Work in Progress

Vietnam Diorama WIP

Posted by Flashcad on 18 Sep 2021, 12:01

PART 1
This is intended to be a series of posts detailing construction of a small diorama from scratch and set in Vietnam circa 1970.
I’m going to kick off with the build of two 1/35 scale M113’s, one from Tamiya, the other from Academy Models.

Starting with the Tamiya example, I began constructing the engine and other interior parts, then sprayed the inside of the tub with some white primer. Once the primer was touch-dry, I added the previously assembled interior parts and left the model to dry out overnight.
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Next day, I carried on with a bit more assembly and added a few light paint washes to the engine and interior surfaces -- again allowing the paint to dry out overnight.
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With the running gear fixed on and the hull temporarily in place, the model was ready for the spray booth and two or three light coats of paint were applied, (with all hull openings suitably masked off first, of course).
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The hull then came back off and more of the interior details taken care of.
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Now it was time for some fun -- and the chance to go nuts on the weathering.
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TO BE CONTINUED
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Flashcad  China
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 18 Sep 2021, 15:09

Wow that looks fantastic! Were those M113's the ones whose side armor was so thin that it could not stop AK47 rounds? I remember reading they were pretty unpopolular with the men.

They are supposed to ride inside but many films and photos I have seen show the soldiers sitting on the top instead.
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Bluefalchion  United States of America
 
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Posted by Flashcad on 18 Sep 2021, 16:46

Bluefalchion wrote:Wow that looks fantastic! Were those M113's the ones whose side armor was so thin that it could not stop AK47 rounds? I remember reading they were pretty unpopolular with the men.

They are supposed to ride inside but many films and photos I have seen show the soldiers sitting on the top instead.


I always had the impression that the M113 was a popular APC.
I'm sure some other members of the forum can answer that question far better than I can?
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Flashcad  China
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 18 Sep 2021, 17:02

More popular than walking I suppose.
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Posted by Flashcad on 18 Sep 2021, 17:07

PART 2

The Academy M113 was next up and followed the same general assembly process as the Tamiya example.
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Not sure if it can be seen in these photos, but I carried out some pre-shading on the hull before spraying the basic color scheme. It was probably a waste of time because it would be mostly covered up during the weathering stage, but oh well, it's there anyway.
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The decals went on next.
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And then the pristine look of an M113 straight off the assembly line was sorted out. The weathering washes used were the type you dab on, wait for them to dry -- and then rub off with a slightly dampened tissue.
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The result was exactly what I wanted -- two extremely battle-weary looking APC's, as can be observed in the next two shots taken with some of the diorama accessories I intended to include in the scene.
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Now it was time to tackle the figures, which are a mix of those supplied with the kits and a set of resin miniatures from Bravo6. There's a slight variation in size between the figures, but not enough to get me all excited about it.
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TO BE CONTINUED
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Flashcad  China
 
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Posted by Flashcad on 18 Sep 2021, 17:12

Bluefalchion wrote:More popular than walking I suppose.

Yeah probably, as long as those AK47 rounds weren't whistling around inside. Personally, I don't think the AK47 could actually pierce the side armor, but that's just my opinion and I leave the question to someone more knowledgeable than me to confirm, or otherwise.
:-)
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Posted by Flashcad on 18 Sep 2021, 17:33

[quote="Flashcad"]From Wikipedia:-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M113_armo ... ier#Design

"The M113 was the first aluminum hull combat vehicle to be put into mass production. Much lighter than earlier similar vehicles, its aluminum armor was designed to be thick enough to protect the crew and passengers against small arms fire, but light enough that the vehicle was air transportable and moderately amphibious."

Also from the same article:-

"The M113 is built of 5083 aircraft-quality aluminum alloy. Aluminium alloy is fairly durable, but it still requires nearly three times the thickness of steel for an equivalent level of protection, meaning it was only designed for all-around 7.62mm and shell splinter protection. The M113A3 could also mount applique armor giving protection from 14.5mm threats and landmines."

The Vietnam-era AK47 fired a 7.62mm round with a muzzle velocity of 715m/s. So, although I might well be wrong, I would have to think that, no, the M113 couldn't be penetrated by small-arms fire.

Interesting conversation though.
:-)
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Flashcad  China
 
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Posted by Flashcad on 18 Sep 2021, 17:37

I've no idea how that double post happened?
:eh:
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 18 Sep 2021, 17:55

Don't worry, our excellent mods will be along to clean up the accidental double post soon.

Thanks for the links. I could be getting confused between the M113 and another vehicle. Or perhaps it was the earliest version that suffered from that flaw.
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Posted by Peter on 18 Sep 2021, 22:51

Fixed! ;-)

Very interesting WIP! I will be looking at these pictures a few more times! ;-) :thumbup:
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 19 Sep 2021, 01:04

I have always understood the reason for the crew to ride 'up top' was because of fears of damage from mines. After all, why swap the limited protection of inside the hull for no protection on top?
The other reason for riding on top was the limited ability of anyone riding inside to observe or return fire. It was a lesson from WW2 that soldiers riding on vehicles were so useful in observing any enemy and firing back at them. The ACAV variant was a natural extension of this, with its extra MG's and armoured plates
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steve_pickstock  England
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 19 Sep 2021, 05:58

Also, on hot days, it was likely to be very, very hot inside the M113. If there is one thing universal about soldiers, they seem willing to sacrifice a little bit of safety in exchange for comfort.
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Posted by Flashcad on 19 Sep 2021, 08:04

PART 3

Time now to make a start on the diorama itself.
The background was to be built around this scenic accessory from Joefix...
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...but when I opened the box, I found the contents were significantly different from the catalog image, the back-wall was missing and the side-walls were only detailed on one side. It would have been more trouble than it was worth trying to send it back to the vendor in the UK and ask for a replacement -- far simpler just to accept the mild irritation and fix the defects myself. So I used milliput filler to detail the side-walls.
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No real reason why I used Superfine White milliput rather than the Standard Yellow/Grey type -- I just happened to have more of the White stuff available.
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And the lid off a tin of green tea would serve as the back-wall...
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...after I hacked it around a bit and added the "stone" details.
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I generally use wooden serving trays or kitchen chopping boards as the base for dioramas. They're cheap and readily available, although they do need a couple of coats of clear varnish to prevent them warping when the wet groundwork is layered onto them.
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After playing around with the layout it was clear that the ruined Buddha Temple had to be situated on a mound -- and the back-wall needed some depth added to the stonework.
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I also wanted to add a couple of "Lion" statues from my spares-box, so the side-walls were placed at an angle to accommodate these additional features.
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The mound was created using newspaper soaked in diluted PVA glue laid over some card formers and various other bits of junk. Note the small rise at the bottom right of the diorama base – this would provide the opportunity for including a ditch by the side of the road.
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For basic diorama groundwork, I normally use two or three layers of "Celluclay" which is a form of powdered papier-mâché that can be mixed with water to any desired consistency, but in this case I used "Sculptamold" from Woodland Scenics, simply because I don't like it, (just my personal opinion and preference), and wanted to use up the supply I had available.
Checked the layout again and then left the groundwork to fully cure overnight.
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The Lion statues were not fixed in place at this stage as I wanted to re-paint them individually so they'd co-ordinate with the colors I was going to apply to the Buddha statue.

TO BE CONTINUED
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Flashcad  China
 
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Posted by MABO on 19 Sep 2021, 13:36

I follow this with interest. Not my scale, but it is really interesting to see.
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Posted by Flashcad on 20 Sep 2021, 02:27

PART 4

The main reason I dislike using "Sculptamold" as basic groundwork is that it is extremely sticky when initially mixed with water. This makes it difficult to work with -- and it won't "take" detail being pressed into it.
So when I resumed work on the diorama, I spread a thin layer of "Celluclay" onto the road section and as it was drying the shape of the APC tracks added. I also added a set of stairs into the mound leading up to the ruins of the Buddha Temple -- and poured the initial layer of 2-part clear resin "water" into the ditch at the lower right-hand side of the diorama base.
Depth had previously been added to the back-wall of the Temple and the gaps between it and the side-walls filled. The structure was given the first of several thin washes to pick out the details in the stonework.
I then began painting the initial layers of red, green, brown onto the groundwork.
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The colors look pretty startling and unconvincing at this stage, but that's okay as they were simply the base coats which would be adjusted by the subsequent top coats as they dried out. The final color of the groundwork wasn't really all that important anyway, as it was simply added to disguise the white/grey of the basic groundwork,.
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Continued adding color layers until I was happy with the results and then let the diorama base dry out overnight.
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Next day, I began adding the foliage. This consisted of length of static grass varying from 2mm - 6mm, plus lots of jungle scatter material from Dutch company "Reality in Scale" who manufacture an excellent range of diorama accessories.

The impression of an old ruined Temple being over-run by nature was reinforced as more and more jungle plants were added, along with a couple of palm trees.
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The lower lying foliage was given a light mist of diluted gloss medium through an airbrush to simulate the generally wet conditions.
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The Lion statues were removed at this stage and painted to co-ordinate with the rest of the ruins; some verdigris was also added to the Lions and the Buddha statue, then the Lions were finally fixed in place.

Meanwhile, I had been working on the figures and began trying them out in various positions on the M113's.
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The guy uncomfortably perched on the edge of the turret would obviously have to be re-located, but that's an easy one to sort out. Check out the "knock-off gold Rolex" the guy closest to the camera is sporting. I bet it fell to pieces after his first day up-the-jungle... :-D
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I'm not that great at painting 1:35 scale figures... :oops: ...but can live with it... 8) ... :P
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The project was now getting fairly close to being finished. The final set of photos shall be featured in my next post.

TO BE CONTINUED
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Posted by Flashcad on 20 Sep 2021, 16:18

PART 5
FINISHED DIORAMA

I was so impressed by the Bravo6 figures that I pulled those supplied with the kits out of the diorama and ordered up a bunch more of these superb resin miniatures.
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Some of them will be added to this diorama in due course, as I get around to assembling and painting them. The rest will feature in a future project.

Here are the photos of the (so far) finished M113 diorama.
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If anyone is interested in watching the slideshow I put together for this one, then it can be seen on this link.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpGteX7fXG8

Cheers
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Flashcad  China
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 20 Sep 2021, 17:11

It is a beautiful diorama. Your skills are very impressive. I wish I could model as well as you do.

Now for some mild criticisms.

I think it may be just a bit too busy. Lots and lots going on. Some of the best dioramas, and this is one of them, are beautiful in their simplicity.

Second, I would expect these soldiers to have deep tans from being in the field in a tropical environment.

Back to the M113, the wikipedia page reads like it was written by an employee of the manufacturer, which it likely was. But, reading between the lines, it appears that the AVRN created some modifications to make the vehicle more resistant to small arms fire after problems encountered in the field in the early 60s. It seems they even created a uniform up-armor package, especially to protect the command cupola. The US Armed forces later adopted it.

Now you may be thinking to yourself: "I created this super cool diorama, and shared it with the group, and along comes Bluefalchion picking it apart! What has he ever done?"

That was NOT my intention in making this post. I actually think you are a genius, straight up. I give you the Wayne and Garth "We're not worthy" bows.

But asking questions about process and result and sharing honest opinions in the spirit of mutual respect is one of the things I most enjoy about this forum. Please consider my comments in that light.

Also, I expect there will be a long parade of shorter and more unambiguously positive comments headed your way for this one. Those kinds of posts are really nice, too.
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Bluefalchion  United States of America
 
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Posted by Iceman1964 on 20 Sep 2021, 17:53

Here is the first short post :-D
It's a very well done diorama, with magnificent ground, foliage, background and details.

Best compliments !!!!
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Iceman1964  Italy
 
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Posted by Michael Robert on 20 Sep 2021, 18:26

Great diorama, Flashcad.
I can certainly live with your 1:35 figure painting skills :-))
Seriously, you did not build this in one week?
To me it is mist instructive how you set about building all this to such a complete dio
Thank you greatly for that
Michael
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Michael Robert  France

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Posted by Flashcad on 20 Sep 2021, 21:33

Bluefalchion wrote:It is a beautiful diorama. Your skills are very impressive. I wish I could model as well as you do.

Now for some mild criticisms.

I think it may be just a bit too busy. Lots and lots going on. Some of the best dioramas, and this is one of them, are beautiful in their simplicity.

Second, I would expect these soldiers to have deep tans from being in the field in a tropical environment.

Back to the M113, the wikipedia page reads like it was written by an employee of the manufacturer, which it likely was. But, reading between the lines, it appears that the AVRN created some modifications to make the vehicle more resistant to small arms fire after problems encountered in the field in the early 60s. It seems they even created a uniform up-armor package, especially to protect the command cupola. The US Armed forces later adopted it.

Now you may be thinking to yourself: "I created this super cool diorama, and shared it with the group, and along comes Bluefalchion picking it apart! What has he ever done?"

That was NOT my intention in making this post. I actually think you are a genius, straight up. I give you the Wayne and Garth "We're not worthy" bows.

But asking questions about process and result and sharing honest opinions in the spirit of mutual respect is one of the things I most enjoy about this forum. Please consider my comments in that light.

Also, I expect there will be a long parade of shorter and more unambiguously positive comments headed your way for this one. Those kinds of posts are really nice, too.


Feedback of any kind should always be welcome. How else do we learn and improve?
Thank you for being interested enough to take the time to provide a comprehensive critique.
Cheers
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Flashcad  China
 
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