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)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Setting the Scene - Experimenting with Bricks.

The "Steady Lads" Diorama is under construction at this point, or maybe stalled at the beginning of construction. I laid out the new slightly larger version last night after I showed it to Michael. I don't think I have ever made a diorama base that was to small, but this one was feeling decidedly claustrophobic so I widened it to give a bit more sidewalk space and lengthened it to make the alley a bit wider and the street side a little longer. I think the new size will help relax the scene a bit more.

I do feel that setting the scene is important in any diorama and sense we can't talk to every person that sees it you have to rely on visual cues. This scene is set in London, so how exactly do I communicate that? The troopers are obviously British, but that doesn't tell us where they are, but they do help set the date. The Aliens don't do anything except add dramatic tension to the scene. So what else can we do? Architecture is one the elements that can really pinpoint a place, harder to do in a small scene like this but we can at least do one thing to help set it in England with the right brick pattern. The common brick laying pattern in Victorian England is the Flemish bond as opposed to the US which uses a stretcher bond. What I have found is that the stretcher bond is really easy to find in plastic not so much the flemish bond.

This time I turned to the dollhouse hobby and found a flemish bond "stencil" and I figured I would try it out. They also make a brick product but don't recommend it with the "O" scale stencil I ordered as its to coarse for "O" scale. I decided to try using Milliput with it. This was not a successful test and I may have ruined the stencil. If I can get the stencil clean up I think I will try one of the air dry clays instead.

Here is the picture story version of this less than successful experiment.

Realistic Brick and Stone Finishes. This huge package held my three little stencils. Granted most people would have been buying 1/2" scale versions which are significantly larger than "O" scale.

The Stencils them selves

Mixing up a blob of Milliput (Standard)

The stencil on the piece of plastic I intend to "bond" to

The Milliput goes on top and the stencil will be pulled up through it.

I used my x-acto knife as a roller. I used water to keep the Milliput from sticking to the knife, it mostly worked.

Pretty much spread all over the stencil

The milliput didn't bond to the plastic and came up with the stencil, although you can really see how nicely the brick pattern came through.
I was able to pull most of the Milliput off the stencil and I did achieve a nice brick pattern but not something that is actually useful. Hopefully clay will work a bit better, if I can get all the Milliput off of it.


  1. Replies
    1. I did. Maybe if I used the fine grade milliput it would work better.