Introduction: WWII Airplane Hangar Diorama

This is a diorama of a World War II style airplane hangar, that I made recently. While it was very time consuming, this project does not require any unique skills or techniques. It is a very simple build which is also very cheap to build, since it mainly uses items that can be found around the house!


  1. Foam Insulation Board (The stuff you would put on a house)
  2. Hobby Knife
  3. Ruler
  4. 7 Wine Corks
  5. Plastic Mesh
  6. Recycled Plastic Containers
  7. 1/4-inch thick Balsa Wood
  8. Gunship grey Rustoleum spray paint
  9. Shoe Polish
  10. Dark Green Paint
  11. Dark Red Paint
  12. Light Red Paint
  13. 6-inch piece of Copper Wire
  14. Yarn or Thin Rope
  15. Small Model Airplane
  16. 1/35 scale Diorama Men
  17. Clear Piece of Thin Plastic
  18. Pen
  19. Pencil
  20. White spray paint
  21. 2 millimeter thick foam

Step 1: Making the Concrete Base

For the base, cut a piece of the foam insulation with dimensions of 12 inches, by 16 inches. Spray paint the base with the gunship grey spray paint. After this has dried, vigorously rub shoe polish into it, to give it a worn concrete look.

Step 2: Making the Wooden Door Wall

For this wall, cut a piece of the insulation foam, with dimensions measuring 12 inches by 10 inches. With the hobby knife, cut shallow grooves in the foam 1/4 inches apart, running the length of the shorter side. Use a pencil to widen the grooves. Cut pieces of the balsa wood, that are 1/3 inch wide, to make a trim running the perimeter of this wall. Then cut more pieces of the balsa wood, that are 1/3 inch wide, and make the vertical wood beams that are shown in the picture. Then cut more pieces of balsa wood, to form the X's of wood that are shown in the picture. Lastly, paint the entire wall section dark green. To add a sense of realism to the wall, you can dry brush the surface. A technique for that is shown here:

Disclaimer: the dry-brushing video is not mine

Step 3: Making the Brick Wall

For the brick wall, cut a piece of the insulation foam with dimensions of 10 inches by 16 inches. Using a ruler and pen, mark out bricks on the wall; each brick measuring 1/16 inch tall by 3/16 inches long. Cut along each of these bricks with the hobby knife, and use the pencil to widen the grout lines. Spray white paint over the entire wall to fill in the grout lines. Dry brush dark red paint over the bricks. Now dry brush light red paint over the bricks to add a sense of realism. Also add the window piece shown in picture two by cutting a piece of thin plastic to fit over that section of the wall. Cut a piece of the 2 millimeter thick foam to fit over the thin plastic. Cut out pieces of the foam as shown in picture two. Paint the foam, glue it over the plastic, and glue the two pieces together onto the wall. Now glue the two walls onto the base of your diorama

Step 4: Building the Mechanic's Ladder Cart

For the mechanic's ladder cart, I cut pieces pieces of plastic, heated them up, and rolled them to make the frame of the cart, and the ladder rungs. Then all of the pieces are melted together at the joints. I also cut a piece plastic mesh to make the top of the ladder cart. The whole thing is painted with burnt umber paint, and then dry brushed with red paint.

Step 5: Making the Oil Barrels

For the oil barrels, I cut grooves into wine corks, painted them varying colors, and then I dry brushed them with burnt umber colored acrylic paint.

Step 6: Making the Oil Barrel's Pallet

For the wood pallet, that the oil barrels are sitting on, I cut thin pieces of balsa wood, glued them together, painted it light brown, and then dry-brushed it with burnt umber acrylic paint.

Step 7: Maing the Support Beam

For the support beam overhead, I cut pieces of balsa wood, and glue them to form an I-beam. I painted it with burnt umber acrylic paint, and then dry-brushed it with dark red paint, to make it look rusty. I put a little hook on the end of a piece of yarn, and ran it through a little i-hook on the end of the beam. I then ran the yarn to a little i-hook anchored in the wall. Lastly, I glued the beam to the brick wall of the model.

Step 8: Making the Bench

For the little bench that one of the men is sitting on, I used balsa wood, and plastic for the legs. I painted it light brown, and dry-brushed it dark brown.

Step 9: Putting It All Together!

I used a model airplane, that I had previously built for this diorama. I also used 1/35 scale diorama men for the model. I then placed them into this setting, and added all of the surrounding pieces.

Diorama Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Diorama Speed Challenge