Orangeville, ON (James Doan) While some modellers are content to display each individual figure on its own base, there are those who prefer to create dioramas or vignettes involving multiple figures, a wide selection of scenic materials and even props. Regardless of the scope of your display, creating a convincing base with appropriate scenery will do much to enhance the final appearance of your project.

For any display base there are some key points which are universal. First, remember that less is more – never over do a display. It will take time and practice to be able to create realistic terrain. Grass, rocks, shrubs and bushes all play a part in the final scene, learn to make these well and your dioramas will be noteworthy.

Typically modellers use putty for their primary groundwork. This can be augmented with small gauge gravel, cork shavings, and flock to roughen the surface. Adding small stones and twigs, lengths of frayed sisal rope to simulate tall grasses, and even sifted sand will produce unique results.

When painting your groundwork, use muted colours and dry brush multiple layers to achieve a subtle blending. Try to avoid sharp colour transitions, keep everything blurred and indistinct. If you take the time to examine nature in her glory, you will see that there are very few primary colours. You will also be surprised to see just how many shades of earth are available, depending on the soil and weather conditions.

For quicker terrain, you can rely on sheets of grass matting from railroad or dollhouse suppliers. As with any other scenery material be sure to look at real life and apply what you see to your diorama.

When planning your scene, note the combinations and groups of natural materials that occur in real life. Match your diorama’s textures, colours and shapes to what you see.