves.  That’s going to need a lot of thought and there will be some drying time needed as well but if I can get my head around the waves I will be pleased.  It might also be a good time to make a start on one of the figures too.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 12 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 3

The plan for the last week was to get the turret done and begin work on the top section of  the tower.  Every section of this model is a painting marathon but so far I am loving every minute of it.  Yes I know an airbrush would have quickened things up but I’m a brush guy and am happily losing myself in  this project.  Although I consider the progress I am making to be very pleasing I’m conscious of the fact that from a blog posting point of view things might be a little dull.  Hopefully though the images towards the end of this post will provide some idea of scale and why it is a beast of a model.    

The first couple of photos today are of the outside of the turret.  There are five turret windows and each one takes a while to do but I love the way they look.  Not my idea as I have said before but thanks to the YouTube link I have previously posted.  The wooden shingles have all been painted using a combination of various earth coloured oils and most of the weathering has been done too.  The grain and texture engraved in the model is simply brilliant.  As you can see in the second image their is a top piece still to be painted.  I’m leaving that for now so I can pick the top up rather than manhandling the paint work so far done.


With the turret largely out of the way it was time to move on to the stone section.  As with the rest of the model it is very highly detailed and getting into the various nooks and crannies to paint everything is time consuming and more than a little repetitive but with YouTube on I was happily zoned out.  No real secret to any of the painting here.  Just a couple of base colours, washes to get into the dark recessed areas and highlights and dry brushing on edges and where else I felt it was appropriate for weathering.  As with the all the tower painting so far done there is much more weathering to be done but that will come later.

In the third image below I have inserted the room which I got painted last week.  The fit is perfect and was easily glued into place.  


With the room in place I added the turret.  Again the fit is perfect although there is only one way the turret can be positioned so I colour marked it for ease as it will not be glued down, that way it will be possible to see inside the room.  The colour marks aren’t visible when the turret is on.


With the top section put together it was time for a motivational assembly of the main pieces.  It is nice to take time out and see how things are progressing.  So far so good and I am very pleased with things as they currently stand.  That said there is a long way to go.  


Plenty more to paint on the tower.  The base hasn’t even been started and there are figures and other bits and bobs to be done.  A good many weeks work lay ahead.  Next week I will aim to get the rocks done on the base section.  Then I might start to think about how to go about getting the base done.



Dio-Bolical Monday No: 11 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 2

At the end of last week I managed to make a tiny start on the top section of the tower so I thought I would stick with that and see how much more I could get done.

The top piece comprises essentially of a circular room and the turret.  As with the rest of the model it is highly detailed both inside and out.  Unpainted but assembled the three main parts look like this.


I started on the inner piece last week and managed to get both the inside and outside of it finished this week.  As you can see from the two photos below there is a lot of detail, particularly on the windows.  The leaded framework on the windows simply took an age to paint on the five windows inside and out and then there was the door to do and the walls as well.  It was painted mainly using acrylics and oil washed for the walls.  The windows were painted in the same way as referenced in part 1 last week.


In situ this piece looks like this.  A lot of work for a piece that as you can see will be pretty concealed.  That said I will probably not glue the turret in place.  It fits perfectly and doesn’t need any filler of any sort and by leaving it that way it will be possible to then look inside.  It will also make transportation easier as well.


I decided my next step would be to start on the turret.  So far I have managed to get some paint on the inside.  The thing with this model is it is huge and it takes a fair bit of time to paint each piece.  I should also mention I am a brush guy.  An airbrush would have speeded the process up but I don’t own one and for now at least have no plans to buy and use one.  


That’s as much as I got done this week.  The aim for the next one is to get the turret finished and then make a start on the lower piece.  If I manage to get that done I might assemble the tower and get a rough idea of exactly where I am at that point.

As impressive as this tower is I am hoping the base work when I get to it will be the making of this diorama along with the couple of figures I have planned.  Before I get started on them though there is a great deal more to do on the tower.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 10 – “The Wizard’s Tower” – Part 1

This week sees the start of a whole new diorama.  Where I will be going after this one is something I need to give a lot of consideration to.  I love doing dioramas but space really is an issue now so I need to get my head around the problem in the weeks ahead.  A return to much smaller models will probably be the solution but will they warrant a Monday Dio-Bolical post?  Maybe, maybe not.  My blog needs a review so perhaps this will be something I need to consider changing at some point in the future.  In any event there is no rush for a good few weeks yet.  Anyway I digress, back to the Wizard’s Tower.

For those of you who did not catch the very first Dio-Bolical Monday post back on the 23rd November 2019 this is the Table Top World model I’ve just started on.


This is a big tower and will stand at over two feet tall once I get the base work done further down the line.  The kit itself compromises of about 30 pieces, 6 large bits and several little bits which make up the roped hand rail going up the steps.  Essentially when assembled the tower has three very specific parts – a base, a middle section and a top piece.

The good news is I have a clear idea of how I want this diorama to end up looking, the bad news is I still have to decide how best to approach doing the base work.  With so much painting to be done on the tower there is plenty of time to work things out though.  It is with this in mind that I decided I would begin by starting to paint the base and middle section.  However, the first hing I had to do was prime everything!  As is my way this was done using matt white enamel diluted with white spirit and brushed on.  Yes, yes I know a spray primer would have been quicker but it’s not my way and I besides I didn’t have any, added to which I was to impatient to wait for a delayed lockdown delivery to arrive.  Put simply I just wanted to get started now. 

Once everything was primed and left to dry I began to paint the base and middle section.  I needed to work on both these pieces at roughly the same time to ensure I got the colour matching across them both, particularly where they join. 

The image I am looking for is a dark one.  I want the tower to look imposing and dramatic, not something which looks like it featured in a Disney animation.  This determined my base colour of a dark grey.  Given the size of this beast using Vallejo bottled paints was never going to happen.  From the moment the model arrived and was unpacked I knew this was going to be a job for oils.  The level of detail on the kit, along with all its nooks and crannies, meant I needed paint that could really flow into these areas and oils diluted with white spirit has always worked for me.  Having adopted the same approach on the Table Top World cottage in my Fools Gold diorama I was confident this would work out OK. 

After priming and laying down the base colour it was all about different shades of grey, a little brown, some white and a fair bit of dry brushing.  All of which got me to this point.  The image below shows the base section brick work well on the way.


Now strictly speaking there are three parts to the middle section.  The main two can be clearly seen in the first of the images below.  The third if you scroll up to the black and white picture above shows that at the end of the elevated walkway there is a second but much smaller little round roof turret.  Unfortunately the one of the four resin wooden struts which supports the roof was broken when the kit arrived.  In fairness it could have been fixed very easily but after a great deal of inner debate where I lost an argument with myself I decided I preferred the look of the tower without out it.  A bit of a gamble but by carefully removing the three remaining struts I can always add it back later if I decide to change my mind.

You will also notice from the images below that the middle section also has two doors, an upper and a lower one, and windows.  The windows were painted the same way I painted the windows on the cottage in Fools Gold – Part 4 using yellow with a wash applied over them.  This idea came from a YouTube video presented by “Real Terrian Hobbies and Goobertown Hobbies” the link to which can be found back in my Fools Gold post.  In due course I will use their render technique between the bricks again too.  I’ve managed to make a start on the wood and both the doors are more or less finished as well.

The last two pictures show the middle section mounted on the base.  It hasn’t been glued yet and most likely wont be because if I decide I like the end result enough and think it is good enough for a show it will be easier to transport.  The fit as you can see is perfect too.


That’s it for this week.  A lot of work for one week, well for me at least but thoroughly enjoyed it.  I can’t promise to make that much progress every week.  That’s the thing with dioramas they don’t just happen over night and at some point I know I will end up going backwards rather than forwards.  Nevertheless a new journey has begun.

Now I need to think where I go from here.  I’ll probably continue with the top piece as I have already made a very small start on that as you can just see in one of the images above..  The brick work needs more attention too as well as weathering.


Dio-Bolical Monday No: 9 – “Fools Gold” – Part 8 – Final

This week was mainly about getting the figure painted before making some very small and final additions (such as a few twigs and a skull) before taking photos of the finished diorama.  I do find it very satisfying that you can take a few bits of old crap and turn them into something else entirely.  I must give another shout out to Table Top World, the cottage truly is a stunning kit and I can’t wait to get started now on the Wizard Tower.

The central character to this diorama is a Reaper Chronoscope figure which goes by the name of Crazy Pete.  It’s a figure I have had an eye on for a while but hadn’t decided exactly what to do with him.  Then as things do an idea started to form and then as they say the rest is history.


Holding a nugget and doing a jig gave rise to the title of the diorama.  Did Pete discover pure gold or fools gold?  Did he die a wealthy man in luxury or is he buried up in them there hills a broken sole?  Well I will leave that for you to decide.  Meanwhile images of the completed diorama, taken mostly outside for some natural light, appear below.

Thank you for your perseverance I hope you have enjoyed following the build.

Next week I will get started on the Wizard Tower.



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.