To My Figure Posing Angles
Some modelling terms I use with my figures, and I
hope that they can help to explain how I base my figures.
Cause and Effect
Base Overhang Weight
One thing I have just remembered after all this
time regarding my figures and bases, is never have anything aligned level
with the edge of the base, especially with square or rectangular one's. I
learned this trick some years ago when I was making 1/48th scale aircraft, and
that is how to add a very subtle extra effect to the whole diorama. The problem is that this trick comes naturally to
me now after 30 odd years of model making, and it was only with the posing my
Ardennes figure that I remembered it.
A good way of explaining this method is with this
The text below is from the above site.
Before I go any
further, a few thoughts on planning a diorama. It is crucial that you do not lay
out the model and other components in a symmetrical fashion but rather random.
This means that if you are using a carrier deck scene, be sure that the planks
on the carrier deck are running at a different angle from the edge of the base,
and again it helps to place the aircraft model at a different angle than the
direction of the deck to avoid too many lines being parallel. Also, in many
books you will read that you must have the entire model within the boundaries of
the base. I disagree with this, as many dioramas I have seen (mine included)
have “dead space” where there is nothing happening. You want the base to help
tell a story, or show off a specific object or objects and when a base is too
large the idea is usually lost! Placing the model at an angle where the wings
overhang creates interest for the viewer.
A clever trick that was shown to me by a modeller,
was to have the aircraft nose aimed at a corner of the base, but in a model show
present the diorama square on to the viewer. And I was surprised to see how many
people looked at the model, but then re-positioned themselves to view the model
from the nose on view. This can be obtained with the position of the figure to
the corners and edges, and also with a slight turn of the figure's head. Because
the viewer will automatically want to see the figure's eyes.
The pictures of my kitbash below will help to
explain this method better, the picture below left is from square on to it level
with the base edges. But in the other picture, you are now looking at it from a
corner, straight into the figure's eyes. This is a very clever psychological
trick used by modellers to add effect to a diorama, and to create extra interest
in the whole model. You can also use this with 1/6th figure's, in that you could
have the figure looking down (the viewer then has to stoop down to see the
face), pointing off the diorama (you will be surprised at how many people follow
the finger where it is aiming), or you could have two figure's (or one single
one) passing something either between them or give the impression that the
single figure is passing something to someone off the diorama. and from that the
viewer will want to know what it is.
Cause and Effect
Another end result I have tried to show here with
my figure above, is Cause and Effect. The figure is leaning backwards because
the Cause is that he is getting ready for the recoil from the rifle firing.
The Effect will be that he will be pushed backwards because of the recoil slightly. I
have already used this method with my
Bayonet diorama, in that
the Cause was the US paratrooper's defensive move, which caused the Effect of
the German to become unbalanced. Another effect to include is to have figure's head
positioned downward slightly, to make it look like he is looking off the diorama
at where he wants the grenade to land. (Which will force the viewer to stoop
down to see the face, because it is partially covered by the helmet rim).
One more thing to mention is Dead Space, this
is a part of the diorama that does not have anything to do with the model, a
better explanation of it is wasted space. This is shown in the picture on the right,
with the arrows pointing out the wasted (Dead Space).
Note: It is no good just chucking
bits from your spares box into this to fill it up, use the pieces constructively
to add more effect to the diorama. It can be something as simple as used bullet
casings, which have landed from the weapon that figure is supposed to be firing.
You also could fill the space with some raised landscaping, or a small bush or
So try to keep the space a small as possible, but
also try to remember at the same time, don't use too small a base for the figure
so that it looks cramped. With circular bases, that is a whole different ball
game, with these you can play about with
centring the figure,
or even better slightly off
centre to add effect, in fact with bases and effects the options are endless. I have been told that model shows have been either
won or lost by using these methods....
To help to explain about getting the angles
looking right for my figure, I have put three pictures above demonstrating what
I mean. Because if you look at the red lines in the pictures, none of them are
level or running alongside the base edges. Also, in taking these pictures I have
re-positioned the figure slightly, to hopefully lose some of the Dead Space.
In the first picture above left, I have brought
the rifle butt further forward in front of the knee to make that space smaller.
And in the third picture above I have added a grenade bag to the figure, which
distracts the viewer away from the Dead Space plus it fills it better when
looking at the figure from above.
While I was stripping my figure back down to sort
out the equipment on his belt, I realised about another point that I use with my
figures this is what I call Base Overhang. This is where you have some part of the figure outside of
the base edges, as can be seen in the above pictures. In this case it is the
hand holding the grenade, because if I want to add another effect for the
extreme of an action pose. With this size of base, the hand has to be extended
outside the base edges.
This then brings in the problem with Dead Space
as the figure in this pose does not have a weapon. So to get around this, in the
first picture above I have used a sub machine gun rather than the rifle to fill
the space at the front of the base. And with the careful posing of the figure
and his belt equipment I can lose some of the rear Dead Space as well. With this
size of base, the figure is starting to look cramped in this pose.
So in the next two pictures above I have used a
larger base to pose my figure on, so I can extend both of the arms to the full
extent to make it look like he is at the limit of action before throwing the
grenade. And as mentioned above this again brings in a much bigger problem with
Dead Space because of the larger base with a single figure.
Part of this can be removed by extending the front
leg further forward, which will add the effect of the figure straining to
stretch himself to throw the grenade. And by repositioning the whole figure
slightly the space can be better used, plus the rifle can be placed onto the
base to lose some of the front Dead Space, but even by doing that the base still
looks too large for the single figure. So as this is the better size, it does mean a lot more work in trying to fill the empty space around
So by looking at the picture on the right above,
it is a case of trial and error to get the pose and base correct for the figure
and the pose. Because in this picture I have deliberately posed the figure to
show both the base overhang of the arms and that the figure really does look
cramped on this smaller base.
This effect came about by accident during the
build of a kitbash, because I wanted the figure look like he is carrying
something heavy. And this can easily be shown with a figure like the one on the
right, in this picture I have tried to make it look like the soldier is
struggling with carrying a full jerry can of fuel.
A is the
outstretched arm which we all do naturally to try to balance the weight so we
can carry it, the arm has to be only moved out slightly to give the illusion
that the item he is carrying is heavy.
is where I have bent the figure at the
waist and chest joints to add to the illusion of the full fuel can, also I have
bent the figure forward slightly and the arm carrying the can back from the
straight down position. Also with the can being carried in this way, it will be
slightly behind the figure when he is walking in this way, because he is
shifting the weight so that it will swing forward with his next step thereby
balancing the weight.
With this pose for my figure I have experimented
with only small subtle changes to either the arms, body or load. So I can give
the impression that the figure is actually carrying the fuel can, not just
having it hang down from his arm. Another pose that could be carried out, is to
bend the torso forward slightly and twist it so that the can is almost behind
him. Bring the other arm forward more to give the impression of balance, and it will
look like the figure is getting ready to swing the can upwards onto a vehicle.
I hope that these points will help you with your
Other Links for Dioramas
My Modelling Help Links Page -
Basic Construction Tips -
Making Dioramas -
Diorama Bases and construction -
Diorama Groundwork -
Diorama Man -
Diorama Man Tutorial -