Part 4
Part 4
by Terry Ashley

Etched palms
Etched metal palm plants
The final accessories are the palm plants, these are photoetched brass (Verlinden Kit No.58) and after removing the leaves from the frame and bent to shape are glued together with Cyanoacrylate the larger leaves to the outside and smaller in the centre. They are then airbrushed green with a darked shade under the leaves and to the centre section We are now ready for final assembly
The only remaining construction is the base and groundwork.
Materials used for Groundwork
A diorama will only be as good as the time and effort you put into it, and as mentioned previously finishing of the small accessories with the same care as the vehicles etc, the same applies to the groundwork. Starting with the base board which you selected when planning the diorama, attach a border/frame either with wood beading or by gluing strips of wood veneer around the edges with this completed mask off the border with good quality masking tape to protect the border during the application of the groundwork.
Next mix up the POLYFILA (or any good quality plaster) as per instructions but do not make the mixture too watery as this will take longer to dry and will not hold indentations such as tyre tracks as well. To this mixture add generous amounts of White Glue (about 10% of volume) to ensure that everything you add to the groundwork will still be there when all is dry (there is nothing worse than finishing a diorama and bits of rubble etc. slowly disappear with time), also mix in some powder colour to give depth to the groundwork, remembering that the colour will dry much lighter than it appears when wet, so add a lot extra colour if a darker shade is required.
Diorama Diorama
Overall view of Diorama Eye level view of scene
With this brew ready to add to the base have all buildings vehicles, figures and accessories close at hand and using a spatula or old kitchen knife spread the ground mixture over the entire base making it thicker in places. For raised areas add pieces of foam packing used in most electrical appliances etc. and apply the ground mix over this (a point of interest, if the foam has a honeycomb effect to its surface then it has been produced without CFC's and you are doing your bit for the ozone layer.)
With the groundwork applied press the buildings firmly into this in the position which was determined earlier (buildings never just 'sit' on the ground, there is always some buildup, around the edges, with variations depending on the type of building and ground, except of course in a city/town where they sit on prepared foundations.)
Diorama Diorama
Alternate view of Diorama Close-up of V-100
Next add the remaining items in the order in which they would have appeared in the real scene, that is the ground scatter, grass and plants first, followed by the building rubble, figures and personal equipment and lastly the vehicle, remembering those tyre tracks. The amount of indentation again depends on the type of ground being depicted, soft ground having larger impressions than firm surfaces, this may sound obvious but it is an often overlooked detail which can change the whole impression and mood of the scene you are depicting.
Once everything is in place any empty spaces can be filled with additional grasses, equipment etc. also extra diluted white glue can be added over the grass and rubble to ensure they are firmly attached to the base. When all is to your satisfaction set aside to dry for at least 24 hours and then remove the masking from around the border, this may require you to firstly cut with the aid of a steel rule along the edges of the groundwork to avoid cracking the edges.
Finally when dry apply liberally a dark wash (the colour depending on the groundwork colour) to highlight and add texture to the surface and added rubble, this may have to be repeated several time to arrive at the desired result but it is better to build up the wash slowly than to overdo the effect first off.
Figures Figures
Closeup of grouped figures Staying Cool
All that is left is to varnish the border and add a name plate if so desired, by adding a name you assist the viewer to interpret what your diorama is about.
You now have a diorama to be proud of and with practice you will only improve your skills. The techniques and ideas expressed in the construction of this diorama are by no means the only way of doing things, you may have a better way, never be afraid to experiment and question, exchanging ideas with fellow modellers will benefit everyone, as no one knows it all, even the 'experts'.

Happy Modelling.

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