I haven’t built a diorama for quite some time. Years ago, when I focused on figures exclusively, I did a few one and two-figure dioramas and vignettes. I wanted to create a full-fledged diorama with an AFV and figures packed into as compact a space as possible. Having built the fantastic Tamiya 1:48 P38(T) previously, I wanted to add the 1:35 version to my collection. Deep in my stash was the Dragon Germania Regiment figure set, so a France 1940 diorama beckoned.
The #Tamiya 1:35 scale Pz.Kpfw. 38(t) Ausf. E/F (2019 issue) is comparable in quality and detail to its 1:48 scale predecessor (2015 issue). The kit has 244 parts in dark grey plastic and one photo-etched piece. It built up quickly and easily.
The #Miniart 1:35 German Tank Crew (France 1940) kit has the right poses and the soft early war Panzer crew headgear. The commander figure came with the kit had the right pose and is well molded, so I swapped the head gear with one from the Miniart set.
The Germania Regiment figure set from Dragon is typical of its vintage—good details and decent molding. They have a healthy parts count for each figure, including PE epaulettes. The highlight of these kits are the highly detailed weapons. As with many of these kits, the poses are relaxed, but they do help tell a story.
To get good arm/hand/weapons positioning, I cut off the hands and glued them to the weapons and then slightly hollowed out the cuffs. Lots of filling and sanding was required to get the arms in just the right positions.
This will be a crowded place.
I cut the foundation base from dense insulation foam and wrapped it with balsa wood. The groundworks layer was made with DAS modeling plaster. I sprinkled on some garden dirt to add some roadside texture.
The ground colors are different combinations of earth effects and dirt colors. The grassy area was given a coat of static grass. Then some random twigs were laid on and a set of yellow flowers were added for some seasonal color. Many of the rocks were highlighted with light gray and light tan colors.
I printed out the title for a template to cut out a mask.
It was given a modest color modulation and the rivet detail was highlighted with an Ammo weathering pencil.
Initial weathering started with thinned versions of the earth effects colors used for the roadbed.
The tank crew uniforms were painted with black and white Ammo 3dGen paints using their drying retarder. I relearned how difficult painting black clothing can be.
Finishing the infantry figures was a more complex affair. Many more colors were involved. Additional straps were added from Tamiya tape or paper stiffened with VMS Paper Shaper.