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John Staehle
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Advanced Diorama Techniques and Secrets

January 13, 2014 · in How-to · · 5 · 3K

With the idea of dioramas being the best way to show off your models the 1/35th scale shown here is an advance technique example of how I build to suit custom orders at Hobbies in a Barn.

Starting with a theme, this being an anti tank squad that has wandered too far into a town and is being sought by Fallschirmjager troops. The six man squad is straight from the box of Tamiya's kit with many detailing modifications made. One such detail I still use is masking tape painted and attached for helmet straps and gun slings. Old fashioned maybe but more realistic than brass. I placed a modified 57mm AT gun on the street using the British 6 lbr with a US Army barrel and since have replaced the smaller kit wheels with proper sized ones, or as" found" in the field by troops from left over vehicles.

The buildings are simply photo mounting boards, stripped of the smooth coating paper and left rough for the Plaster of Paris application, sorry trade secret on how I do that, and the Tamiya brick showing through. Ruins are simple, just look at bombed and shelled building and find he paint blown off, burned and totally ruined, not like some kits with nearly complete rooms left, sorry kit users, to me ruins are ruins.

All the paints, scenery material and other effects are all water based and acrylic.
I hope this helps anyone wanting dioramas, but I would build a few simpler ones before setting foot in the big ruins. Also remember to order anything in the way of 1/35th scale completed kits and or dioramas as custom built to your liking.


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1  Awesome

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

5 responses

  1. Nice work, John..."trade secret", huh? Not fair. 🙂

  2. Trade secret indeed. Nice work.

  3. One old, easy tip/trick for small rubble 'kitty litter', the not the expensive scented or exotic substance ones, but the cheapest, basic clay chunks. It is already gray for concrete debris, and with a few drops of red brown acrylic paint thinned with water and dish soap, it can be brick debris as well.


  4. Thank you all, as far as rubble is concerned, the desert provides about a zillion tons of broken rock chunks made of something that defies removal but is the greatest rubble supply in the world. And it absorbs water-based paints, kitty litter is great but too dimensional. Sorry, another trade secret but I'll ship you a ton of desert clay just to clear a spot for a garden!

  5. John,
    Love to look at your work. Keep me coming.

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