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


1075 posts

Fantastic build, your daughter is doing you proud! 


And I love the logs on the tank, makes Airfix's horrendous Sherman very presentable! Your daughter has done wonders with the old mould! Looking forward to further updates ........

Another build session after school today. We got the ropes cut down and glued in place and after that, Dave the driver was installed. The wire used to install Dave would be trimmed once the glue had a hold. The front hatches were added next.

Back on the house, we wanted wood beams and terracotta tiles on the roof. Because of the layers and order of detail in the roof, the inside and outside would be painted in different orders. On the inside, my daughter painted the red tiles first, allowing the joists to be added after. On the outside of the roof, the whole area was painted timber coloured first, and the tile colour added after. Red and dark earth were mixed to give a toned down colour for the tiles.

The loft floor was painted a brown for the first shade of the timber planks. The outside of the walls came next, being painted a base colour for the stone finish. 

Some of the small wooden crates were also painted. The copper wire on Dave was trimmed allowing the turret to fit, but it won't be glued until the final layout of the diorama is decided. By the time the house walls had two coats and the roof painted, it was 5:30 and time for food.

Both Dave the driver and Kevin the commander are very pleased with their new ride. Both are eyeing up the Airfix Jeep box out of shot and are wondering who will be driving that!

We plan to find a nice country lane somewhere which will make an appropriate background for a photoshoot once the whole diorama is complete. For now, this printed backdrop will have to do.

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

Patrick Camilleri

513 posts

Community Moderator

Looks very good even with the printed backdrop!

Today was modelling day again, but part way through the day, I spotted we'd made it famous, on the Airfix Facebook WorkspaceWednesday picture! My daughter was rather pleased when she got in from school!

The first job tonight was to start painting the interior walls white. I thinned the kit acrylic and set my daughter painting while I was getting dirty with the tank ( more of that shortly ). She did one coat and force dried it with a hair dryer before applying a second coat. It is seen here after the first two coats.


While the second coat of white hardened off for a while over a heater, I set her away painting the base, starting with the road and paved area.

She followed that with two different shades of brown for the floor boards of the bombed out house and other destroyed buildings. We'll be adding more detail and texture to the base, as some of the vac-formed edges are a bit soft looking for rubble and wreckage. While she did this, I gave the house another couple of white coats and touched up the floor in the house.


I'd given the roof a sandy wash by this time, and it all looked good with the house on the base. The road needs lots more work yet, but it's beginning to come together seeing some colour on the base. I still need to find some wood to glue the plastic down onto, as the vac-forming is very thin and will be easily cracked.

The figures had previously been primed with thinned PVA glue, so today I set my daughter loose giving them a base green coat. Having the PVA primer made a big difference to the application of the paint.

At the start of the afternoon, while my daughter was painting the first white coats on the house, I was studying mud! Using Adrian Barrel's M4A4 Sherman as reference, I made notes of where the mud gathered.

To replicate the mud, I used some first coat wall plaster, dilute PVA glue and earth brown acrylic paint all mixed together. The first coat plaster is quite gritty and seems to work well. It was applied with a small brush and while all still wet, some model railroading grass powder sprinkled on here and there.

After the plaster had dried, I went back over the mud with a few brown shades of enamel. Once we work out where the Sherman will be on the diorama, we'll also have to add some clods of mud along the road, deposited by the tracks. That was another two and a half hourswork done. While the progress today wasn't as spectacular as some other days, it's all steps along the way to completion, 

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


1238 posts

Those 2 "blobs" on the extreme left of the figures shot are actually parachutes being furled, and should be white in period. (when I was your daughter's age I thought they were flame throwers)

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.

I had these figures as a kid too. We won't be using the parachutes and won't be using any of the German figures either. The base is too small for a realistic combat scene, given what's in it, so our diorama will be GI's setting up and securing the forward position.  


We might have to remove some guns from the figures to make them look less in combat and more unloading and moving things, but I'll worry about that once we've decided on the final positioning. They will also need all their rectangular bases cut off. In addition to the Sherman, we have the Willys MB, trailer and field gun to position. The Jeep is going to be a challenge as there are many tiny parts in the kit. A challenge for my daughter because of her experience and a challenge for me because of my out of scale fingers!

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

We didn't have much time this week so didn't get much done. My daughter got some more base colour painted. This is just an undercoat for further colour and texture. 


While she was painting the base, I painted the broken edges of the house walls with several colours stippled on. After a quick force dry with the hair dryer, I gave the house walls and wooden floor a couple of washes to tone down the colours and even finish.

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


620 posts

Community Moderator

Those builds look so good, moreover, your daughter looks like she's absolutely loving buidling them. It's just so great to see.

John Symmons

990 posts

Him Steven.

Firtly Congats to your daughter's Airfix acolade.


Great bto see your daughter is enjoying her modelling and also great that she has your help and experiance to guild her. So far the project looks great and looking forward to seeing it's compleation. Keep, up the good work.


I've always found doing dioramas can be very time consuming, often more so than building the actual models. If you want to save your model paints you can easily use ordinary poster or craft / artist acrilic paints, and oil paint washes. with these I usually use bristle brushes that stipple better than the soft brushes we use for models. that way you can get some interesting textures and blendings especially if blending wet. If the plastic is undercoated or primmed these paints will stick.


Remember we do this for fun                            John the Pom



I often use tester pots from B&Q or get a 250ml tin mixed up to a shade I want.

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

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