New project in the times of COVID-19: Mini 1/6 diorama

Hi All,

Like most of us, I have been stuck in lockdown for the past month and a half, although unlike most of us, I have been living out of a suitcase in a country where I do not normally reside. Needless to say that this has meant that I have been away from my collection and the many new custom weapon projects that I could have used this time to work on. Alas! What is a boy to do?! That said, this is probably the best place to be stuck in isolation right now, so I can’t complain too much.

Expecting that my situation isn’t likely to change any time soon and without my tools, paints, or weapons to work on, I visited the local hobby and hardware stores to see what I can do to occupy myself. With a background in 1/35 scale modelling, I decided to build a small diorama / vignette against which I can photograph and show off some of my future 1/6 scale weapon builds (whenever I can get home and work on them again). I have typically photographed my builds against a plain white background, which I will continue to do to focus attention on the build itself. However, I have seen others photograph their builds against realistic backdrops to add to the realism and make it appear that you are looking at real steel - not a scale model thereof.

What I have opted to go with is an old weathered brick wall. As I hope that the photos below demonstrate, cork can make very convincing textured bricks at scale. So, starting with a few cork trivets (pot stands), a bag of building plaster, and an 8x10 photo frame, I set to work.


The trivets were cut up to make the approx. 170 bricks used in this build. These were laid by gluing them onto the back board of the photo frame. Once the glue was dry, the bricks were grouted in place with a thick mixture of plaster which I worked into the joints with a toothbrush.


Once dry, each brick was individually painted by hand in various different shades of brown and ochre commonly seen in bricks. This was followed by various washes and a little dry-brushing to really bring out the details and emphasize the texture of the bricks. When all of that was dry, I worked in a range of pigments to add further realism and visual interest. The final touch was some slime seeping out of a few of the cracks. Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of each step of the painting stages and only have the final stages to show off.



Hopefully, the next photo show what I am aiming to demonstrate with this little project. While the weapon used in the photo below (DAM AK74 with Magpul furniture) is unmodified and has not yet been weathered, I am hoping that the backdrop helps to make it look real. You be the judge…


Note that this is still a work in progress. I still need to build a base and add some foliage to further add to the realism before I will call this done.

As always, your thoughts, comments, and suggestions are welcomed. Cheers!


Awesome bro. Hope you can go back home soon, safely. Send my best to you!

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Looks really great and very realistic. Great work.

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Thanks Jostovar! It remains to be seen how much longer we will be stuck in place, but the upshot of that is it is giving me plenty of time to work on new projects like this one.

Cheers Braddock! I am really happy the way that this has worked out. It is my first time using pigments and I am very pleased with the result. Unfortunately the photos don’t really do it justice. It looks much more realistic in hand.

I have managed to do a little more work on the photo backdrop mini diorama. As you will see in the pic below, I have built up and painted the base. I still need to add a little more weathering and and a few pieces of foliage to further add to the realism.

The discerning among you will note the custom M14 with a KAC rail system that I am showing off in the photo. I built this piece a few years ago, but never did share it with y’all. I am hoping that the combination of rifle and backdrop does look realistic. What do you think?



It looks great! Is that the COO Model M14? I remember being disappointed with that piece as the promo pics made it look like a wood and metal rifle, but overall it wasn’t bad. Yours looks way better than the original

Thanks Canuck!

I do have a number of the COO Model rifles which I have modified, but this is not one of them. This is actually a DAM M14 from one of their older Navy SEAL Riverine Ops Rifleman figures (93011). It is arguably the best old school wooden stocked M14 available on the market. Hard to locate these days, but well worth it if you do. The upper handguard, however, is custom made to resemble the KAC M14 RAS.

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I have the headsculpt and body for that figure, it’s great. I actually ended up rooting hair and a beard onto it. I’d post a picture of mine, but the ones I took of it are on my old phone which got submerged in water, and It would be too much of a hassle to remove the headgear and take a new photo. Now I just wish that they made an updated version that could fit onto their new bodies.

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That looks great! :+1: :crazy_face: