View Full Version : Assault on Echo Base - Battle of Hoth mini-diorama

21-05-2012, 01:42

As part of a recent splurge on Star Wars gubbinz, I acquired this AMT ERTL AT-AT on eBay. I'm not 100% sure of the scale, but Missus Salty also got me a 1/72 Revell easykit Millennium Falcon, so going by that I'd say this one is maybe 1/100? Anyway, I knew that I really wanted to do a little diorama with an AT-AT. I got to bidding and managed to snap it up for about 10.00 (although it ended up closer to 25.00 including the postage from the USA). The kit was still packaged up in the original boxes and whatnot, and is, I believe, from the late 80's... all the copyrights on the box say 1989, and a quick Google search agrees.

Frankly, you can tell... it's not the worst kit I've ever assembled, but it was far from the best. It doesn't fit together fantastically well for starters. There are a number of gaps and such that you'll see in the pictures that I really need to fill be I get to painting the model. It also needed a fair bit of cleaning up and sanding. Having said that, the kit also came with two snowspeeders and two rebel turrets, which I wasn't aware of and saved me having to trawl eBay again for a suitably sized speeder!

So, onto the more interesting bits - here are a bunch of pics of the build and the early placement of the various bits. I'm toying with the idea of magnetising the AT-AT feet to the board for ease of movement, but I'm not decided yet. I may just glue the whole thing down. The board too will be detailed (more pics when that's done!), and the two speeders will be pinned, flying by in formation, with the rear speeder (the one pinned in the pictures) trailing it's harpoon line to bring the big beast down.

Anyway, pictures!

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Salty :)

21-05-2012, 02:00
Bah... attachment limit...


Salty :)

21-05-2012, 14:10
A quick update this morning.

I decided, in the end, not to magnetise the feet to the board, as it seemed like a lot of work for not a huge amount of gain. Instead, I pinned them (but did not glue them) to the board with short lengths of brass rod in the same way as the snowspeeders. Now, all the vehicles are removable for ease of transport if I need to move it anywhere.

I also added some bulk to the board itself. Most of it is just off-cuts of foamboard that I had knocking about from another project, interspersed with a few rocks and pieces of slate. The whole board will be covered with snowflock when it is finished, with only the slate and rocks poking through. The foamboard is just to add depth to the piece and create the impression of small snowdrifts and such. Finally, I also added some garden-twine to the right hand speeder and drilled a small hole into the back right leg of the AT-AT. This is glued to the speeder, but not the leg, again so that I can remove all the vehicles fairly easily if I need to. I've also cleaned up some of the gaps and mold-lines since taking these pics, but as I said before, the kit itself isn't spectacular. One of the major problems I'm having is that some bits of the legs and neck for example are not fixed, so that the whole thing can be poseable. As the kit doesn't snap together perfectly well, it's making it all the more difficult when I try to clean bits up. Frankly, I'm hoping a few licks of paint will hide much of it!

Anyway, some pics of the whole thing prior to going off for a white basecoat:


Salty :)

21-05-2012, 14:13
I had one of those and have a few bits of it in my bitz box from one I scrapped it.

The diorama looks good! Love the tow-cable. Do you have any Epic scale infantry to have scurrying around on the ground?

21-05-2012, 14:15
Cheers TEDS. :)

It's a pretty basic, but really quite nice model. I hated the thing while I was trying to assemble it, but now I've got it all basecoated I'm quite pleased.

Salty :)

21-05-2012, 14:16
Looking good. Can't wait to see how this develops :yes:

21-05-2012, 14:17
I think mine kind of fell apart, hence it being in my bitz box. I probably bought it in '92 or there abouts.

21-05-2012, 14:22
I can imagine it falling apart pretty easily, tbh. Hopefully my painting skills will be up to the task, and I'll be able to just keep it to one side as a nice display piece. In the spare bedroom. On top of the bookcase. Where nobody will ever see it.

Cheers, Missus Salty. :mad:

Salty :)

22-05-2012, 02:10
So, this afternoon I managed to get my hands on two tubs of snow flock, a new pair of clippers, and some paint, so I made some headway.


The board has been PVA'd and snow flocked, but it's turning out to be more difficult to make those snowdrifts than I had anticipated. In the above picture, I've applied a hefty second coat of PVA and then just left a tonne of the flock piled over the top while it dries. Then I'll assess the situation and add more as needed.

I'm also not pleased with how things are going on the AT-AT itself. In the picture there it's just had a slightly thinned basecoat of Codex Grey, but I'm not sure where to go from there. I'm thinking maybe a wash of Badab Black and then a drybrush of Vallejo Sky Grey (which is very pale, almost white-grey), but I'm undecided. If anyone has any suggestions I'd be happy to hear them!

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm really, really pleased with how the snowspeeders turned out! I need to paint the blaster barrels with silver, but otherwise I think they look pretty good! They're basecoated with army painter white spray, then moderately heavily washed with Badab Black. I then picked out some of the panels in codex grey again, and added the stripes with scab red and then a blood red highlight. The windows are really watered down Enchanted Blue.

Salty :)

22-05-2012, 14:27
Do you have any airbrush?

You could use it to shade all the recesses (think its call underpinning), go over it again with a light coat of the codex grey before the dry brush with will add a smoother shading then badab black.

22-05-2012, 14:56
Alas, no. I almost bought one yesterday at Hobbycraft but Missus Salty was there and I was 99% sure she wouldn't approve...

In the end I went for a straight drybrush of the Vallejo Sky Grey over the basecoat of Codex Grey. I was quite pleased with the result - it's a little flat to be honest, but then, the movie AT-ATs are pretty flat and uniform in colour too, so it's not so bad. I broke up the monotony with some blaster burn marks and wear and tear around the feet. I also picked out one or two details with Boltgun Metal and Mithril Silver, and washed a few bits with Devlan Mud. The viewing window on the cockpit was based scab red, then successively highlighted with Blood Red, 35/65 Blood Red - Sunburst Yellow and finally a little straight Sunburst Yellow, but it's hard to make out the highlights on such a small area in the pictures below. Which sucks, because I was very pleased with how it turned out. :(

Finally, I added a little snow to the feet. I'm still not 100% happy with the snowdrifts, and one of the "hip" joins scuffed the paint (one downside of having moving, poseable legs) but all in all I'm happy with how it's turned out. So, pics!

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Salty :)

22-05-2012, 15:23
Looks great Salty!

24-05-2012, 07:02
looks good. Agreed, the drifts are a little weak... a little late, but maybe some putty to smooth them out. The multiple drifts would be symmetrical in the way the wind hits them. I'd look at some desert/sand dune photos.

I was wondering about your explosion. I've seen others do the same, but your's strikes me as looking almost photo realistic. How did you do that?

24-05-2012, 18:10
The explosion is a small, battery powered artificial tea-light. The glass flame flickers like a real flame when you turn it on. You can get them in packs of about four for 1.00 over here. Wrap it in some pillow stuffing or cotton wool (i like pillow stuffing as its coarser), give it a quick blast with a black spray can and hey presto!

I take your point with the symmetry of the snow drifts. I suppose I could build up successive layers of snow flock to even it out some.

Salty :)

27-05-2012, 13:18
cool, thanks

I've been wanting to do something like this diorama for a long time, but with one of the old ravenwing landspeeders and a chaos titan.

28-05-2012, 00:32
Sooo awesome! :)