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The Making of the 300 Spartans Battle of Thermopylae Diorama- Part 6 Painting and texturing the terrain.


This part of making a diorama is pretty straight forward but now we start to make the move from crafts to arts. We are going to appy some basic terrain features then start with the base coat of painting. This base coat of paint is just an undercoat and a lot of it doesn't show through on the final version of the diorama. But it is very important because it will correct any inconsistencies in the terrain. After you have put down grass you don't want any empty spots where the bright white plaster shows through. With a coat of green base paint under the grass only green will show through and it will look natural


Cast rocks

I had previously cast a series of large stone using hydrocal and rubber molds. I then painted them and added some terrain textures and colors to them. I will then apply these rock outcroppings directly to the diorama shell. I do have a tutorial and a video on how to do this casting of the rocks. Rock making tutorial


apply stones to surface of the diorama

Once the stones and rock outcroppings are dried I put flex paste on the back and then apply them right to the surface of the diorama. You don't have to use flex paste, any type of glue will work but flex paste works the best because it is very thick and malleable - its made for diorama work.


The Painted Diorama

Now it's just a matter of painting the diorama. I used the base colors mixed with a lot of water so they were very thin then just washed it on as a first coat. I then remixed the same colors but thicker and darker and went over the high and low points of the diorama.

Let's take the stone cliff as an example. I first washed over the entire cliff sections with a light grey. I then went over it and added streaks and some high and low points with a darker shade of grey. After that I used the raw grey paint to do some touch up. To really do a nice job on this part of the diorama making process you should refer to the notes you made about the design of it. What parts are meant to be grey? What parts blue for water? What parts are green because of grass or trees? These are the base colors you apply. This isn't detail work you do at this point. It is just rough coloring. The terrain textures will cover most of this but having a nice base color will correct any inconsistencies in your terrain.


Detail painting on the diorama

This picture shows the doing of detail painting on the diorama. Once you have done some detail work you are ready to move on to the next part where you add terrain textures.


shading the water

Another good technique to think about when you are painting the diorama is to not make the large patches of color uniform. Notice how the water here varies in shades of blue? Water near the shore is lighter than away from shore. This kind of variance will make a big difference in how the diorama looks. It doesn't just appy to water. All big patches can be done this way. You can achieve this effect by starting the painting with a raw color then adding a little bit of white to it. And as you work you add just a little bit more white. It works for darkening too where you add a little bit of black.


Let's Make the 300 Diorama (Part 7: Adding the Terrain textures and details)


Here is a video that shows you this painting part of the diorama that's on this page


300: The Art Of The Film