(Fang of the Sun) Dougram +++ 1:72 Soltic H8 "Roundfacer" (revamped Takara kit/Revell re-boxing) - WiP
The display base:
This is certainly not a diorama, but I wanted a small, scenic setting that would show surroundings in order to justify the Roundfacer’s strange black/grey scheme.
The foundation is a small MDF wood board, 8” x 6” in size, leftover from a street base gone bad many moons ago. On top of the wooden base, the landscape was sculpted with Styrofoam, using the Roundfacer as benchmark for the overall layout. The idea was to show an unpaved path or street, flanked by rock formations. Due to the base’s small size the rocks had to be limited in size. Since the robot would dominate the scene, anyway, I placed it further in the background.
In the foreground, some space was saved for a small vehicle, which would add some variety and create some kind of scene. Since I did not want to invest too much effort into building or even converting or scratching a scout car or something similar, I fell back on a die-cast model.
In this case it’s a 1:76 scale Daimler Dingo scout car from Oxford Diecast, only modified through paint and some weathering. It blends well into the scene – and such “normal” vehicles are not uncommon in the Dougram universe. For instance, there are cars that look almost 100% like the classic Willy’s Jeep!
With the positions of the vehicles determined it was time to add details to the landscape. Most inspiration came from Antarctica and Iceland – you have volcanic rock formations, namely black basalt, with hexagonal structures, and ice and snow on top. Anything that the Roundfacer’s livery reflects.
The hexagonal rocks would be the most prominent structure on the base, and these were created with bits from …pencils. They were tailored to size with the help of a paper cutting machine, then glued into bundles and finally stuck into the Styrofoam ground and arranged into bigger structures.
Once dry the rest of the surface was covered and sculpted with plaster. A coat of thinned plaster was also spread over the pencils, blurring their shapes. On the street, track marks were created with a truck model kit wheel and the Roundfacer.
Once the plaster had dried, the diorama received a coat of thinned white glue, mixed with black paint, into which different grains of sand were strewn. Around the rock formations, broken shell gravel was used to mimic bigger chunks of rock. Again, things had to dry thoroughly.
Next came an overall basic coat of black – applied with a rattle can, so that the paint would evenly reach all recesses. After more drying time the landscape received washes with dark grey and dull olive green. Into the wet paint some grass fiber and wood pieces were glued, in areas behind the rock formations which would offer some protection against the weather.
Another drying period followed, for the second-to-last treatment: a thin coat of snow (which was also added to the Roundfacer and the car). I prefer white tile grout for this task, because it is easy to handle, sticks well to wet surfaces and remains white and stable in the course of time. For application, I put some of the dry material in a glass and cover it with a nylon stocking, and shake it over the wetted (water with drop of detergent) surface. This makeshift device is easy to handle and has the charm that you can gradually adjust the grit and amount of tile grout that rains down.
The street area received some additional treatment with thinned black and grey paint, simulating a mix of snow and dirt.
In a final step, the base and the vehicles received a coat of acrylic matt varnish from the rattle can for protection.