I am starting off with a paper mock-up of the landscape, which has all the important features of the future diorama sketched in. At this stage, almost none of the kits I intend to use are present (let alone assembled), so an Airfix Bristol fighter and a number of model railroad and die-cast vehicles serve as stand-ins to test vehicle placement and fix the positions of the buildings.
The landscape itself consists of several layers of styrofoam on a wooden base. The styrofoam is covered with papier-maché, the landscape is then pre-painted. Buildings consist of cardboard plastered with moltofill.
A nice view of the two buildings, now plastered and painted. The little pool is filled with epoxy, rocks are lumps of moltofill painted with water colors. The complete scene has already been covered with sand.
This is what the scene looks like with (partially assembled, mostly unpainted) vehicles in place...
A few palm trees and small lumps of grass greatly add to the realism of the scene; as you can see in the bottom of the picture, the edges of the diorama have been painted with a glossy black to give it a more museum-like appearance.
A dramatic view through the tops of two palm trees, showing the stable in the back.