For most of 2023, I had been eyeballing the Mezco Toys 5 Points XL Godzilla vs Hedorah box set at a local store. Not only is Hedorah one of my favourite kaiju in the Godzilla franchise, but this set comes with buildings! Because of this, it would be the perfect starting point for an awesome diorama. Last December I finally caved and bought it after some persuasion from a friend. After all, why shouldn’t I treat myself for Christmas?
First Version: This One Does Not Spark Joy
To start off this journey, I arranged the items on a cutting mat. While the movement of these figures is limited, you can get easily get a fun fight scene out of them. I kept playing around with these figures until I was pleased with their poses, and measured the required base size. As it turned out, a 25x15x18cm would be perfect so I ordered one from Amazon.
Once the case was delivered, I proceeded to cut out cardboard to the base size to ensure it would fit. And this is where I made a big mistake: I got lazy. Instead of using that cardboard as a template for a slab of wood or foam, I instead stuck a layer of clay onto cardboard. More on why this was a bad idea later.
After letting the clay dry overnight I painted it brown with acrylic paints, and grey for the road area. Once the paint had dried, I used watered down PVA (white wood glue) to apply The Army Painter’s grass and brown battleground gravel. Some normal PVA was used to attach some rocks and tufts of grass. All in all, this build only took me 2 days to complete and I turned out “acceptable”.
Now remember when I said I made a big mistake? Well, in the following days the clay dried out fully, and in the process curled up along with the cardboard. I now had a concave diorama and the more I looked at it, the more I felt like I could do a lot better. So, I did!
The Redo: This One Sparks Joy!
For the redo I would re-create the same layout and poses using the same techniques. But, I would a few major differences:
- Use high density foam for the base.
- Carve into the foam and add clay ONLY where it’s needed.
- Add weathering to the buildings.
- Work in some story-telling.
The first 2 are self-explanatory. I picked up some foam base plates and carved into them at the feet of the kaiju so they can still stand sunken into the ground. For the buildings, I decided to throw away all resell value and weathered them. On the first version the buildings looked way too clean, making them stand out too much. Finally, for story telling I embraced Hedorah’s lore. Hedorah is a pollution monster, everything it touches dies and melts away. As such, I made the ground behind and around Hedorah look charred with dead bushes, while Godzilla’s side looks alive. I also added peat/brown soil which heavily cuts down the amount of grass and gravel making the environment look more like an country-side industrial site.
Ultimately, I am very pleased with how this diorama turned out. Sometimes starting over can be for the best. I learned some new things about materials as well which is nice. But that’s all for now.