Stand Your Ground
by Fernando Gasca
(Everman, Texas, US)
Land-based diorama provides room for detail
I plan on making a diorama or my LVT-4 Water Buffalo and it just got its treads blown off by artillary and its stuck on a beach head and I want to know how you would weather it and how would you create the diorama because i am new to this.
SMH Responds: All good dioramas begin with solid research, planning, and attention to detail.
There are a few "must-knows" about your subject you must have.
Scale is one of the more important along with the dimensions of your model.
Next, decide whether your model will be in water or on land? Are their buildings involved? What about other vehicles? Personnel in the form of scale figures?
Knowledge of history, events and geography also play a roll in the development of subjects and themes.
Complexity ranges from the simple assembly and painting of a model kit out of the box to the complete scratch building of a vehicle, aircraft or ship from materials such wood, plastic, metal or resin.
There were over 8,000 LVT-4s built, so there is no excuse for not making an individual vehicle rather than sticking with the kit markings. Just remember that the LVT's working environment was tough. They spent a lot of time in water and a lot of time on wet ground and mud. In
North West Europe the British Army used them in very muddy conditions. The American ones looked like they were never washed down at all!
The metal used was not thick and dented easily, with the exception of the armour plating which was much tougher. The wash vanes were very prone to damage and were often cut away when they were bent beyond use. So mud, rust, dirt and dents are the order of the day. The same goes for the tracks. I read in an article somewhere that the W-shaped grousers were actually made from aluminium. After I had stopped laughing I checked: they are definitely steel! Believe me, they are very, very hard. Aluminium grousers would not last five minutes on a sandy beach or on a hard coral reef, they would wear down in next to no time. Not only that, aluminium reacts very badly with sea water.
So, once again the modeller can pile on the rust and mud. However, photographs of LVT's running on proper road surfaces show that the very edges of the grousers clean down to bright bare metal. Now the really brave can show a vehicle that has just come out of the sea, in which case the tracks should be relatively clean.
Here are a couple links you may find helpful: