Work in Progress

A Roman garden party

Posted by sberry on 18 Aug 2022, 15:41

After a long break, it‘s time to present some WIP pictures of my current project. It shows a Roman garden party taking place around a so-called garden (or summer) triclinium.
The term triclinium can denote the dining room itself which regularly contained three sofas, but also such a permanent outdoor installation, as has been found, for instance, in Pompeii:

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(This example is from Pompeii in Pictures).

So, the first step is to construct the centerpiece of the scene:

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A little test with the figures (in a later post, I will list the stuff to be used):

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The triclinium will be surrounded by a garden with hedges and a water basin. In order to get all measurements right, to decide how big the base plate has to be, and to prevent running out of hedges, I made a detailed plan using a vector graphics program (the first time, as far as I remember, that I really tried to plan the whole layout to the millimeter in advance):

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The water basin will be made using acrylic glass. And of course, there have to be some statues and fountains to add the necessary luxury:

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sberry  Germany
 
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Posted by Hobbyinovator on 18 Aug 2022, 20:06

Looks promissing. Is the plan printed out on an A4-paper? Is the actual 1/72 measurements so that you just have to place the objects on top of the drawings?
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Posted by Rich W on 18 Aug 2022, 23:41

This looks an ambitious project, and I like it!
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Posted by Kekso on 19 Aug 2022, 06:35

I will follow this one.
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Posted by sberry on 19 Aug 2022, 07:43

Hobbyinovator wrote:Looks promissing. Is the plan printed out on an A4-paper? Is the actual 1/72 measurements so that you just have to place the objects on top of the drawings?

A good question. The computer sketch is 1:1 size. And since the base is 29 cm x 49 cm, which is larger even than A3, I had to use an A2 template for the drawing. I used it essentially for shifting things around on the screen and to find the optimum arrangement. To print the plan would be possible only on several separate A4 sheets, I have no larger printer/plotter. So, I made a downscaled print on a single A4 sheet, just for orientation when working on the base.
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Posted by sberry on 19 Aug 2022, 07:50

The garden needs of course some lush vegetation, and I will use these orange trees I bought many years ago – ignoring the fact that this fruit was unknown in Roman antiquity, so they have to be “read” as peach trees (or whatever).

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For the plants climbing at the trellis around the triclinium, I wanted to use this stuff made by Faller:

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Now I really don’t want to start some Faller bashing here, and in general I am very grateful for all the fine plants produced by Faller (and other model railway manufacturers). But in this particular case, I must say this is an extremely poor product – especially since they advertise it as PREMIUM. You get 20 identical plants in this bag, and they are so ugly that it hurts:

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Conclusion: I have to make the climbing plants myself, using the wire method.
Meanwhile, the people on the triclinium got a nice mattress for comfort plus a table with some food:

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As nearly always when I am doing something with Milliput, it got a bit too big, but I will leave it that way.
And we have a decent trellis now (but without plants yet):

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In this case, I actually used a 1:1 print on paper to get the exact position of the columns right.
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Posted by Susofrick on 19 Aug 2022, 09:08

Looks very promising! Figures Phersu and Nikolai?
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Posted by sberry on 20 Aug 2022, 08:36

So here we have a heap of stuff, waiting for the painter…

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The parts list is a sort of Who-is-who of the 1/72 scene, although this just happened, it was not planned this way. However, when I assembled all the stuff that might be used for the scene, all the big names like Italeri, HäT, Zvezda … were absent. The only exception is Atlantic; their Greek Life on the Acropolis is still a versatile and useful set:

Party guests: Art Miniaturen, Atlantic, Hecker & Goros, Nikolai, Phersu
Servants: Fredericus Rex, Nikolai, Phersu
Musicians: Phersu
Dancers: ? I don’t recall anymore…
Dog: Stenfalk
Furniture: Phersu, Hagen Miniatures
Columns: Kai Fuhrmann, Torsten Burgdorf
Statues: Atlantic, Nikolai
Shrine: Torsten Burgdorf
Pots, dishes, food etc.: Nikolai, Phersu, Torsten Burgdorf
Gardening tools: Mini History

It is really sad that two of the gifted people whose products you can see here are no longer with us, first Leonardo Torricini and now Konrad Schulte.
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Posted by sberry on 22 Aug 2022, 09:07

These pictures show some progress on the base plate. I am struggling with the hedges to get them into shape.

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But the worse problem occurs with the water basin. I have built the whole pool as a separate modul that can be inserted into the base. The “water” is made from acrylic glass with Faller 171661 Natural Water (something which, despite the name, you should not drink!) for creating some ripples, filling the gaps etc.
Now, in my experience, there are two laws of diorama building:
1) If something goes seriously wrong, it will usually be at a rather late stage of the project, making corrections particularly difficult.
2) If you have some water body in the diorama – river, sea, pond etc. – there will be problems with that water. Always.
And both laws fully apply here! Due to some absurd shrinkage or whatever the whole pool is now bent upwards and some of the columns, which had been exactly straight, are now bent sideways. Arrrgh! A massive slab of acrylic glass seemed an absolutely rigid thing to me, I would never have expected such problems… So the solution is to fix the thing with screws, trying to force the pool into a more horizontal shape. Oh my.
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Posted by Santi Pérez on 22 Aug 2022, 13:35

Wow, sberry, as has already been said, this project really looks very promising. I like the great variety of origins of the figures and elements used. :drool:

I also love the box of chocolates where you put all the elements... although I would like it better with its original content. :mrgreen:

I will follow with great interest. Go on with it! :thumbup:

Santi.
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Posted by sberry on 23 Aug 2022, 07:12

Santi Pérez wrote:I also love the box of chocolates where you put all the elements... although I would like it better with its original content. :mrgreen: Santi.

Yes, it's a really hard job to eat all this chocolate to get the empty boxes, but somebody has to do it...
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Posted by C M Dodson on 24 Aug 2022, 19:19

This looks very promising indeed.

You may get inspiration from ROME one of the best series ever in my opinion.

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Posted by Santi Pérez on 24 Aug 2022, 22:20

C M Dodson wrote:...You may get inspiration from ROME one of the best series ever in my opinion.
Chris

I fully share this opinion, Chris. :thumbup:

Santi.
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Posted by OwenChpw on 03 Sep 2022, 01:30

Fantastic work, I love the foundation work and the planning process!
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Posted by Ben90 on 03 Sep 2022, 13:23

Looks great so far! A very interesting project :-)
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Posted by sberry on 08 Sep 2022, 08:30

Dear friends, thank you for your encouragement!

I have some good and some bad news on this project.
The good news is, it’s finished and I will show a series of pictures tomorrow in the gallery section.
The bad news is that I was quite busy when I worked on the diorama, having to do some “real work” in the “real world” at the same time, so I was too distracted and stressed to do the necessary photography for documenting the progress of the later stages.

All I can show here is an overview of the complete scene, demonstrating the extremely advanced light-filtering system that I used for some photos to get the atmosphere at sunset right (those Roman dinner parties started in the afternoon and lasted – at least – till sunset):

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Posted by Santi Pérez on 08 Sep 2022, 18:37

sberry wrote:...All I can show here is an overview of the complete scene, demonstrating the extremely advanced light-filtering system that I used for some photos to get the atmosphere at sunset right (those Roman dinner parties started in the afternoon and lasted – at least – till sunset)...

Uf, I envy the so sophisticated method you use to get the best photos of your work, sberry. :drool:

Certainly, the quality of the pictures of a piece is almost as important as the quality of the piece itself, bearing in mind that very few people will be able to see the original piece and the rest will see its photographed image. In fact, we have already been able to see the result of this several times in duels or painting competitions. :mrgreen:

I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project in the Gallery section. :love:

Santi.
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Posted by sberry on 09 Sep 2022, 09:00

Santi Pérez wrote:Certainly, the quality of the pictures of a piece is almost as important as the quality of the piece itself, bearing in mind that very few people will be able to see the original piece and the rest will see its photographed image.

I absolutely agree! If one invests so much time into painting the figures, assembling the models, creating the terrain etc., I think one should also invest some time into taking good pictures, with good light, a natural background and the like.
And I find storing dioramas in the long term quite difficult - the fragile trees can get broken, some figures may lose their weapons or get lost completely, and a layer of dust covers everything ... So the only way for a real long-term preservation of the original impression IMHO is to take pictures and to store them instead.
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Posted by Graeme on 09 Sep 2022, 09:17

That is a tantalizing glimpse of the finished project, and the evening lighting looks fabulous. I am also looking forward to the gallery pics.
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Posted by C M Dodson on 09 Sep 2022, 10:17

Interesting stuff regarding the lighting.

The Mediterranean world has a fantastic light in the mornings and evenings.

I used pink tissue paper as a diffuser for the early morning in Antietam and the closing stages of Ligny.

You have to be careful as it can be too coloured so practise makes perfect.

Best wishes,

Chris
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