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How to make a beach, sand dune, Dunkirkdiorama

This piece is dedicated to my late Great Uncle (Ted) John Edward Dimmock who unfortunately was the only man in his 7th Green Howards battalion killed on the beaches of Bray-Dunes which was 6miles northwest of Dunkirk and the Mole. They had just arrived late in the night and dug themselves into the sand dunes when shelling occurred around 6 am.

I made this video showing the steps:

How I made this beach sand dune diorama

  1. First, you need lots of reference pictures to follow

  2. Assemble your figures - these were British Resin 1:35 from Ebay.

  3. Plan your base size (so it fits in your display cabinet)

  4. Use your figures to help assist in the layout

  5. Cut 2 pieces of insulation foam (found at your local hardware store)

  6. Carve out pieces using a retractable Stanley blade.

  7. Rough surfaces, then stick together with Wood Glue. Put a weight on top and dry.

  8. Rough all surfaces with a wire brush

  9. Mix and apply Scultamold - with a pallet knife.

  10. Dip fingers in water and smooth Scultamold

  11. Dip Figures in water and press them into the Scultamold to create recesses.

  12. Repeat to create footprints

  13. Drying times vary with thickness, moisture, and humidity. I set mine outside.

  14. Carve off or sand off any unwanted features.

  15. Apply Spackling to the side with a pallet knife, I like DryDex which turns white once dry

  16. Sand, clean and add more spackling

  17. Once happy paint sides with craft black paint - this protects it. I apply 2nd coat later.

  18. Making tall grass, using a heat gun create a drop of glue then cut bristles from a natural paintbrush and stick them immediately into the hot glue.

  19. As the glue is hardening you can reposition the grass.

  20. Painting the grass using watered-down acrylic paint, don't want clumps.

  21. Applying the sand - which is the grout in this case to match the 1:35 scale

  22. I created an applicator using a plastic cup and pantyhose to create a fine mesh.

  23. First, apply Mod Podge glue on the base, not too thick!

  24. Then using your applicator dust the grout onto the base.

  25. IMPORTANT be sure to dust off areas like the grass you don't want grout on!!!!

  26. Fixing the Grout I first sprayed with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol.

  27. Followed by spraying a mixture of:3part water, 1part Modge Podge glue and 3 drops of dish soap.

  28. Once dry I applied my painted figures and dusted them with Grout.

The diorama Goal

This diorama is laid out to have 3 views. The rearview highlights Ted being alone in his thoughts, the side view shows the density of people in the sand dunes and the front view shows Ted and his two friends who were injured whilst Ted took most of the blast with a piece of shrapnel going through his chest wallet and killing him. Mum still has the wallet!

His best mate my Grandad Stanley Coleman would have been right next to him if he hadn't had became ill before going to France with Diptheria.

To learn more about his story you can watch his history.

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