My wife and I wanted to have a comic themed wedding, so we designed all the table center pieces as specific locations within the comic universes. A guest specifically asked us to create a table grouping for Wakanda, hidden African country located within Africa and home to the superhero - The Black Panther. Let's get started!
- 1 inch pink insulation foam
- Electronic tea light (optional)
- spray adhesive. I personally like a medium grade. Anything stronger might eat the foam.
- caulking (I like Kwikseal)
- hot glue
- Clear Coat Spray
- Carving tool (optional)
- acrylic paint
- snap blade utility knife
-Marvel Heroclix Black Panther figurine
-plastic flowers/ grass
Step 1: Reference Picture and Assembly
1. Find the picture you want so that you have a rough idea to go by. (pic 1)
2. Cut out blocks of your insulation foam and stick them together using your spray adhesive. (pic 2). Leave the assembly alone for maybe 10 minutes to dry.
3. Once assembled, start drawing the rough outline of the scene on the foam. For mine, i found a picture of Wakanda that had a giant panther to the right and a cliff to the left of the scene.
Step 2: Carve, Sand, and Caulk
* You will get a lot of foam all over the place so just keep that in mind.
1.Since you have your rough sketch drawn directly on the foam, you know where your cliff and your panther relatively begin and end. In order to start on your cliff, begin by using your utility knife and chopping off the major unneeded parts from the scene. i extended my blade to a long length and started cutting wedges out of the foam in miscellaneous directions. Always look at/ think about your reference picture. Ask yourself, "what would stones look like on top of each other."
2. For the panther section of the build, its easier to take gradual slices off. Remember that it is easier to remove something than to reattach it. Just take your time and don't be afraid to redraw the sketch on as needed. If you have carving tools, you can use them here. i have a wire carving took that allowed me to pull foam off from in between the panther's legs.
3. In the event you need to add foam on, its easiest to use the adhesive spray and join the two pieces. For example, in pic 1, I realized that i wasn't going to be able to carve the head of the panther from the existing foam. I had to cut a chunk of insulation foam and attach it to the face of the panther.
4. Once you have a rough cut of the panther, take your sandpaper and sand it to your desired smoothness. Just keep in mind that it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth as its supposed to still resemble a carved rock panther. (pic 2)
5. Use caulk to fill in any gaps between layers or within the foam.
Step 3: Painting and Details
1. When painting rocks and natural terrane, remember that rock and dirt are comprised of many colors. I suggest painting the whole cliff a darker color as an under layer.
2. Once dry, do a dry brush technique and add a lighter color on top of the darker paint. Dry brush is where you take a fluffier/ wider brush, dip it is a very very little amount of paint, wipe the access off, and "dust" the object you are trying to brush.. think more "dusting" than "saturating" with paint.
3. Do the same to your panther. I used a jet black for the under coat and i then used an off black for a dry brush. doing it this way accentuated the different angles that were left in the panther, thus still giving it a rock appearance.
4. Once done painting, you can spray the piece with some clear coat just to add a layer of protection.
5. Last is to add your details. I hot glued in a few heroclix figures, some dry grass, some long plastic grass in the back, and a few rocks to various places on the set.
6. I later decided i wanted to make the center piece light up so encased a tea light in a hollowed out piece of insulation foam. I placed that portion in between the panthers legs, sealed the seam with some caulk, and painted it.