Sinai 1956 Diorama

This is the first diorama I’ve tried in many, many, many, many years (and it shows!). I like doing them very much but since I’m so bad at figures it makes it difficult. This diorama portrays an incident in the early days of Operation Kadesh, the 1956 Israeli invasion of Egyptian territory in the Sinai in cooperation with the British and French.
Despite the operation being a resounding Israeli success, there were some pitched skirmishes in the early hours of the operation in cities like Abu Ujaylah and Rafah in the Gaza Strip. This diorama could depict either one of those areas. Israeli infantry in lightly armored half tracks and Bren Gun carriers like this one were mauled several times by Egyptian armored forces.

Here a Bren Gun carrier has broken down and the crew was in the process of trying to get it towed away when they had to abandon the vehicle.

I covered the Sherman and the Bren Carrier in previous posts so I won’t go into too much detail on their construction here. The Sherman is a kitbash M4A4 and M4A2 conversion and the Bren Gun Carrier is a standard late model with the Eduard PE set and Model Kasten individual link tracks. The Israeli flag is a prototype 1949 proposal type that was never adopted. Photographs show some troops using this unofficial flag as late as the 1956 war. If you ask me they should have adopted this one. I think it looks better. I included it in the diorama primarily for color and to make it obvious that one of the vehicles is Israeli.
The Egyptian tank commander is from the Italeri Soviet Tank Crew set. Both Egyptians and Israelis used Soviet tanker helmets during this period so finding a figure that worked was easy.

The base is an inexpensive plastic picture frame from Wal Mart. I left the glass in place epoxied the Custom Dioramics resin cobblestones, Verlinden Garden Wall and Gate and resin Palm Tree in place. The blasted apart door is balsa that I just threw together and chipped away with a #11 blade and tweezers. I then I used Elmer’s Wood Filler for the ground work. Wood filler is easy to work with, dries nice and slowly and cleans up with water. As it dries it leaves very few cracks and those that do appear are easily filled with white glue or Tamiya Putty. I added rocks, sand and organic debris while the filler was still wet, then textured it with a large stiff brush. While the ground work was still drying I added the rubble and debris around the walls. This debris is simply dried plaster that I broke up with a pair of pliers and a hammer. I fixed it in place with CA glue. I painted the ground with a mixture of Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow, XF-60 Dark Yellow and XF-57 Buff. I used the “hmm… this looks good” method of mixing the colors. The walls and debris were painted with a mix of XF-19 Sky Gray and XF-57 Buff. Once all that was done I gave the entire mess several washes of different dilutions using black artist oils thinned with mineral spirits.
Once this was dry I added the posters on the wall. These are various Arabic language broadsides and posters I found on the internet, sized down and printed on Testors White Decal paper. Some of them aren’t quite period, dating from the early 1960’s buy since very few of my audience speak Arabic and even fewer are familiar with Middle Eastern movies from that era I exercised a little artistic license. The palm tree is a Verlinden trunk with Eduard PE palm fronds. Once all components were in place I blended them together with various ground pastel powders.

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