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Dioramas
Do you love dioramas & vignettes? We sure do.
Queen of the desert
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 02:13 AM UTC
Having already done a Miniart diorama kit, I thought I'd have a go at scratch building one for the Tamiya Matilda, I've not long finished. Having painted it the Caunter scheme (I blindly followed the kit paint colours), a North African scheme was calling.

A desert oasis sprang immediately to my mind, which isn't the most original to begin with. It became apparent my specific idea was even less so, when perusing youtube for technique ideas, so I in no way claim much (any) originality with this one.

Anyway, below is the tank subject in question.

I've already constructed some palm trees, so next will be a rock face.



D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 04:14 AM UTC
With the palm trees, I have followed Luke Towan's method. My brother in law is a sparky so I easily sourced some 2.7mm solid core wire for the basis of the trunks. I stripped off about 1.5cm (19/32") off the bottom. Florists wire was wrapped around irregularly creating ridges with gaps in between.

The leaves were downloaded from his website and I went for both palm tree fronds as well as a fan version as well. Some time ago I bought the better half to a Cricut machine which was perfect for cutting the fronds. I found that the cricut didn't need the addition of self adhesive plastic, instead using card from the wife's stash - 216 gsm. Some of the fan leaves tore a bit, but this seemed to be dependant on the colour of the card (all same brand). If you don't have access to a cutting machine, you could hand cut if you have the patience of a saint!



Florist wire was attached to the underside of each frond to provide some rigidity. Since I had some latex (more on that later) I used that to coat the tree trunks. Hopefully that should allow the trunks to bent into the desired shape later. Airdry clay was used to model the 'bulb' at the top of the trunk. I couldn't decide on the right colour for the trunks, overpainting several times. Eventually I settled on Tamiya JDSDF Brown (XF-72) with a darker wash over the top. Using a google search of palms trees as a reference, the colours of the trunks seem to vary with shade, sunlight and exposure of the photo. Ultimately I would've filled all the cracks with paint if I'd kept going, but would probably go lighter in future. I then used hessian twine tweezed apart and attached to the top of the trunk. I had some Hob-e-Tac glue from the Woodland Scenics tree making learning kit which worked well.



Because I used card available to me, base colour of each frond was different. I was most happy with the second palm tree fronds I did, having refined the process a little better. I can't remember the exact mix I used now (5:2 I think), but I mixed Tamiya deep green (XF-26) with yellow green (XF-4) to airbrush the outer half of the frond. A mix with a little more deep green was airbrushed onto the centre. I then hand brushed Tamiya buff (XF-57) onto the frond tips. With hindsight I would use this approach for the fan palms particularly, as the wide main part of the frond would benefit from a little more tonal variation.



I attached the fronds using CA glue. The fronds were bent slightly to shape them and then the tips and sides of the fronds brushed randomly using fingertips to give a more natural look. You can't see on the below photo, but I also added coconuts made from airdry clay. I'm really happy with the way these came out. Luke Towan's tutorial can be found on his youtube channel.

Grauwolf
#084
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Quebec, Canada
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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 04:25 AM UTC
The model looks very nice but the palm trees are absolutely AMAZING!
Thanks for posting your technique.Will come in very handy for my
planned South Pacific diorama.

Cheers,
jrutman
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Pennsylvania, United States
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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 04:58 AM UTC
Yes!! Nice work on metal and foliage!
J
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 06:49 AM UTC
Thanks both. I canít take credit for the technique, but they were really enjoyable to do.

I should add that I probably stripped off more than 1.5cm from the bottom of the wire initially, but cut it back later. How much will depend on how deep your base will be.

The fronds were about 5.5cm (approx 2 1/4Ē) which is probably slightly too large for 1:35 scale, but by the time theyíre bent and tweezed on the tree they look not far off. Iím not certain how much smaller you could go without the machine struggling to cut.

Trunks were between 15 and 18cm prior to stripping the base (approx 6-7Ē).
cheyenne
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Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 - 08:28 PM UTC
Nice armor and exceptional palms . The trunks look a little more S. Pacific than N. Africa , minor point , still beautiful work !!
JGphins
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Florida, United States
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Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020 - 07:51 AM UTC
Very good job on those palms. The progress is excellent. Thanks for sharing!
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 06:09 AM UTC
Thanks all for the positive feedback.


Quoted Text

Nice armor and exceptional palms . The trunks look a little more S. Pacific than N. Africa , minor point , still beautiful work !!



Yeah I agree, I probably should've done some more research and gone for date palms instead. I wanted to build a rock face as well, which from image searches looks a bit more like Libyan oasis, rather than Egyptian. The tank markings I chose represent the 42 Army Tank Regiment, which took part in El Alamein, so perhaps not the most accurate. Maybe should've done the alternative markings for 32 Tank Brigade which fought at Tobruk.
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 06:31 AM UTC
Next part is the Rock wall. In the spirit of this diorama being more a technique learning exercise, I decided to have a go at making my own.

For any familiar with keeping aquariums and aquascaping, the below are mini landscaping rocks or Seiryu stone. It's popular in aquascaping because it's shape and nature give an excellent sense of scale. I had some left over rock from a scape I completed a number of years ago, so decided to use that. It's not the best examples as I used that in the aquarium, but included some flat pieces that better represent a rock face anyway. There is also a thinner bit that I decided to use the end of for a rock jutting out of the ground.



I simply coated the rock face in latex and let it dry before repeating. This totally wrecked the paintbrush by the end, but fortunately I used an old brush previously used for cutting in when doing DIY. It took about five coats, or so. You could do more to give extra thickness. The latex was then gently teased away from the rock. It came away surprisingly well with a little care. I made two very small rips in the larger mold which were easily repaired by dabbing with a little extra latex. The results reminds me a little of something you might pick up off the deck of the Nostromo. Bonus points for guessing the film reference!!!



Since the molds are pretty thin and therefore flexible they needed a bit of extra support whilst any plaster set. I have seen sand can be used for this, by gently pressing the molds into it to support them. I didn't have any unfortunately, but found a bag of vermiculite in the back of the shed, which worked ok for the larger pieces. For the smaller pointed mold however the weight of the plaster bulged it slightly creating a slightly squatter rock, but hopefully it still looks ok. I think sand would've prevented this.

Namabiiru
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
MODEL SHIPWRIGHTS
#399
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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 07:04 AM UTC
Survey says: Alien.

Great looking palms. Will be interested to see how the rocks turn out.

D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 08:20 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Survey says: Alien.

Great looking palms. Will be interested to see how the rocks turn out.




Bonus points to you
Dioramartin
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New South Wales, Australia
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Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020 - 11:04 PM UTC
The palms are just perfect & the overall sceneís shaping up nicely. although Iíd suggest the Matilda needs serious dusting & the shiny uniforms need serious dulling
D1GG3R321
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Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2020 - 10:12 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The palms are just perfect & the overall sceneís shaping up nicely. although Iíd suggest the Matilda needs serious dusting & the shiny uniforms need serious dulling



I agree. I did add dust and sand to the lower parts and tracks which isnít obvious in the photos due to the angle in shot them. I canít seem to get the hang of dust, but probably because Iím approaching it the same way as mud when there should be more on the upper surfaces. Think Iím going to wait until the diorama is finished so I can weather it to match more. Will also give me time to practice dust and sand on a spare part.

I think the dry brushing is a bit strong which isnít helping with the glossiness of the figures. Hopefully a wash on the shirts followed by a couple of coats of Matt varnishes will help.
Dioramartin
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Posted: Friday, July 03, 2020 - 12:24 AM UTC
Fair enough itís a very good idea to leave final weathering until the vehicleís set in the dio. What are you (or rather will you be) using for dust? If youíre in experimental mode try scraping a mid/light-brown stick of pastel chalk with the edge of a knife & apply the resulting fine dust with a small soft brush. Applied sparingly it takes any sheen & over-bright colours down, & more thickly in corners/nooks itís a pretty good simulation of sand (maybe use a very light brown stick for that) & general dried mud.
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Tuesday, July 07, 2020 - 03:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Fair enough itís a very good idea to leave final weathering until the vehicleís set in the dio. What are you (or rather will you be) using for dust? If youíre in experimental mode try scraping a mid/light-brown stick of pastel chalk with the edge of a knife & apply the resulting fine dust with a small soft brush. Applied sparingly it takes any sheen & over-bright colours down, & more thickly in corners/nooks itís a pretty good simulation of sand (maybe use a very light brown stick for that) & general dried mud.



I have some pigments, but these may be a little light in tone, since Iíve used grout to give texture to the sand on the diorama. I might see if I can blend the grout with pigments. Either that or raid the kids arts supplies for pastels!!!
Removed by original poster on 07/12/20 - 15:17:31 (GMT).
Removed by original poster on 08/01/20 - 11:46:46 (GMT).
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020 - 11:49 PM UTC
So this has moved on somewhat and then stalled with the water effects, which are taking ages!!! I also lost some photos of bits done in between.

I used 6mm MDF to give the base some rigidity and glued blue insulation foam on top.I carved out a shallow part to the rear where the pool will be. I created some mounds and bumps in the foreground by gluing some smaller pieces of foam. The back was foam cut to size and shape of the rock face. Sculptamold was then used to cover the base and back and to affix the rock face. I further smoothed it as it began to set. I'd used the link and length tracks in the Matilda kit, but it also comes with rubber tracks. I used these to create track marks. After the below photo was taken I also added the smaller rock in the mid ground jutting up from the edge of where the pool will be.



The entire base and rock face was painted with model scenics undercoat. I then spent time airbrushing layers of Tamiya desert yellow and buff, before sprinkling grout over a layer of watered down modpodge. The texture was excellent, but I then had to repeat the layers of Tamiya paint to get the correct colour. With hindsight the layer before the grout was unnecessary. I then scattered some larger mixed sand to give some variation.



The rock face was given a base coat of Tamiya paints, followed by dry brushing. I cannot remember the exact tones I used now, but it would've been a selection of flat brown (XF-10), flat earth (XF-52), Red brown (XF-64) and Brown JGSDF (XF-72) with buff for highlights. I deviated from the source photos of East African Oasis, where the rocks have much more yellow and buff tones, but I like the contrast with the sand.



Once the water is finished (could be some time!), I will be ready to post up the final photos, after edging the base, possibly adding some reeds to the edge of the pond and weathering the Matilda to match.
justsendit
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Posted: Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 01:56 AM UTC
Very nice work all round!🍺
ómike
jrutman
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Posted: Tuesday, August 04, 2020 - 01:43 AM UTC
Coming along very nicely!!
J
D1GG3R321
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England - South West, United Kingdom
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Posted: Friday, August 07, 2020 - 07:48 AM UTC
Thank you both. Nearing the finishing line so hopefully some final pictures up soon.