Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Building a 1/35 Japanese Kurogane 4x4 staff car diorama - Part VII: jungle vegetation

Adding vegetation to a diorama

When we last left off in Part VI, I had just finished the plaster and dirt groundwork.  Now it's time to make this Pacific jungle track come to life!

I started off adding small patches of static grass.  I also added in a fallen log in the front corner, which was a twig found in a local park.

Static grass in place. Each clump added using tweezers and white PVA glue.

Twig "fallen log" courtesy of my local park.

I also wanted a small, stunted tree in the back corner, on top of the little hill.  Now I could have built my own using twisted, sculpted metal wire covered in plaster. But I am also a firm believer in the fact that the most natural looking stuff is actually provided by Nature, so I used a suitably gnarled and twisted twig from the park again.

Another find at the local park.  I could never paint bark this realistically!

I purchased some laser-cut jungle palm leaves which were printed on paper. These came from www.jsworkmodel.com - I'd not used this before, but I thought it was worth a shot.  Unfortunately, when they arrived the printed colours were pretty garish and over-bright.  I started installing palm leaves one by one, but I wasn't impressed.

I'll leave these instructions here in case you want to try your own.

Paper palm leaves... Hmmm...Those colours are a bit much!

Those bright colours are really too unrealistic.

However, after a coat of matte paint, the vegetation improved considerably.  So I would recommend them, they were cheap and easy to use, but you just need to tone them down a bit yourself.

I've added some links for similar products from Amazon at the end of this post.  For the price, you can't go wrong.

A thin coat of green really helped tone down those leaves.  Yellow tips still show through, giving some colour modulation.

I had also purchased some resin palm leaves, which I airbrushed and was tremendously happy with.  Unfortunately, they were way over-scale, and dominated the scene, even though they were supposedly for 1/35 modelling.  Maybe if you had a larger vehicle they would work, let's not forget that this is a tiny car. Oh well, c'est la vie.

These look great!

Ummm, no. That does not look right...

So I dumped these and continued using the paper leaves.  Much more in scale, and much less likely to overtake the story!

Slightly more boring palms, but definitely in-scale now.

I also added some little clumps of green sponge material to suggest moss - you can see this in the photo directly above.  This is Woodland Scenics Coarse Turf (Light Green) - good versatile stuff, and very useful to have around.

Finally, I used varnish to make wet mud and puddles in the tyre tracks on the trail. I had hoped to have actual puddles with depth, but the plaster was too porous and the varnish kept soaking into the wooden plinth. Not 100% what I had hoped for, but the wet muddy ground still looks good.  I also added wet mud to the car's wheels using plaster, paint and then a coat of varnish for wetness.

Varnish added to replicate wet mud.

One little puddle remained underneath the car.

I finished up the jungle vegetation with some random (tiny!) bits of torn leaf and strands of dried out grass that I found on the ground walking around the block.

So that's it for vegetation. Come back next time for Part VIII when I finish the final steps. I hope this is helpful and gives you ideas for your own dioramas.

Until then, keep experimenting!



Links to products used in this post:


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