From the very beginning of Cosmic Legions, we have said that narrative, and the way that the stories of these characters would be presented, would be a big part of this line. This has been seen in the short stories that accompanied the Outpost Zaxxius characters, as well as in the “log entries” that have been part of the first OxKrewe wave. In addition to this written content, the images and environments of the first few Cosmic Legions waves have also been a very deliberate part of the rollouts. For the initial Hvalkatar waves, our studio partnered with Crashbox Customs and One:Six Shooter to develop the “cells” of the Hvalkatar prison so that Thygar and the rest of the Gravering could be shot against those story-specific environments.
For the second important chapter in the Cosmic Legions story, we knew we had to go even bigger for the scenes we wanted to present. While the Hvalkatar books are a bit more contained in the sense that they take place within the confines of a prison/manufacturing complex, the “ship crash” storyline of the OxKrewe wave, and the trials of the surviving crew on a strange planet, called for something bigger! Our very own Bill Mancuso and Dan Diana, two of the artists behind the life-size Kkurzog that debuted at LegionsCon last year, stepped up and delivered our most complex diorama scene to date! In this "Behind the Scenes" article we will look at the creation of the OxKrewe Campside Diorama.
The Story of the OxKrewe
One of the exciting aspects of the Cosmic Legions line is the chance to explore different flavors of science-fiction stories. One of the classic sci-fi tropes that Eric Treadaway wanted to work with from the start of the line was the idea of a team of heroes who were stranded on a strange and hostile planet after a ship crash. Traveling aboard a vessel called the Qorgonox, the “OxKrewe”, as they call themselves, are reclamation and recovery specialists who work the Rings of Cosmerrium, disassembling salvage sites and repurposing the raw materials from the wreckages they find.
Since the OxKrewe are salvage experts and not soldiers, their ship and gear is very limited on weaponry and more focused on the nature of the work that they do. Looking at the Qorgonox vessel itself (shown below), which Eric sculpted digitally quite some time ago, you will see that the rear end of this very large ship includes a number of containers where they would store the materials they have reclaimed. Those containers would become a central focal point for the campside diorama that would be created for this storyline.
While the Qorgonox is a large ship and the crew existing on this vessel would have been a sizable group, only 6 members of that crew make it out of the crash on the planet Thraxxon. To survive, they gather whatever materials they can salvage from the remains of their ship and then use those materials to erect a makeshift camp for shelter and security. This camp would become the central focus of the new diorama.
After discussing the needs of this scene, Bill and Dan began to plan out the layout for the environment. A damaged, but largely intact container would be the largest piece of the diorama, and mangled ladders and other pieces of the ship would still be attached to that structure. Bits of gear from the ship would be littered around the camp, including some crates and items that we would later reveal as a small diorama-style accessory set from the OxKrewe, Book One wave.
With a solid idea of what they would be creating, one of the first steps to the actual build process was a sketch to determine how large a full container from the ship would have to be. The Qorgonox is a big vessel, and the containers it hauls are also sizable, so it was decided that, for the sake of keeping the diorama to a reasonable size, the container would be cut in half for the display. The sketch below shows where they decided to do that.
Next, Bill did a rough physical layout of the scene they were planning by using a variety of toys he had lying around. Side note – this image is a wonderful example of the kinds of things Bill collects!
Finally, Bill took the elements they planned to create into ZBrush to start to build out the scene on screen. They used a digital model of Artemyss Silverchord for sizing reference, which is why in the images below you can see multiples of the Queen of Xylona’s Flock seemingly hanging out on Thraxxon! Bill used the Cosmic Legions Zeeri figure and the crates that would be part of the camp (and which were already printed as prototypes that were being painted for the wave itself) as reference points for sizing. You can see a variety of these digital layouts below.
The shipping container that the crew would use as their shelter was printed in 18 total pieces! Little extra bits were added on for details and the entire thing was assembled and painted. You can see the initial build of this container below.
To provide a sense of depth for the images that One:Six Shooter would take using this environment, a multi-level approach was selected for the project. While the camp would be in the foreground of the diorama on the largest piece of the display, there would be two other levels in the distance, one of which would include the remains of the front of the Qorgonox. You can see that layout in the renders we shared earlier in this article. This multi-level approach meant we also needed to recreate aspects of the landscape of Thraxxon, and Dan made all the rocks in the display based off of the Scapeback pieces and some specimen rocks that Eric had already sculpted. Because the Scapeback’s armor was meant to blend in with the landscape, starting with this digital file and altering it to create Thraxxon’s environment proved to be a very effective process. Below are some examples of these rocks and some thermal vents that Dan also created. Bill also dropped a few surprises into the rocks. Can you see them in the image of Kurnn Ray at the end of this article?
For the actual surface of the diorama, a number of large, flat pieces were created as a base and then covered with various kinds of "sand" for Thraxxon's barren expanse.
While the front of the crashed Qorgonox ship was not displayed at Power-Con, it was fully created for this diorama. That ship was built using Eric’s digital design and adjusting it for the extreme damage a crash landing on Thraxxon would have done to the vessel. The ship was printed in 4 pieces and assembled to create the final part shown below.
For the crates that litter the camp, and which were an early teaser we dropped into the empty dio at Power-con, George printed up both a large and a small container and Bill casted and molded them for the dio. This proved to be quicker than printing them all. The crates were painted differently than the ones that would come with the wave itself – in part to show variety and in part to speed up the creation process.
The Final Diorama
This incredible diorama and scenery took Bill and Dan approximately 4 weeks to build from scratch - 1 week for planning and digital design and 3 weeks of printing, assembly, and painting. The final diorama was used in the images for this wave. Below you can see a "Behind the Scenes" look at this setup in Trevor William's studio, and some of the images using this display can be seen at the start and end of this article.
Once the photos of the OxKrewe wave were done, the diorama was disassembled and carefully transported back to the studio so that the main part of the display could travel with us to Ohio for the aforementioned Power-Con 2023 event. Below you can see some of the images of the full diorama in the studio, as well as a shot of it displayed at Power-con.
Were you not able to make it to Power-con to see this incredible display in person? It will also be on exhibit at LegionsCon 2023 from November 11-12 in Whippany, NJ. The figures from the Cosmic Legions: OxKrewe, Book One - Thraxxon wave are available for preorder from StoreHorsemen.com until 9/17 at 11pm EST.
Published on 09.13.23