Sci-Fi/Pulp/Retro Diorama

Hello all,

Well it’s 11:09pm on New Years Eve and I’m typing out a blog haha, I know how to party! I have a nicely aged Scotch beside with some Bob Marley playing in the background. My eldest daughter is at a party down the road. The middle daughter is miles away with friends, the youngest daughter and the wide are in bed hehe.

As much as it might seem sad I’m actually really happy and content. I’ve done plenty of partying in my life and I’m sure I have a lot more ahead of me but I’m actually having a really nice night. I finished a very special diorama/project today and have just finished editing all the photos so I’m excited to share it with all my favourite blogger buddies. If theres spelling mistakes I apologise, it’s just the scotch and the few beer s before that haha.

Ok lets get a crack on…

Hmmm… So where to start. Back in 2017 our friend Mark A Morin did an awesome blog post (my favourite of his) on a Science Fiction Sphere Tank which he, basically, built from a golf ball. Absolutely genius. He called it the Mark One Sphere Tank and I fell in love with it. As Mark is such a cool dude and a very generous one to boot he sent me one of these amazing spherical tanks and, believe me folks, it’s even more awesome in real life. Its a heavy bastard though and proved to be quite tricky to hold while I painted it haha. Luckily I’m no limp wristed softie so I pushed on haha. It had sat on my shelf for all these years as I didn’t really know what to do with it. I loved it but wasn’t sure how to use it in my crazy miniature worlds. THEN my great mate Roger from Rantings Under The Wargames Table sent me a pile of lovely lead minis, some of which he sculpted himself. Suddenly I had a lightbulb moment…

Why now build and paint a diorama that combines the Sphere tank from Mark in the US with minis from Roger in the UK and add my own little conversions in there too. I hope you’re still following me here haha.

I just think it’s cool that two brilliant hobbyists sent me, of all people, miniatures so I needed to do something as cool as shit with them haha.

Here was the basic plan/list of what I wanted to include on the dioarama:

  1. It had to be a Science-Fiction, Pulpy, Retro Diorama due to the aesthetic of the miniatures.
  2. The Mark 1 Sphere Tank from Mark
  3. Two Alien/Martian type miniatures from Roger
  4. MY own converted miniatures. I ended up using WW2 Russian troops from Warlord Games with some added heads and/or little bits and bobs to make them look more retro sci-fi.
  5. I wanted to paint everything Black, white and grey to give it that retro, vintage 1950s movie or comic book vibe.
  6. I wanted to add spot colours and decided the coolest thing to try and do would be LASERS! What kind of Sci-Fi Retro Diorama would this be without LASERSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!?????
  7. Lastly, because of my love for War of the Worlds (1978 LP – Narrated by Richard Burton) AND Salvador Dali I wanted to add a priest. See the refence material below. Check out the priest in the War of the Worlds artwork in the bottom right of the first picture. Then see the priest in the bottom left of Dalis painting.

Crazy huh?

Anyway I wanted a priest too hehe.

The actual setting of the diorama is a simple one. It’s a very nondescript ruined bit of land somewhere. I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s earth or some other distant planet. The tank is just coming over a small hillock with a Martian on either side of it, one with a some sort of laser bazooka and the other is like a spotter with binoculars. They are attacking a small squad of semi-humans who were patrolling around the ruins.

The hillock is made from insulation foam. I also added some ruined walls made from cork board (love that stuff) and then some bits like barbed wire, timber uprights and an old steel drum. Oh, I also had half a resin car (not sure what I used the other half for haha) and used that as a sort of a metal barricade.

The Sphere tank was simple but a lot of fun to paint. Originally I was going to paint it army green but after deciding to go with a black and white theme I went with shiny silver, plus that suited the whole vibe more anyway in my opinion. Mark, if you’re reading this, which I hope you are, I really love the tank man and thanks again!




Ok I’ll stop shouting at you all now hehe.

I really like painting minis to look black and white. It’s both simple but challenging. I had fun painting all the minis in that style but, I’ve got to say, the metal Martian minis from Roger were really fun to paint. They’re great sculpts. My favourite is the one with the bazooka. 1. Well he has a bloody laser bazooka and 2. You can see his face clearly with is soooooo… I dunno 1950’s Retro Sc-Fi Martian haha. Brilliant. Thanks again Roger. I look forward to painting all the other minis you sent too.

Ok so the lasers!!! I am actually really, really, REALLY pleased with how they turned out. The idea was simple but the execution was fiddly and sticky. What I did was use one thin piece of craft wire (the kind you’d find for fake flowers) for one of the lasers and painted it bright green. I glued one end to the end of a pistol. Then I tore up a bit of cushion stuffing and glued that around the muzzle of the pistol to try and create like a blast or flare/flash look. It doesn’t look amazing but I think it’s not too shabby either. I did the same for the Sphere Tank Canon but used five or six pieces of wire and painted it bright red instead. I did the same thing for the blast flash but in red.

Alright gang, I’ve blabbed on enough, lets look at some pix and see what you think. Oh, a quick note on the photos. I did edit them but only tinkered with the saturation, to give the lasers more glare and I also took out some of the warmth from the pictures too. Other than that the rest is just my black and white painting with bright green and red lasers hehe. Enjoy…

Ok that was a shit load of photos but I’m just proud of it.

One more. This one has had no editing and shows the full diorama.

That was a big post hehe.

I’m off to enjoy some more Scotch now.

Once again, Happy New Year to you all.



46 thoughts on “Sci-Fi/Pulp/Retro Diorama”

  1. Absolutely brilliant! I love everything about it, and you are very brave to go down the B/W route, not something I’d dare try myself! Mark’s tank looks awesome next to our “Retrovian” figures, and the lasers, well they are a stroke of genius, it just all works so well, I may be a little biased here but i think it’s the best thing you’ve done in 2020 (and you have done some terrific stuff!). Best of all you haven’t taken a knife to my babies! I was a little worried about that 😁.

    Oh and yes the Priest in the identical pose in the two pictures is a little weird isn’t it!

    Have a great new year, and thanks for sharing this, mate.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks mate. I’m really glad you liked it because I guess, in a way, I was really only making it for you and Mark but of course others can enjoy it too hehe.I do t tend to convert metals so all the little fellas you sent me are safe haha. The priest thing is so weird. I remember first realising it about 11 years ago and, at the time, couldn’t find any references about it on line. I’ll have to have another look. Thanks again Roger.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Buddy IRO, I am deeply moved, honored, and impressed with your work here. This is absolutely inspired and brilliant (if I could add to that I would), and It is so cool to see you add Roger’s Retrovians and your own cool minis to this dynamic scene. I love how you used the sonic cannon team. To see someone else take a creation of mine (that being my 400g/14 oz fully metal Mark 1 Sphere Tank) and make it into something totally awesome is a unique feeling that I will treasure always. I’m sure that painting the Mark 1 did give you a workout while painting! As for Roger’s Retrovians you may remember that I coincidentally featured my Retrovian platoon in my hobby blog (12/2019) and gaming activities (3/2020 – the only convention I went to before COVID this year). As for the dio, IT POPS. The black and white are brilliantly executed and my God – lasers! Excellent photography too. The mood is perfect, and I do like the priest image. In my tiny way, I am glad I helped to make your shelf a bit cooler (a very difficult assignment indeed as your stuff rocks) – but of course all the credit is to you and not me! So cool and I will be sharing this dio gem too as well with some folks over here. Your mini creations are so on point too. Just to be part of a project that includes you and Roger, so cool – as I have so much respect for Roger – and you of course. Please know that there is a downside to this project, my face hurts from so much smiling! For everyone else, you may enjoy some of what IRO referred to – so as for references (which some may not have seen) here is the link post on the creation of the Mark 1, here is the link on the Retrovians I got from Roger and painted, and here is a link on the con where the Mark 1’s and the Retrovians both came out to play and THANK YOU!!!!!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜Ž

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Thanks Mark. I really enjoyed painting the tank. It’s a nice solid piece and even though the colour scheme is simple I think it works well for the setting. Sorry, I should have included the link to that awesome post so thanks for doing that. Who knows, maybe we (me, you, Roger and anybody else) could do a collaboration somewhere down the track. That’d be cool.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. A collaboration with the two of you could be fun, of course the other thing we all have in common is WW2 (just saying). but I’m up for most things (don’t take that the wrong way Luke!).

        And Mark I keep telling you there is no rush with your conquistadors, you don’t need to finish them till mid May! πŸ˜‰

        Cheers Roger.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks mate. I enjoyed this one. For the scotch it’s called Glen Grant and was a 10 year old single malt. Delicious. A friend of mine just gave me a bottle of Kraken Spiced Rum so I look forward to having a few cheeky nips of that soon too hehe. Happy New Year man

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Sorry I am late to the party mate! Well, what’s not to like about this one? Love the figures and the tank and the base work is spot on but for me the lasers steal the show visually simply because of the dramatic colour they add to it. Excellent mate and one of your very best for sure. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Happy New Year’s and this is quite a project! I love how ambitious it is and the black and white with the only color being the laser bolts really makes it looks striking. I think you brought your 40k sensibilities to this retro subject matter and the results are brilliant πŸ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cheers Kuribo. It was both challenging and lots of fun. Having black and white was going to be the only original challenge but then I thought I needed lasers of course. This kind of threw a spanner into the works but it turned out to be a very cool spanner hehe. Happy New Year to you mate.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh mate, Happy New Year to you too! This diorama is bloody clever, you’ve outdone yourself. I keep looking at it and spotting new details! It’s like a scene from an old sci-fi (put it this way, if this was a clip from a film I’d watch the whole movie right away).
    Fun fact; about 12 years or so ago I tried to make a miniature based around a ping-pong ball. I don’t think I have any pictures of it anymore, and the thing itself is long lost to time, so you’ll have to trust me that it was one of the shittest things you could ever see. This, it goes without saying, is infinitely better.
    Now away and have another dram on me!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. For some reason this post didn’t come up on my feed, and it was only Mark sharing it on his blog that I knew about it ( DAMN BLOGGER! DAMN YOU STRAIGHT TO HELL !)
    A truly fabulous piece of work combining all the gifted elements into a inspiring dio that has loads of interaction, between the models and the whole aesthetic works wonderfully.
    Hope you have a great year IRO

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Excellent work as always! I love the black and white with the contrast of the lasers. I think I had mentioned that previously on Instagram, but it’s so cool that I’m saying it again! πŸ˜› Plus, I can see all the detail that much better on your blog via my laptop compared to when I’m on Instagram on my phone.
    Also, yay Dali! Such an amazingly creative mind/artist!

    Liked by 1 person

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