SMy Daughter's Airfix D-Day Diorama - with Additions

My daughter had a smashing time after school on Wednesday - with a large hammer! To create some more realistic rubble around the diorama, I sent my daughter into the garden to look for some small stones. A few at a time, they were wrapped up in an old T-shirt to stop flying splinters and beaten to death! It created a nice range of colours, shapes and sizes.

After that, I found a piece of Ramin wood, and sliced it into thin strips on the bandsaw. These would be additional roof timbers from the house, scattered by the blast or cleared by the troops using it. Straight from the saw, the edges had lots of splinters, so I set her off with a sanding block to clean up the strips.

While she was busy with all that, I masked up the road to paint the paved areas on the base.

With the tape removed, the streen suddenly looked very clean and fresh! Lots of work would be needed to weather the scene, but it was slowly coming together.

Once the timbers had been sanded, we got some Humbrol acrylic matt earth and diluted it with some screen wash. 

After a good stir, the thinned paint made a nice wash/stain to soak the new roof timbers of the house. As it dried, it soaked into the wood, allowing the grain and texture to show through.

Once the wood had completely dried, it was given a light sand with some 400 grit sandpaper. Some areas were sanded more than others to create variation in the distress of the timbers. The two at the back of the image aren't sanded at all, while the two closer pieces have both hadvarying degrees of sanding.

As well as roof timbers, we needed some more roof tiles scattered about. I found an offcut of styrene around the same thickness as the kit roof tiles, and set my daughter loose, marking out and cutting some parallel, 4mm wide styrene strips. It took a few goes to get it right, but she got there in the end.

I mixed up some red/brown for the tiles and she painted the strips. Once dry, they can be cut into single tiles and will only need a slight touch up on the edges. I also painted the left over, wider strip after she was done, to give us a bit of spare tile material.


While she had been doing those, I painted the sandbags and other walls on the vac-formed base in a base colour. Rubble and other debris will probably be the next job to attach in the next build session. Another two and a half hours had gone and that was the end of this week's build session.

Stephen Carr "Only dead fish swim with the stream."

No significant progress on this of late. We've been too busy with two school modelling projects. One is for World Book Day and that is now complete. The other, which is still ongoing, is a Moon Landing themed Easter Egg competition. We've won her age group for the last two years so the pressure is on!The only progress we have made was to fill the back of the very thin vac-forming with a plaster/PVA glue mix to stop it being crushed by accident while we work on the rest of the model.


Once the plaster was dry, the plastic was epoxied down to the MDF baseboard which has already had its edges painted black and varnished. It was weighted down and left to dry, and the lead weights came off this morning. We've got quite a bit of debris to add to the ground but it shouldn't be too long before we make a start on the Jeep.

Stephen Carr "Only dead fish swim with the stream."

Little legs damaged a hair net while getting her hair done ready for dance class. I said, "Great, don't throw it away, we need it for the diorama!". While the mesh spacing is overscale for a 1/72 scale camo net, it would do for us. However, for some time I've wanted to replicate the square spiral hessian camo material in WW2 netting. I had a plan.


I had a few miuntes to do some testing yesterday so stuck some parcel tape down onto a piece of scrap wood. I mixed some PVA glue and waterbased green and brown acrylic together, then added some baby talc to thicken it slightly. I didn't have a fine needle for my syringe, so ended up just scooping up a little of the glue mix onto a piece of fine wire, and dabbing it onto the parcel tape, forming a spiral. 

These spirals vary between around 5/16ths to 1/2 an inch square. After it was dry, it peeled off the parcel tape no problem. The plan is to cover a larger piece of wood in tape and then tape down the hair net, stretched out over the board. I'll then start applying green and brown glue spirals over the netting, leaving until dry. The net should then peel off the parcel tape, leaving the glue spirals stuck to the net. It can then be used on the diorama, supported on some poles with cotton guy ropes.

Stephen Carr "Only dead fish swim with the stream."

Despite the Easter Egg school project that is ongoing, we made a little more progress on the diorama today. I cleaned some of the paint away from the base, and had to do some trimming of the vac-formed base as the house didn't fit very well.


Once we got a reasonable fit, the house was glued in place and then weighted down with some lead blocks to keep it firmly still while the glue set.

After a while to dry, the pots of smashed up stone were brought out, ready to add some debris around the site. It was sprinkled on dry and in some cases, move around slightly with a paint brush. Once we were happy with the distribution, the whole base was sprayed with a water/detergent mix.

After that, we went around the diorama with eye droppers, dripping dilute PVA glue onto all the rubble. There still lots more work to go, with more dirt and mud etc, but all the extra rubble is turning the smooth plastic base into a more realistic scene of destruction.

Stephen Carr "Only dead fish swim with the stream."

I checked on the dio this morning and the PVA had fully dried. A careful prod and poke of the rubble showed it had all firmly glued in place. 


The debris around the house will probably remain mostly untouched. Some of the other areas will have the colour changed or toned down with the airbrush and the road needs a good work over with further colour, dirt, mud and weathering. I particularly want some mud trails from the Sherman tracks.

Stephen Carr "Only dead fish swim with the stream."

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