After building the equipment and the soldiers' figures the base of the diorama is still left to be built. I started the work by creating the diorama's plan. Here's what it looked like:
Then I estimated the dimensions of the bunker and chose a suitable picture frame. I cut a styrofoam block to fit the frame, for the diorama base and another block to represent the bunker. I cut an opening in the base to accept the bunker:
I started shaping the base to depict the terrain situation, as in my reference photo, and I also cut openings in the bunker to represent the entrance and the firing ports:
I fixed the bunker in the base and started cutting parts for the base siding out of thin plywood:
After fitting the base siding parts to the frame I glued them together:
Then I put the styrofoam base into the frame and the siding:
And the bunker to the base:
I started building the tower out of small pieces of styrofoam glued with white glue:
Then I went on coating the bunker with acrylic putty used in building construction. I tried to represent formwork planks' imprints on the wet putty:
I used tools shown on the photo below to work with the putty. From left to right it's sanding grid with holder as used in building construction, another such grid, this time without holder, both serving to sand the putty after it dried. Then there's the wooden stamp to imprint the formwork structure on the wet putty and a spatula from the artist's shop, very useful for applying and shaping the putty while it's wet.
The next thing to do was to apply the same type putty, but this time of brown color to the diorama base:
I started applying strongly diluted black acrylic paint on the bunker, and it gave me a very nice grey concrete color with shading. I glued fine quartz sand to the base and started fitting a sandbag barrier and a crate serving as a step to the base:
I applied more diluted black paint on the bunker, especially on the deck, where I used it to highlight the places where water would stand. Because the sand I glued on the base, although fine, still seamed to coarse, I additionally used dry plaster of paris, to get even finer grain. I also built the last of the three concrete pillars, that once supported the concrete roof of the tower, and now will support the tarp covering the tower. The pillar is made of putty and reinforced with leftover sprue.
Then I started painting the terrain. I used acrylic paints applied with an airbrush - dark green and sand:
The photo below shows the sandbag barrier that will stand in the bunker entrance and a crate that will serve as a step on the way to the bunker's top. The sandbags come from Italeri's kit number 406 "Sand Bags", and the crate from Academy's kit number 1383 "Tank Supplies Set II".
I made the tarps, one covering the bunker entrance and the other, larger one covering the top of the tower. The tarps are made from Pawelite - the material I developed especially for this purpose. Pawelite consists of aluminum foil sandwiched between two layers of tissue, and holds such details as folds and kinks very well.
I applied the so called static grass, bought in a railroad modeling shop. The static grass consists of short lengths of plastic fiber, available in a variety of colors. For this application I mixed two kinds of static grass - long (about 4mm) and short (1mm). The static grass is glued to the base in presence of high voltage (static electricity - hence the name) generated by a dedicated device. The fibers align themselves parallel to the electric field lines and an interesting effect can be achieved:
Inside the tower I installed the trapdoor made of styrene sheet. The hinges are made of stretched sprue and the handle out of copper wire. The door is painted with a mixture of gun-metal (Humbrol 53) and oxide red (Humbrol 113) paints.
I completed the foliage on the diorama using various synthetic materials, mainly intended for railroad modeling. I finally fixed the tarps:
Many small items, that will be placed on the diorama can be seen on the photo below. From left to right there are spare Browning M2HB machine gun barrels, gasoline can, detached M55 trailer wheels, mermite can, claymore bag often used to carry various small items, 12,7 mm ammo boxes, three M16 rifles, two M1 steel helmets and four C-rations cartons. It should be noted here, that the cartons depicted are later MRE cartons (Meal, Ready-to-Eat), whereas correct for the Vietnam War period would be MCI cartons (Meal, Combat, Individual). Practically, in 1:35 scale the only difference would be the inscription on the carton's top::
I started working on the final layout of the diorama's components. I took a Polish Red Cross heart as a stand-in for the Quad 50. I made a puddle of standing water with Vallejo Still Water. The scattered machine gun cartridge casings, measuring approximately 0.5 mm by 2 mm in scale, were fabricated out of brass wire.
Finally a photo of the completed diorama. The natural background and lighting have a lot of influence on the final appearance of the photos:
I would like to invite all to view more photos of the completed diorama in the image gallery!