March 29, 2017

TRENCH RUNNER REVIEW: Charles Oldaugh Reviews Dioramas F.A.Q. by AK Interactive & Ruben Gonzalez

Dioramas F.A.Q. by Ruben Gonzalez
ref. AKI-8000
With a final count of 559 pages and weighing in at 8 pounds, this tome of knowledge takes you step by step through the creation of 12 dioramas. Ranging from modern urban settings, war torn Europe during World War II, to the jungles of Vietnam, this book covers a wide range of techniques and materials. Each step by step article in the book contributes to one of the 12 featured dioramas.

Like any good project, a diorama must start out with an idea and a solid plan. The prologue of the book covers planning out a diorama. From concept to composition, the author tells you how he plans out each masterpiece.

Getting to the meat and potatoes of the book, the first chapter is about bases. Utilizing wood, clay, foam, cork, and more, he starts each of the projects with a good foundation.  The materials he uses range from scratch built, to found objects, and commercial products, all blended together to make bases from simple to complex.

An entire chapter is dedicated to ground and earth modelling. Natural deserts, mud, and rocks are explained alongside man-made groundworks like concrete and asphalt.  A section entitled ‘Special Ground Effects’ take you step by step through bomb craters, sink holes, and mud puddles.

The chapter on vegetation was an eye opener. There is no cookie cutter process for each diorama. He varies the techniques and materials for each location. Starting with ground cover like grass and flowers, he works up to larger elements like bushes, shrubs, and trees. Even the lowly mushroom gets some attention lavished on it.

The next chapter is my favorite as it covers buildings. I love the contrast of buildings with natural elements. Hundreds of photos detail making buildings of brick, stone, concrete and wood with all sorts of materials. To compliment the buildings he has instructions for accessories like signs, lights, doors, and windows.

The final large chapter covers miscellaneous items used to add life to a diorama. Small things like boxes, posters, crates, and tarps are all covered in great detail. The most impressive step by step in this chapter is a 7-UP vending machine that looks like it could have been plucked from a gas station in a ghost town.

The chapter on figures explains his process for fast and efficient painting of figures to fill out our scenes. He then explains how to integrate them into the scene for maximum realism and effect.

He finishes the tutorials with a chapter called ‘Construction and Atmosphere.’ The chapter details how to bring all of the elements together to tell the story. Even though they were all painted separately, we need to integrate them into the diorama so they all look like they belong to the scene.

Now we come to the end of the review where I tell you to buy this book. If you are interested in dioramas or vignettes at all, this is a must have. The amount of knowledge contained inside is unbelievable!
Charles Oldaugh 2017

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