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monsterpartyhat

Bandai "Box Scale" Dioramas

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So, since I started building the (primarily) 1:144th scale Bandai Vehicle Model Star Wars kits, I've had in mind to create a series of diorama bases that fit inside the boxes the kits come in. Dioramas that can be packed away into the original Bandai box for storage (I live in a relatively small apartment, with jerkface cats who like to test that gravity still works with anything not bolted down, and no real display space left anyway). So I've been working on those for a while, and I'm going to use this thread to post up progress on them. 

 

I actually just finished the second, although as the first one was really a proof of concept, I didn't do such a good job of documenting the work in progress. 

 

So, without further ado (or perhaps just a little bit of ado), first here's the executed concept:

 

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let's get that box top off:

 

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Hey, it's Hoth!

 

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And plug in the speeders and AT-ST, and voila!:

 

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Here's the step-by-step. To make the base, I started with some heavy weight styrene sheet I had lying around leftover from a previous hobby. Much heavier than you'd scratch build stuff with at this scale, but pretty decent for a base. Cut out and mark up a piece for the base. 

 

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Score along the bend lines, cutting all the way through on one side of each corner to make flaps to bend inwards and secure. 

 

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Once the corners have been bonded, add more strips of styrene to reinforce. Doesn't have to be pretty. 

 

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If you've executed it well, you've got a pretty clean base. I made a pair in one go. 

 

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Mock out where the models will be, approximately:

 

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I knew I wanted the speeders to be flying over some rocks, not just a boring expanse of snow, so I went out to the yard and grabbed a few pieces of tree bark. Tree bark makes really excellent scale rock formations. 

 

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More mocking up where things will go, then the bark locations are marked off, and I checked to make sure they won't end up being taller than the box:

 

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Before painting, I cleaned off the bark as best I could, then sealed it with a couple of coats of flat clearcoat. 

 

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The pieces of bark are secured with hot glue. 

 

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Then, to make the snow I tried a few things. I've got a variety of spackle and other household putties around, but none of them adhered very well to the styrene. In the end, I used more hot glue to create the rough snow forms, then smoothed out the edges and made a big snowdrift with some Milliput epoxy putty. 

 

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I also used Citadel's snow texture paint for texture in a few places. I'm mostly happy with how the "snow" turned out, although there's a few spots where it betrays its hot-glue nature a bit too obviously that I'm going to fill in with Tamiya putty. 

 

The "rocks" I painted with Vallejo Gun Metal metallic acrylic, then gave them some dabs of wash and other metallics, and a dry-brushing of Tamiya Flat White. 

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The AT-ST is secure in place with a simple neodymium magnet in one foot. 

 

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And there it is! I drilled holes for pieces of sprue to mount the speeders on. The actual pieces I used are temporary still -- I'd like to use clear acrylic rods, the final position of the speeders may change as I play with different bends in the sprue lengths to put them at different heights and angles of flight. 

 

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Very cool, the fits-in-the-box idea is brilliant.

 

Will

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I think that is absolutely brilliant; what a cracking idea and it looks spot on. 

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Thanks everybody!

 

There will be more coming. I'm working out better construction methods to have perfectly straight sides, so they can tile as tightly as possible (using magnets to attach bases to each other, of course :) ).  One of the things I'm hoping to be able to build is a rebel hangar in pieces that fit together to form a larger whole.  (whether it's the Yavin IV hangar from A New Hope/Rogue One, or the Home One hangar from ROTJ remains to be seen). 

 

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I think you may have started a whole new "thing" on here now. 

 

The idea of a rebel hanger is also bloody clever!

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That's a little stroke of genius :winkgrin:!

 

It's great for these Star Wars dioramas, but can be adapted for all kinds of other diorama types.  Really good for those of us (like me) with limited space.

 

Ingenious!

 

Best regards

TonyT

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Very clever idea, and the result looks fantastic. You could try the Wilder snow paste for a final snow layer. The texture in it might be slightly over scale for 1/144, but it could be worth a try.

 

Andy

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11 hours ago, AndyRM101 said:

Very clever idea, and the result looks fantastic. You could try the Wilder snow paste for a final snow layer. The texture in it might be slightly over scale for 1/144, but it could be worth a try.

 

Andy

 

Thanks for the suggestion! I'm also considering picking up Tamiya's snow effect texture paint and trying that. 

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Here's the other completed in-box diorama. This was actually the first one I put together as a proof-of-concept.  It sat for quite a while in each stage of construction while I worked out exactly what I wanted to do (like, I made the base, then it sat blank and untouched for weeks while I figured out what I wanted to paint/decorate it with, then once I settled on a concrete hangar bay and painted the raw concrete texture it sat for a long time again while I figured out how to dress it. Not the optimal process for a proof-of-concept, but hey...plans are only advisory anyway :) ). 

 

So, I thought I would try some pre-shading, but that doesn't work very well when spraying your basecoat from a rattlecan. The brush-painted "preshade" areas did leave raised areas, though, which contributed a bit to an un-even concrete surface feel. 

 

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I thought that I had taken photos of the intermediate stages of simulating concrete, but apparently the finished surface is all I've got.  This was my first time trying to simulate an aged concrete surface, and I'm reasonably happy with how it turned out.. 

 

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The base color is Testor's Flat Gull Grey in a rattlecan, which is almost exactly the same color as Tamiya's XF-20 Medium Gray. On top of the base coat I sponged on several different greys and greens until I had the whole thing covered in a reasonably random pattern. I lightly sanded the finish with 400 grit sandpaper, as it had some bumps that were a bit big for the scale. I added dirt with Vallejo black and umber washes, and Citadel Nuln Oil for the big oil stains. 

 

Since the Bandai vehicle model kits don't include landing gear, the post in the middle keeps them level at approximately the right height to be sitting on invisible landing gear. 

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Edited by monsterpartyhat

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To dress the landing bay, I scratch built a small piece of random machinery with attached hoses from some Plastruct, old wires leftover from my previous hobby building vacuum tube (er, "valve" :) ) amplifiers, and a piece of the hover tank from the U-Wing set. I made landing zone lights by simply mitering a piece of square tubing and filling the gap with putty. The next time I make an LZ these will have LEDs in them!

 

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The kyber crystal containers from from the U-wing set are also being used here as general "set dressing", and those little pieces that Bandai includes for clipping together their larger figure and vehicle bases make *perfect* little weapons lockers. 

 

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As with the AT-ST, all the dressing is attached with tiny neodymium magnets, so I can easily re-configure, and re-use it in other dioramas. 

 

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Very tidy, really like the dark blue scheme on the x wing. The little red R2 just makes it pop!

 

Geoff 

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It's actually straight up black - the Partisan x-wing paint job from Rogue One. I think I just got the color balance a bit messed up on those photos. Most of them have some combination of light sources that makes it difficult to white balance properly (I'll eventually get some kind of proper lighting setup. Some day. Maybe.)

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That looks really great, the extra boxes etc make the scene come to life. Only thing I would say its that the cables look a little out of scale, have you considered ethernet cable inner?

 

looking forward to the next box.

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Another really cool one!

 

 Its funny but these remind me of when I was a kid playing with Micromachines and you could get the small city sections that all clicked together.

 

I really like the sound of the rebel hangar that all goes together in pieces.

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5 hours ago, rockpopandchips said:

That looks really great, the extra boxes etc make the scene come to life. Only thing I would say its that the cables look a little out of scale, have you considered ethernet cable inner?

 

looking forward to the next box.

 

Yup - I'm going to redo those. Those huge cables are more suited to refueling a corvette than a fighter :)

 

(And great suggestion! I actually have tons of old ethernet cable I don't need anymore. Those inner wires would be perfect). 

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