1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

1/72 Diorama - Hillside Skirmish

Discussion in 'Under Construction' started by Dillon, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Dillon

    Dillon Guest


    Many years ago – or it feels like it at least, I posted on the Airfix forum pictures of my D-Day Omaha Beach diorama, well since then progress has been slow! The diorama was 6’ by 4’ and weighed in at 12 stone. Work on this came to a halt when I was persuaded by my better half to buy a dog. Since the arrival of the dog the diorama has had to remain uncompleted with no space to work on it and leave it where the hound can’t get at it.

    So subsequently I have started two much smaller dioramas both measuring 18” by 24” approximately.

    The first is entitled – A Hillside Skirmish!


    The diorama is made in a MDF box – I used a very similar technique to the previous D-Day diorama but learnt from my mistakes (of which there were many!). Technically this is only my second attempt at making a diorama and will probably be the first to diorama I complete.

    The terrain is made from Mod-Roc or plaster bandage, the ground levels are built in polystyrene and florists oasis blocks to keep the weight to a minimum. The Oasis blocks are easily carved and allow a lot more detail to be included plus they can be shaped to a smooth finish rather than normal polystyrene which breaks leaving beads rather than contours.

    The plaster bandage was then stained use various shades of pigments, this was followed by the scatter – I think there are approximately 15 types/shades of scatter used, techniques like feathering and layering of the scatter have hopefully reduced the “one-tone” grass/soil effect.

    The rock faces are all cast in Lightweight Hydrocal and stained using three shades of pigments, they have been sealed using a PVA wash and then a fine soil scatter has been blown on to the rock faces to add a further layer of texture. The rock faces were fitted after the terrain shell had been made but before any scatter had been applied.

    The scatter was applied in several layers over two days each layer sealed with a mist of PVA glue and water. Then further medium ground cover was applied using Underbrush and Clump Foliage, this was secured using PVA. For the last level of ground cover there are currently only two trees, these were bought in a kit and assembled along with five more which have yet to be fixed on the top right hand back corner.

    The diorama has had a 1/72 scale Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf.D (Dragon) which is incomplete placed on the road to give an idea of scale. The finished diorama will feature two of these half tracks on the road in a convoy with a Sd.Kfz 171 Panther G (Dragon – Late Version) model in between them. I have got Milicast German drivers to make for each of the halftracks having found that the SHQ miniatures don’t fit (Scale too large) and AB Figures seated for one halftrack and disembarking for the second.



    Once the trees are fitted at the top – I shall fit approximately 15 AB Figures skirmishing/advancing across the hill tops above the road.

    I am debating if I should have the Panther being worked on by Mechanics or fuelled as if the convoy has had to come to a rest hence the infantry disembarking and securing the area.

    Anyway whilst I wait for the delivery of my AB figures I have made a start on my third diorama – An Artillery Position based on an image seen in “Weapons of World War II by Alexander Ludeke” – a great reference book with some interesting photos. This diorama shall feature two American M2-A1 10.5cm Howitzers dug into a slope with a small command bunker and two slit trenches at the base of the slope for infantry and machine gun positions. Photos to follow in a new thread.

    If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for either diorama or just wants to leave some feedback I would be extremely grateful.


  2. rjwood_uk

    rjwood_uk Guest

    wow they are very nice and pretty impressive Dillon.

    i cant imagine how big your other one is!

    very nicely done!
  3. twitch_tweak

    twitch_tweak Guest

    Its looking really nice so far! I'm still in the process of puttin mine together (http://www.scale-models.co.uk/under-construction/5088-my-first-diorama-wwii-battle.html), and havent had time to work on it in what seems like forever! I'm looking forward to seeing this progress :)
  4. Dillon

    Dillon Guest

    Hi Patrick,

    I have had a look at your diorama it's looking really good, like you I don’t seem to have enough time in the day to do as much work on it as I would like. Did you use Woodland Scenics Tree Kits? If so how did you find gluing on the underbrush?

    Thanks for the compliments, likewise Richard.


    I shall post more Pics soon.
  5. twitch_tweak

    twitch_tweak Guest

    Hey Dillon, yes I did use woodland scenic trees. I'm not quite sure what you need to know specifically so I'll try to explain a little bit of everything... Before I get started just letting you know that most of the ideas I got from this site..

    How to Make a Diorama

    Just click on start the tutorial and go through the pages, it's quite helpful :)
    But anyways, most of the bushes I first applied a good amount of Hob-e-tac glu to the bottom, and held them on their spot for about a minute or so to let the glue set. I would then continue to add more brush and weeds around the area as I did with the first bushes. Then after i was done with a certain area I sprayed the whole aea with scenic cement. And for any underbrush I just used the same method but placed the bushes/weeds under the trees. Also I'm not sure if you glued the trees on with or without the attachable base. My diormama's terrain is so uneven it was hard to find a flat spot to actually make it so the trees would stand with the base on. I tried the trees with the bases for awhile, but finally got fed up with them. I ended up taking a medium sized sewing needle and poking holes in the ground, and simply glueing the tree's base insert in the hole. It works out a lot easier and you dont have to hold the tree in place because the ground does for you :)

    But judging from your pictures you already seem to have a good sense of how to apply the vegetation. One thing I might do, and am actually working on in my diorama, is darken up the areas of the trail where tires and tank treads would have run through. Then go back and add in a touch of growth in the middle section (right in between the tire/tank tread marks) because you always see that little section of growth in the middle of dirt roads.
  6. Dillon

    Dillon Guest

    Hi Patrick,

    Sorry for being so vague, I asked about your trees because I used the Woodland Scenics tree kit and struggled - mainly because I had no Hob-e-tac or tacky glue and as a result of using normal PVA found that a lot of the underbrush/foliage fell off before the glue dried. I have since bought some tacky glue and this works much better, I am also replacing a majority of the trees - the initial kit had trees up to 2" tall, some of these are being replaced with larger trees which came from a separate tree armature bag.

    The photos don't show this particularly clearly but I have some vegetation between the ruts on the road already. The next stage for me is to add some taller grass using Field grass.

    I am also now busy painting the AB Figures which have recently arrived. Once the seated figures and drivers are done I can then finish the Halftracks and start with the weathering.

    I look forward to seeing the progress on your diorama.

    Kind Regards


    P.S. I Pierced holes in the plaster cloth to attach the trees, not flat surfaces for the bases.

Share This Page