Introduction: Abandoned VW Beetle Mini Diorama

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.


  • 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


  • 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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