Question on Mud...

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Question on Mud...

  • Hey, does anyone have any advice on mud in dioramas? I'm working on a Battle of the Bulge  diorama and was wondering if anyone had advice on how to do muddy roads.

    I was thinking plaster and sand mixed together with dark brown paint followed by a gloss varnish. Does anyone think this would look ok?


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  • falschimjager

    I was thinking plaster and sand mixed together with dark brown paint followed by a gloss varnish. Does anyone think this would look ok?


    Yes...or celluclay...go easy with the sand; it tends to look overscale...crushed pastels can give the dirt or mud a grittier appearance...

  • Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty.  I will never use celluclay again.  Don't add sand.  Mix it thick, sculpt it wet the way you want and pour some of the dry powder over that and let it harden.  Brush off the loose powder and you will have beautiful texture that can be painted an appropriate mud color. 


  • Alright i'll have to look both of those up, where would you buy either product?

  • Celluclay at Michael s, AC Moore, hobby and train shops.


    Durhams try Home Depot and Lowe's, some have it and some don't, but I found mine at an Ace Hardware store.


  • Okay, is any particularly more user friendly then the other? I'm sorry for so many questions but I'm new to the serious dioramas business.

  • Greetings,

    I have been doing muddy dioramas for quite some time and have one such posted on the Features segment of and will cover that method here. I use recycled rubber stepping stones sold at WalMart for most of my diorama bases as they don't absorb water. For muddy effects I have found that acrylic caulking works the best as I mix in the brown colors for the mud, using acrylic hobby paint. Then let this all dry. For the best wet look coat the areas you want to look muddy with Polycrylic water sealer, the glossy type as this will cover all of the areas. Also check out my FB page; Hobbies in a Barn to see the rest of my work.

    The best,


  • Interesting, it seems like they're are a lot of ways of making this look right, I guess I'll have to mess around with some of these ideas and see what I can get going that works for me, thanks for the help everyone.

  • See if you can come up with a layout that goes light on the mud. You can convey muddy or sloppy winter conditions without having to have mud from edge to edge. A little will go a long way. Perhaps just a muddy road; or a muddy berm along a paved road where marching soldiers have beat a muddy path next to it. You want the model and the figures to get the attn and accolades, not the mud. Besides if you have trouble making it look exact there will be less of it to worry about. Good luck

  • Durhams water putty is easy to use, cheap and dries pretty fast. I like adding a little Elmers white glue as extra bonding security to the base. After you paint it to the desired shades, use some Future brushed on for the wet look.

  • Here is my Mud tutorial.....

  • Go to a construction site or somewhere similar where REAL DIRT is pounded into arid dust by construction vehicles and the like. Somewhere where there's no chance that anything is going to grow in the lifeless dirt. Get REAL DIRT and then sift it through some fine lace that you get at a chain hobby store. Now you have perfect "scale dirt" that looks perfectly real because it IS real.

    Add it to Celluclay, water and white glue, and a little plaster if you want to, and you've got the perfect simulation of real mud. Use gloss after it dries to give it that "wet" look.

    My FOTKI model gallery with most of my best models can be found HERE

    My real name is "Karl" Smile

  • I use sheetrock mud and tempera paint..

  • awesome  models  man !!

  • Floor tile grout.

    Not the gray stuff for laying tiles but the tinted stuff for the seams. You can even buy it in appropriate colors.

    It does not set super hard and can be drilled / sanded or removed without much effort. Just make sure the base will not be effected by moisture. If you decide to paint do spray a primer first as it gobbles up paint otherwise.

    A large bag will cost about $20 and last many dioramas, vignettes and other modeling uses for years!