What MAY be an actual production sketch of the wall. I based much of my build on this photo.
So, now that I knew want scale I was working in, the next step was to figure out how big the scene would be. I figured that a two foot wide by one foot deep diorama would allow enough room to have all the display elements in the scene without being
too crowded. I made a rough full size sketch of the wall and gate using the Kong figure as a ruler so to speak.
My plan had always been to use 1” thick sheets of insulation foam as the basic starting point because of the light weight and ease
of cutting and carving. The maximum height of the wall (not counting the gong structure) would be 16” and spanning 24” which was the total width of the base. The doors would be about 3 ½ ” x 11” each and they would be stick built
and functioning for better detailing opportunities.
I used a layered technique for the buttresses which, depending on their design and placement, were one or two layers of 1/8” and 1/4” foam board from which the cardboard was removed (it
peals off pretty easily). Be sure to use PVA based adhesives to glue the foam together. I'll usually randomly poke very shallow holes in the surfaces that will be glued but out of sight to give the glue something to “bite” into. Under NO circumstance
use ANY solvent based glues or adhesives because the solvents WILL melt the foam!
The next step was to build the wall details, specifically the gong on top of the wall, the huge stairway and the side support structures that held the massive beam that
barred the doors. The gong's pillars, gong, glyph above the doorway, door hinges and stairs were printed on my 3D printer once I found suitable designs on Thingaverse, my 'go to' site for my modeling needs. The great thing about 3D printing is that you can
manipulate the printing recipes to make an object as big or small as you like along with other any tweaks you may need to fit just about any application. I set these parts aside to be installed later.
Once the basic wall was constructed, I used a very
dull dental pick/tool to make the mortar lines. To avoid tearing the foam, the trick is to lay the pointed end of the tool on the foam and drag it towards you to make a impression in the foam. I free handed the lines so they aren't perfectly straight which
was the look I was going for. This process was probably the most time consuming part of the build up since I estimate there are at least several hundred lines on the structure. I tried to make the blocks large but not so much so that it wouldn't destroy the
illusion that the wall had been built by humans. Additionally, the blocks were NOT uniform for the most part to resemble the walls at Machu Picchu suggesting that it was constructed as quickly as possible with what was available.