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F.A.Q Dioramas - by Rubén Gonzalez - AK- Interactive


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Rubén Gonzalez







Price: €80,52


Rubén González is a master model, worldwide recognition in the diorama modelling.



And this book is not a small thing: 559

The English version was translate by Pete Hamann, so we can be sure of a smooth and unblemished text.


Ruben`s work is world wide knowed and this FAQ is a reference to all modellers, being or not a diorama builder.


The book is divided into four main chapters and sub-chapters.

The index is a little weird but I think it's like I said: 4 chapters (chapter n.º 3 has eight subchapters) and then we have the conclusions and acknowledgments).


               The main chapters and sub-chapters are:

       I.            Concepts, Bases, and displays;

       II.            Theory of composition in 3D

       III.            Techniques

               a.      Bases;

               b.      Ground and terrain;

              c.      Vegetation;

              d.     Artificial elements

              e.      Miscellaneous

              f.       Figures

             g.      Constructions and Atmosphere

             h.     Common Mistakes, shows and contests;

      IV.            Gallery

      V.            Conclusions

      VI.            Acknowledgements




      The first chapter is just one page, with bases, concepts and stands basic aspects.

     The second one (theory of composition in 3D) is all about diorama composition with several essentials notions for square, round or rectangular composition.


 The third chapters is the biggest one: Techniques.


 It is structured to present itself as evolutionary as the work of a diorama.

So it begins with the making of the bases, from those that are a simple terrain, or with multiple unevenness.




After, it goes forward to the terrain, like desert, mud, sand, stones and rocks, asphalt, cement, puddles, explosions crates.

Its looks so, so simple and using several different products like Humbrol Enamel, generic white glue, AK washes, Mig washes, Vallejo still water.























One particular part that I really liked in this chapter was the special effects one because it presents step-by-step of explosion crater, road sinkhole, puddle and, of course, water.








After the terrain in its various forms, we move on to vegetation.

Here, you will learn to work with the vegetation products like ModelScene, Joe Fix and Mininatur as well as other products and scratchbuild plants.










Every imaginary type of vegetation is covered with step-by-step. I particularly enjoy the “plants with the sense of movement” and all Trees subject.


The tree step-by-step you get conifers using real wood  trunk and mimics branches, fruits trees with real wood trunk, miliput roots and natural plants for the branches and so on, like wire made tree, palm tree.


Still in the vegetation sub-chapter, I once again highlight the special effects (ground cover, fallen leaves, and mushrooms), as they add extra detail and interest to the final work. Also love the Tropical Tree with step-by-step wines, a work that will have in the final a shot down chopper.



The next sup-chapter is the artificial elements: vertical elements, architecture and accessory items.

In this, there are mainly urban vertical elements like lamppost, wooden power pole, tall electrical poll (in full scratch), metal signs, stone signs post, wood signs and traffic signs.









In the architecture part, you guess it right: buildings.


Starting with wood shed in full scratch with the steps. Great tutorial. Next a burned shed which is awesome!



Still in building, the author give us a 24th scale gas station in full scratch once again, and also with a step-by-step.

Then there are several forays into smaller jobs, from brick wall, to bad cone building.

At the end this chapter, the author embarks on the large buildings, starting soon a row of two-story houses, in full scratch and several others houses and buildings like the house with a balcony or apartment building (full front) with full scratch.



Bunkers are not forgotten, this time not in scratch but using a verlinden bunker, and all the painting and weathering are in step-by-step. Brilliant stuff.



Leaving the building sub-chapers, we enter the accessory items like doors, windows, roofs etc.

Starting with several types of metal doors with glasses (and broken glasses), several types of wood doors, then rolllup doors






Then the top of the building got the attention: Roofs.

And as all others aspects, you get metal roofs, shingled roof, tile roof, wood roof.

All with painting and full weathering.




To finalize, the author goes towards balconies, like patio with cinder block wall, cement patio and balcony.





The next sub-chapter is miscellaneous. The author mention that the biggest takeaway of this chapter is to tell you how to place and integrate these items into to your vignette or diorama.




So, through page 437 to 475, you are given step-by-step to deal with rugs, jersey barriers, chemical barrel, wooden crates, drink boxes, posters, curtains, footprints, curtains, footprints, boards, tarps, vending machines, wooden pallet and wooden fence.






Next one, the sub-chapter of figures.

Several painting step-by-step of figures are made and several basic tips are given, that are very useful to all diorama modelers.




If you want to go deeper in figure painting, so get the “F.A.Q. Figure Painting Techniques By Kiril Kanaev”, that we review here.




The final sub-chapter is almost as the book started – Composition with figures and integration into the diorama.

It`s possible to see several diagrams with figure position into diorama and their balance between the figures, the building and specially with the main piece (AFV or Airplane) and also integration of the figures to blend to the terrain, either with oils, pigments and acrylics.








Last but not the least, the integration of the building itself to the terrain and the atmosphere.




I was curious to know what this atmosphere was about.

Opening the pages, it`s the work of integrating the buildings to the season of the year that we want to represent in our directory and in which we already had to have this option when making the land. This is how to create the temporal environment in which the story that we believe appears in our diorama, be it autumn, winter or summer, jungle, sand, etc.













In the next chapter, we have the “common mistakes, shows and contest”.

Here the author makes some comments about the categories in the contests and the work of the jury.

And the author draws up a list of common mistakes in the various “actors” of a diorama – vehicles, figures, building, terrain, composition and cohesiveness.      


Finally the last chapter: Gallery with fantastic works from the author.










Well, this book has a lot of information that is impossible to summarize it in a way worthy of the book itself.

Its information is very well compiled and structured, allowing access to it in a very easy way, not only for reading but for the immense step-by-step that the author presents us throughout the book.

Several material are used from several brands, just don't worry that it's not an AK book to show only AK material.

It is a real must-have not only for model makers but for all model makers because there are techniques here that are universally used in all areas of model making.

So, I can only say that this book is highly recommended to all modelers even to those that aren’t diorama makers.

My truly thanks to Fernando Vallejo and AK-Interactive for the review sample.




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