Got'cha Covered

the base
The base is a piece of MDF (manufactured wood) that was a discard from a home project. I started with a piece larger than I thought I would need. Then after the initial planning and layout work I calculated how big the setting would be. The setting is the area that physically contains the scene. From that I calculated how much to add for the decorative edge. I measured my router bit and added about an inch on each side. I cut the piece, and then I routed the edge to shape.
On top of this I need to add elevation to make room for my canal. I used some dense packing foam that was used to ship a computer. The pieces started out as long rectangles. I simply placed them over the base in a rough test fit. Once I was happy I could cover the base with the pieces I had, I cut them down to size and shape. I looked back to my plan and it called for a smooth side for the elevation. I did not want to use spackle to cover the edge of the styrofoam because of the extra work and care of sanding and smoothing the entire wall. I decided that I would use the foam board I had used in my building. This added extra width to the base, which meant I had to reduce the size of my packing foam to accommodate the foam board. I glued the foam with two-part epoxy. During this process I devised a handy custom sized large ‘clamp’. I needed to hold all three side walls on at one time while the epoxy dried. I took a piece of masking tape long enough to wrap all the way around the walls. I then took a piece about 4” longer. I stuck these two pieces of tape together sticky side in on both pieces. I left 2” uncovered on either end. I stuck one of the two inch sticky pieces on one side, wrapped the ‘clamp’ around the outside and stuck the other two inch sticky piece on the other side. You can see this in one of the photos. You'll notice that I left some gaps in the foam because I knew the weight of the scene above would be distributed over the rest of the diorama. At this point I also test fit the canal pieces and marked the open pass through for the water. I then cut this section out.
The foam alone was not enough; I had to build up even more. I test fit the canal wall and found that I needed more elevation to match the height of the wall. I used flat sheets of heavy card stock material and foam board to raise the base height to match the canal wall.
  • abo_base_foam
  • abp_base_sidesc2
  • abr_base_walls
  • abq_base_wall_closeup
  • abs_base_elevationriser

About the Author

About Scott Lodder (slodder)

I modeled when I was a teenager. College, family and work stopped me for a while. Then I picked it back up after about 12 years off. My main focus is dioramas. I like the complete artistic method of story telling. Dioramas involve so many aspects of modeling and I enjoy getting involved in the ...