You are here
Home > Reviews > Finished Models > Hiding in the Ruins

Hiding in the Ruins

Greetings once again,

I have always wanted to build a city block diorama, after all, where can the soldiers hide ? Streets filled with rubble and trash, and most of all no place to run to when the enemy comes to town.  Building such a diorama was fairly straight forward and by using the simplest products cost saving.

The first step is planning ahead and as I like to think of myself in such a place trying to hide from the bad guys I have a closer look at the details.

I use many products for diorama bases but the best I have found are recycled rubber stepping-stones for the garden that make the perfect base, made from rubber and other materials they are indestructible and do not crack or warp and stand up to any water based glues or paints or in this case Plaster of Paris. I used foam core photo board and Tamiya Brick sections for the ruins with a coating of Plaster of Paris on the walls after peeling off the paper which rendered the walls to really take on a battle-damaged appearance.  The rubble is nothing more than dried plaster and crushed. The streets are plaster as well and the overall ruined look enhanced by washing all of the scenery with a thinned black coat of acrylic paints. I used bass wood for the structural framing leaving lots of ruined ends.

The Tamiya  U.S. Allied troops were all converted with left over web belt attachments from DML models and some of the figures re-positioned to fit in the scenes.  The German troops are a mix of left over DML figures with a mix and no match uniforms as would have been the case late in World War Two.  All figures were hand painted as with all my figures and dried with a hand hair dryer on LOW heat. A thinned wash of black acrylic paint was applied over the entire figure with a dry brushing of a lighter paint shade after the wash dried as well.

As an add-on I have included photos of two different Dodge Weapons Carriers to show what the Italeri model (equipped with anti tank gun) is compared to the same vehicle by AFV Models with the .50 cal. machine gun. These vehicles are not included in the theme however could have been seen in such a place after being abandoned by a crew trying to hide!

Enjoy.DSC_0001 DSC_0004 DSC_0007 DSC_0010 DSC_0012 DSC_0013 DSC_0015 DSC_0020   The mud on the vehicles is made from a simple mix of thinned black acrylic craft paint and the scapping of artist chalk onto the wet paint with an X-acto knife. There are no adhesives for this method and the effect is ever-lasting. I use this on all my military vehicles.


  1. Dodge Weapons Carrier (312.7 KiB)
    Additional details using Tamiya's Allied Accessory Kit.

John Staehle

I have a fully equipped shop for the purpose of creating military diorama scenes as well as free-standing models. Additional projects include small modular railroad section construction.