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

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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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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