I worked a bit on my Hetzer diorama this weekend. I started by making more debris to use on the house ruin.
First, I prepared some individual brick using strips of thin cork. These were held to a masking tape band, then airbrushed a warm shade of brown. I later dry-brushed them a bit with 2 shades of red. Then I used a warm pale grey sparingly just to simulate a bit of mortar on the bricks. I didn’t go over the top with blending and weathering, because once these will be glued on the diorama, they will have a wash of earth brown and brick-red pigments all over them.
I prepared 2 small mixes of plaster in 2 different cups. In the first one, I added a mix of black and brown acrylic paints so the plaster will become a warm grey when dried. In the second one, I added only black; that batch turned cool dark grey. Each mix was poured in a soft plastic “tray” in a thin layer (about 5 mm). Once the whole thing was dried, I crushed the 2 batches so to obtain various sizes of “concrete looking” chunks and fragments. I mixed in some crushed cat litter (to simulate plaster fragments and add a bit of variety to the whole mix).
I took some strips of thin cork and cut it in pieces smaller than whole bricks, to simulate broken bricks. This was mixed with talus (little rocks used by railroad modellers) in a cup. I added brick-red acrylic paint, then mixed everything. The trick is to use enough paint so every bits in the mix will get covered, but not too much. If there is too much paint, the little fragments will stick too much one to another and it will be much harder to use later on. Before the paint was dried, I spread the mix on a paper tower, gently “rolling” the pieces on the towel with my fingers so the excess paint was absorbed by the towel.
Roof / floor “chunks”
When a building collapses, it does not go down with all the material used in its construction now broken in individual pieces. Many bits of material remain “connected” or joined, with nails, cement, concrete etc. It is especially true for the roof and floors. So it is normal to find large chunks of material still bound together among the rubbles. I used some balsa wood to put together 3 “chunks” like that, all broken and weathered.
…And so it began!
With all this done, I was ready to start.
First, I used paint (dry-brushing) to give the ground some colours, in case a small area remains visible through the rubbles. Nothing fancy here: earth tones and some brick-red.
Second, I detailed the back of the building (especially the floor and what’s underneath). The wooden structure of the floor is mostly balsa, but I used popsicle sticks for the floor and plasticard sheets for the mouldings.
Then I started carefully laying down various bits of debris (bricks, planks, concrete, plaster, rusty pipe etc).
Everything is glued with white glue, and in case you’re wondering: Yes, every bit at this stage is placed individually, one by one. Tedious, but I want more control.
Third, I started the same process in the front of the building. So far, so good.
It still need more debris: Collapsed buildings produce an unbelievable amount of debris.
Don’t worry if you think the colours are a bit too contrasted and are lacking some “unity”: when all the debris will be in place, a good wash and pigments will help tie everything together.
Hope it inspires someone.