Giant robot diorama

Completed in April 2012.
Primarily clay.
1/75th scale.

It's been a long, long time since I did anything crafty to update this page, so let's do something to remedy that. How about a diorama of an old abandoned giant robot, a left-over from the Great Robot War of 2195, doesn't that sound fun? Let's make it in 1/75th scale (model railroad O/O scale). Six easy steps, follow along...

Step one:
Made a robot, or, in this case, parts of a robot, out of Sculpey clay.

Step two:
Using cheap acrylic paints from Wal-mart, painted the robot cobalt blue and medium gray, the factory-fresh colors of the 33rd Mechanized Assault Regiment, famed defenders of the Pittsburgh Salient during the Great Robot War. Made it robot number "87", just because that was easy to free-hand paint that small, and put some small accent color flashes on the chest (unit tags and such).

Step three:
With even more cheap paints and some even cheaper stiff-bristle brushes, weathered the robot to make it look all rusty and busted with holes shot in it. Washed and filtered down the colors to fade them out, then dry- and wet-brushed on the rust, tried not to overdo it. Put it in the kitchen sink and poured various washes of watered down brown and rust tones over it, about ten times in total. The robot needs to be very well worn as its been sitting here abandoned at the forest's edge for the last seven years since it was lost in the valiant, though ultimately failed, rear guard action by the 33rd MAR during the epic Retreat From The Susquehanna in 2193.

Step four:
Made some trees to scale out of Sculpey clay and Gorilla glue and some shredded blue/green dish scouring pads that you can buy at Wal-mart for a dollar, then painted them like trees. The trunks are probably too big in diameter and the branches a bit too stubby, but I can probably write that off as residual mutation effects of all the nuclear weapons used in the Great Robot War. This was my first ever attempt at making trees so I'm pretty pleased they didn't turn out crappier.

Step five:
Need a couple of figures for scale so I dug out my stash of model railroad 1/75 (O scale) people, which I bought long ago when I was building boats. Three women and a man, just a gaggle of local farmers stopping by to check out the old busted robot, a relic from the Dark Days when armies marched back and forth, obliterating cities and blighting the crops with their Devil's Bombs. To go with my Pennsylvania setting, I painted them in various "Amish farmer" colors.

Step six:
Time for the groundwork now and that's where the frustration set in. I tried sand and acrylic medium and that sucked, and I tried clay and smoothed glue, and that really sucked. And with that my motivation just evaporated (I'm old enough to admit that I have the attention span of a sugared-up five-year old). So I just whipped up a quick and dirty base using an old 5x7 photo frame and some plain old sifted Indiana dirt from my front yard, baked on a pizza pan. Yes, it looks as bad as it sounds.

And...then I declared it done because I wanted to go back to watching Supernatural on Netflix and I don't have time for robots anymore. All in all a fun project, learned some new techniques and only wanted to chuck it into the trash a couple dozen times (good for me!). Best of all, thanks to having a huge existing stash of materials and paint from prior projects, I only need to spend 2 bucks on scouring sponges. I am a very cheap man.

Below are the final pictures of this project...

The End. Return to the Prison Art Homepage.