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JP’s Ho Chi Minh Trail Vignette


I like autumn (The ‘fall’ to our North American cousins). The weather is usually pretty good here in the UK, my birthday is in the autumn and there are lots of natural diorama elements ready for the picking in the garden, so that prompted me to pull an old Zvezda kit out of the stash and build a heavily camouflaged NVA (North Vietnamese Army) truck using loads of natural materials.

The trucks of the 53rd Truck Battalion of the 559th Group were cleverly disguised to blend in with the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. My truck uses real bamboo for the frame constructed over the truck and covered with camouflage netting. The vegetation on top is a combination of real plants from my garden and paper palm leaves from Joefix Studios.

The hill is a block of insulation foam and the plants include seeds from a silver birch, treated with white PVA glue, the flowers of stinging nettles painted with white primer to preserve and stiffen them and then given a top coat of red. The long leaved plants are grass which has been soaked in glycerin and painted. Most of the other plants are weeds and roots fished out of the green waste bin.

The figures started as the Dragon NVA Assault Group, but were extensively modified to obtain the ‘pushing’ stance. The base was treated with oil paint, enamels, acrylics (mixed with Polyfiller in places), weathering powders and MIG ‘Wet Effects’ to place it firmly in the monsoon season.

For more information on using real plants in a diorama check out ‘Let’s Build a Diorama, no2 Terrain & Vegitation’  by László Adóba.


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