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Cyberpunk Diorama – Spring Cleaning Hobby Challenge. Completed

Cyberpunk Diorama – Spring Cleaning Hobby Challenge. Completed

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Project Blog by shingen

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About the Project

I did most of my spring cleaning last summer, but what is left I’ll try to use in this project. You’ll find details and idea outline can be found in first entry bellow. Thumbnail image is publicly availble at: www.stmed.net

This Project is Completed

And now with light

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I installed lighting. A simple string of 20 LEDs from Dealz for 1,5 Euro but it did the trick beautifully. I used only bluetack and painters tape to install it, and some aluminium foil to limit light only to areas I wanted it in.

 

 

Bellow couple of photos of finished product, I think they look cool.

Stage one done

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Yesterday evening I finished the case. It is made out of black fomecore with mat finish.

 

Bellow you’ll find pictures of the diorama in its current state. Each element is removable, including all walls. I taught I may want to use the walls as a backdrop for action photos for my painted minis (the type Corvus Belli use to present every month’s new releases).

 

In the beginning I planned light as optional extra, now, having built it I assume lighting a must, otherwise the details are only visible in daylight as you can see in the pictures. I have gathered all the materials, I hope I can pull the build off tonight and tomorrow.

 

What I learnt from this project:

  1. I love the idea, I want to build more dioramas like this in different genres. I have quite high spaces between shelves and some short books, so next diorama will be 16:9 (landscape) ratio instead of 1:2 of this one.
  2. I did it too big. The piece it 13/25,5/28 cm, if I was to build it again I’d shrink size in each dimension by 15 to even 30%.
  3. I’m not quite sure if I sold idea of cyberpunk enough. Lots of HVAC appliances, Chinese characters and an armchair from the Matrix may not be enough. I need to add advertisements (but is connected with lighting).
  4. Children are very excited with similar projects, I need to involve them in the next one (you may see that the back wall of my diorama has a particular poster on it, it was prepared by my 12 yo daughter specifically for this purpose).
  5. As spring cleaning project it was pretty lame ;). I finished painting of two 28 mm minis (circa 8 hours of work) and spent 3 weeks building huge box for them… yeah…

I’d very much appreciate feedback, what you think I could add or get reed of to increase quality of this piece?

And last thig, as this project in my understanding was also about increasing ones skills, bellow is a picture one of my oldest paintjobs that I haven’t striped. This is Samurai Hero of 1st edition Warzone, mini produced in 1995 or 1996. I painted it in 1998 (summer) with Humbrol enamels. If you count Battletech plastics painted with self-made paintbrush and no-name oils in, this one has to be within first 20 minis I’ve ever painted. So this is my progress in last 21 years.

 

the 90'... ehhh...the 90'... ehhh...

Finished last wall

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Last necessary thing to do is a case. One optional thing: lighting. 2 days to go.

Meanwhile, some poorly lighted photos of what is done already.

More mistakes

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I finished building left wall of the diorama only to find out that my HIPS-made balconies went all wobbly. I can’t see other solution than to build that wall again from scratch with printed, stiff balconies.

Photos bellow show wobbled balconies and my desire to finish this project…

Complication

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Well, today I’ve received my fiber optics order. I thought I maybe test it as I’ve never worked with them. The tests went well, which puts me in an awkward position considering deadline for this project.

 

For screen design I used a classified mission card for Infinity, created by Captain Spud of Captain Spud is Amazing and Captain Spud’s hacking helper.

Never build terrain after drinking and right wall ready

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I made a little snafu lately, it appears that two pints is too much to remember to mirror your image before decoupageing (?) it onto your wall. The effect can be seen bellow.

IRAPMAC anyone? With orange juice?IRAPMAC anyone? With orange juice?

I ended up resigning from that advertisement at all, and made it look like something use to be there but is no more.

All in all my right wall looks like that. It will not get any more work instead of maybe an AC unit or two.

Another wall WIP

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Quick WIP. I’ll describe the process as soon as I get some time.

Another wall WIP

Some WIPs

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Just a couple of pictures of things I’ve finished recently. The light is quite harsh, but general feel is still captured well enough.

What a productive weekend I had

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With 19th of May approaching I sat down on Saturday to push my project further. I started with the easiest parts as I wrongly assumed: the backdrop and backs of faux books. After first attempt I realised that neither me nor my printer are capable of producing decent results. So I turned back to planning board and changed the concept almost completely. A couple of hours later I came up with something like that:

 

 

What a productive weekend I had

As you may have noticed the building in the left is completely flat. I have an idea for it, but had no time to put that idea into drawing.

 

I was actually so excited with new Idea that I went on to model it right away. I started with the concrete floor. I had some cork lying around and used it as base material.

Pictures bellow show whole proces step by step. Those were:

1. Install three magnets underneath, so I could  attach my samurai on top without gluing her down (I dont kwnow where she’ll look best in the layout that’s why they are three not one).

2. I also drafted where the walls shall be installed and in effect, which part should be painted as concrete.

3. Start painting: stipple gesso undercoat (I did it too thickly and had to sand it a bit afterwards).

4. After gesso dried, next layer was some dark grey mixed with white, again stippled.

5. And then some desert yellow and buff, also stippled.

6. Second to last layer was black wash.

7. And finally light overall drybrush with some off-white. After that was done I came back with the same off-white and drybrushed some random spots here and there a bit stronger.

With ground level done I then moved to the back wall. This one also was planned to be made out of cork tile, but to add some needed rigidity to it I started with a sheet of HIPS. I ‘d cut windows and doors in the cork tile and glued it down to the HIPS.

My construction curled a bit due to the way I stored my HIPS, so I had to add some ribbing in the back.

After that was done, I’d removed my 3d printed details and moved on to painting. Sequence and method were quite similar to what I did with ground level but I used different colours. Those were: white gesso, army painter uniform grey, desert yellow, some VMA cammo green under the windows and in the bottom of the wall. Then I applied a blue wash, but only to the wall and not the ramp. After that was dry I went on with overall  black wash to the whole of the piece. Finally light drybrush with VGA wolf grey.

While I was applying my layers of paint, the printer finished details for the next wall. I love this efficiency.

 

What a productive weekend I had

In the end I took a photo of all work done (except for the ninja, her perch is not even designed yet).

What a productive weekend I had

Couldn’t help myself and edited final photo to look more like CCTV image.

What a productive weekend I had

Weekly progress

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  1. Finished minis. I published them without varnish, since then I’d sealed them with satin. Final pictures and process can be seen in other post.

 

  1. I keep 3d printing details for the diorama, some of those I need to design myself others (many others) can be found online.
  1. In my concept, the alley is closed by a sports car (hoover car to be specific), I’ve printed and painted it already ( the only difference is that I went for yellow instead of read as in the 3d sketch. Colours used: zenithal undercoat, pre-shading with Vallejo wood, main colour Medium Yellow, highlights Moon Yellow. Some weathering done with Vallejo black wash to imitate dirt and bugs smashed during fast drive. You may see some nasty zits in lower part of the car. That obvious omission in postprocessing of 3d print. I’m not going to work on them, the car is too far and too hidden to be worth it.
  1. Started painting trash container, it is ready for graffiti and weathering.
Weekly progress

Miniatures painting process and final picture

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Last week brought some progress, in various parts of the project (see next entry).

But, first, I’ve sealed the miniature and consider them done. Bellow you’ll find some description of my process. From time to time I like to read such reports from other painters, so maybe some of you will enjoy my. In attempt to make it somewhat fun, I tried to take pictures on the way, but as you’ll soon find out I was not consistent and left big chunks of painting not documented.

I want my diorama to be as modular as possible in case I’d want to change something in the future. To that end I want my figures to be removable from the set. I also want my figures to stay playable. To achieve that I decided to put a magnet in the bottom of Hanako and leave long piece of wire in Oko’s foot. Using those I’ll be able to take figures of the diorama and put them on the bases.

The pictures above show following steps:

  1. Cut off the tab, with side-cutters,
  2. File off remaining metal,
  3. Drill hole for the magnet (I had a slight problem here as I had metric magnet and imperial drill bit, therefor had to use file to enlarge the hole),
  4. Using superglue and green stuff attach the magnet, level it by pressing your mini down onto some baking paper.

 

After the green stuff hardened I’ve put the mini on my normal painting handle.

Painting setPainting set

I prepared myself a coffee (to avoid having steady hands apparently) and went on to paint. The mini already had zenithal undercoat and some Army Painter Dragon Red on her kimono.

I applied violet on the skin and build up smooth layer of VMC Sunny Skin Tone over it. Then I added some highlights mixing in some bone to Sunny Skin Tone. Make up is a single layer of glaze of Sunny Skin Tone mixed with violet.

Scary faceScary face

Then I went on to paint kimono. It was very easy as it has mostly large, flat surfaces. As mentioned, the base colour is AP Dragon Red, Shadows are VGC Scarlet Red and Highlights are done with Vallejo RC range Scarlet Fluo (62.034). This colour makes highlighting deep red really easy.

The rest is quite standard: Whites are whites and greys, blacks are blacks and white, gold is one layer gold. I did some washes on the gold and black lining on the kimono.

Ninja is done in the same way: as in skin and blacks of course. The one thing I had to do with her was striping previous paint and starting again from bear metal.

Miniatures painting process and final picture

In the end I spayed them both with satin varnish.

The final result:

Miniatures WIP

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Just a quick update.

I’ve pretty much finished painting the minis. All they lack is final varnish. At this stage you may see shine in the recesses as I occasionally use shining wash.

As soon I seal them, I’ll post something more about painting process. As soon I seal them, I’ll post something more about painting process.

Planning

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Yesterday I managed to create a little mock-up of the project in its eternity.

I ran into some traps, the biggest being awkward proportions of the scene. As you can see bellow I tried to force some perspective by breaking up the side walls, but that costs additional work – I’ll need to create “stand-in book backs”. As you can see in the picture, I’ve already scanned two most suitable (theme-wise as well as size-wise) book covers from my library. Hope that shall not stand out to much in final product, but I’m not ready to destroy books for the project.

I also opted to print a picture to cover back of the scene (maybe I’ll blur it a bit in some pic processing program, or change colour palette a bit). I did it as there shall be no time for me to create all the designs and most importantly calculate scale for them to force the perspective even more. I’m still thinking to build it in a way allowing future interventions/upgrades anyway, so maybe someday that will change.

So… up to the scene; the story I’m trying to depict here is quite simple and very standard. Hanako, the slightly augmented yojimbo of one of the megacorps carries out a mission of utmost importance. On behalf of the CEO Tanaka, she needs to dive into slums of the city to retrieve (dead or alive) a former employee of the corporation’s CHEM-DEV division. He went rouge, and sells untested synthetic drugs to any abuser ready to pay for it. The drug unfortunately is produced on secret formula the traitor worked on, in said megacorp. Situation turned truly disastrous when competition of Hanako’s employers learned about that opportunity. They hired Oko, the ninja master with the mission of bringing rouge chemist to them. Right here and now, we see a frozen moment of time when Hanako learns about her enemy and gets ready to fight for her life and mission in this dirty alley.

 

 

 

Planning

The mock-up is created only to learn the masurements and get idea of the composition. Final product will get ton (hopefully, if time allows, etc.) more thematic details – pipes, cables, heap of garbage, piles of newspapers, net terminal, holo-adds (ATARI and Camparicfor for sure), windows and obligatory ladder between balconies.

One last word about  lighting, I don’t want to flood the scene with one LED at the top, I want it to be rather dark. Right now I’m leaning towards fibre optics and a couple of point lights, like a lamp over the door at the right, maybe headlamps of the hoover car in the back or some obscure net-terminal at the corner. This, however, is a lot of work that I don’t think I have time for, and I need to order the fibres from oversees unless I find them locally (which I haven’t until now). I think I’ll leave the spaces for the fibres, should I have chance of installing them in the future.

I’m also opened to suggestions on details and props that will best show cyperpunkiness (is that even a word?) of the scene, please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on that.

Genesis

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I’ve got hooked on the idea of actually finishing old projects and immediately started look for my old Warzone and Void figures which occupied my boxes for over 20 years now being barely undercoated, or assembled, or unpacked, or not even that…. However an hour search brought no results, it looks like those got degraded to basement storage, and my basement is 2 500 km from place I live now.

Not all is lost thou, I managed to dig up some never-ending projects from ten years ago.

Among the candidates for the project we have: Jungle Queen (HF Minis), 2 samurai women (HF Minis), Ninja (HF Minis) SF samurai (Kabuki Minis), Viridian Assault Marine (I-Kore, sculpted by Kev White). As you can see I have a thing for Kev White and Japan… All those guys (except Viridian and Jungle Queen) were initially bought to fight in my Mishima army in Warzone, and after I’ve abandoned that game had no use for them.

I also never had proper display area to create any dioramas etc. so never thought about using them as display pieces (not to mention I never considered myself display painter).

The display area issue was solved recently to some extent, and not by some space inflation but ingenuity of a Japanese guy. While researching photos to my current cyberpunk city terrain project I’ve stumbled upon this genius works:

Photos come from his tweeter at: https://twitter.com/monde55212068/media

Putting all those together I’ve come up with an idea to build such type of diorama, using parts of my cyberpunk city project and some of the minis presented above.

Another obstale I’ve hit almost immediately, after that revelation was, that I don’t really have any of my terrain building tools at hand. I only have my trusty 3d printer. So diorama parts will be almost exclusively 3d printed, we’ll see how it goes.

With that all in mind I’ve scheduled a plan:

  1. Create concept of diorama,
  2. Paint minis,
  3. Prepare 3d models,
  4. Print the models,
  5. Paint elements of diorama,
  6. Put everything together,
  7. Install lighting (optional).

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