Hello people from MFC!! Hope you're doing great and getting the best of this hobby.
Today I bring a tutorial so you can make your own japanese-styled room for your little nendoroids. I found inspiration in the Nendoroid Playset - Japanese Life: ITEM #7838 and ITEM #7837 To be honest we don't know if GSC will ever release another japanese style set or even a re-release of the previous one, besides, the price of these sets are way too high for me (money I can spend in other figures). So one day I say "Why the heck no?" and decided to make my own diorama for my nendoroids :)
Please keep in mind this is my very first time making a diorama so expect mistakes. Also, I used materials I had at hand at the moment as this was made on a spur of the moment, take this tutorial as a guide so you can use different materials or experiment with them. Sorry for the quality of the pictures, I took them with my phone while working on this. Thanks for understanding and I hope you find this tutorial useful ^^
So everything started with this picture I posted some time ago.
As you can see the "japanese" space is too little for the nendoroids, way too much space around, you can see the bookcase for god's sake!
This presented a problem as I pre-ordered these items: Nendoroid Akagi (ITEM #177442), Nendoroid Kaga (ITEM #198400) and Nendoroid Mikazuki Munechika (ITEM #287710) all nendoroids which have a common theme: japanese style. So in need of a bigger space/room for these nendoroids, I took whatever was near and useful and decided to make a diorama. And even better cos it'd fit nicely on my bookcase.
BookcaseHide yo kids!
I placed the japanese room in the middle shelf but as you can see it's completely tiny. Akagi, Kaga and Mikazuki along with Yuno, Miyako and Madoka can't have tea in this minuscule space.
You can find inspiration searching on google "Japanese room", or even using the previous Nendoroid Playset as a guide for the decoration/painting of your diorama.
✄✄✄✄ MATERIALS ✄✄✄✄
- Expanded Polystyrene sheet>> This was laying around and my mother was going to throw it away, let's RECYCLE! I said. You can use other kind of material like balsa wood
- Utility knife>> very sharp OR Tool for cutting expanded polystyrene
- UHU Por>> Great glue for expanded polystyrene
- Pegaucho>> A glue used for shoe soles, this has been my favourite since I was in Uni. You can use your trusty glue
- Marker or pen
- Paper of your choice>> I'm using thick paper as I'll paint on it
- Watercolour pencils - Prismacolor>> I wanted to use acrylics but they were dried ;_; so instead I used these which give the paper a nice visual texture. You can use whatever you like just keep in mind which paper is good for the type of paint you'll use or if you'll paint the base material
- Balsa wood sticks>> I'll use 1cm/0,39'' square sticks
- Tracing paper
- Cutting mat
- Patience, your favourite music and time!
NOTE: Please be careful as you'll use sharp tools
✄✄✄✄ PLANNING AND MEASURING ✄✄✄✄
In my case I wanted the diorama to fit my bookcase so I checked the space where I wanted it to be placed.
So it's time to plan and draw. Here's how I wanted the diorama to look like:
Now that you have the measures, it's time to cut. Expanded Polystyrene is pretty difficult to cut with an utility knife, be sure this one is very sharp and don't forget to use the cutting mat. Also, if you happen to have that weird tool to cut this material, lucky you! Use it!
If you get uneven sides on your polystyrene, you can use the sandpaper lightly to smooth the edges.
And please don't let your pet get into this! >:(
View spoilerHide spoiler
So now you'll have these pieces: 2 squares (same size) and 2 rectangles (little different size)
Don't use glue yet
Now it's time to check if it fits...
✄✄✄✄ MAKING THE TATAMI/FLOOR ✄✄✄✄
Tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms (thanks Wikipedia) and they are arranged in different layouts. Check google so you pick whatever layout you like and make the design based on this.
This is the one I chose:
The green defines the limit I'll be using for my diorama as my design is rectangular (the size of the floor piece) and not square.
Now you can have 2 options for drawing the floor/tatami.
1) You can cut a piece of paper same size as the floor piece (polystyrene piece) and draw and paint the tatami design on it.
2) Cut a piece of paper same size as the floor piece then proceed to cut, draw and paint each tatami individually to give the floor a 3D effect.
I'll go with the second option.
As I'm using watercolour pencils I had to test to see which colour was perfect for the tatami. I based the colour on the piece of background I had which came with the Re-ment set "80's Natsukashi Wa ga Ie". Check google to find other colours and inspiration for the tatami :)
Colour testsHide yo wife!
Finally I got the right combination of colours: Light green + Little bit of Ochre + tiny bit of brown
Now paint all the pieces and don't forget to add a dark green line to all the edges (this is important!). Accommodate all the pieces over the polystyrene piece (the floor piece) before gluing them.
If, after gluing the pieces you see white spots between the tatami mats then take a sharpie (same colour as the dark green edge) and correct them.
With a stabilo green pen (green fineliner) add these randon lines...
...so you get a similar texture to this picture.
Once again this will give a better 3d effect to the tatami mats :)
✄✄✄✄ MAKING THE BACKGROUND/WALL ✄✄✄✄
It's time to work on the background piece, this means the polystyrene piece which will go in the back of our diorama. Once again find inspiration on the internet to see how the divisions are made and which colours would you like it to be. When working/designing the walls keep in mind the depth of the polystyrene sheet (or the material you're using) as this will affect the design of them.
This is the plan I made for my wall, dividing the rectangle in 3 parts.
When you have planned the design and measured it, cut and draw it on the paper.
Once again, make colour tests so you find which colour you'd like for the walls, I went for a mix of Ochre + little bit of light orange/skin tone + tiny bit of brown, the rest will be brown (to simulate wood). Practice the design/pattern on a piece of paper before doing so on the wall. When you decide then start painting :)
You can leave the wall just like that, but let's level it up with a design. I went for sakuras/cherry blossoms using sharpies (pink and dark pink) and a black fineliner.
Please ignore that my wall is cut, I messed up at some point and I have to cut one side ;_; (As I told you mistakes happen lol)
Now glue your masterpiece on the polystyrene piece ^^ Now you have your background!!! YAYYYYY!!! White spaces can be fixed with brown sharpie :P
You can see the bottom part of the polystyrene is empty, I left it like that so the wall piece can stick better to the floor piece with the UHU Por (glue), remember that my polystyrene sheet had a depth of 1cm/0.39'' therefore, this depth affects the design of the walls (as I said previously).
✄✄✄✄ MAKING THE SLIDING DOOR P.1 - THE FRAME ✄✄✄✄
Here comes the tricky part: the sliding doors, which I divided in 3: the frame, the rails and the shoji.
The frame is the side of our diorama where the sliding doors will be. These are tricky to make as you have to be careful with the depth of the polystyrene sheet (same what happened on the previous part - the background).
To make the frame take the design of your background and re-design it for the square piece of polystyrene like this:
The parts in grey are the 1cm/0.39'' I need to leave for the pieces (2 sliding doors, 1 background and 1 floor) to be glued perfectly with the UHU Por.
When you are satisfied with the design then cut the frame on the polystyrene sheet (the 2 squares pieces we cut at the beginning) and make the design on paper and paint it as well.
Proceed to glue the paper on the polystyrene.
At the end my frame had uneven edges (as you can see on the picture, the inside frame looks terrible lol) so I had to use the sandpaper once again. We'll need a firm surface for the sliding doors (shoji) so I decided to cut pieces of paper, paint them brown and glue them to those edges.
✄✄✄✄ MAKING THE SLIDING DOOR P.2 - THE "RAILS" ✄✄✄✄
For this step we'll be using the balsa wood sticks. Sorry I call them "rails" but the correct term is TRACKS...damn you english (sorry english is not my mother tongue lol). The tracks or "rails" are part of the system which let the door (shoji) slides from one side to other. (Check google cos I don't know how to explain clearly lol).
For better understanding here's a drawing:
As my balsa wood sticks are 1cm/0.39'', I'll use my utility knife to cut one stick in half, making it even thinner than before.
BE CAREFUL HERE AS YOU'LL BE CUTTING SMALL THINGS
Smooth the surfaces of the sticks with the sandpaper and then proceed to paint them brown (same colour as the frame) with a sharpie.
You'll need 6 sticks for each frame (we have 2 frames so that makes 12 sticks), we'll use 3 for the top and 3 for the bottom of our frame.
Now it's time to glue them to the frame. You'll glue them individually, one at a time. 1 stick pretty close to one edge, 1 stick pretty close to the other edge and finally 1 stick in the middle of them, leaving space between each stick creating the TRACK for our door(shoji), like this:
You'll glue the sticks just to the top and the bottom of the frame in each of the frame pieces (polystyrene).
✄✄✄✄ MAKING THE SLIDING DOOR P.3 - THE SHOJI ✄✄✄✄
The shoji is a window, door or room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame of wood which holds together a lattice of wood of bamboo (thanks again wikipedia). So yeah, those traditional and pretty windows/doors we see in anime and manga...
So we start by making and cutting 4 (2 for each frame) rectangular pieces of paper, almost the same height as our frame (few millimetres less) so they can slide properly and almost the same width (few millimetres more). Put these pieces each in one track of your frame to check if the height is ok, if the shoji slides without problem and if when closed, one shoji looks slightly over the other one like this:
If the shoji slides properly then pat your back and scream "HECK YEAH!! I FRIGGIN' NAILED IT!!" Cos you're almost there!! :'D
Shoji has different designs, therefore, once again head to google and find one you like a lot! Plan, design and draw it on the pieces of paper you just cut.
I went for an average design, I drew it on the pieces of paper, cut them and finally I painted them with the watercolour pencils (brown, same colour as the frames).
Take tracing paper and cut 4 pieces (1 for each shoji), same size as the shoji. Be careful and add glue to the shoji so you can stick the tracing paper on one side of it (non-painted side of the shoji). Like this:
Now let the glue dry for a moment so the shoji don't stick to the other when placed on the frames. So far they look nice right? Take a break, eat chocolate or whatever you like and be proud of your work!
Finally, place the shoji in their respective frames and tracks and check again if they slide without problems.
What was that? A scream of joy? Of course it was ;D
✄✄✄✄ ASSEMBLING TIME ✄✄✄✄
Now you have 4 pieces, each with their designs and decorations so it's time to assemble our diorama!!
For gluing the parts I'm using UHU Por which is great for the material, please read the instructions carefully as this glue needs to be applied on both surfaces, then let it dried some minutes before sticking one surface to the other. This step requires patience so don't be anxious, take your time!
I started gluing the floor to the background wall, after gluing them wait a little bit so the glue dries even more.
Then proceed to glue one of the frames to the floor-background piece we just made. Be careful here as well.
Look at that!! We're almost finishing!! :D And looks great so far right? RIGHT?? XD
Now finish the whole thing by gluing the other frame and YOU'RE DONE!!!!
✄✄✄✄ APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORT AND MASTERPIECE ✄✄✄✄
Check carefully the diorama, if there's mistakes on the paint, use sharpies to fix them. Time to look at your work and be delighted.
✄✄✄✄ ADD YOUR FIGURES AND ACCESORIES ✄✄✄✄
It's time to check the whole thing with your nendoroids or figures by placing them in the diorama.
This is how the diorama looks on my bookcase, fits perfectly!
JOB WELL DONE!!
I apologize for my grammar, english is not my mother tongue and my english is quite rusty.
I hope you liked this tutorial and found it useful as well so you start making your own dioramas for your figures! I've seen many great things here on MFC and they inspired me as well to make my own.
Thanks for your time and for reading! Till next time!!