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Thread: Dioramas and props

  1. #1
    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Dioramas and props

    The other day at my local Daiso (Japanese discount variety store), I came across this wooden storage box with dividers and I was immediately interested because it looked like a bookshelf for 1/12 and 1/18 scaled action figures:



    The width and height seemed fine, though the depth was more than what I felt would normally pass for a bookshelf. Still, it was too good to pass up. Unfortunately, there was only one left in the store.

    When I got home, I doodled on bits of scrap packaging paper and rolled them up to simulate scrolls and glued some other pieces together for a book. A few days later I bought some small glass bottles from another discount variety store, and tried it out:





    It looked okay to me, but I definitely need to make more books (or I could be lazy and buy some miniature books).

    This little exercise got me wanting to paint this old styrofoam diorama I had made some years ago (before I found a local supplier for XPS foam):







    Due to lack of space however, I haven't quite found a place that would allow me to paint it on and off.

    So what are some of your diorama and prop ideas or builds? I would love to see your work.

  2. #2
    Court Magician Dane-Man's Avatar
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    If one wanted to put a personal touch with each of their figures for display purposes, then that shelf is a smashing idea. Painting it with a nice dark varnish or similar would look great, I like it.

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    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments. I've just found some online tutorials on how to make miniature books. Boy some of them require so much skill (that I obviously don't have). But it appears there is an easy / lazy way.

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    Heroic Warrior McHorde-Trooper's Avatar
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    That's pretty neat. I could see a shelf like that being useful for many characters. Orko with potions and scrolls. Man-At-Arms with gadgets and parts.

    Cutting it a bit differently could make it fit in Snake Mountain too.

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    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    I have a couple of medieval dollhouse items that might work if you're interested. I'll take pictures and post them tomorrow. They're a bit large for the typical 1:12 scale, but would be perfect for the figures. There's a chest and at least one chair.

    I really like what you did with the styrofoam.

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    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    You can buy miniature books very cheaply through miniatures.org. I'm a dollhouse miniaturist (among other things) and they have great items at great prices. You can even get columns and things.

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    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McHorde-Trooper View Post
    That's pretty neat. I could see a shelf like that being useful for many characters. Orko with potions and scrolls. Man-At-Arms with gadgets and parts.

    Cutting it a bit differently could make it fit in Snake Mountain too.
    Thanks, I went back to Daiso the other day but mysteriously that wooden storage box is no longer in stock. I was hoping to get a couple more to make a mini library.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    I have a couple of medieval dollhouse items that might work if you're interested. I'll take pictures and post them tomorrow. They're a bit large for the typical 1:12 scale, but would be perfect for the figures. There's a chest and at least one chair.

    I really like what you did with the styrofoam.
    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    You can buy miniature books very cheaply through miniatures.org. I'm a dollhouse miniaturist (among other things) and they have great items at great prices. You can even get columns and things.
    Thanks for the link, it may end up being cheaper for me to get these via ebay or amazon, as I am in Australia and shipping is usually fairly high. We are quite far from where the majority of the world's toys are.

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    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    It's miniatures.com, sorry. Hobby Builder's Supply.

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    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvart View Post
    Thanks for the comments. I've just found some online tutorials on how to make miniature books. Boy some of them require so much skill (that I obviously don't have). But it appears there is an easy / lazy way.
    It depends on whether you want a closed book or one you can open and flip through. Closed books are quite easy to make if you're just looking to stock your shelf. Would you like me to talk you through making some items? I am quite skilled with miniatures.
    Last edited by Laura Gill; November 12, 2020 at 07:38am.

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    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    It depends on whether you want a closed book or one you can open and flip through. Closed books are quite easy to make if you're just looking to stock your shelf. Would you like me to talk you through making some items? I am quite skilled with miniatures.
    If you have time please feel free, would appreciate any tips.

    In my head, my thought process for this is quite simple (as with most things, LOL):

    1. Tear a bunch of paper into roughly 1/12 scaled book page sizes. Not going to measure them, but will at least ensure each page is the same size by using the ruling to tear the paper (who needs scissors?).
    2. Get a stack of around 50+ pages then make them stay aligned using a clip, and apply some glue on one end.
    3. Tear some cardstock to use as a cover and use it to "cover" the pages.
    4. I may, in addition, cut very narrow bits of card and wrap these around the book cover to give it a slightly raised texture. But, only if the basic book turns out OK.

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    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    Actual books are made by folding paper into quarters and eighths. You can make a book by cutting strips, folding them in half, then stitching them down the middle with a very fine beading needle, and then stitching several of those together. If you're not looking to write in them, you can create the illusion of a book by wrapping a cover around a properly sized rectangle of wood.

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    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    Actual books are made by folding paper into quarters and eighths. You can make a book by cutting strips, folding them in half, then stitching them down the middle with a very fine beading needle, and then stitching several of those together. If you're not looking to write in them, you can create the illusion of a book by wrapping a cover around a properly sized rectangle of wood.
    Stitching! But I only have very basic stitching skills (e.g. like fixing up a button, etc.)

    I did see a youtube tutorial that also mentioned stitching. It would certainly look more professional and probably last longer too...

    The rectangle of wood is a nice idea, and I may do that for half the books, to save time. Thanks for the tips!

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    Heroic Warrior Universe's Avatar
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    I want to know more about Mekaneck's domestic life.

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    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Universe View Post
    I want to know more about Mekaneck's domestic life.
    He's probably got a chair with a generous neck rest.

  16. #16
    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    He's probably got a chair with a generous neck rest.


    Some years ago I bought this small velociraptor figure from the Tomy ANIA animal series, which has other dinosaurs figures. However, they are the "wrong" scale for MOTU Classics figures, as I wanted this figure to be like those small dinosaur / reptile type creatures you see on MOTU paintings and box art.



    It only has a few points of articulation, in its lower jaw, hips, and tail. But I find it good enough, even though it is still slightly on the large end of the scale.

    Here is a comparison shot of the figure with Classics Ram-Man:


  17. #17
    Heroic Warrior Laura Gill's Avatar
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    It's not MOTU related, but I have done my own 1:12 scale dolls with self-created backdrops. Here is Mycenaean queen Clytemnestra against a Minoan fresco from Akrotiri.

    23111_300.jpg
    23392_300 (2).jpg

    Speaking of miniatures, has anyone been watching the Biggest Little Christmas Showdown on HGTV? Lots of miniature creativity, but also some big no-nos for working in 1 inch scale.
    Formerly known as Granamyr on the Forum.

    Author of Helen's Daughter, Knossos, Danae, and The Orestes Trilogy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    You can buy miniature books very cheaply through miniatures.org. I'm a dollhouse miniaturist (among other things) and they have great items at great prices. You can even get columns and things.
    Thanks for the link. I been after books for years. Michaels has em online but I think you have to buy in bulk. I forget. And on ebay people make some incredible ones like alchemy and witch craft but they are a bit pricey.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    Actual books are made by folding paper into quarters and eighths. You can make a book by cutting strips, folding them in half, then stitching them down the middle with a very fine beading needle, and then stitching several of those together. If you're not looking to write in them, you can create the illusion of a book by wrapping a cover around a properly sized rectangle of wood.
    Another way not open book but closed and say on a book shelf. Foam core can be used.

  20. #20
    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura Gill View Post
    It's not MOTU related, but I have done my own 1:12 scale dolls with self-created backdrops. Here is Mycenaean queen Clytemnestra against a Minoan fresco from Akrotiri.
    Whoa ... how were you able to make your own 1:12 scale dolls? I imagine it would not be easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by unclassified View Post
    Another way not open book but closed and say on a book shelf. Foam core can be used.
    Great tip, and I think foam core is sturdier for this. Perhaps the way to go is to have a combination of open and closed miniature books?

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