Inspired by Phil Robinson’s article on his photo box (Link), I undertook to construct one myself. I used some foam board I had on hand. Since the board was already cut to a square of 400mm x 400mm I decided to work with that width but limit the depth to 200mm. This would give me an internal area, or stage floor, of 370mm x 185mm. The height was always going to be 150mm. So with a scalpel and a straight edge I started cutting and gluing. In a matter of minutes I had my basic box built.
Having built the basic “stage” I set about building some scenery for it. First and foremost was to create the ground cover. At first I thought of flocked texture, but then thought better if it. A flocked texture allows the figures to sit a bit too high, so I decided to go with a flat painted surface. Using a piece of foam board that was left over from the main stage and I cut it to just under the internal size of the stage floor. I then sprayed the whole surface a dark green. When that was dry I added some earth patches using in Burnt Sienna that was tinted with yellow and white, dabbing it on with a piece of foamed rubber. Then I dabbed and various tones of green to create a grass effect. The result is not quite what I wanted and I may end up using a piece of felt.
I then created some backgrounds. I am no artist so for this I intended to use some colour laser prints. At first I looked through my own digital photo library, but couldn’t find enough suitable rural shots. Then I thought of Google Street View and began to run along a few roads in rural France (at Gravelotte and Froeschweiller specifically) and made a few screen captures. Then taking this into Photoshop, cropped them accordingly then printed them onto A3 paper and trimmed them to fit across the back of the stage. It doesn’t matter that some of these are a little pixelated, because they will generally be out of focus anyway. I made about five backgrounds so that I can have some variety.
Next I gathered made some foreground scenery, fixing them so some spare plastic bases that came from the Perry plastic Russians. These included some areas of stones, grass tufts, some wheat tufts, logs, hedges and a couple of trees. Like all good stage scenery, these pieces only had to look good from the front.
Here are the first results on the “Stage”