GuP diorama project blog: Pravda and Anzio

This is an old project of mine. This diorama project was done in June of 2019. With my old website gone along with its entries, I figured I’d at least restore this one.

I spent a lot of time trying to find the right base for this diorama. Originally, I got a 35cm (14in) by 35cm cork memo panel which turned out to be too small.Then I got my hands on a 30cm (12in) by 45cm (18n) knife board. In the end though, I ended up with a 30cm by 60cm (24in) shelf board, meaning this is going to be one large diorama. This process alone took me over a week as I went places to places to shop for the right base.

There are going to be four(!) tanks in this scene: T-34, KV-2, Semovente, and CV-33. The scene setup on paper is like this.

Under heavy snow, Katyusha and Co are stuck in middle of nowhere and coincidentally reach a small house where Anchovy and Co are taking a shelter.Anchovy and Co offer Katyusha and the others the food they are working on.

The time of this scene is night. ← This will have a significant impact later on.

The scene is similar to how Anchovy offered Oorai school a meal party after their match. Of course, we are talking about anime here. Anchoy in official manga is very stiff. Though Anchoy in Ribbon warrior is very similar to anime version. But then Ribbon warrior is an unofficial fork of the series.

The main issue with this setup is that it requires a fair amount of figures.There are: Katyusha, Nonna, Klara, Nina, and Alina as well as Anchovy, Carpaccio, and Pepperoni. A total of 8(!!!) figures.

These figures were purchased from Amazon Japan prime. I have to say their DHL express shipping was dirt cheap (About 10 USD). All import fees were already in advance as well, so customs & delivery were simply painless. I am going to be using Amazon Japan again for my next diorama.

I hate working with 1/35 scale figures and I have to work on so many. For the record, military figures of this scale are much easier because there are little assembly required. In stark contrast, these anime figures require a lot of assembly. That itself is fine. The main issue is that parts are often not tight fits and require improvisations.

But the saving grace of these figures is that the resin is dyed in skin color which actually saved me a lot of time and efforts as a result because skin is the hardest part in any garage kits in my experience.

I made about one and half figure a day. So, it took me around a week to fully assemble and paint all 8 figures. I did one by one. I certainly had the option of doing everything together in groups to save paint & time but, when the parts are this small, you run a likely risk of mismatching parts.

I did not airbrush any parts. I saw no point in that. I mean parts are in low end of millimeters sizes. While possible to airbrush, it would have been a huge waste of time and efforts.

The 1/35 scale figures have come out surprisingly good. I am quite pleased. And it wasn’t as bad/hard as I thought it’d be. Prior attempting this though, I had plenty of experience with garage kits at this point, so I believe that helped, a lot. I basically knew what to do and didn’t panic whenever I made mistakes.

And, aye, Klara figure is drinking “non-alcoholic” vodka which translates to water essentially.

I must also mention props used in this diorama.

The house is Miniart European barn 1/35 model.Drums are parts of Tamiya German Fuel Drum Set 1:35 Scale Model Kit 35186.Kitchen prop is a part of Tamiya German Field Kitchen Scenery Kit 1/35 Scale 35247.All of those are relatively cheap on the market. The barn is the most expensive one at around 35 CAD.

With figures done, I now move onto finishing up props and paint the barn. I primed the barn in white and then used brush to paint minor details, including mild weathering. Whatever weathering I apply, it probably won’t show up much when I apply snow because the barn will mostly be covered in snow later. Because of that, I didn’t mind going off lines.

Now, I have this soft snow diorama powder. Before I dare using this though, I have to give it final thoughts on how I approach this.At this point, I still have the option of going to a grass setup which is far easier due to my previous experience with it. And more importantly a grass setup would still work.

In the end though, I’ve decided to stick with my original plan of a blizzard setup. I mean, guys, this is Pravda centric diorama. Skipping out on General Winter would be a sinful act to mighty Katyusha.

It is almost done. But there is one more step I must do. This is something I actually didn’t think about but should probably have.The scene is supposed to take its place at night. The girls are warming themselves around fire in a drum barrel.What that means is that I need to set up two light sources in one drum barrel that’s surrounded by the girls and another light source in the house.And somehow mimic fire.

Wiring is laid down on the wood before being snowed. The battery is hidden in the barn. I cut out a wall in the back of the barn to make this happen. Nobody will be seeing the back of the barn, so this shouldn’t pose any issues.

Fire is done by taking a small ball of cotton and airbrushing it in yellow and then slightly spray in red to allow light to pass.

Here we are. The wires and the barn are secured by model paste. I let it dry over a night and it is time for the final phase of this project.It is time to spray the snow.

And it turns out that it is easier to be said than done.Although you are seeing final result above, to get that far, I had to change my plan more than a few times to get it work.

My original plan was to spray glue and spray snow. Rinse and repeat about 5 times and I thought that’d work.Except it didn’t. The first layer was fine but subsequent layer didn’t work because glue didn’t stick.I tried another glue and that didn’t work, either. It simply did not stick and the second layer fell off like a brick.

What eventually worked was gorilla glue. If you have used gorilla glue before, you will know that the glue bubbles as it hardens. This actually saved me having to do layers. One layer of gorilla glue did the trick.

Aaaand it is done. This project has taken me a month and a week approximately. This includes planning as well.

Meanwhile, there are few things that did not work out.

The first is LED lights. They were too weak to be picked up by my camera. The second is that I should have glued the tanks as well as the figures onto the wood before spraying snow. Finally, I should have used gorilla glue from get-go. That would have saved me around 6 hours trying to figure out how to get snow glued.

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