This subject of this post is the work I’ve done to prepare the diorama’s base. Hardly an absorbing task, yet one whose completion has an important bearing on the project’s ultimate look.
The most time-consuming thing was to lay the bricks forming the road that occupies one corner of the diorama. I purchased 1/35 scale Plaster of Paris bricks, that were dyed a reddish hue. I got bricks from two sources, which provided a nice variety of colors. I placed the bricks, one-by-one, on a section of the base which I’d built up with pieces of cardboard, giving the roadbed a “crest” replicating the curved surface of actual roads. This design causes rainwater to wick away to the gutters. Prior to putting down the bricks, I glued a layer of thin paper, in order to cover up imperfections in the wood surface. Once the bricks were in place, I glued strips of cardboard along both sides of them, which I covered with more thin paper.
The nice thing about using Plaster of Paris bricks is that you can use a craft knife to trim the edges of the bricks, and to cut pieces for insertion where it was necessary. The photo above shows the work described before it. The last step of the diorama base’s initial work consisted of covering the light-colored paper with a heavier, grocery bag paper. The value of this is to provide a earth-colored base, which I’ll further decorate.
Here you can also see the diorama’s title. “Ein Volk Steht Auf” (“A People Rises Up”) was a propaganda motto applied to the Volksstrum.
I hope you continue to enjoy reading about how I’m bringing this project to life.
Modeling figures to display on a diorama is another aspect of the hobby that has evolved in recent decades. Online sites offer instruction on how to realistically render a 1/35 scale figure’s clothing and features. Once again the hyper-detailing bug has bitten many product manufacturers, which now offer decal sets that feature everything from uniform insignia to eyeball globes / pupils / irises.
Lacking access to an electron microscope, I’m unable to do justice to these itty-bitty items! That said, my recent recent return to modelling has seen me upping my game a little when it comes to making the figures that populate my dioramas more lifelike.
One aspect of rendering figures that I always utilize nowadays is modifying trouser legs and jacket cuffs so their footwear and hands don’t appear to be molded parts of them. Its a simple process: the boots and hands are cut off; holes are drilled in the legs and jackets to a depth that makes it look as though the boots and hands are separate. This practice also enables one to reposition the items in a way that differs from the original molding.
The last photo shows a couple of the figures that will grace the scene on which I am currently working. The figure on the left is holding a “panzerfaust,” which was a commonly encountered German antitank weapon late in World War II. This guy came from a set of railway workers, whose arm and hand positions were adapted so he could carry the panzerfaust in a manner that’ll fit what the diorama is communicating. The other figure came from the Steyr 1500A truck that will be an important element of the diorama. Again, his arms and hands are positioned to fit the scenario. The only addition I made to this fellow was to drape a scarf over his head, typing it under his chin.
That’s about all I wish to say on the topic of customizing figures. I hope you find the topic of interest.