Dieppe diorama material

Im in the planning stage for making a diorama of the dieppe raid. I have the AFV dieppe Churchill and have been doing on again off again research on the beach. Seems as if the beach wasn’t one made of sand but of tiny rocks causing issues with the Churchill’s not being able to move across the beach. My question is, what would be the best diorama or railroad material to replicate these rocks? I’m assuming some sort of gravel ballast for O gauge train layouts but i am open to other suggestions.

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Hi Gregory, an interesting idea for a diorama. As to your question, railway ballast should work, but if you have access to a beach you might be able to sieve out some of the courser grains.

It’s what I’ve used below, they tend to be rounder, more polished, and more realistically coloured.

Good luck with your build.

G, :beer:.

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@G-man69 i wish i had access to a beach right now. I’ve used HO ballast before for dirt and sand/ debris. I think I’m going to try and get O-gauge or G-gauge ballast. I tend to do a repaint if my bases so i can shine some of the ballast in that.

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The beach at Dieppe is made of well-rounded pebbles and cobbles. The problems with using railroad ballast are twofold. First, the particles are very angular, not the well-rounded appearance of the actual beach. Secondly, the particle size is too uniform, lacking the natural variation seen at Dieppe.

I have a series of sifting sieves I obtained from a beach toy and others that I have made from scratch. Beach sand tends to be very uniformly sorted in grain size, here again lacking the appearance desired. I would try sieving sandy / gravelly dirt with sieves that would exclude grains that are too large or too fine and blending different batches to obtain a proper mix of grain sizes. Sounds tedious I know, but it will produce the desired effect. I make a habit of collecting sand, dirt and rocks during my travels in the woods and deserts, giving me a wide assortment of natural products to choose from for projects like these.

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@paska thats a perfect picture of dieppe.

That’s not a bad idea, I’m in swamp lands here so finding pebble beaches isn’t going to happen, at least to my knowledge. I may be able to find some good dirt though. My other thought was to do a base layer of sand then find the right pebbles and stones to cover it.

Edit: had a thought, what about fish tank ballast or the rocks that go at the bottom of a fish tank?

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I have a bag of aquarium gravel, but it is too large of grain size for this application, although it works well if you want well-rounded stream boulders. Maybe it is available in a smaller size than mine? The other advantage of using natural materials is variation of color. While most of the rocks at Dieppe are a medium grey, there is a noticeable variation in colors. Railroad ballast is monotone, leading to a dull looking beach at best unless you paint it before applying and mix different batches together before applying.

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@paska im gonna go to the pet store and see what they have. Also saw some things on eBay that may work as well.

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Google “decorative sand”, a whole pile of different product will appear. :+1:

Amazon.com: 2 Pounds Natural Coarse Silica Sand - for use in Crafts, Decor, Gardening, Vase Filler, Aquariums, Terrariums and More : Pet Supplies

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A nice photo of the scree-

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@paska that looks perfect for the sand i need!

@Dan i don’t think im that talented to convert a figure to replicate that. It’s a great picture tho, gives me a good idea of the color of the sand.

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You could also consider seeds. Poppy seeds, for example, may be a bit too small, but they may be useful when combined with something like silca sand.

There is a documentary called “WWII Top Secret Dieppe Uncovered” by Prof. David O’Keefe. It is currently available, at least in Canada, on Prime. It’s a wee bit sensationalized, but the information is quite interesting. O’Keefe, after researching in the UK National Archives, found evidence that Ian Fleming - yep, that Ian Fleming - used the Dieppe raid to get his hands on an Enigma machine. His argument is quite complelling. Worth a watch.

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@Evan that’s an interesting idea I’ll have to give it a try.

I’ll have to give that a watch, i may be able to get that in the states. Sounds like a sensationalized story to say the least but not far fetched either.

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To clarify, the presentation of the information O’Keefe found is a little too sensationalized for my tastes, not the the info itself. As horrific as the raid turned out to be, Flemings motivations, at the very least, give some meaning (?) to the failure of the raid. Looking forward to seeing your diorama.

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I am building a dieppe raid Churchill with the same kit. I am scratch building the Churchill interior as I want to portray “Blossom” as she was knocked out on the beach.

I found a jar of angular rocks at Michael’s that I plan to rock tumble in my wife’s rock tumbler. Something similar to those

https://www.michaels.com/product/natural-baby-rocks-by-ashland-10522460?michaelsStore=9444&inv=3

You can follow my progress so far here:

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@Evan that sounds like an interesting watch. I’ll have to see if i can get it here in the states.

@Mead93 those rocks look great. I can’t wait to see the attach built interior on your Churchill. I’m gonna give your post a follow, can’t wait to see the finished product.

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A coarse grade of sand grains would be fairly close at 1:35 scale to Dieppe pebbles. And I agree with Paska it would be good to mix more than one grade together. Whatever you end up using the trick will then be getting some colour variation – there’s quite a lot as per Paska’s photo. You’d need to soak batches in 3 or 4 different shades of water-soluble paint (to prevent it all sticking together) & then mix together onto the dio base. (But let’s keep this to ourselves, we don’t want the Diorama Police deploying any Beach b**ches :wink:)

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If you have a stream or river nearby, you can get sand from that. Playground sand may also work. You would have to sift it to get the sizes you want.
Ken

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The beach rock would be best done in pea gravel since the rocks were well rounded and smooth. You can find small bags at the garden center…

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Beach sand would probably be a better choice than river sand — beach sand tends to be rounded while river sand is often pointy. OTOH, beach sand, at least where I live, would be very much on the small side to represent the Dieppe pebble beach in 1:35 scale.

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True, but OP said he does not have easy access to a beach. I have the same problem, plenty of desert sand but the beach is 800 miles away!
Ken

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