The diorama is set in the summer of 1944 and the country side of northern France, just a few months after D-day. Under the pressure of the Allied forces, the German troops started withdrawing leaving behind their destroyed Panzer…
Undoubtedly the ruined building is what kept me busy for a long time as it is completely scratch build.
Therefore, I’ll focus more on the building as anything else.
For its construction I spent very little money but a lot of my time… I used simple materials which can be found easily in various modeling and handicraft shops, like plaster, cork underlayment, balsa wood, plastic rods and cardboard.
With the help of a personal computer and drawing software, (i.e. Corel Draw) and after calculating the scale, I drew the 3 sides of the building, the door and windows and printed all out. Of course you can do that simply with a ruler and graph paper.
Following that, I glued the print on a 8 mm thick piece of cork underlayment and cut out all inner parts, keeping only the outlines as a template, creating a sort to speak negative in which I would cast the plaster.
After casting the plaster, I let it dry for about an hour and afterwards I tear the mold with a hobby knife in small pieces, removing them very carefully in order not to break our piece. I followed the same procedure for all the buildings’ walls.
Next step and while the piece is still soft, I start carving all the details, like bricks, cracks etc. for the carving I used a surgical knife, toothpicjs and a small flat screwdriver.
Having completed the carving, I let the pieces to dry thoroughly for three days before moving on to the next step.
The pieces were glued together with an epoxy 2 part adhesive, all the joints were filled with putty and I added the door and window frames, bringing the project slowly to life!
For the beams, I cut balsa wood pieces 4 and 6mm wide by 1 and 2mm thick. With a cutting knife I did the necessary scars and dents and glued them to the building using super glue.
For the windows I used transparent sheets of plastic, the chimneys are plastic straws and the label and poster are laser prints.
For painting the building I used an off white mixing Vallejo 71001 and 70821, the bricks were painted using various shades of brick color, brown and orange while for the wooden parts I used washes made with Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and Black oils.
At the back side of the building I made the floors, frames, the photo frames from balsa wood while the wallpaper is again laser prints. I added some debris using pieces of plaster, wood, bricks and some dirt. The furniture are from the MiniArt kit.
The roof was made with balsa wood and the tiles from cardboard, cut and glued one by one! I painted them using various shades of grey, followed by a much diluted black wash and dry brushed with lighter shades.
With the building almost ready, I moved on to the trees…
The trees are also made from scratch. Using twisted wire, I did the “skeleton” of the tree and its branches. I covered the trunk with two part epoxy filler by milliput and while it was still soft, carved it with the hobby knife and an old tooth brush in order to recreate more realistically the bark. I applied 2-3 coats of wood putty – diluted with water – on the branches. After everything was dry, I added some smaller branches here and there from an old kit by Heki and painted the trees using Vallejo 71027. After the necessary washes and dry brushing, the trees were ready. As a final touch and in order to create the foliage, I sprayed the branches with diluted wood glue and “sprinkled” grated coriander, which I had previously painted in “natural” shades!
Next came the construction of the Panzer IV. This particular one is a kit by Tamiya build straight OOB without the addition of any aftermarket sets or anything else. It has a very good quality and a perfect fit without any problems. Having all the individual pieces ready, the model was primed and painted the tri color paint scheme using Vallejo colors, followed by washes and chipping for weathering.
The time to set the diorama had come! For the base I used a picture frame, strengthened internally with a piece of plywood. The building and trees were glued in place with two part epoxy glue. The ground was made with clay which once stretched to the appropriate points ‘soaked’ with diluted wood glue and sprinkled with sifted soil from a pot that I have in my balcony! I painted the ground using an airbrush in various soil colors.
I added some vegetation, which are Mig and Heki products, while the flowers are scratch build!
The fence was made with small sticks I found on a beach, the barrels and cardboard boxes came from my spares box, the paved road as well as the door and window shutters are Verlinden.
The figures are Royal Model and Masterbox and the rooster came from a Tamiya live stock kit.
As an epilogue I can say that building this particular diorama was a fascinating experience that kept me busy for quite some time offering countless creative and pleasure hours!
Build – text: Panagiotis Giatzoglou
Translated by George Roumbos