Hoth outpost diorama - advice please

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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
So I’m part way through making a 1/48 diorama of a battle on Hoth (not the one shown in ESB as I didn’t have room for that at this scale).

The diorama is going to be on a 50x50cm base and will likely include the following:

-crashed snowspeeder (Bandai with greenstrawberry photoetch, with led cockpit lighting)
-Flying snowspeeder (Bandai with greenstrawberry photoetch, with led cockpit and laser cannon lighting)
-ATST (Bandai with greenstrawberry photoetch, with led cockpit lighting)
-rebel bunker with 1.4 FD cannon (the one that looks like a radar)
-DF9 turret
-various rebels incl wounded pilot from the snowspeeder, medic, 2 unit, Luke skywalker (not sure how that fits into the storyline, but meh)
-various stormtroopers, probe droid, possibly a K2SO type droid too

I’ve started putting the base together and I’ve never done snow effects, at least to this extent, before. I’ve used sculptamold to create the terrain so far and I’m planning to use precision ice & snow over the top of it. But before I start sprinkling the (quite expensive) snow on I’d appreciate some input and advice on the snow. I think maybe the base needs to be smoother in order to look realistic at this scale,but I’ve been staring at it so long I can’t really tell any more! What do you guys think? And if you think it needs to be smoothed out, does anyone have any tips or techniques for what to use to do that? For scale there is a DF9 turret in the third photo, and an R2 in the centre of the same photo.

many thanks in advance. If anyone’s interested I can put up some progress updates as I go.


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Analyzer

Sr Member
I think the texture there is good for the traveled parts or the parts where snow was shoveled or blown onto the clear paths. Where there is less activity in places where people aren't likely to walk or move snow to I think it should be smoother. The contrast of the two I think will help with the realism

like here, surrounding the trench the snow is pretty well roughed up, but as you get away from the trench and a 5 to 6 feet in front you get more smooth and pristine snow with an occasional trail
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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Apologies, I haven't quite worked out how to quote multiple posts.

Thanks for this, Analyzer, I sort of hadn't thought of the different textures for trodden v undisturbed snow. I'll give this a try. I think I'm going to try using plaster of Paris to smooth bits out. I'm hoping if I make it just the right thickness it will stay where I put it but will also self level to some extent, as I don't want to be trying to sand it down.

I actually already have the Legion tauntauns (sneak preview attached) but I just don't know yet whether I will include one as I think this diorama could get pretty crowded.

NKG - those look great - I have so far got a mix of Legion, Skull Forge Studios and Mel's Miniatures (the latter two from Shapeways) but I was struggling for snow troopers, as the legion ones don't look that realistic. I was going to use normal stormtroopers instead, but those Shapeways ones look perfect. The only problem is I can see there being a bit of a mismatch in sizes between figures. The Bandai 1/48 figures are noticably smaller than the legion ones. So far I have planned to keep them far enough away from each other so its not too obvious, but if these snow troopers are much smaller than the rebels it might look weird.

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TazMan2000

Master Member
I think it's important not to crowd a diorama with too many vehicles and other objects just for the sake of putting them in, especially if you have a small area. Making it too busy could distract the viewer from what scene you are trying to display.

TazMan2000
 

Analyzer

Sr Member
Apologies, I haven't quite worked out how to quote multiple posts.

Thanks for this, Analyzer, I sort of hadn't thought of the different textures for trodden v undisturbed snow. I'll give this a try. I think I'm going to try using plaster of Paris to smooth bits out. I'm hoping if I make it just the right thickness it will stay where I put it but will also self level to some extent, as I don't want to be trying to sand it down.

I actually already have the Legion tauntauns (sneak preview attached) but I just don't know yet whether I will include one as I think this diorama could get pretty crowded.

NKG - those look great - I have so far got a mix of Legion, Skull Forge Studios and Mel's Miniatures (the latter two from Shapeways) but I was struggling for snow troopers, as the legion ones don't look that realistic. I was going to use normal stormtroopers instead, but those Shapeways ones look perfect. The only problem is I can see there being a bit of a mismatch in sizes between figures. The Bandai 1/48 figures are noticably smaller than the legion ones. So far I have planned to keep them far enough away from each other so its not too obvious, but if these snow troopers are much smaller than the rebels it might look weird.

View attachment 1303229

The Tauntaun rider looks great

As far as the Holden Shapeways figures, they are going to be closer in size to the Bandai 1/48 than the Star Wars legion figures. The Legion stuff is more like 1/46 scale on average, although a few things bigger or smaller. The other thing with the Star Wars Legion stuff is that since they are gaming miniatures, they tend to be a little "beefier" or "thicker" than more realistic proportions of the scale model figures. They typically look good enough paired with 1/48 vehicles (and oddly enough, the Bandai 1/48 speeder is actually bigger than the Star Wars Legion one, but it is the opposite with the AT-ST

But as you mentioned, if you do not put them too close to each other it will not be to noticeable

I have been planning a similar themed diorama and may have to burrow (er.. steal) some of your ideas if you don't mind :lol:
 
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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Tazman2000 - I totally agree, I originally planned for this diorama to be about 100x60cm so the idea was to have a much larger area to put everything in. Turns out I don't have anywhere to store something that big, so I downsized. Still trying to figure out the optimal amount of things to put on this smaller version. It will definitely have the crashed snow speeder, ATST and DF9. The focus is intended to be Luke Skywalker, in his pilot outfit, facing down the ATST in order to give time for the injured pilot to be rescued. Anything else that I add in is just to give context to that really.

Thanks Analyzer - I agree about the 'beefy' Legion figures, that's why I chose not to use their snow troopers. I chose the rebel troops carefully so that (I think) they just look like people dressed up for the cold weather. It tends to be the heads and hands that are really out of proportion with these miniatures, I find, so if they have faces covered and hands holding stuff it is less noticeable.

I went and ordered those snow troopers from Shapeways without realising that there are also 1/46 versions. Plus I bought the set that has heavy weapons when I would have preferred normal blasters. Oops. According to the creator the 1/48 are 38mm tall, and I measured a few of the Legion figures that I'm using as almost exactly the same, so hopefully they'll look ok. If not I can order the right ones in 1/46, I suppose!

Forgot to mention earlier that I'm also hoping to put sound effects into the base. I've done this once before with a Hasbro Millennium Falcon and it worked reasonably well, but I want to have the whole thing activated by bluetooth this time.

Look forward to seeing your own Hoth! I'm already planning the one after this...
 

TazMan2000

Master Member
The focus is intended to be Luke Skywalker, in his pilot outfit, facing down the ATST in order to give time for the injured pilot to be rescued.

Hmm. I remember it happening a little differently in the movie. :D
Your scene could have been cut out of the movie...."Luke goes back to rescue flat Dak from the speeder."

Not my first "what if" build either.

TazMan2000
 

Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Fun in the snow - the sculptamold is finally dry, so I had a go at smoothing out most of the snow areas. I tried plaster of Paris but that wasn't working at all, so I got some exterior wall filler and watered it down, and kind of poured it on.

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I think it worked really well, until I ran out of that tube and decided to use some other filler which I had lying around. It was a much rougher texture when dried.
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So I tried a 'super fine' filler on top of that, and it dried a bit weird and cracked.
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This last photo shows the difference between the smoothed out snow in front of the bunker and the roughed up snow behind it.

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All in all I think it's looking OK. I can't decide whether to go back over the slightly cracked bits and the bits with the slightly sandy texture, or whether that will be hidden when I finally pour on the precision snow.
 

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Jimw100

Well-Known Member
Ha, yeah my fallback plan was "pretend it's supposed to be like that".

Got around to doing a dry run of where all the different figures and vehicles will go, to see if it looks too crowded. I've got normal stormtroopers filling in until the snow troopers from Shapeways arrive, but so far I think it looks alright. Maybe a few more stormtroopers around the ATST?

It looks a bit like everything is crowded around the edges, but I quite like that it brings the focus onto Luke in the middle. I'll probably bring him more into the centre. I seem to have lost his lightsaber blade, which is annoying. I was going to try lighting it up with an SMD LED...

I'll probably take out the rebel guy with the binoculars, partly because if he needs binoculars to see that ATST then he's in trouble, and partly because I may have lost his other arm.

I wonder whether maybe I need one or two more rebel soldiers in the bunker area.

Oh and there will be an R5 droid in the bunker, I just forgot to put it there.

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