These buildings represent part of a Khadoran facility for mining ore containing one of the vital minerals used in the production of red blasting powder, and the final buildings will be part of a much larger diorama. The larger building is dedicated to refining these minerals into the pure components required by alchemists to produce both red and black blasting powders. The finished powders are packaged into large barrels and shipped by rail to ammunition assembly shops and factories, and from there to resupply soldiers on the front lines.
My basic process for creating a building has three major steps: blocking, covering the seams, and adding details. I start with a few concept sketches (not shown to save you from my terrible drawing skills), then I lay out the major shapes with foamcore. It can be easy to think that the blocking can be done sloppily because the foamcore will be mostly covered. This is true to some extent. You don’t need to worry about the surface texture, creating neat joins, or hiding seams. However, the overall exactness of your shape will be transparent through to the last step. This means keeping your angles square and your cuts ruler-straight. A handy trick for creating square corners is to attach a square piece of foamcore to one wall of the corner you want square before attaching the other wall with hot glue.
These photos show the blocking half finished so you can see the process. The squares are highlighted and outlined for clarity.
The next step is to cover up all the seams. This is very important because it conceals how the structure was made and adds to the overall illusion. Angled sheet styrene strips are particularly useful for this. Another useful method is to build up the sides with a pattern (such as basswood strips) and leave the corners bare so that a rectangular piece fits snugly in the recess.
Lastly, I add the details. This is the fun part. Build and attach the doors, windows, pipes, and smokestacks. This gives the piece character and really tells the story of how the building works and what it’s used for. Strategic placement of gears gives the impression of moving parts. To maintain believability, you never want a gear fully exposed.
Stay tuned for more updates as the diorama unfolds!