Monastery Diorama IV – Color and Groundwork

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Time for another update!

Since I left off last time, I’ve had time to build a lot on the monastery diorama. It’s both a fun and easy project. Since the diorama is so small, about 58 x 28 centimeters, makes the construction quick and leaves lots of time for the most fun part IMO, adding all the little details.

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I began by building up the upper floors of the tower. I added the remains of a window in the outer wall of the tower. It is quite common for preserved medieval buildings to have lots of traces showing where they were rebuilt at different times, so I thought that should be present here as well.

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The ruined remains of another floor topped off the tower. The castings from the ruin mold from Hirst Arts is great for making believable ruins!

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Then it was time to build the arches near the road. To my dismay, I discovered that I had not been careful enough wih my measurements when gluing the pillars, so the arches didn’ really fit. 😦

With a bit of luck I managed to add an extra stone to the left arch, so my sloppy pillar work is relatively difficult to see now…

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After filling in lots of gaps, everything was undercoated with Duck Season from Montana and given a dark brown wash to bring out the great texture of the castings.

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The whole ruin was then highlighted with a drybrush of Dark Sand, an acryllic color from Vallejo, which brighted up the rather dark structure.

Before moving on to the groundwork, I looked at some of my old holiday pictures. The photo above is from the Orval monastery in Wallonia in southern Belgium in 2005. The modern monastery next to the ruins of the old among other things contain a great brewery, where they brew the amazing Orval trappist-beer, which can’t be recommended enough.

The real reson for looking at the pictures was not just thinking about beer, but also to look at the overgrowth on top of the ruin, which I decided to add to my own, unfortunately brewery-free, monastry. 🙂

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To make the first layer of the groundwork, I made another mix of fine sawdust, sifted dirt, dried used coffee and various kinds of turf and static grass.

I then made a mixture of glue, water and brown color and used a large brush to cover the landscape, a small part at a time, sprinkling the ground mix on top.

The road was painted dark brown and then the sifted and dried dirt were sprinkled on top. I tried to but the most coarse pieces in the side of the road and the fine almost sand-like part in the middle of the road. Finally I ran my finger through the still wet road to give the impression of wheels making tracks in the dirt.

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The same mix with more grass and turf added was then sprinkled on top of the ruined wall and floors.

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Here’s the whole thing seen from above. I’m quite satisfied with the first layer of the groundwork, but much remains to be done. I’ll be adding lots of static grass on top with an electrical tool that will allow the grass to stand upright. Then a number of bushes, flowers and perhaps even a tree will be added.

After that it is time to add weathering powder for the final effect, where I think the images from Orval will be most useful.

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Any ideas or suggestions so far? 🙂

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