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"First diorama" ?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I am getting ready to start on a dio of a two bay garage and not sure where to start so i thought i would ask some of you before i just dive right in... i have a complete structure that needs assembly but i know i neec to find a base to assemble it on.... but as for what materal to use iam not sure "wood i think would be best" but what kind works best? .......any advice about diorama building would be great....

Edited by modelmike

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Posted · Report post

I know nothing of dioramas, but I do know wood. Wood tends to bow and twist over time. To help prevent this make sure it is dry and then sealed on all 4 edges as well as the top and bottom. I would guess a more stable product like dense foam board would work better than wood.

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Posted · Report post

Foamboard will also warp if soaked when applying paint or landscaping materials. It can also disintegrate if you use any paints or liquids containing acetate, like laquer, that can attack the foam. Most materials have a tendency to warp when water is applied to a porous surface. This can be overcome by soaking both sides first and laying flat with weight applied until dry... or even using artists "Gesso" to seal the surfaces. But this is time consuming and expensive..... and doesn't always work!

Personally I've found a very cheap solution.... check out you neighborhood for abandoned furniture like entertainment units, computer desks, etc., that have prefinished doors, sides or tops. You can usually find a size that suits your dio without cutting them..... but if not, you can cut them down to size with simple hand tools. These are made from a dense chipboard with a laminated paper surface that can be painted and glued with simple white glue from the dollar store. I've used a few now and had no problems with warping even when flooded for landscaping materials. They're usually 5/8" thick and if you're lucky, already have a woodgrained, prefinished edge.... another bonus!

It's what I'm using for my Thomasville hardware store base. And it's FREE!!!

If I see them laying abandoned by the side of the road, I'll pick them up anyway for future use, take off what I need and recycle the rest.

Hope this helps.

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Mike, I use Foam Core all the time . I also do a lot of commercial work in 1/8th thickness Masonite , ( Tempered BOTH sides ) as well. I have never encountered a problem with Foam Core such as Tony has described . For a roof which you may have shingles on, Uh, use 1/8th thickness plywood like a Birch veneer or M D F , medium density Fiber Board . Bases like the Plywood or Fiber board . commingtoastop-1.jpg

TAMSShow2010089-vi.jpg

Both dioramas were built using 1/4 inch Foam Core ........................

Ed Shaver

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Ed... you are the master and I bow to your expertise.... but you must be using a different Foam Core board than me! I use the Elmers 3/16" Foam core board for basic wall structures, but it twists up like a pretzel when used on a base after landscaping materials are applied! The same with any kind or thickness of Styrofoam insulation board... blue, pink or white.

What kind do you use?

Tony

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Tony, I swear to ya bud , I use Elmers brand . heck , I buy it at Wall worl too! Ed Shaver

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That's amazing Ed...... wonder why I have so much trouble with it..???

Gatorboard is great... but expensive!

Another possibility is MDF, but the disadvantage is that you have to actually BUY the stuff....... I like FREE!!!

Tony

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MDF is actually quite affordable and if I remember correctly you can buy them in 2' x 4' pieces at HD or Lowes. 4' x 8' sheets are more cost effective though

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Tony, in the same family as MDF, have you ever worked with "Tempered both sided Masonite ? It's like MDF, however , its made from Brown Craft paper and its primarily used for the manufacture of signs . Like Gator Board , it too came about as it's easy to Silk Screen on . Both products can be laminated easily . Both have a "Decent " edge .

As for my experiences on Foam Core , I personally use a Good quality primer after I do any Bondo work first . I think the fact that primer has an ability to protect the overall surface ......... Ed Shaver

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