Welcome To My Figure Posing Angles Page.

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   Dead Space   Explaining Angles   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 webpage - Diorama Bases

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).

Dead Space

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 tree


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....

Explaining Angles

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.

Base Overhang

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 again, 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 the figure


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.


B 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 figure modelling.


Other Links for Dioramas

My Modelling Help Links Page - http://www.johkaz.co.uk/modelling.html

Basic Construction Tips - http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/models/dioramas/dioramas.htm

Making Dioramas - http://www.angelfire.com/oh3/pmodels/diorama.html

Diorama Bases and construction - http://www.swannysmodels.com/Dioramas.html

Diorama Groundwork - http://www.ipmsstockholm.org/magazine/2002/06/stuff_eng_tech_diorama_bases.htm

Diorama Man - http://www.stormthecastle.com/mainpages/dioramas/diorama_index.htm

Diorama Man Tutorial - http://www.stormthecastle.com/mainpages/dioramas/diorama_tutorial1.htm


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