How to Make a World War 2 Diorama - Part 2 Making the terrain Shell
In this part of the tutorial I show you how to make some really terrific looking terrain. This is called the shell of the diorama and we use one of two materials. We can use Hydrocal or Plaster of Paris. (Alternately, if you don't have, or can't get either of these you can use Paper Mache. I have a tutorial on using paper mache to make a diorama here. You might want to take a look at that tutorial.
This part of the tutorial also comes with a companion video here:
Cut yourself lots of strips of thin cardboard (Cereal box cardboard works well for this) If you are making a very large diorama you should use thicker corrugated cardboard. Cut them in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. Then apply them to the diorama so as you make a frame as shown in the picture below. You can glue them, tape them, or even staple them. Use plenty of them and try to get them to the shape of the terrain that you want. And leave enough space so you can squeeze crumpled balls of newspaper under the frame. I will show you a bit more about this in a minute.
If you have trenches in your diorama you have to do these first. In the picture below you can see I have two foxhole trenches. I made these out of cardboard then glued them down to the surface of the board. Now I build the wire frame to these. The top of these trenches will be where the surface of the diorama is.
Now stuff the frame with crumpled newspaper. Make it pretty tight. The newspaper makes the frame stronger. When you put the plaster of paris on it the diorama will tend to sag. The Newspaper will prevent this sagging, and it will lend a little bit more terrain texture to the diorama. The Picture below shows the crumpled newspaper in place.
Now we are ready to make the plaster shell.
Before you mix the plaster or hydrocal make sure you have everything ready. The plaster dries in ten minutes so you don't have a whole lot of time. Cut up strips of paper towel ahead of time. Cut the strips in a variety of lengths and widths. The picture below shows that I have everything ready to go. Now I can mix the plaster, dip the strips in it then apply this to the terrain.
Work quickly and apply the plaster soaked strips of paper towel to the surface of the diorama. Overlap each piece onto another piece so it forms a strong shell. Continue doing this until the whole terrain is covered. But if you have trenches do not plaster over them!
In the picture below the plaster terrain shell is complete. Notice how I did not plaster over the two trenches on the lower right.
Once this dries we will be ready for the next part of this tutorial. How to make put on the terrain features like trees, grass, roads etc..
World War and Military Diorama Kits:
How to Build Dioramas (Book) - Learn everything you need to know about making your dioramas look real! This fantastic revised edition will show you how with new projects, new photos, and expert tips. Includes painting, weathering, and detailing tips for figures, aircraft, vehicles, and more! 290+ photos with color throughout; 41 illus.; softcover
MiniArt 1/35 Poland 1944 Diorama Base w/ 5 figures - This is the 1/35 Scale Poland 1944 Diorama w/ Figures / from the MiniArt Dioramas Series. / Suitable for Ages 14 to Adult. / / FEATURES: Unassembled diomara kit / Parts attached to a part tree / 1/35 scale / Intricate building detail of a ruined building on a diorama base / / INCLUDES: One Poland 1944 diorama / Five figures / Instruction sheet / / REQUIRES: Paint (see below) / Plastic glue (TESR1601) / Hobby knife (HCAR0100) / Paint brush (ABSR0550) / / SPECS: Length: 9.76"" (248mm) / Width: 7.48"" (190mm)
Types of Dioramas to Make
*Short Diorama Tutorials*
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