Abandoned VW Beetle Mini Diorama

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About: Hello, My name is Maya and I am a 40-year-old content editor and graphic designer from Israel. In my spare time, I build stuff. Feel free to follow me!

It's been a few weeks since I completed a 1:32 scale Yellow VW Beetle. The problem was that the replica came out too perfect and shiny, so I decided to take it to the next level and gave it an authentic look, inspired by this excellent video on YouTube.

Step 1: Planning, Materials and Tools

The scene I was after was an old abandoned VW Beetle in the middle of a greenish forest.


Materials:

  • 1:32 Scale Yellow VW Beetle Replica
  • Circle Shaped Polystyrene Foam
  • Amsterdam's Lamp Black Acrylic Paint
  • Amsterdam's Zinc White Acrylic Paint
  • Jo Sonja's Fawn Acrylic Paint
  • Jo Sonja's Burnt Umber Acrylic Paint
  • Rayher's Raysin 100 Basic White Casting Powder
  • Mod Podge Matte Glue
  • Palmolive Liquid Washing Detergent
  • Sand and Small Stones from My Garden
  • Silver Dried Sand by 4D Model Making Materials
  • Noch's Grass Glue
  • Noch's Light Green Wild Grass
  • Noch's Herbs Sauvages Wild Grass
  • Green Blended Turf by Woodland Scenics
  • Scenic Rust Kit by Deluxe Materials
  • Vallejo's Natural Sienna Pigment
  • Vallejo's Rust Pigment
  • Vallejo's Dark Yellow Ochre Pigment
  • Green Plants by Robotime DIY Miniature Dollhouse Kit
  • Revell's VW Beetle Decal Pack
  • 0.5mm Wooden Coffee Stirrer by Superkit
  • 2mm 3M 300LSE Ultra Thin Double-Sided Tape


Tools:

  • A4 Cutting Mat
  • Paper Towels
  • Sand Paper
  • Tamiya's 18mm Masking Tape Refill
  • Wooden Spatula
  • Various Types of Paint Brushes
  • Boulders Rock Mold by Woodland Scenics
  • Noch's Gras Master 2.0
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpick
  • Stainless Steel Ruler
  • Ergonomic Hobby Knife

Step 2: Base

The base I was using is a circle shaped polystyrene foam. You can easily find it in many hobby stores in your area. The finish on the edges wasn't quite perfect. To tidy it up I lightly sanded them until they were smooth enough. I also painted the edges with standard black acrylic paint to give it a modern look.

Step 3: Plaster Rocks

I decided to add a few rocks by using Woodland Scenics boulders rock mold for extra detail. This mold was very easy to work with as it is flexible and reusable. I roughly mixed a 3 to 1 ratio of white casting powder and water to create a thin mixture and poured it into the mold. After about 30 minutes the rocks were ready.

Step 4: Raising the Surface

Before raising the surface of the foam a little with Sculptamold, I used a mask on the edges of the base to avoid harming the paint. Sculptamold is quite easy to work with. It has a consistency of cottage cheese before applying it. It feels like adding icing to a cake and I gradually built it up until I had the contouring I was after. Before the surface was dried, I placed the plaster rocks and blended them with the wet Sculptamold to fix them in position. As the Sculptamold began to set, I continued to smooth the surface with a spatula. Once established, I used my finger and a few drops of water to get a smoother finish.

Step 5: Painting the Rocks

As I wanted the rocks to look like giant stones in the forest, I decided to use the acrylic wash technique to paint them realistically and let the colors run together naturally. The first layer was a light yellowish tan color. It followed by burnt umber and a standard black. Once dried, I added a light dry brushing of white to highlight the edges of the stones.

Step 6: Painting the Base

I covered the base with a fawn acrylic paint for an earthy look.

Step 7: Adding Dirt

I poured some ordinary dirt from my garden into a shaker with a small strainer. It was much too dark, so I added some silver dried sand and mixed them together until I got the desired color. I diluted one part Mod Podge matte glue with 3 parts water and a few drops of liquid washing detergent. I applied the glue mixture with a paintbrush and covered all the areas with dirt. Once dried, I randomly added a natural sienna pigment with a paintbrush.

Step 8: Adding Static Grass, Blended Turf and a Few Small Stones

For the major transformation, I used the Noch Gras Master 2.0 along with some grass glue and a mixture of two shades of grass fibers. Once the grass was thoroughly mixed, I randomly applied some glue, followed by the grass. I removed the excess grass by turning the diorama upside down and tapped on the base. I teased the grass with a toothpick to give it an uneven wild grass look. Additional blended turf was added as well and I also attached a few small stones I found in my garden for extra detail. To seal all the changes I made, I sprayed my glue mixture about everywhere.

Step 9: Weathering and Trashing the VW Beetle

There are many weathering techniques to age a model. I decided to start by adding some rust with the Deluxe Materials Scenic Rust. The kit contains a binder, rust powder and rust developer with a mixing cup, pipette and a spatula. I mixed the rust powder and the binder until I had a brushable paste. I randomly painted the Beetle with rust in all kinds of spots by using a paintbrush. I left the mixture to dry and after about 30 minutes I applied the scenic rust developer all over the areas where the paste has been used. It took about 8 hours for the rust to develop and dry thoroughly. I also randomly applied 2 shades of Vallejo Pigments. Then I grabbed a pair of tweezers and started to trash the VW Beetle. First I got rid of the windshield, followed by the driver's seat window. I also broke one of the back seat windows and added scratches all over the VW Beetle.

Step 10: Extras

I used a decal sheet I had from a different VW Beetle model kit to add a rusty license plate laying on the grass. I taped it to a wooden coffee stirrer with double-sided tape and applied the rust mixture as well. I also added some extra greenery I had from an old DIY dollhouse kit. When I was finally done, I removed the masking tape and re-painted the edges of the base with standard black acrylic paint.

Step 11: Final Result

I glued the VW Beetle to the base and this is the final result.
Hope you all enjoyed it. :-)

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    30 Discussions

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    snorlaxprime

    7 weeks ago

    This looks surreal, I actually have one beetle that looks like yours. I am tempted to converted it.

    1 reply
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    cavik

    6 weeks ago on Step 11

    Nice job on this! I am taking a photog class and this ible will work well for my current assignment. Thanks.

    1 reply
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    Maya Orencavik

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Wow, that's great! Thanks!

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    Yamelk22

    6 weeks ago

    as a TIP for a more realistic model you should consider "deflating" the
    tires.
    Iif they are hard plastic the some melting would do.
    If they are rubber then cutting it wide at the base and glueing it in position should do the trick!

    1 reply
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    SparkyM1

    7 weeks ago on Introduction

    Brilliant! Looks very convincing. With prices of vintage beetles on the rise, though, you'll soon have to add scale size salvage/ pickers to the scene!

    1 reply
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    Maya Orenallennic

    Answer 7 weeks ago

    Thank you so much!
    And as for your question, it is a plastic kit. :-)

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    dlukasek

    7 weeks ago

    Very cool! But I can't really believe you. There's no way you're more than thirty. Other than that, damn nice work!

    1 reply
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    paxallen1067

    7 weeks ago on Introduction

    Sensational! I have a closet full of model kits I intend to turn into similar work, so this is very helpful ..

    1 reply
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    Maya Orenpaxallen1067

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Thank you. I'll be glad to assist you with any question. :-)

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    GregS261

    Question 7 weeks ago on Step 11

    You didn't say anything about the door! That was a great addition to make it look abandoned! You could also break a hole in one break light, and you could break the front wheel where it hit the rock! It really looks like someone hit the rock got out and left it sitting.
    good job!

    1 answer
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    Maya OrenGregS261

    Answer 7 weeks ago

    Wow, you have great ideas! Thank you for that. :-)