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Author Topic: "Splitter's Gorge"...some bush in a box  (Read 24237 times)
danpickard
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« on: December 25, 2011, 11:41:33 PM »

Hi all,
Thought I might put in this thread for a little scenery diorama that I began a while ago, but it's been on hold for a bit. I blame a good modeling friend Geoff Nott for this project (I'm sure a few of you will be aware of his work). I've always loved his little 3D captures of scenery, beautifully framed in a neatly presented box. A number of Geoff's "bush boxes" were at the recent Hickory NGC along with the Muskrat Ramble (and now take up residence down in Florida with Dave Revelia's little project). This is my take on that style of bush art diorama...

Since I began working on my gum trees a while back, and particularly some of the taller Mountain Ash varieties, I've looked for ways to show them in a better perspective, and set them into a relevent scene. Maybe where I am taking this boxed diorama a bit different to Geoff's, is by adding considerable height to the scene. Generally, Geoff has cropped his scenes fairly tightly, with the tops of trees cut off by the limits of the boxed framing, leaving the height of the trees to your imagination. My bigger trees are between 3-4' tall, and wanted to build a scene that would allow the size of these to be compared to surrounding scenery. Firstly though, maybe a few reference and inspiration shots...
 



These few images come from the Otways Forest area, a beatiful coastal rainforest part of the world about a hour from where I live here in Victoria, Australia. We frequently head down there for day hikes and camping. These are the starting points for what the diorama will be influenced by. The diorama is also a bit of an experiment of sorts, before I commit to doing similar scenery on a larger layout setting.

So, to the diorama. Apologies, but I forgot to take progress shots for the first stages of this build. The box is an aluminium frame with MDF walls, standing approx 600mm wide, 600mm deep, and about 1200mm tall, and lit with a 600mm daylight fluoro tube. The rocky canyon walls are carved from extruded foam and painted with acrylics. The backscene was an experiment in oils. In studying my many bush photo's, the backscene was meant to be a blured wash of background colour and shapes. I tried originally with a photo backscene, but it looked too crisp to my liking, plus it was dificult to get the right perspective on it given the considerably high scene to cover. With the scenery in front of it, I think the effect of the painted backscene works reasonably well.









More to come...

Cheers,
Dan
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danpickard
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« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2011, 11:49:48 PM »

Being such a dense display, all has to be modelled from back to front, and most of the background wont really be seen once the fore ground work comes into it, but needs to be there to contribute to the depth of the scene.  Here I have added in the ferns (a mix of preserved asparagus ferns and some plastic N scale palm trees found on ebay, bought in bulk via China!), and a heap of long grass tufts. Also a healthy scattering of leaf litter, twigs and dirt.






 
A few more details on the palm/fern trees. Kind of plastic looking straight from the pack (but cheap, like 200 palms for about $30!) as can be seen in the comparison shot. Looking past the colours though, the shape and molding wasn't too bad on the fronds, especially once planted in bulk. I just gave the truks a quick coat of burnt sienna, and then the fronds a more appropriate dash of greens. In amongst the scene, they seem to add good shape contrast.







Cheers,
Dan
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danpickard
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2011, 11:57:03 PM »

Here is the start on bring in some of the foreground trees. The first of the large Mountain Ash pieces has been mounted in, with a handful of the "smaller 50' gums" around it. The little bush hut will be nestled at the base of these new trees, in amongst the scrub and ferns. With these trees in place, some of the interesting shadow play starts to happen on the rock face behind, and the rock looses some of its stark nature.





These are just a few quick snaps with some flash for in fill, so the colours may be a bit off. I need to start pulling out the tripod so can get a bit more depth in the shots. The waterfalls seen here are just teased out pieces of polyfibre for composing the scene, and will be replaced at a later stage. Made a start on the reeds for along the creek bank in the quiet sections. Decided to take this method straight from the Geoff Nott handbook. Firstly, pulled out an old broom head, for cutting some stiff bristle ends from, to make the cattails reeds. Used small balls of blu-tac squashed and then rolled on the end of the stem, and then painted with suitable acrylics.





Then started on the actual broad reeds. Woodlands fibres were too fine, so used the cut strips of coloured paper. Cut 4-5" strips, about 1" wide, then trimmed to a wavering pattern. The taxing part is cutting all the thin feathering into the strip (fingers are kind of sore after all that scissor work!), then given a dappled wash of thinned green acrylic. Once dry, the strip can be folded and bunched up, ends of leaves bent over, and then the cattails inserted into the clump. These are just temporarily held together with a smal peg, but will probably assemble the clumps before planting in the creek bed. Not too bad for a scrap of paper and broom bristle, with good depth and shadow to the bunch.







Cheers,
Dan
« Last Edit: December 30, 2011, 02:45:25 PM by danpickard » Logged

finescalerr
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 02:32:12 AM »

That last series, with the reeds, is especially cool. -- Russ
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Ray Dunakin
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 09:12:58 PM »

That's going to be quite an impressive display.
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michael mott
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 07:47:46 PM »

Clever way to make bull-rushes.

Michael
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Junior
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 09:30:34 AM »

Thatīs some great scenery from down under! If you are planning anything with figures etc. what scale would this be?

Anders  Grin
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danpickard
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2011, 02:44:54 PM »

Hi Anders,
Its 1/48.  There will be a small bush hut nestled in amongst the trees down near the creek, which will hopefully put things into scale for the viewers, with probably just the one figure returning "home" with some dinner.

Cheers,
Dan
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TRAINS1941
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 03:20:35 PM »

Excellent.  Reminds me of when I was a kid and we use to go looking for Cat-of Nine-Tails.

Jerry
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 03:26:12 PM »

Which in turn reminds me of a joke that I'll have to post in the Blue Note Room.  Wink  -- Dallas
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danpickard
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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 05:23:29 AM »

Ok, back after a bit of a Christmas modelling break (besides, its been too hot to be working out in the garage the last few days).  Finished up the last of the cattails/bulrush's... unfortunately have had to settle with fine square tips to the leaves, as trying to cut to points just resulted in torn or twisted leaves.  Doing a lasercut version at a later stage may be an option, but will have to settle for these for this piece.  These few pics show the reeds just sitting in place.  The base will be trimmed off of them before they get glued into the creek, and there will be further water flow textured on with the structure gel.





When the diorama is finished, it will have a picture frame around it to crop the view in slightly, so to give an impression of how the creek will disappear into the foreground, heres a quick shot with just a scrap of timber held across the bottom edge to frame it off...



I also had one of my O scale figures (1/43 Phoenix figure) out in the diorama, which helps put some of the scenery into scale perspective.





Cheers,
Dan Pickard
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Andi Little
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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 06:57:40 AM »

Very impressive - Very "Visual": I can understand how much work has gone into this project, which in itself is particularly admirable. But something I've discovered that might be glossed over by a "non-combatant" is the amount of energy, application, and sheer will-power it takes to stick at a project when all you can see is it stretching interminably away in front of you - so "Well Done" you.

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danpickard
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 02:59:30 PM »

The other weekend I was exhibiting at my local model railway show, as part of the "Art of the Diorama" display. Took along the bush box to work on, as well as a display of how I make the gums, plus a heap of trees and ferns to work on over the weekend. Spent the bulk of the first day finishing a "nursery board" of smaller gums, and painting about a hundred of the plastic ferns I had on hand. At the end of day one, I spent a while placing in the scenery along the base of the gorge on the left side, where the small bush hut was to be placed. Gave it all a good drink of glue for the night, with the hope it would have dried in place by the end of day two, so the box would be ready to transport home again (it has to lay down in the car, so the glue needed to be cured!).

So a few pics of the progress and display set up...pics aren't overly special due to the very mixed lighting in the venue (kind of freaks out the camera a bit).







It was a busy weekend with plenty of patrons passing through the doors, and luckily the glue dried in time to transport the box home again after the show.  Now back in the garage again, I have started to re-work a couple of the larger Mountain Ash trees that I had actually started some time ago. Originally had these plotted into the centre isle on my stalled home layout (stalled as I consider building a new shed with double the room of what is currently housed in one of the spare bedrooms). Some of these trunks as it turns out were too tall to fit withing the bush box comfortably, and the flared base of the trunk was spread too wide to fit the scene...so time for some real life logging!





Nothing that the drop saw can't handle, making swift work of lowering this little monster! Atleast this gave a good view of how I build up my flared trunks. The carved balsa trunk has had card wings added around the base, then draped with plaster bandage to form the flare rolls. This was then given a coating of acrylic gap sealer (no-more-gaps) to make a slightly flexible skin that prevents the plaster flaking. This earlier attempt had sawdust texturing at the base, but will likely be replaced with the bark roll material I have been using. A dowel spike is placed up the base of the trunk for mounting.





So here is how the new tree will fill the height of the box, with the crown just disappearing into the roof. I have a slightly smaller one still to "uproot" from its former scenery base inside, and move into the left foreground near the bush mill set up. Need to get out the sedum cuttings and start growing some limbs for these new trees. Clock is starting to tick a bit quicker. The show I was hoping to have this finished for is on in about 6 weeks.

Cheers,
Dan
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Junior
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2012, 03:52:53 AM »

Beautiful work Dan! Would be right at home in an Australian historical museum. The "new" tree in the middle looks a bit over powering right now but itīs probably because itīs not painted yet.

Anders  Grin
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danpickard
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2012, 03:14:42 PM »

Hi Anders,
Yup, she's a bit pale right now!  Once the base gets the dark peeling bark treatment, and a thick foliage head, she'll start to fade in a bit better.  There will also be a good number of ferns and scrub at the base, as well as plenty more surrounding smalle gums living in the bigger trees shadow.

Cheers,
Dan
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