This tutorial describes how to make manhole or sewer covers for a diorama from scratch. While these can be purchased as photoetch or resin products, this is a relatively easy way of achieving a similar look for practically no cost.
ph.1: For this example we are making the cover for 1/35 scale. The materials needed are wire mesh, a thick metal foil such as that from a tea candle, and a coin that is similar in diameter to the cover we wish to make. The important part is for the coin to have a raised lip along the edge (red arrow). In this case, a U.S. dime is quite suitable. (I did try a Canadian dime, but there is a fine dot pattern inside the raised edge that spoils the result. If anyone knows another suitable coin, please suggest!)
ph.2: Step one is to burnish the foil flat if necessary, and also to sand with fine grit sandpaper (2000) for improved paint adhesion, as you will not be able to sand it later.
ph.3: Tape the foil (sanded side facing out) to the wire mesh to avoid movement, then imprint the pattern of the mesh into the foil by burnishing with a wood tool as seen. (This could possibly be used to create non-slip surfaces in other metal pieces)
ph.4: Once the pattern is imprinted, remove the mesh, and tape the coin to the back of the foil.
ph.5: Flip over, and burnish the raised edge of the coin onto the foil. Be careful not to disturb the imprinted pattern in the centre of the coin.
ph.6: Separate the cover with a blade or similar, and clean up the egde as needed.
ph.7: A different pattern can be achieved using a finer metal mesh.
ph.8: Drill holes as appropriate for added realism.
ph.9: ΤThe resulting manhole/sewer cover that can be painted and weathered to your preference.
By Luc Po