One of my many hobbies is making miniature battlefields dioramas. It is a hobby that takes a lot of time, patients, and effort but can be a very cool one. I have made a couple of models including a Civil War diorama, Napoleonic War diorama, and World War Two diorama. This guide will hopefully help you with your model and give you a few helpful tips to make it even better. Please do not leave any rude comments, criticism is okay and questions are accepted and replied to as soon as I can.
P.S. These type of models awe school judges in school funded competitions. I won every year I did one.
Step 1: Choose an Era
When choosing an era or particular war you should go with what you know and like. For example I like to study the Colonial Era Wars and the World Wars but maybe someone else likes to study the American Revolution, it all depends on what you like (unless you were given a school topic to do you project on). The last diorama I made I chose the Napoleonic War because it is a very interesting war that featured a lot of amazing generals such as Napoleon, Wellington, and Lord Nelson.
Step 2: Accuracy Counts
Make sure that you do all your research about your battle prior to buying the miniatures. A good website is wikipedia.org for basic research but you may have to surf around for more detailed uniform information.
Step 3: Choosing the Right Miniatures
When you choose miniatures make sure you choose from reliable websites. This means that eBay is out because you never know exactly what you are going to get. Also make sure that you confirm if the miniatures are painted or unpainted because it is very bad to get some that are half-painted and with inaccurate uniforms. Here are some websites that I personally recommend for miniatures (I have ordered from these ones).
1) http://www.warweb.com/ For all kinds of assorted miniatures, especially Napoleonic ones. I personally recommend Old Glory miniatures.
2) http://www.historicalminiatures.com/ For all kinds but mainly for American Civil War miniatures. I recommend Stone Mountain Miniatures Inc.
Step 4: Building the Base
First, you need to get a piece of plywood about the size that you want you battle field to be. Next, build hills and mountains out of Styrofoam. Now cover the whole thing in artists canvas and paint it white. Then, use plaster to build the terrain such as rivers and hills. Add whatever vegetation that you want to add and then paint the whole thing. You can buy several kits from hobby stores that have types of artificial grass and water in them that you can apply to your model (I used a water kit, mountain kit, and a grassland kit for this model).
Step 5: Paint the Miniatures
Paint the miniatures with the proper colors for the uniforms of that time. Next, just stick them to the model with superglue.
Step 6: Gallery
This is a gallery of the model that I made on the Battle of Austerlitz in the Napoleonic War. Enjoy the pictures.