Given that the context of my latest diorama is the winter of 1944 – 45, I need to detail its Steyr 1500A truck in a “seasonally appropriate” color scheme. To that end I applied thinned, flat white paint over the original camouflage pattern. I smeared the white paint with a piece of cloth, making it resemble a brushed-on whitewash job done by troops in the field.
Next up was scratch-building a tarpaulin to cover the cargo area. The prelude for this was to work up frames, over which the tarp would be draped and glued into place. As you can see, this was another instance of utilizing materials from the scrap box: I only had enough metal tubing for two frames, and so created the third from plastic tube. This last one I will place closest to the truck’s cab, where it’ll be hidden from view by the tarp itself.
I viewed historical photos to get an idea of a typical German truck cargo tarp. Next I measured craft paper (i.e., a grocery bag) to dimensions that would enable the tarpaulin to lie on the three frames, and down the front and sides of the cargo area. I used sandpaper to roughen the surface of the “canvas” before I painted it.
I smeared a coat of thinned white glue onto the paper. Thus, the tarp became flexible enough to conform to the natural dips between the frames, while also curving over their tops, along the sides. Often cargo vehicle tarpaulins featured covers that could be rolled up, for ventilation, so I added a pair made again of craft paper, to each side.
The finishing touches were to paint the tarp, dirty it up a bit with powdered graphite, and to add tie-downs where the trio of frames are located.
I think I will work next on some of the figures that will populate the diorama.