Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas is early this year

Look what Santa got me this year (I must have been a very nice boy so far ;-)

No, that is not a coffee machine. I got hands on a 3D printer and I am so exicted to get it delivered in a few weeks. This technology is so amazing, and I have been thinking about a 3D printer in general for awhile now. If everything works out as planned, I will start to try 3D printing for different application for wargaming terrain next year.
 This is a model is a Up! Mini by PP3DP. Right now I feel like a little boy back then waiting for his presents under the christmas tree.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Returning to Moria - once more

Alright, after finishing the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm I was up for a new project. I got hands on an old metal cave troll with hammer and chain which went out of production at that time and started painting it right away. I like painting large miniatures and the fierce troll was a lot of fun. I started thinking on how to showcase the cave troll the best way and searched for inspiration. After watching the Moria part of the fellowship another time I knew what to do:

To showcase the epic confrontation of the fellowship with the cave troll I will build a diorama of balin´s grave or more precise the Chamber of Mazarbul. On my shelf the cave troll was kind of a companion who kept me motivated when I lost focus for my ambitious plans about all the details and lighting.

I haven't based it yet because I want it to match the floor of the diorama. In the next update I will hook you up with the details on my inspiration and planing for the Chamber of Mazarbul diorama.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How to use polystyrene foam board for wargaming terrain - Video tutorial

It is finally done. This is the first video of a series of tutorial I have been planing for awhile now. It is about polystyrene foam board, a material I use for my showcases most. I hope you find this interesting and helpful.

This video took too much time to shoot and edit, but I guess that is something I need to learn. Messed up the sound on the first render and had to reupload it. Hopefully I will be more time efficient on the next part that is going to be about tools and accessories for terrain building.

Monday, 10 November 2014

"Let's hope our friends last the night" - Miniatures Gallery of Helm's Deep diorama

With some delay I updated the review on the helm's deep diorama with a miniature gallery. Having a big number of miniatures on this one I typically dislike to have identical poses and gestures. I converted some of the uruk-hai and haldir to alter the appearance.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

"Escape from Moria" - Miniature Gallery

Started into the weekend to do some soldering for my latest project (I will announce this soon) and.... ran out of shrink tubing after half an hour. So I grabbed the camera instead and took a few pictures of the miniatures from the Bridge of Khazad Dûm diorama. Looking at them today I am not too content with paint job but I did most of them several years ago and improved my skills ever since.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

"You shall not pass" - Slideshow of the Finished Diorama

It´s done although video editing took some time again. In this slideshow I take you on a tour to have a detailed look on the features of my second showcase.


Next I will update the galary with some pictures of the miniatures in the diorama which conludes this kind of reviews about the projects I did in the past. I am very excited that I can finally begin to show you what I am working on right now.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

"There is one dwarf yet in Moria" - Work-in-Progress

Okay, enough with design and planing. I started drawing the templates to the styrofoam boards. At the time I used the bubbly type of styrofoam because it had no other available. Working with a hot wire cutter this material can easily be processed although I would recommend the non-bubbly type. I will cover both foam boards types and hot wire cutters in a tutorial later.

I stacked the main foundation using toothpick to secure them in place before glue is applied. I glued both sides individually but didn't glue them together yet to be more flexible during flocking and painting. The bridge was glued just to one side of the chasm. On the left side I arranged the pillars and some rubble around the collapsed one. Fissures and cracks were carved into the rock formations. I didn't mind gaps at this point as multiple coats of structure paint will cover these on a later stage.  At last I cut some groves for the wiring of the LEDs.

On the right side of the bridge I used almost 20 layers of 5mm thick foam board for the staircase. If you take a look at the templates of the stairs you can see that each layer is just one step shorter than the one underneath. This way I achieved a very accurate appearance because each step has exactly the same height. I put some rubble an rocks around the stairs so that they fit into the natural stone. Again, gaps will be filled up later.

I placed both sides onto the wooden board and took a look from the top view. Compared to the miniature size the chasm is already pretty deep but I planned to further enhance this effect.
First I needed to paint both sides. I coated the whole diorama in several layers of structure paint to hide the edges of the foam boards and build up a rock like texture. After the model was dry I painted it in brown and grey colours. For the next step I had the help of a friend with a DSLR camera and some photoshop skills. He took pictures from the steep walls an both sides. In Photoshop he combined the pictures, added a top view perspective and faded them to an endless black abyss. I had to print this several times before we got the colours right to match the colours of the walls. When I placed the models on top of the picture it created the illusion of an even deeper pit. Worked out fantastic, thanks to Felix.

Lighting the scene was the last step to finish the showcase. I wired the LEDs with appropriate resistors and hid all electronic below the surface. I created the flames with transparent window colours and yellow and red inks. Now the fiery glow of the balrog illuminates the sunless halls of Moria.
I am preparing a commented slide show for a close-up look on the showcase.

"The flame of Udûn" - Designing the showcase

Again this update took its time. I had a busy half year but now I hope for updates more regularly. This is the second part of the review of "The Bridge of Khazad-Dûm" diorama.

As the idea for the showcase took shape in my mind thanks to the inspiration from the movies and artworks, I started with a rough CAD model to visualise my plan. This method provides a great opportunity to try out things before cutting any pieces of foam board. With the given space in the vitrine I experimented with different depth for the chasm using varying heights of foam boards. After getting this right I created the staircase to get an impression if the angles and step sizes would scale properly to the diorama. As the balrog is a centre piece of this showcase which is very large because of its tail and wings I represented him with a few tubes and bars on a base. I chose a position in front of the bridge to threaten Gandalf and turned him a little to face a potential viewer of the showcase. Here is what the CAD model looked like.

The dwarven craftsmanship for stone cutting had never been better represented as in the mighty stone pillars of moria. I had to include these for sure but the original design from the movie felt to "heavy and massive" for the diorama so I sculpted a design myself. (© Dave Townsend; Source:
The dwarves would of course have aligned the pillars precisely. As two pillars would block the view on the balrog I decided that one pillar would have crumbled and partly collapsed into the chasm.

The last thing I thought about was creating light using LED circuits. I wanted to incorporated 8 LEDs evenly distributed over the diorama. Four would be positioned on the left side below the balrog's wings. They will be modelled into flames and give the balrog and its wings a fiery glow. The remaining lights will be made torches on the walls of the staircase.
Finally I rechecked dimensions and proportions of the model and started by generating templates and printing them on paper. I transferred them onto the foam board and cut out the pieces.
 I am going to release some work-in-progress pictures later.