My first go at making a diorama

1. Materials and Planning

My initial idea is to try and create a scene a bit like this one I grabbed off the internet, I have a feeling this is a real scene rather than a model though:-


Spent weeks trying to find high density polystyrene (styrofoam) to make diorama – wouldn’t you know it, just found a load left in the bins outside my building – I assume its the right stuff, although it has plaster board attached shouldn’t be too difficult to prize off.


The styrofoam should be fine to make the rocks and the plaster board can be broken up to make the dirt track.  I have modelling flock and some natural lichen to make the vegetation.  For the spectators I might use Scalectrix or similar if I can acquire any on the cheap.  My Mini Cooper will be the Airfix Cooper S 1:35 Scale. (I have posted info elsewhere on this blog about this model)

I will be referring to ‘How to make War-games Terrain’ book by Games Workshop and the excellent Facebook page Scratch-Built Buildings -Hints-Tips & Techniques  throughout this project..

Scan 319

2. Making the base


I shaped some of the styrofoam with a modelling knife to form the hillsides and stuck down with pva to a piece of sandwich board approximately 9 inches x 7 inches.  I used some cheap all purpose filler to make the mud and liberally applied broken plasterboard to this for the scree/rocks. I shaped tyre tracks into this with a modelling knife.  I then sprayed everything with Poundstore grey primer to hopefully bind it altogether.  Time to leave it overnight to harden off.

The cheap primer eats into the foam and although it produces quite an interesting honeycomb effect it wasn’t what I wanted, so I covered the areas affected with filler and sprinkled with modelling sand.  Leave to dry again.


So far so good – even looking OK with an Airfix 1:72 Chieftain Tank.  Going to give it another base coat and may build some dry stone walls out of kitty litter (yes kitty litter) following an excellent tutorial by  Geppo de Felice in Scratch Builds

Looking OK with a 1:72 Airfix Chieftain Tank

3. Starting to Paint

I base coat the banks in Scab red and then dark olive green and the mud track in scorched brown and then graveyard earth….


Continue to work up the green and brown areas toning the colours and dry brushing in the highlights.  I have a few objects at hand to test the scene for appearance at different scale.

1:35 Scale
Airfix Mini Cooper and Toy Soldier 1:32 Scale
Tank 1:72
Airfix Chieftan Tank 1:72 Scale
Action Man 1:6 Scale
Original Action Man 1:6 Scale

Starting to think that I should of kept the base all the same colour.  This way it looks like it can be used for almost any scale model.

My original idea for a diorama was perhaps a little adventurous.  I am now thinking more along the lines of something like this excellent muddy field diorama base.

Toned everything down with brown ink wash and then added some modelling flock.


Diorama Idea Malayan Conflict
Cave Troll and other Lord of the Rings


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