Regulus diorama blog

New ideas

Well sorry for not posting that much it's simply because my head is just totally elsewhere which doesn't mean I lack in new ideas.

A few of those?

- In 187? out of revenge for some sort of "treachery", the French attacked the Chinese, sank a few boats and destroyed all the forts on the Yang Tse by taking them in reverse. But then, the french fleet (some of my preferred french boats ever like the Bayard for instance) couldn't drive too fast because of the Chinese soldiers bodies that jammed the propellers.

- There is a very beautiful and well known picture of an American sailor face down on a beach after Pearl Harbor, it's a very beautiful picture, sadly i couldn't find it while searching for it on the net.

- The Baba Yaga boxed  diorama -all my youth I had those Russian stories book that my godfather brought me back from the USSR, those were illustrated handsomely by famous Russian painter  Ivan Bilibin who died in the Leningrad siege. Well, a lot of them were about Baba Yaga, number one sorceress of the Slav world. I would like to do my own Baba Yaga as a handsome lady lying face down on one of those flimsy wooden bridges like the Russians do , well she would feed the dead lying in the marshes below. Some sort of mix between Barbarossa, Tokien's  dead marches, and Ivan Bilibin.

- Searching for some videos on Youtube, I fell on one which apparently showed some American soldiers shooting some Japanese sailors asking for help in the water. It could well be a fake -even though when you see the American sailors they shoot with a BAR at sea level. Whatever, I think there is some idea here, because I could show blood in the water and also the shock of bullets hitting the water. Great technical challenge.


- you know Contemporary Art? I must say that despite having lived with a girl that sort of worked in that and having a more than reasonable knowledge about it, I am really highly suspicious. Whatever. You know Joseph Beuys? German artists, works with grease etc.  Now what's interesting about it is the way he found that: the myth says he was shot down while driving  a Stuka and that he was almost dead at the ends of some Tatars that healed while covering him in grease. I was thinking I could do a half dead near a Stuka wreck and call the diorama Joseph Beuys only to annoy search engines.


Finally, maybe search for JBADiorama's next diorama called N°7, lots of Evil Deads here too. Here is the archive picture that inspired at least 2 of his figures



Eventually -you know how I call this "death dioramas", well it might change into "experimental dioramas" one of these days, actually I intend this place to be some sort of Labs.


Whitehead Torpedoes (part 1)

One good thing when being around for a bit of time is that you get great help when asking for some very precise stuff. So here is a gentleman that scanned me some very old plans for Whitehead Torpedoes as they were built in Fiume -ex Austria Hungary. Well thanks once more because they're almost finished by now, and reasonably accurate.

Whitehead Torpedoes

The first thing I had to do was to cut some aluminium and brass tubes at the right dimension using this kind of plan

the right size for tubing

Then actually cut the tubes. i filled them with Green Stuff so that every element would be at the center of it's parent.

cutting tubing



Let's cover those assemblings with Magic Sculp, wait for a few days and then sand until the shape is perfect. Now those early torpedoes look so much better than later types.

the shape of whitehead torpedoesTime to sort of draw some lines all around the tail of the torpedo, so to do that, I embed it in my Punch and Die set and turn the shape until I have some sort of line all around.



Whitehead Torpedoes (part 2)

the shape of those torpedoes was okay really, but I soon discovered I would probably be unable to drill some evenly spaced holes at the 2/3 of the length of the thing.

But well I had foressen this and prepared some PE ring (soldered of course) beforehand. So I had to destry the shape in order to insert those metal rings.. Whitehead Torpedoesand then to cover the parts with a fresh layer of Magic Sculp. I let dry and then sanded again.. Whitehead Torpedoes Then I drilled a few holes around the tail of each of my 3 torpedoes and proceeded to glue each and every blade of the propeller. Finally I glued in place all the tail bits.. Now I have to sand an extra bit where the superglue overflowed -and I also have to add quite a few details

More plaster fortifications

Happy new year to all of you!  I spent some time in front of the computer lately, fixing one thing or three with that very website -notice now how I have been including 4 years worth of archives. Some of those posts are of various quality, but there are some okay tricks to be learned here and there.

Here we go with a big fortification wall. let's first do some more detailed form out of thick plastic

Big wall form



Then let's do the rest of the form out of plastic and plasticine for kids. here is another use of the hairspray I use to weather the boats :) It's of course heavily greased.

Fortification plaster wall



With the current weather, the plaster doesn't dry so fast which is a very good thing.. One of the most important tricks to remember with plaster is that *you don't sculpt the same things when the plaster is wet than when it's ultra dry*. The other one is *use different qualities of plaster*

Here is the plaster wall straight after unmoulding. plaster fortification

Of course the problem right now is that the plaster was still so fresh that most of my little bits under the corniche went when I unmoulded the form. Whatever, let's use the moments when the plastyer is still very wet to sculpt roughly all the different stones blocks, trimming here and there -and adding again the small blocks under the corniche by just applying some fresh plaster and then cutting them out with an X-Acto.

first plaster sculpt for the fortification

Notice the buring traces. i have been forgetting the wall on a very hot radiator... The plaster then gets very brittle, you carve really huge when you want to sculpt it.. all the best then.. Look at the final result -the inner bricks were done in a much better quality plaster and the drzawing of different bricks is a lot finer. the point ifs to show some walls of different ages..

You may also notice that stones are getting mroe or less scarteched on the surface, more about that later.

finished plaster walls in 1/35

Finally, may I insist about the fact that what i have just been doing is actually quite a simple job? that's not Xtreme modeling or whatever, everybody can do that.

Ah well, time to raise the level a bit :)

Sculpting myself

That's another self portrait.

JBA Diorama self portraitNow don't think I am doing those (Galilée, Sokol etc.) because I am a self obsessed git, i am doing those because those dioramas are telling about my life. Really, boats as well as history are some sort of not very important background to my dioramas, what matters is the figures and the stories they tell.

Whatever, I did that one and have a few comments to do about theb techniques involved.

First I made the mistake of assembling various bits of Dragon and Tamiya figs in the right position and then to trim them to let me apply some mastic afterwards.

That's a stupid thing to do, really the Magic Sculp doesn't hold very well to the plastic and it tends to produce too much bulky sculptures.

Anyway I did it. Afterwards I use pure Duro/Green stuff to do all the wrappings at the extremities -end of trousers, jackets etc. I try to be careful not using too much Duro because you can't sand it that well when it is cured.

JBA Diorama self portrait

then  as the Magic Sculp wasn't really holding too well, I mixed it with some Duro (I saw some totorials about that) and well, now it's a fantastic trick because the MS gets way more sticky this way!

JBA Diorama self portrait

Anyway  here is the final result. The greenest the parts the more stickiness i needed, the more Duro I mixed with Magic Sculp..

JBA Diorama self portrait

In the end the hands and ...ears are Hornet, the feet are Tamiya and the rest is me. It *does* look like me, except I granted myself a bit more hair than in reality. i can lie even more than on facebook with my own sculpting.

The grey stuff is Mr Surfacer to try and get a smoother finish when needed.. not a full success here

JBA Diorama self portrait

Oh yes, I am quite long limbed by the way :)

Now i will try and sculpt my wife, that's going to be another story!

Wife sculpting

After sculpting my ownself, I tried to sculpt my wife. of cours ethis is not the kind of sport where you can allow your self to fail..

So first let's put some Duro over 1mm thick brass so that further sculpting attemps can stick on something. Wife sculpting 1/35

Wife sculpting in 1/35

One leg! then 2! not the greenish colour, I now mix Duro with MS, it glues better on wire

Wife sculpting in 1/35

Now a beautiful dress

Wife sculpting in 1/35

feet and hands

Feet in 1/35

Wife sculpting in 1/35


The head! Yes I have some Hornet heads not far away when i sculpt mine. It really looks like my wife :)

Wife sculpting in 1/35

Wife sculpting in 1/35

And now some extra pictures taken on a very low light outside. Some extra trimming will be needed

Wife sculpting in 1/35 Wife sculpting in 1/35 Wife sculpting in 1/35

Paster sculpture

After having doing all those fortress walls, I needed something finer to complete my the stoney parts of my diorama. And then you can't beat those late XIXth century ornaments. of course there is no way i could sculpt them in plaster, by rather making a form agin. So I assembled a few plastic bits and sculpted this out of Duro.

sculpted wall with duro

Then I did a silicon form -blame my poor camera

silicon form for plastertry to avoid the trapped bubbles! use an old brush to push the plasetr in every detail..

And in the end you get that.. quite nice :)

plaster sculpted

Back from the cold -the diorama setting

really I couldn't work so much in the shed with those temperature -at 0°C i tend to drop things a lot and that already cost me a diorama two years ago.

Anyway here is the setting for the Regulus diorama.

the diorama setting

One very important thing I do is that I *never* set up the definitive dimensions of a diorama as long as I didn't tested it with all its elements in place. because I don't want big empty spaces or that the diorama could appear totally crowded.

Anyway, during that lapse of time where I didn't touch that one I changed the setting and the different elements composing the diorama: exit de self portrait and the torpedoes.

here are some other views

More about the regulus diorama setting

Extra details on the plaster walls

Painting the wlls of Regulus

2 hours and the half spent to paint roughly 10cm², would you believe it? and yet..

so that's after the first hour, half of the work on the small detaily porch are painted, but that(s nothing compared with things to come

Starting painting the walls of regulus









That's it, after 2 and the half hours, and hundreds of acrylics glazes, a few pigments melted with paint, and more washes..

Of cours there is a direction of the light here.. though not that obvious. I want the wholme to be taken in a luminous fog.

Here is another bit of wall I done during last week.

Painting the boat

Painting the boat was the usual wet on wet technique, complete with (very few) Mig pigments, I did it in quite a short time compared to the wall bit. That's a mostly gallery post  but  there is a trick after one or 2 pictures

Russian PT boat 1/35

So have a look at the picrture and what do you notice? left side is grey, right side is yellow, how does it come? that's not only because the outdoor line came from the right, no, it's because *in my diorama, the light will come from the front*. Actually, the boat will be oblique relative to the scene. So thanks to my airbrush and a few hours of cork I managed to recreate this effect of light. remember that for me a diorama must come with its own light embedded and not rely on external sources of light to work..

That is most visible on the bellow picture

Russian PT boat 1/35 Russian PT boat 1/35 Russian PT boat 1/35

And now here is a preview of the diorama. That's right, it just needs a few groundwork as well as painting my wife and last but not least, do a good sea!

Diorama preview Russian PT boat 1/35

Diorama preview Russian PT boat 1/35