The whole project started and was implemented by 2 junior modelers, Dimitris and Nikos. They had assembled almost the entire series with the heroes from the Disney films Planes and Planes II, by Zvezda. By that time they started discussing me about what we could build as a diorama with Dusty.
Having seen the film about …500 times, they announced to me the scene they wanted to represent. The reservations I had was the liquid element found in the diorama as I had never again attempted to represent water.
We started with the base which we ordered from the local carpentry shop and out of sauciness we asked for the carpenter to make the edges rounded. As soon as we got it, we started tests for the setup of the whole diorama. We had already decided that the piece of dry land would be based on the white foamy material found on packaging. For the river we used crafting clay that was purchased from the local bookstore.
We started with forming the river banks and the terrain around them. Having given the basic shape, the foamy material was glued in place using UHU adhesive and were left to dry. Afterwards we began with the creation of the river. According to the movie scene, the river must have sufficient flow and waves. Thus the river bottom and ripples were formed using crafting clay. Before that, we nailed 3-4 small nails on the wooden base to act as anchor points for the clay construction. They way it was used was both easy and enjoyable for the two kids.
They were making small clay balls with their hands and then they were pressing them on the base so as the balls would fall on each other creating the wave image. We temporarily placed Dusty on the waves in order to create the shape of the floats. The whole was left for one day to dry out. Clay has the tendency to crack while drying.
These cracks can be easily filled in with more clay. While we were waiting for the clay to dry, we completed forming the terrain on the river banks. This was done with the use of artistry plaster spread with a small spatula. One more very enjoyable work for the young modelers!
After allowing the construction to dry for over 24 hours, we proceeded with the painting. The waves were painted silver and after these were dry, a coat of clear blue – along with clear green in some places – was applied. This gave a very realistic picture of the river. The terrain on the river banks was painted with various shades of green and brown mixed together.
After that, we placed the trees which are suitable for maquettes and dioramas. These were glued on the base with ordinary liquid glue and were left to dry. We placed a pebble in the river, which on this scale represents a rock and a dry twig from an orange tree we have in our garden represents the fallen tree. On the river banks, we placed small stones and various plants. The entire terrain was covered with grass, secured in pla-ce with minimally diluted wood glue.
It was time to represent the water with the use of silicone. This part was done by me, as silicone has a very intense and bad smell and is also toxic. So, the young modelers did not take part in this phase of the construction. Generally it was an easy procedure as the waves were already formed with the clay. I did spread the silicone and with a toothpick and the small spatula I shaped the various splashes on the rock and Dustys’ floats and on random spots.
After this stage was completed, the diorama was left outdoors first of for the silicone to dry, but mainly because of its bad smell, otherwise we would have some …domestic violence! My wife had already mentioned, in a rather strong tone I may say, that the entire backyard was stinking…
The final stage was the application of white paint for the waves and splashes. At the end, a coat of floor polish gave a shining effect on the water.
The diorama won a bronze medal in the juniors’ class in the last IPMS competition. But what is indescribable is the pleasure the young modelers took. As soon as we exited the building where the competition was held, they started talking about their next project. No word about SpongeBob Squarepants or about Pro Evolution Soccer….
I wish all children would be involved with some creative hobby and not stuck in front of a screen!
Text – Photos: Antonis Galenianos
Translated by George Roumbos