This diorama is based on roadwork’s currently being carried out by various ISAF teams in Afghanistan. The project started in a different direction, but after some research and communications with an Armorama member serving in Afghanistan (thanks Brian!), the concept was refined, and settled on a roadwork team in a small village. The scene includes a crew working with a CAT 815 compactor, an armored M1083 dump truck, and an MATV for security. The figures include a survey party, an engineering team in lively debate with a group of locals, a separate group of village onlookers, and various members of the construction and security team. A nice aspect of this build has been the unsolicited participation by other Armorama members too, including Matt and Romain, described below. Each collaborator brought something special to the build, including technical knowledge, technical skills, and overall knowledge of building a “complete” diorama, and of course, the ongoing dialogue with members during the build! Thanks to one and all!
The compactor is scratch built (based on a CAT 815), with the basic form made of bass wood, sheathed with styrene. A variety of materials were used for parts and detailing. Another Armorama member, Matt, volunteered to make a 3d print and resin castings of the “pads” for the wheels (thanks Matt!). These pads helped a great deal with executing “convincing realism” on these highly visible project elements.
The dump truck is based on the Trumpeter Armored M1083. Once into the build, it became clear that the version in use here is not the same as that in the kit (pics from Brian show a different armored cab), so in addition to scratch building the dump bed, the cab was reworked to be closer to the version in use. While not perfect, it offers a good representation – at least a lot closer than what is commercially available.
The MATV is the Panda kit, with a variety of aftermarket and scratch built details ranging from resin and photo etched parts, to wire coil springs and position able steering. I think the Panda kit needed this amount of work to “fit” into this build, but it might not as a standalone. That said, while it is not an easy kit to build, it looks even better after taking the time to detail it up.
The base of the diorama and buildings are made from rigid, pink foam insulation sheet material. These were assembled and then coated with lightweight spackle and various types of pumice gels for ground cover. The ground plane was further refined by the use of decomposed granite path material glued in place. Small, individual stones were glued in place. All was then primed and painted using Vallejo and AK colors. The colors selected are based on photos from Afghanistan, where there appear to be numerous shades of brown, and little else. Hence, the build stayed within this “family” of brown. The plant materials are quite sparse including only a few tufts of grasses and dried plant materials used for small bushes.
The figures come from a variety of manufacturers, and are painted with an assortment of colors from many sources. Some were modified to meet the purposes of this build. In addition, another Armorama member, our friend Romain, decided that in addition to providing very helpful critiques and discussions along the way, that he would also contribute and paint a few soldiers and local residents! Thanks very much! Happily our two sets of figures have remained friendly even though painted in different hands (and skill sets!!), from opposite ends of the world!
If you wish to take a look at the diorama as it progressed the link below will take you to the forum thread.
Rough Road on the Road Again