A diorama, in scale modeling terms, is a miniature scene made by a modeler, usually depicting a vehicle and or figures doing something. In military modeling, it is usually historic, showing a particular time and place, a certain vehicle and its crew or people involved with them somehow. Popular time periods are WW2, the Gulf War, the Vietnam War and the recent and ongoing conflicts around the world.
Subjects can vary widely, some focusing on the hardship and tragedy of war, or a light or humorous moment during military life. Dioramas serve also as a showcase for the modeler’s skills because not only does the assembly and painting of a vehicle demand certain techniques, the creation of a whole scene needs different skill sets. Terrain, trees, grass, rocks, buildings and the whole environment all have their own challenges to making the scene realistic.
Just as the modeler wants the vehicle to be accurate, so should the setting be. What time of year is it? What is happening? Has it been raining? Is it a scene of rest or action? Is there fighting going on? All these factors play into the final scene.
You can find many tutorials on building dioramas on the internet and in modeling magazines. As an example, here’s a link to an article I wrote about making my WW1 Tadpole tank diorama.
As you can see, building a diorama can be a complicated and long process. The above diorama took me a straight month to finish. Some take months or years to complete, but it’s satisfying to finally finish it and show it off to everyone.
If you want to build your own diorama, here is a link to a great tutorial showing how to get started.
Dive in and have fun!