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

I've had a nice Christmas cold, starting on Christmas day, which has knocked me out for ten days so far, so have managed no modelling over the holiday. I started to feel a little more human today, so took my daughter out to the workshop to do some more of the Sherman. So the next job was to get some olive drab on the tank in preparation for the decals and final assembly. We decided to used the kit acrylics, which up until now, I've hardly ever used except for canopy frames and small touch ups.


All round the wheels and suspension units were first to be painted, getting all the small fiddly areas done.

As well as the suspension, the two separate sprockets were painted.

While the suspension was left to dry for a while, we moved on to the turret.


The turret was completed and then we moved back to the hull.


While the wheels were still a little tacky, they were dry enough to hold to allow the painting of the rest of the hull.

The hull almost done.


The hull is now done with one coat. It may need another coat, but will have a check once it is fully dry. By the time it has been decalled, some additional tree trunk armour added on the side it could be ok. I also want my daughter to have a go at some weathering, perhaps with some washes and some mud added to the wheels and tracks.

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


1218 posts

Er, you wouldn't find tree "armour" on D-Day itself.

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

Just because it's the D-Day set, doesn't mean it's D-Day.

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

Yesterday, I gave the Sherman a few thin sprayed coats of clear gloss so that it would be dry for today. Today after school, my daughter and I did the decalling. She started by applying the division badge on the front.

The hull was then put to one side to allow that to dry a little while and moved to the first star on the side of the turret. It took her a little while of sliding it around until we were happy about its location. I try not to interfere too much, asking "does that look parallel", "is that the same height as the other side" until she pushes the decal into the correct position. Sometimes she's still a little heavy handed and I give it a micro nudge into place, but generally, she's quite accurate.


The turret was then put to one side to dry and the hull brought back to add the registration on the side. I told her to look at the plans and see where the letters lined up with on the tank, such as the last letter directly over the last wheel. That helped with deciding the correct location.


That was left to dry and the turret came back out for the star on the second side. Once both turret stars and both registrations were added, the star on the top of the turret was applied. It was a little more tricky being partially under the commander's hatch.

A little Microsol was added to the decals to help them sit down and after that dried, Kevin the Commander and Dave the Driver came to check on the progress. Both were pleased with their new ride!

Time for a few more photos. Both the tank crew and my daughter were impressed with how it was looking.

The afternoon was almost over, so we put the tank in a box out of the way for the decals to fully harden and moved on. So in the last few minutes of the afternoon, she started butting out parts of the bombed out house.

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

We had a little time spare this morning, so gave the Sherman a couple of washes. The first was a black wash all over. We used the Airfix acrylics, diluted with car screen wash. It was then force dried with a hair dryer. 


Next came an earth brown wash over the suspension units, wheels and front of the tank. When you ride around in a Sherman on a dusty day, you soon realise how much dust and dirt is thrown forwards from the front of the track as it goes around the sprocket. This immediately blows back in your face!


The tracks were given an earth wash too, but we'll add some clumps of mud later, once they are fitted.

We're both rather pleased with the way the weathering has come out. It's not far away now. Tracks, mud, hatches, logs, crew and possibly an aerial, although that might wait until the final assembly of the diorama.


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

Peter s

40 posts

For the scale that's amazing! Logs are really for muddy terrain. For post d day how about a Cullen cutter? Pretty easy to scratch with 1mm plasticard.

Easy for me perhaps, but this is my 9 year old daughter's build, and she wants log armour on the side.

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

Peter s

40 posts


Easy for me perhaps, but this is my 9 year old daughter's build, and she wants log armour on the side.

If it's her model and that's what she wants that's all that matters. I'll happily sacrifice true accuracy to do the model i want too. I started doing kits at 7 year old and your daughter puts my childhood models to shame!

Wednesday is my daughter's modelling day, so I did a little preparation while she was at school to allow things to move a little faster once she was home. The twigs that we collected on the way home from school a few weeks ago were cut to length and the ends chamfered to simulate being axed. They were then glued together in sets of three so they had time to dry.


Kevin and Dave were painted, also so they would be dry for late afternoon. Dave also had the base drilled and a piece of wire glued in. The wire formed a handle to allow him to be fed in theough the hole in the hull and then positioned in his driver's hatch. Kevin's backside and thighs were trimmed into a groove to allow him to sit better over the turret hatch rim.

The first job my daughter did tonight was to start assembling the bombed out house, so parts could start drying while we worked on the Sherman. After that, she turned to the logs, now glued into one piece. We used cotton to represent rope to tie the logs on to the tank. She tied one knot at the top of the stack, adding a tiny drop of PVA glue to hold the first knot. Both ends of each set of logs was roped. They were all left to dry.


The rubber tracks were flipped inside out and taped down to a piece of wood for joining. The hot knife method was used for joining them.


The holes for the sprckets were too small to allow the sprocket to fit, so I gave her a needle file to slowly open up the holes, test fitting as she went.


Once both sides were a snug fit and the paint was cleaned from the hull and sprocket, I gave her some tube glue to brush onto the mounting points. We then fitted the sprocket into the track, which was already looped over the rest of the wheels, and slotted the sprocket into its hole.



With the tracks attached, the logs were next. One piece of the cotton thread was wrapped around a couple more times and then glued on the back, before the logs were then glued to the side of the hull. Both sides were done and weighted down while they dried.

While they were drying, Kevin was glued to the top of the turret.

As mentioned earlier, the house was started first this afternoon. We hopped on and off the house, leaving each wall to dry a while before coming back to add the next one.

I had a couple of metal 'V' blocks which made it a little easier for my daughter to position and hold the parts while she ran the solvent glue into the joints with a brush.


With all the walls assembled, the floor was glued in. The roof was cut from the sprue and cleaned up, but left off for now to allow easier painting of both the floor and roof parts. 


With a bit of heat from a hair dryer, the logs were dry enough for a few quick pictures. The cotton thread still needs cutting to a suitable length, so for now was just draped over the hull.


Time to see the bigger picture. My daughter is very pleased with how it is all looking. She should be pleased, she's doing a fantastic job - still with lots of guidance and a couple of extra hands from me here and there, but in general, mostly her own work.


The tracks on the Sherman are a fraction on the long side. To help to keep them in place, the last job of the day was to add some PVA glue to the lower track and wheels. The tank was then weighted down to keep the wheels in contact with the track while the glue dried.

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


1218 posts

Ah, I wasn't clearly aware of the forward observation post in the set. Those only appear once we start moving inland, which makes the log applique "not provably wrong".

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.

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