Runabout Crash Diorama from Scraps

A failed 3D print. Some scrap plywood. Leftover plaster. Dollar-store acrylic paints. Put them together and you get something special – a runabout crash diorama!

The key to this, I found, was simply patience and layering. There’s nothing more to getting a good, satisfying paint job that tells a story than setting a goal, an idea you want to express, and adding layers until you get to where you want to be.

A runabout crash diorama is only as interesting as the place it crashes! That makes this another great example of my mantra of “Good input makes good output.” I looked at plenty of reference images for this so that I could replicate natural- and interesting-looking mineral flows. Everything from the navy and turquoise of the pools to the salt-white crystals around the edge to the gradations of orange and red where water is flowing to the dusty, crusty yellow steps of old sulfur deposits speaks to the main idea. Every element I adopted from the reference material helped tell the story.

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We have a couple of other things planned for this runabout crash diorama, but I’m also open to selling it if someone wants it. Email me at if you’re interested!

Hey, if you like runabouts, you might like this post I wrote ages ago about a post-DS9 runabout, which was the Fort Romaine class.


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