Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Diorama - The Supporting Cast I

With the basic construction completed on the diorama base its time to get some painting going on that as well. In this instance I'm actually using pigments as paint. Mixed is Isopropyl alcohol to make a sludge which I brushed on to the brick walls. I picked one primary color for the brick, in this case MiG Pigment old rust, which I thought had a nice brick color. I applied a lighter rust color to break up the pattern a bit and one called cargo dust to pick out some more weathered looking bricks. I sealed this with a fixative designed to seal chalk and pencil drawings as opposed to a regular matte finish. In many cases applying a straight sealer like dullcoat literally makes pigments disappear (the base is literally dissolving our pigments). The thing to keep in mind is that the alcohol will penetrate this fixative something to keep in mind for the next step.

I let the fixative dry for an hour and applied the mortar lines. Again using MiG Pigments I created a wash with the concrete pigment and dabbed it on so that it flowed between the bricks and into the mortar lines. If you try to brush it the alcohol will penetrate the fixative and smear the layer of pigment already on the brick. Let the capillary action do the work for you.

I'm not sure if I'm happy with the result at the moment. I think my mortar lines are to "white" even though they are actually light grey. I'll let it sit for a day or two and contemplate the result before I decide to try again.

I haven't done the cobblestones yet but the lamp post is pretty close to being finished, although the "light" still needs some work. To much orange I think, I'll start adding some yellow glazes to it, to brighten it up. I also added the first rat coming out of the wall in the alley. That really started to make the whole thing come to life for me.

Everything is starting to come together and I'm confident this one will be ready for Genghis Con coming up in February. I'm not so sure if the single miniature will make it or not, but time will tell.

On to the pictures!
MiG Pigments at the ready

Bricks "colored" and fixative sprayed on and dried. It really darken everything. I wasn't expecting that.

The Lamp post. Still needs some work.

Mortar lines applied, they may be to "white"

Adding the supporting elements to build the scene

This is the basic scene, just waiting to be finished. Obviously the cobblestones still need to be painted. That will help define the light and shadow of the piece.

A Rifleman to provide a little scale

The Alley side, now complete with a rat

And here we go, five more miniatures for another diorama. This one will be for Reaper Con so there is still time to figure everything out. At least the miniatures are ready to go!


  1. That is some great looking brick work. I think that once the cobbles and the stone work are painted, you will find that the mortar lines are just fine.

    1. That's what I'm hoping for. Everything is a bit harsh right now because nothing else has been painted. But I think if it still is to glaring it will be an easy fix, it only gets hard once I glue the building into place.