Vietnam 1959 - 1975 - America’s Longest and Bloodiest War
“Run” is a 32 inch by 24 inch diorama that took 4 years to make. It has 2 heli’s, 50 figures, dozens of tree’s, almost 20 different types of groundwork, dozens of extra details and 3 hidden booby traps. Not a dustoff, but a retreival of 2 wounded in an urgent status from deeper in the jungle.Reports stated limited to no enemy activity - this was not the case. The VC had already infiltratedthe jungle area and the NVA were advancing at a fast pace through a clearing. Grab the woundedand run like you never ran before.This is dedicated not only to the one’s who were here, but to all who servedin Vietnam. A special remembrance goes to those who went into combatwith few or no weapons to save lives - the medical and evacuation units ofthe United States Army - not well known, but willing to give their lives tosave the life of another. Their casualty rate was exceedingly high.A Never Ending Thank You.
50 Figures All Painted in Oils
LEAVES AND TREES
There are 2 reasons for having a well made base - looks and strength. This ismade from walnut and luan. The walnut is only .50” thick and 1.25” wide. Theluan is .125”. It is not set in a channel, but set on corner braces with a centersupport and additional walnut braces on the end. It is lightweight and strongand can be carried without a chance of any joints loosening. It is finished with6 coats of Minwax, sanded and rubbed down with 00000 steel wool betweeneach coat. The groundfoam is florist foam. Do not use regualar styrofoam.Florist foam is porous and holds the Durhams Water Putty. It is also ventilatedso moisture does not stay under the putty or in the foam which would causemildew. It does not break and can be carved into shapes.
Trees came from various sources. Some are resin and etched brass, somesoft plastic and others medium hard plastic. All are prpared the same way.Clean them up as best possible. Resin trunks can be shaped under hot water or in front of a heater for a few minutes. Plastic and resin can be extendedby cutting a third way up from the base, gluing in a pin (paper clip) to thedesired lenght of the extension and filling with 2 part plumbers seal. As itdries bark detail can be cut in. For the leaves, copper grounding wire is used.This is standard 5 strand. Separate the strands, cut into 1” to 1.5” length andprime white. Glue each strand to the back spine of your leaves using ElmersPro Bond. Let them dry then paint and drill holes in the groundwork to hold them. Plant 3 or 4 in one bunch, never just 1.
Most of the VC and NVA are used as they were supplied. A few had moderateconversions done. 99% of all the U.S. figures were converted. Conversionswent from a head and hand swap to major building. As many kit or scrap boxparts were used as possible. The photgraphs reveal the amount of conversionthat was necessary. Sculpting and major revisions were done with MilliputFine White and Pro Create. Thin lead foil was used as necessary for belts,collars, front shirt seams, straps, etc. Running motion can be seen on thenurse on the right rear. Her hair is uplifting in the back and her shirt is doing the same. Both nurses have M1952 vest on and the left rear figure has aconverted M69 vest with collar, no stiffeners, side lacing and high pockets.**Some pictures do not show the actual figure used in the diorama
All figures are painted in oils (Lukas 1862) after they are primed and under-coated in acrylics. The acrylics should be applied with care and should bewithin 90% of the desired finished color. Then they are glazed with a coat of Dorlands Wax and Grumbacher #1 medium. The oils are then applied.Establish a central uniform color, then make lighter and darker shades usingtitanium white for a grayer effect and naples yellow for a warmer effect. Fordeeper shading use raw umber since it has a greenish tone to it. Burnt umberproduces an effect which is too stark. The figure shows the different tones ofgreen used. The equipment was undercoated with a russian khaki color andshaded with raw umber. The pallet is also shown. Mars black and naplesyellow and standard yellow make olive drab. Lukas base color is No. 157,Bohemian Green Earth.
This is the Academy kit from 1994. The plastic is much thinner then Panda, andas a result it was warped in several places. The worst was the top of the roof,inner and outer. This unit has significant combat damage and is heavily weathered. The rail and inside is covered with dried mud and blood. There isa steel plate welded to the inside floor in the center. This plate could withstand a .50 calibur bullet. There are no markings except for the tail section and hasa free form sloppy black camoflage. Coiled communiction cables are added.The pilot is a converted Bravo 6 figure, arms and legs repositioned to hold thestick and feet on the pedals. Head is from Legend. The completed model hasa Bravo 6 M60 Gunner (converted), a CMK seated infantryman, and a woundedfigure converted from an Alpine kit. He holds a M639. Heli finishing done withModelmaster and Air Model. Rotor finished with Floquil Platinum Mist andhigh speed polished.Sealing and weathering done with Dorlands Wax andSepia and Sepia Extra oils. Final touch is pastels (bonds with Dorlands).Airbrushes were Paasche VL & Badger 350 with Master Compressor with tank.The D is from Panda. Fit was good. Painted the same way. Weathered andfinished the same way. It has a ground radio by the seat and a gutter mountedantenna. Cables are installed. Inside are 2 covered bodies, equipment includingan M60, M16 knapsacks, and ammo. The other side has some equipmentincluding a coiled rope made from european fine strand buss wire. There isalso a nurse kneeling on the inside (converted) ready to receive a stretcher.Not inscribed in white on the left door side is the inscription in Vietnamese“khong co tu nhan” - take no prisoners. Even using a pin point it would notlook right. It was pinned to the base using “U” clips over the rails.
The results of completing 4 years of tedious work can be seen in these pictures.It is real down to the Vietnamese mud used in some places.Soon there will be a series of PDF files available on each facet of building thisdiorama. It will be in book form by chapter. It will cover everything from theproduct and supplier list to detailed pictures. There were over 1,000 picturestaken during the bulding process. All the PDF’s will contain at least 200 in highresolution. This is not a step by step how-to. It is assuming you have at leastmoderate modelling skills. Information will be posted as to the release dateand the price.
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A list of suppliers and products is available in PDF format.To obtain this list, please click the PDF link on the right.
PALM TREE SUPPORT OR THE C
The support for the the C had to be stable, strong and removable. The heli had to be able to be inserted and removed easily for transport. It also couldnot have a defined position when mounted. It should rotate 360 degrees.The basis was a standard Verlinden palm tree, cut into sections, drilled out,and the pieces slid over Albion tubing. The tubing was filled with pieces ofcut hex keys for strength. The bottom of the tubing was inserted into a pieceof cut all-thread filled with epoxy. The tree sections were glued in place andextended gaps filled with Milliput Fine White epoxy. A turned brass threadedholder was inserted in the base to hold the tree.
Palm Tree Support How-To is available in PDF format.Please click the PDF link on the right.
MORE PICTURES OF THE FINISHED DIORAMA ON THE PDF LINK ON THE RIGHT