Dieppe diorama material

Just to be clear, when I stated that the pebbles were well-rounded, this does not mean that they are spherical. This is a geological term signifying the degree of rounding of the edges of a rock or clast. The six degrees of rounding are;

  • Very angular: corners sharp and jagged
  • Angular
  • Sub-angular
  • Sub-rounded
  • Rounded
  • Well-rounded: corners completely rounded

The pebbles and cobbles (also precise geological terms defining size) of Dieppe are flattened (or tabular) and oblong in shape, composed mainly of grey chert nodules, derived from the chalk cliffs surrounding the beach, forming a so-called “shingle beach” as it is named in the UK. The beaches at Dover are of a similar composition. There are also parameters that relate to the range of sizes of the rocks, this is referred to as the degree of sorting. A well-sorted beach is comprised of particles of nearly all the same size, a poorly sorted beach is a mixture of various particles sizes. Dieppe is a moderately well-sorted beach.

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As an aside, these are exhausting to walk on. When I went to Euro-Militaire a long time ago, after the show I decided to go to the water’s edge in Folkestone … Hardest walk on a beach I had in my life, and I still remember that the moment I went stepped back onto the walkway made from concrete slabs, I suddenly went at twice the speed with the same effort. Where I live, the dry sand on the beach is a little tiring to walk on, but at least if the tide is going out you can get onto the wet sand and walk easily. No such luck with shingle beaches, I suppose.

To bring that back round to the topic at hand: I can appreciate why tanks got stuck on that stuff :slight_smile:

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What about using a rock tumbler and sift out the smooth rocks?

@Damraska ive never heard of styrene pellets, how would that work?

@Barney ive never used a rock tumbler. What exactly would that do?

I have two rock tumblers, this would be a long, tedious process to obtain the desired results. Along with the cost of the tumbler itself, there are 4 grades of silicon carbide grit that need to be used and the runtime is a month, although you could omit the final polish since we don’t really want a high-gloss beach. Between each week-long run, you need to separate the rocks from the used grit and wash away all traces of it before proceeding with the next grit, a royal PITA. Save yourself the trouble and expense and just buy the decorative sand and be done with it.

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Styrene pellets are the raw material for styrene injection molding machines. Styrene pellets are added to a hopper. When activated, these pellets are drawn into the machine, melted, and injected into a mold. After the mold cools, the mold opens and the finished part is ejected.

Styrene pellets come in many formulations including polystyrene, the sort of plastic used for injection molded models. They also come in many shapes, some very closely resembling small pebbles. If I recall correctly, they are the standard filling for bean bag chairs.

Maybe polystyrene pellets of the correct shape and size for use in model landscaping exist. I am curious if anyone has ever tried such a thing.

When cleaning up parts, I collect waste plastic in a former cottage cheese container for recycling. Every so often, I used some of this plastic ‘rubble’ for terrain experiments. It works surprisingly well. Maybe polystyrene pellets would also work.

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If you’re going to visit a pet shop you might as well look at the cat litter. The place my wife volunteers has a big bin of it about 6 feet across. You take as much as you need. But they always let me have samples whenever I have a small project. although it may be a little too angular for your project it’s for ballast because ballast should be angular.

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What about filter sand (used to filter swimming pool water) ?

H.P.

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Excellent suggestion! Filter sand is available in a variety of grain sizes, here is a chart.

I like #14 or #16 which when multiplied to 1/1 scale would closely match the pebble size seen in photos.

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I have a tumbler (gift) however its never been used. Good to know the timeline.

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@Frenchy ive never thought of filter sand i figured it’d be to fine bit that does break down by scale when you look at it from that perspective. I wonder if i could get a small enough bag without paying an arm and leg.

@Damraska , i could maybe get a bag of bean bag beads as well.

Frenchy’s filter sand looks perfect, it even has the right colour variations.

Just backtracking to using organic/garden materials generally in dioramas, I’ve always zapped piles of it in the microwave for 30 seconds and never had any infestations. Obviously not recommended for Paska’s brush with the metal ferrule :boom:

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@paska who would be the best to order filter sand and what would the bag look like? I’m seeing stuff on ace hardware but I’m not sure if it’s the proper mesh size.

In Oz I’d go to Bunnings, so in the U.S. the equivalent’s Home Depot I believe. If it was me I’d want to go look see if possible locally, rather than risk ordering a full truck-load of the wrong grade online. (I’m just remembering the son of family friends who thought he ordered 0.5 tons of garden mulch online, arrived home to find 5 tons dumped in his front yard :rofl:)

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Taking Dioramartin’s suggestion, I checked Home Depot, in one word; Ouch! $37.61 for a 50 lb. bag. That’s going to be an awfully big diorama! And their product doesn’t look anything like Frenchy’s picture-perfect sand. No mention of grain size either. Maybe you could check with a local pool supplier and see what they have, maybe a open bag or samples? Not owning a pool, this is not my forte’. I don’t have anything on hand that would be suitable that I could send to you, I can look on my next fieldtrip in the woods, but that might be a while, too busy with home repair projects right now.

Since filter sand is going to be too large of a quantity for practical purposes, I’d go back to trolling for decorative sand online, i.e., Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Amazon, Etsy, etc. I’d search for something in the 1-1.7mm range which would look appropriately in scale.

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Just came across this…

from Amazon

H.P.

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@paska ad i was reading yours i thought Amazon will be the answer and well….
@Frenchy thank you for the link cause that was where i was headed next lol.

I’ve never bought anything like that at Home Depot where bags weren’t split open and sand was all over the place. I use it to lay the pavers in my yard. In fact, maybe it’s exactly the same stuff. I don’t know since we used it all. But I can tell you - just look around in the area where they sell it.

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@18bravo ive got a Lowe’s hardware store here, I’m going to go check them out this weekend.

In the interests of geology, modeling, and science as a whole, I decided to undo part of my recent paver job:


This is from Home Depot. I ran out so I started using pea gravel instead. Not possessing a degree in geology as my daughter does, I will call it “quite angular” and therefore unsuitable for your use. Although it would make perfect ballast, as well as the other modeling project I originally purchased it for.

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