Friday, August 10, 2007

Building Dagobah

Having been inspired by the Dagobah set built for the Jedi Training Academy at celebration Europe, my seven year old nephew, Sean, wanted to build something with his favorite uncle, me.

As he had already purchased a Revell x-wing model kit from the event, we thought it would be a good idea to have a go at building a diorama of the swamp planet, a fitting display for his model.

First, Sean had to make the x-wing - not so easy for little fingers, so his uncle helped him.

Next we painted the x-wing to look dirty and muddy, and poked 'moss' into the engine intakes. The moss was from a hobby shop, the type you can buy for building landscapes, and all the paint we used was acrylic as the plastic nature of the paint helped items stick together.

We then picked up a good sized box from the shop across the road and cut it to shape, using the extra pieces of card to form ledges and lake banks.

For the huge-rooted trees of Dagobah, we twisted pipe-cleaners together to form the trunk and roots, and then began to papier mache over them, building them up to the desired thickness.

While we still had bowls of wallpaper paste, we papier mached the rest of the set, forming lumps of the soggy paper into 'rocks' and creating a textured surface.
To paint the trees, Sean first used brown acrylic over their entire surface, then I taught him how to 'dry brush' some other shades of brown over the top to create a bark effect. I then taught him how to 'stipple', and we stippled moss colors over the roots.

I drew some basic outlines of trees and Sean filled them in, this would provide a background which would be partially obscured by the 3D trees. I showed him how to make the shades lighter and bluer, to suggest distance.

Sean then painted the swamp floor in various shades of green and the lake area with a violet gray, floowed by blue. We then stuck cellophane (seran wrap) to the lake to simulate water.

Under careful supervision of his lovely uncle, Sean used a hot glue gun to stick the trees in place. He then learned how to use the glue gun to create cobwebs, which turned out to be a lot of fun!

Using green pipe cleaners, we created ground creepers, twisting them around the trees. We then painted the creepers with darker greens and a touch of brown.

Using the glue gun and a ball of green wool, Sean attached vines to the tops of the trees. This would give the foliage something to hang on to.

We then used the paint to color the moss we had. There were two different types of moss, the spongy, bushy sort and the grassy sort. We used green paint to color them, and then stuck them to the tops of the trees, allowing it all to hang down in a very swamp-like fashion!

And here is Sean looking very pleased with himself. We think his Dagobah diorama looks amazing, and we hope we have inspired you to have a go at making your own, whether you are seven or seventy seven!

Some shots of the finished model.

Thank you - we hope you have enjoyed our report!