AT-AT Hoth Diorama

This was to be the first now scene I've ever tried to build. Though I've seen convincing snow scenes from skilled modelers I was worried I wouldn't be able to come up with a snow effect to do justice to the scene. I did a ton of research and some experimentation to figure out the "best" way to do it. Initially I settled on using Precision Ice and Snow products, which are basically fine powders that you sprinkle over glue. The results on their site look amazing, but after ordering the kit I didn't feel that the snow looked right in this scale (probably better in 1/35 or so). In the meantime I worked on the layout.

I arrived at the initial size basically as a matter of practicality. This is as small as it could be while portraying the scene. I wish it was bigger, and smaller! I cut a piece of thin plywood and played around with arranging the walker and speeder at various angles and decided on this. I framed the outside of the plywood with some foam type prefinished house trim, which turned out to be a pain to work with. Regardless of what snow I ended up using I knew that I wanted a plaster base, so I mixed up a batch and filled in the base, sculpting some ridges and footprints with a spare foot, and embedding some lava rock from the yard. Some dark paint is slopped around the rocks as well, seemed like the thing to do. Note the dramatic dining room table lighting. ;)

That's the imprint of the Revell Pocket Snowspeeder, which seems to be a pretty good match in scale to the AT-AT, based on the scene where it gets stomped. I actually rather lick this little kit, which I picked up while buying groceries. :) I didn't do much to modify it. I hunched over poor Dak in the back seat, and attached the cockpit open. Later I'd bend up the guns and bury them in snow as in the movie. Painting was fun, some random gray base color, then the usual weathering oils. I scratched up the windows and used some flat paint to show the frost.

Luke got a little extra attention, of course! I used the head from the Snowspeeder pilot, cleaned up a bit and attached to a 1/72 military figure I had. Using thin styrene strips and such I added some of the distinctive details from Luke's costume; flight straps, ribbed white vest, puffy collar, and gloves from masking tape. Please take notice of the Graflex ligtsaber on his belt! :)

Thanks to great suggestions from the good people at the RPF I settled on light weight spackle for the snow. Some testing with thinned spackle yielded great results. I thinned it with a lot of water, so it was more of a thin pancake batter consistency. When it dries the slightly grainy texture looks pretty darn snowy, and it flows well while you work with it, making it (somewhat) easy to create a drifty looking surface. It even seem to have a bit of sparkle which is interesting. I did spray it with some Future after drying, in an attempt to seal it and add a bit of shine. I didn't document this process well, so sorry, no pictures and I don't even remember what I did! So enjoy these pre-snow layout in the kitchen pictures instead!

I attached the walker to the base with a screw through the plywood and into one of the front feet. If need be it can be removed for transport, though I'd have to re-do the snow around the feet. Speaking of which, the snowy bits piling up around the crashed speeder, the feet, and on the walker are also made with the spackle. This time I wet it a lot less and used toothpicks and small brushes to apply it to detail areas, which was also great fun. I think I mixed some Future floor polish in as well, can't remember for sure. I also brushed some small areas and drips on the models with future, reasoning that the heat from the machinery would melt some of the snow and create wet areas, as you see on tanks. This doesn't show up well in pictures but is a fun effect when the light catches it.

All done! Now go have a look at the gallery pictures.

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