Scratchbuilt 1/72 Pacific Theatre of Operations Jungle Village Diorama

UPDATE! The results are in! I was up against some astonishing builds and very humbled to have awarded second place 🙂

This is the build process for my entry in the ISM Pacific Theatre of Operations SIG. I wanted to capture a unit of US soldiers arriving at and securing a small village. This would give me an opportunity to model a variety of US vehicles and in a jungle scene.

This build log just covers the base, I’ve done separate builds logs for the vehicles (Sherman, 1/2 Track & Amphibious vehicle) and figures.

UPDATE, UPDATE! This dio was featured in the April 2017 issue of Fine Scale Modeller as one of the winners (12 in total) selected by the public of the Pacific Theatre build!

Anyway, enough of blowing my own trumpet, on with…

The Build

Everything on the base apart from the statue was scratchbuilt, starting with a rough base from extruded polystyrene (about 12 inches by 10). I broke out the corner to allow for a vehicle emerging from some water.

I glued the two sheets of 10mm foam with PVA and once dry smacked it with a broken lump of concrete to give it a rough texture.

I sealed and keyed the foam with watered down PVA and let it all dry.

There’s a danger that the drying PVA will warp your bases. This is thick enough to withstand it (and also the sandwich helps). If in doubt (or your using anything thinner). Attach it to an solid base before you cover it in PVA.

Next I mixed up some ground cover using PVA, ready mixed polyfilla, fine sand and grit.

I mixed in some acrylic paint as it helps stop bright white chips from showing through.

I applied the mixture to the base, smoothing it out with a scrap piece of wood.

I wanted a dirt track going through the village around the edge of the water so I used the tip of a sponge brush to drag some tire tracks along the route.

I worked the waters edge too building up the grout to give it some texture.

I set the board to one side to dry and started on the bamboo huts.

Each was made from plastruct sheet and rod and assembled with Tamiya Extra Thin glue.

I started with the raised platforms. Glueing a frame underneath to support the deck.

Next I glued uprites along the edge raising the platform up a little.

Next I framed the buildings using a 1/72 figure for scale. These are only simple buildings with no interiors but the odd offset angle of the back makes it look a bit tricker.

I added a handrail to the deck and a shutter for the window.

And test fitted it on the base.

I followed the same process for the decking.

The second hut would come later, I was keen to start colouring the base.

I airbrushed a light brown onto the areas where foliage and the water would be. I was careless and splashed paint over the waters edge. Luckily it’s pretty easy to blend it in as I build up the rest of the base.

I oversprayed the waters edge with a sandier shade.

And gave the whole piece a rough drybrush with a slightly sandier brown.

Next I used weathering pigments to break up the ground a bit and lighten the road,

I marked off the areas where foliage would be growing.

And scattered some ground up compost over the foliage areas.

and then mixed up some PVA, water (50:50) with a few drops of washing up liquid (dish soap) and soaked the compost with the mixture using a pippette.

When the compost had tried, I used green and brown weathering powders to give the undergrowth some texture.

Time to get something growing out of the ground. I pulled out any bits of aquarium foliage I had in my stash and selected a few jungle looking ones.

And set about chopping them up into useful plants.

I gave them all a black undercoat. I should have primed them, the acrylic black and subsiquent paint rubbed off in a few places 🙁

And test fitted them to the base.

I randomly airbrushed greens and yellows over the foliage clumps…

Always dry fitting to make sure everything fits and looks like it’s meant to be there…

The second deck was looking a bit bare so I built another shack using the same materials as before.

I broke the head of a cheap buddha statue and embedded it in the corner clump.

I undercoated the statue in poundland primer.

And then drybrushed lighter and lighter layers of grey till I got the look I was after.

Next I pulled some HO scale bamboo stalks I picked up from ebay from my stash. These are cheap but work ok once they’ve had a coat of paint.

I test fitted the bamboo. It adds a bit of height interest.

After undercoating the huts, I gave them a black preshade around the edges and under the eves and gave them a base coat of sand yellow.

Followed by a lighter sand along the edges and highlight.

It still wasn’t looking much like a bamboo hut so I have it a gloss coat and broke out the black, brown, green and yellow oils. I applied a thick scrub wash of back in random patches…

And wiped most of it off – going in the direction of the bamboo.

And then patches of yellow.

And lightened it up with white oils till I got the look I was after.

And test fitted it on the base to make sure the colours worked.

I aged the statue with green washes.

and built up the ground cover around the plants to hide the joins using mosses and lichens.

The board was approaching finished. Time to add the water effects.

I poured woodland scenics’ realistic water in two pours of about 1/4 of an inch.

It took days to dry >.<

2nd pour…

After 3 days or so it had dried enough to add the water effects. I applied it thickly around the boat and stippled it into peaks with a wooden stick, pulling it out behind and to the sides to form a wake.

It dries clear… eventually.

When the water effects had dried, I hit the tips with white acrylic.

I glued the rest of the figures into place and placed the vehicles. Only amphibious vehicle was fixed in place – I’ll use the vehicles on other dios another time. A little bit of weathering in place on the vehicles and it was done. I took it outside for some daylight shots and gave it it’s title:

“Secure the area!”