Diorama Tutorials

How to Make an Ocean Diorama

Written by Bill Murphy

How to Make an Ocean DioramaProbably one of the many pleasant things to do is to watch the water. Whether it’s a stream, a pond, the sea, or the ocean. The works of many artists try to convey in them all the power, beauty, and romance at the same time, to capture a certain moment in time. It is this moment that remains in our memory and makes us remember many, many times.

That is the reason why the diorama allows you to create a composition that will delight you for a long time. In addition to composition and artistry in the diorama plays a major role in its realism. In this article, I will tell you how you can create a diorama of the ocean.

Terrain Features

In the case where the depth of the depressions does not exceed the thickness of the base, it is not so difficult to imitate them – it is enough to cut through the recesses. It is more convenient to perform this process with the help of electric tools – an electric drill with drill bits. With a drill, you can get a regular shape, but we need the spontaneous folds of the terrain. But this is not a problem either! A woven mesh is glued to the slopes of the slope. The mesh is curved under the folds of the terrain, it serves as reinforcement. Putty or plaster or epoxy is applied to the mesh, by which the relief is finally formed.

Painting the folds of the terrain has its own characteristics. The slopes of gullies, sinkholes are washed away by water, so before using the dry brush technique, it is necessary to use the pouring method. Liquid diluted paint is “poured” over the entire depression. Excess paint is removed with a cloth. As a result, the paint remains only in the hollows. The color of the paint should be darker than the base tone.

Small relief bumps can be molded from the same cellulose-based compound. A thick layer of cellulose can take weeks to cure. It is better to make the base of the elevation from a wooden block or even put an ordinary stone. The block is covered with cellulose. Relief with significant height differences for the diorama is more convenient to cast from plaster or compound based on plastic, such as Parisgraft. Vegetable beds are imitated with cellulose, the beds are cut with a pencil or a sharp rod.

Terrain Features

Water Surface Simulations

Usually, the water surface is simulated with gypsum or some other “casting” compound, such as plasto. The latter is better used in large-sized dioramas with a moderate swell. Waves are made with a knife or spatulas.

Steep waves are imitated by epoxy putty or sculpting compositions. The best material is, without a doubt, a special sculpting epoxy putty. No other material is good for imitating fast water. A common disadvantage of all epoxies is opacity. You have to be tricky in the course of painting. The painting of “deep” water starts with a dark brown tone. The waves are then brightened by successive additions of yellow paint to the base tone. Several coats of clear gloss varnish are applied over the dried paint. “Lambs” are painted white, actually white is not really white, a gray-blue shade.

Water Surface Simulations

“Ocean” Diorama

When doing “ocean” dioramas, a number of peculiarities must be taken into account. Waves in the ocean go with the wind, so the direction of the waves should coincide with the direction of flags, pennants and the tension of the model sails. Another aspect is purely model-related. Let’s remember the principle of concentration. The distance between the shafts should be reduced compared to the real one, recalculated to scale. The color of an ocean wave is not brown, but blue or green. Storm waves are gray. Either way, the paint should have a touch of green in it, pure blue waves are very rare.

It is better to paint and tint the waves with an airbrush. And in conclusion, do not spare the transparent glossy varnish.

Water Modeling – A Simple Technique

A popular method of simulating a water surface is molding with transparent polyester. The transparency of polyester is the greatest advantage. The depth of water is obtained naturally, and the objects poured with it will be partially visible. The disadvantage is that you can’t get “fast” water and steep waves. The effect of depth can be achieved even with a thin coating of polyester. Polyester is applied in layers. In the bottom layer is added paint black. In the second layer a little blue, gray, or green paint is added. The third layer is pure polyester. The interval between pours is half an hour to an hour. Polyester mixes well with enamels.

Water Modeling - A Simple Technique

Bottom Line

Polyester – a toxic thing, so you need to work with him in a well-ventilated room. This compound reacts very well to almost any solvent, it can be painted only with water-based paints. The layer of polyester should not exceed 3 mm. Wavy water surface is carefully imitated with a rubber trowel. Waves are more than moderate, no lumps! The topcoat hardens very fast so that the excitement takes only a minute or two.

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