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Thread: Diorama base for vintage Snake Mountain playset (WIP)

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior jastiles's Avatar
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    Diorama base for vintage Snake Mountain playset (WIP)

    Hey guys,

    I've been using a vintage Snake Mountain as a backdrop for my MOTUC Evil Warriors and was never really happy with the scale. Also I was running out of room in that particular cubby-hole of my bookshelves.

    I had the idea to "expand" Snake Mountain and make it appear larger by making a custom base for it. A couple of things: I suck at sculpture so before I started I knew any of that was off the table. Two: I'm pretty good at making fake rockwork that looks real by using a recipe I found online to make rockwork for terrariums and reptiles. This is a project that someone with zero artistic or creative talent can do. It's pretty much fool-proof.

    Way back when I got my vintage Snake Mountain off eBay I repainted it. I completely spray-painted it black and then I dry-brushed various shades of dark purple over it. I was pretty happy with the results as it looked a lot darker and more menacing.

    Now my goal is to use the same painting technique on the styrofoam/expanding foam base so that it all looks as close to one complete piece as I can.

    I'm posting a few WIP shots in case anyone is interested in using the technique for a similar project in the future. I'll update the thread every day that I do any additional work on it with instructions for how to do what I did that day. You can pretty much make an instant and inexpensive custom display base for any of your figures with this. Throw up a background and you're done.

    This particular diorama will be wall mounted and I bought a 72 x 20 piece of board to build it on. The majority of the project is made of scrap styrofoam that I salvaged from work and a couple of cans of "Great Stuff" expanding foam which you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. I started by breaking up the styrofoam and arranging it so that it resembles rock and terracing. After I was satisfied with the rough outline I used hot glue to glue all the styrofoam together (as you are doing this you'll swear it'll never look like anything but a bunch of glued-together styrofoam but I promise your end results will amaze you).

    Once it was all sturdy and not wobbling too much I started cutting down the edges of the styrofoam so that it looks more organic. I just used a sharp box cutter to do this. Next comes the fun part which is using the Great Stuff. Note: Great Stuff is only fun to use until the point it gets on your hands/clothes/floor. Wear gloves and cover up the area you are working in. I use it to fill in all the cracks, blend pieces of styrofoam together, make more rounded rocks, etc. Again, as you are doing this you'll swear it'll never look like anything but a pile of styrofoam with yellow blobs coming out of the cracks, but be patient.

    This is where I currently am in the process. Once the Great Stuff cures I'll start the next step and post updated pictures and instructions.

    IMG_4096.JPG
    IMG_4097.JPG
    IMG_4098.JPG

  2. #2
    Hero of Eternia zodak74's Avatar
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    Oooh... I like where this is going already!
    Must-Haves in 2015: Lord Masque, Quakke, Sagitar, Negator, Peekablue, Granita, Dragstor, Crita, Prahvus, Classic Toy Costume Catra Vs. Starburst She-Ra

  3. #3
    Motuc Blister Eater OnlyOneSkeletor's Avatar
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    Fed up waiting ? ... congratulations anyway, it sounds being a very good start.
    Can't wait to see where it leads .

  4. #4
    Heroic Warrior Mantisaur82's Avatar
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    EXELENT!!!
    Can't wait to see it finished!!!
    I have plans for doing the same for a long time (since I already done Castle Grayskull diorama in a simmilar way).
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...4489659&type=3
    But I am planing to do it with my officiall Snake Mountain from collection (as I did with Grayskull), so no repaints... and no interventions on the original toy, just a nice diorama/base where it can fit and from which it can be easly removed.

  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior jastiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zodak74 View Post
    Oooh... I like where this is going already!
    Thanks! I can't wait to get it finished.

    Quote Originally Posted by OnlyOneSkeletor View Post
    Fed up waiting ? ... congratulations anyway, it sounds being a very good start.
    Can't wait to see where it leads .
    Thanks and yes, tired of waiting and I'm not sure that Mattel will ever release a MOTUC Snake Mountain and if they do I doubt it'll be as big as I want.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mantisaur82 View Post
    EXELENT!!!
    Can't wait to see it finished!!!
    I have plans for doing the same for a long time (since I already done Castle Grayskull diorama in a simmilar way).
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...4489659&type=3
    But I am planing to do it with my officiall Snake Mountain from collection (as I did with Grayskull), so no repaints... and no interventions on the original toy, just a nice diorama/base where it can fit and from which it can be easly removed.
    I love your vintage Castle Grayskull diorama! Very nice.

    I did some more work on the project last night. Once the expanding foam cured I got a bag of black sanded grout from Home Depot and mixed it up to about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Using a paint brush I painted the mixture over everything (a couple of coats).

    The next morning I decided I needed more posing spots so I added a bridge and then an elevated stone platform. Once that foam cures I'll grout it and then it'll be time to start painting.

    A couple more WIP pics...

    IMG_4116.JPGIMG_4118.JPG

    Also I decided that since I painted the vintage Snake Mountain back in the summer, I'd never be able to match the exact painting technique so I grouted over some of it to blend it into the base (I really want it to be seamless). Then I'll be able to repaint it all at one time and make it look the same.

  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior Salamandra's Avatar
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    This is awesome! Thanks for posting this...I have been wanting to do a larger diorama at some point, and it's great to see yours!

  7. #7
    Heroic Warrior Omnis-Ra's Avatar
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    That looks epic. Can't wait to see the finish product.
    I do have 1 question though. Do you live alone? Because if I did something like that in my kitchen my old lady would beat me almost to death then ban me from her kitchen for life.
    What was will be again.........

  8. #8
    Heroic Warrior jastiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salamandra View Post
    This is awesome! Thanks for posting this...I have been wanting to do a larger diorama at some point, and it's great to see yours!
    Thanks Salamandra! I'd encourage you to do one too. This one has been easy and inexpensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omnis-Ra View Post
    That looks epic. Can't wait to see the finish product.
    I do have 1 question though. Do you live alone? Because if I did something like that in my kitchen my old lady would beat me almost to death then ban me from her kitchen for life.
    I told her she'd have to bake her pies over a fire in the backyard until I was done with the kitchen...no, I live alone. Projects like this are probably why, lol.

    I did some painting today. I wasn't all that happy with how black the black grout turned out so I got some semi-gloss spray paint and lightly dusted the rockwork with it. After that dried I took some basic acrylic paint and mixed up a dark purple and dry-brushed. I did a lighter shade of it and dry-brushed more lightly for highlights.


    IMG_4136.JPGIMG_4137.JPGIMG_4139.JPGIMG_4132.JPG

    Next step, lava waterfall, lava pools, LED lighting, and a little landscaping. Skeletor seems happy with it so far but demands it be perfect before the evil warriors move in.

  9. #9
    N7 Horde Operative hadley's Avatar
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    Jebus, dude. This is amazing.

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior jastiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hadley View Post
    Jebus, dude. This is amazing.
    Thanks hadley! My work progress is slowing down though due to all the playing I've been doing tonight. I'm hoping to have it 100% finished by the weekend.

  11. #11
    Heroic Warrior Mantisaur82's Avatar
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    It is BEAUTIFUL! It reminds me on art by Juan Escandell Torres from German Ehapa comics




  12. #12
    Widget
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    Cool!

    Speaking of Snake Mountain, does anyone know why the Snake Mountain playset ended up looking so far removed from the Filmation design. The cartoon design preceded the toy, right?

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