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Here are articles on the Painting and Modelling aspects of the Gaming hobby.


This article has been termed as a 'living' document. It will be updated as the project progresses, with changes and modifications to the design and colour scheme dependant on feedback recieved. Visitors are welcome to make suggestions as to how the diorama can be improved, and good suggestions will be incorporated into the work.
Feedback can be sent by contacting me.

Diorama 1: "Anastasia and Pet"
Can you believe that in over 20 years of gaming and painting miniatures, this is my first attempt at a diorama!!! Previously all minatures have been based purely for gaming. The thoughts behind the diorama are:
The "Anastasia" model by Spyglass, was too nice not to order, but she is 54mm and thus difficult to fit into my normal gaming systems. She would be a display piece then... but it then occured to me that I hadn't done a diorama before. I also happened to have a "Charnal Hellbeast" by Heresy on my modelling desk at the time, and I noticed that it was of a suitable size to accompany Anastasia... Hmmmmmmm, an 'Evil' woman and an 'Evil' dog........ The planning for the diorama had started.
I decided to have a building as a backdrop to the diorama piece, and started to build various structures from spare Hirst bricks that I had cast up some time previously. A design for a dungeon door, from the Hirst Arts website looked appropriate and after test fitting the pieces, set my design on that.
Anastasia would stand on the steps, holding the Hellbeast by a chain. Iron railings would be placed either side of the doorway, and the floor would represent cobblestone typical of a town street. Also thinking about whether to convert the knife she is holding in her left hand, into a key for the door.
Here's my initial set-up with trial fitting of the pieces:


Looking at the initial plan, I was pretty much happy with it in general, but a little concerned about the railing pieces. They have a very thin base, so fixing to the floor would be a problem especially when you think about stability. I then thought about adding some other elements to the railings, and chose to add a pillar to the ends of the railings and also a thin stone section to the base front.
I also added a small Hirst piece on the right hand side of the doorway to represent a letterbox.
Paint legend: (DC) = Delta Ceramcoat, (GW) = Games Workshop, (VJ)  = Vallejo
Painting the stonework first, I began with a basecoat of Storm Grey (DC). Highlighting followed, first with Rain Grey (DC) then with Cadet Grey (DC). Normally for Hirst terrain pieces I use Interior Latex House Paint (such as Nippon or Dulux), but because this piece is so small, I took the lazy option and used acrylics instead.
Here you can see the stonework painted up:


At this stage I considered the colour of the 'roof-tiles' above the doorway. Should I paint them as brick, clay, or wood????
Here is another view of the stonework, with the torches added in front (position not confirmed at this time), and also the undercoated Anastasia and Hellbeast:


One problem I found when gluing the cobblestone sections together, was that there were visible gaps between some of the pieces. This required filling, and being a lazy SOB, I decided that using plaster was too much hassle and used Puttyfilla instead:


Painted up the roof tiles above the door last night. Decided to try out a wooden finish, below you can see the base colours. I used Walnut (DC) as the first colour to provide a dark brown for the lining, over this I painted Territorial Beige (DC) for the tiles themselves. I just need to do some highlighting to finish them off. I think it looks OK and provides a nice complimenting colour to the grey stonework.


As I was painting the wooden roof tiles on the door arch, I also started painting up the wooden areas of the door. The door is also from a Hirst mould. I wanted to get a dark wood colour for the door, similar to Mahogany. Base colour was Walnut (DC), highlighted with Territorial Beige (DC). To get a Mahogany finish, I find Woodstain (VJ) a nice paint to work with. It's a 'transparent' paint that acts like an ink wash but provides a stained finish to the raised areas as well as darkening the recessed areas. It looks OK in the photo but in real life has come out a little too dark so will require a careful highlighting to bring it out a little more. This will have to be done very carefully since the grain details are not very deep. The door 'banding' will probably be finished with a bronze colour but this is something else that is still being considered.


In addition to the diorama back-drop and structure, I also have to consider the miniatures. Here are my initial thoughts:
Anastasia: Dark flesh tone, with a denim blue dress and bluish-white cloak.
Hellbeast: Initially thought of painting grey to match the rest of my Heresy demons, but since the stonework is grey it may not be such a good idea. Other options include the good-old demonic red.

There has been some positive feedback so far regarding the project and the 'Living' article format.
Lye-Keong Tho (Hong Kong) mentions that most dioramas are based on a 'corner' design, where back-drops are on two of the diorama edges instead of the one edge in my initial plan. I realise that most dioramas I have looked at do indeed have this arrangement, so I am currently playing around with possible ways to modify the layout to include structures on two edges. Thanks LK.
BillChuck (via The Miniatures Page) gave a great idea to rotate the outer pillars and connect to more railings coming out from the rear edge to connect with another pair of pillars. BillChuck said "I think it would help a lot to 'close' the sides up to frame the figures better"..... I shall be trying this out tonight to see how it looks. Thanks BillChuck.
Ink the Troll (via the Forum of Doom) gave an idea for the Hellbeast colour scheme: "What about a blue one? Or maybe a grey just very slighty tinted blue (grey as base colour, ten add a very thin blue wash or two)... Might look nice when the dio's mainly shades of grey and blue with Anastasia's skin as contrast.". This is an interesting idea. You don't really see many of the traditional demons in blue, and it could work well with the planned colours for Anastasia and also the grey stonework. Will think about this, definitely a possibility. Thanks Ink
Keep the suggestions coming...

Well, didn't have much time for modelling and painting last night, but did have the time to investigate the suggestions from Lye-Keong Tho and BillChuck regarding structures on other edges of the diorama.
Started off by trying out the 'corner' idea where two edges of the diorama have structures. To tell the truth, the railings at the side of the doorway didn't really seem to fit with the walls and other structures I tried on the side edge.
The extra railings on the sides did seem to give a nice effect however. See the pictures below for the results.
The first design has a single set of railings each side, extending forwards from the back pillars. It looks OK, but the proximity of the front pillars to the rear structure seem to make it appear cramped.


The second design gave a better result. This time I added two sets of railings either side instead of just one. This provided a more spacious feel to the 'box' created by the side structures. There was one problem however, there was a slight overhanging of the front pillars on the cobblestone base by a couple of millimeters.


The third design saw the double railings on the side as per the second design, but I placed another row of cobblestone tiles at the front to solve the overhanging front pillar problem. Looks good, and does provide a 'closed' feel to the diorama.


Looking at this third design though, I am worried that the area of the diorama may be too large for the models that I shall be adding. I don't want the diorama terrain and structures to be so large that they will detract from the real focus of the diorama... the figures.
Saying that, having a slightly larger surface area will allow me to place the Hellbeast slightly more forward than was initially planned.
Another thought that has occured to me whilst adding these pics to the page, is that with the side railings and front pillars, there is also the option now of adding a railing section across the front of the diorama, maybe with a gate at the centre. This would then represent Anastasia's front yard with the gate opening into the town. Will have a trial of this tonight and see how it looks, maybe adding another set of railings to the side structures (so it would be three railing sections instead of two) to give Poochy Hellbeast some space to move around!
Don't forget that I am looking for suggestions on the terrain, and also on the figures that I shall be adding.....

Other projects have interrupted my progress on this diorama a little, but I have managed to start painting up Anastasia herself.
So far I have basecoated her dress with Denim Blue (DC) then washed with thinned Ultramarine Blue (GW). Next up over the Xmas break will be to paint over the raised areas again with Denim Blue (DC), then a final highlight of Ice Blue (VJ).
The cloak is planned to be a blue/white colour. I'm planning to base coat with Glacier White (DC), wash with Light Blue (VJ) then paint the raised areas with a Glacier White (DC) / Light Blue (VJ) mix with final highlights of Glacier White (DC). The skin is still planned to be a dark flesh colour.