Prepping Plaster Diorama Kits

STEP 4 "Fiddlin' and Filing"
As most of my pieces are either for a client or my own personal collection, I prefer to detail anything that can be seen. This often means adding complementary brick patterns, stone crevices, or fracture lines to the interior of the building. This is best accomplished by first tracing out the general desired look with a #2 pencil on the plaster where the work needs to be done. Then, using a sharp pointed dental tool (never an hobby knife - too thin & too dangerous!), I begin lightly scribing the desired effect. After two or three light passes, the etching should be deep enough to allow me to use more force and pressure to make the final detail without accidentally marring the plaster. If this ever does occur, simply re-plaster the damage, let it dry for a day or two, sand it smooth, and go at it again - with more patience and focus!

Likewise, I also realize that some of the frontal detail may be lost once more than a coat of two of paint is applied to the finished piece. I re-trace every visible line, seam, and crevice to deepen the effect just a bit, thus insuring the desired detail will still show as intended after painting.

Finally, I shave off any large defects affecting alignment, and remove any excess "flash plaster" or mold seams that may appear around the edges of windows, doorways, or fine detail. Be sure to wear a breathing mask when using your rotary tool for anything… the fine dust it cranks out can play havoc with your throat and lungs!

STEP 5: Test Assembly
Unless I am "kit bashing" or doing heavy modification, it's now time to temporarily join the major and minor plaster pieces together to get a feel for the overall project. I often use clamps, rubber bands, or just a tiny drop of glue (spot welding!) that can be removed after the trial fitting. Note any areas that may still need sanding, filling, or build up. This is especially important where two pieces fit at a right angle, such as the corner of a building

About the Author

About Keith Magee (KFMagee)

After a hiatus of several years following the sale of my hobby shop (Hobby Annex in Dallas, TX), I am ready to build again... I love dioramas, with a focus on WW2 and tend to spend a lot of time documenting my work... any questions, just let me know! - Keith