Generalmajor Heinz Harmel – 28mm Stoessi’s Heroes

Painting has been difficult this week but fortunately I had most of this little model done before my back problem struck.  A couple of other figures were also well on the way so I’m hoping to complete those too and then all being well I can pick up on the numerous things I had planned.

This figure is the second of four individual 28mm “Stoessi’s Heroes” figures for the Plymouth Model Club D-Day display.  I’m not sure if German Brigadeführer & Generalmajor Heinz Harmel was in any way involved with D-Day, I suspect he wasn’t, but I wanted to include a German figure for a bit of balance.  I settled on this one because I liked the pose and felt that as he was holding a pair of binoculars it kind of leant itself to looking out and assessing just what an earth was going on.

For the record, and according to “Stoessi’s” web site, Generalmajor Heinz Harmel was at the age of 37 the youngest man to ever become a Generalmajor and lead a Waffen SS-Division. Harmel was given command of the 10th SS-Panzardivision “Frundsberg”, where he was warmly accepted by the young men in the 10th SS as one of their own. He belonged to them since he had moved up through the ranks and understood therefore how to assess the concerns and needs of his men.

Harmel is remembered for his defensive action during the Battle of Arnheim which resulted in the failure of the British airborne assault as described in the book and movie “A Bridge Too Far”.

The keen eyed amoungst you might notice the cotton reel!

Photos below.




Captain Colin Douglas Maud (RN) – 28mm Stoessi’s Heroes

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this year’s theme for the Plymouth Modelling Club Annual show in June is D-day.  This year will be the 75th anniversary of the Normandy beach landings, an event which turned the tide (forgive the unintentional pun) in favor of the allies and brought the second world war to conclusion in 1945.

My main contribution to the theme was my “Road to Carentan” diorama …

… which I completed at the end of last year.  In addition though I also purchased a few other figures from “Stoessi’s Heroes” with the aim of making a few smaller contributions and this represents the first of four, always assuming I complete the other three!

This figure represents Captain Colin Douglas Maud, a Royal Navy officer who during the Second World War commanded the destroyers Somali and Icarus and acted as beach master of Juno beach at the D-day landings. He “possessed the outward appearance of a latter-day buccaneer and was endowed with exceptional boldness and tenacity to go with it”. His blackthorn stick and dog Winnie provided an image when portrayed by Kenneth More in the film The Longest Day. He was described as “one of the most popular officers in the British Navy”.

Some of you will also recall that in a recent Musings post I made mention to a purchase of old-fashioned wooden cotton reels.  Now I know the article blew some of you away while for others the subject was lost in translation.  Well, in the hope of providing some visual clarity I decided to set the figure on one of my spare “wooden cotton reel plinths” .

Photo’s below.



Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 6 – The Completed Diorama)

The Road To Carentan – US 101st Airbourne (02:00 D-Day 6th June 1944)

The various bits I needed to finish don’t really require an explanation.  They were either paint jobs or basic ground work, nothing I haven’t covered before in the previous posts on this diorama.  With this in mind and before I share with you the photo’s I have taken I thought I ought to give you the background to the diorama to set the scene so to speak.

The original interest in doing this period piece was driven by the Plymouth Model Club, of which I am a member, and their 2019 show which will have a D-Day display.  I fancied a diorama with a couple of buildings and decided in the end to go with what you have seen unfold during the previous 5 posts.

The 101st Airborne parachuted into Normandy France in the very early hours of D-Day, the 6th June 1944.  Their mission was to secure the eastern half of a town called Carentan from German reinforcements.  Doubtless they had other objectives along the way.  I figured their journey would have taken them through outlying villages en-route and this is essentially what this diorama sets out to portray.

The way I see the diorama is this.  France, although occupied was running as business as usual.  Street lights might or might not have been on in the small hours of the morning but a business such as a Baker would quite possibly have been baking at that time.  Noise and explosions would get people to put their bedroom lights on and of course some destruction would be inevitable.

An accurate portrayal?  Probably not, it’s a representation and intended to be nothing more.

Various images appear below, with and without lights on.  I hope you like the end result.

I wan’t able to submit anything mechanical for the November challenge, to committed to this project.  However, the December challenge set by Azazel lends itself to this model so with Christmas coming up and various time constraints with it this will be my submission.



Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 5 – Base & Figures)

Patchy progress this week due to being told domestic projects take president!

Hopefully next week will see me almost there and I would like to get the whole thing completed before Christmas if possible.  I’m anticipating (like all of us I’m sure) that Santa will be bringing me lots of goodies that I will want to get on with instead!

I mentioned in Part 4 that the positioning of the buildings would require more work than I had originally planned to do in respect of rear gardens.  I decided each of the three buildings would require as a minimum a patio and some grass so I laid down some Milliput and rolled it with one of my textured Greenstuff rollers.  My next task was to fix the building in place but before I could do that I needed to pre-drill the base with the holes for the street lighting which would be installed.

Both the two undamaged buildings have lights in them so holes were also made for those light wires too.  I checked to see that they were working OK and then fixed the buildings into place.  Work then began on the rear gardens.

A textured finish using ground up plaster board was used to cover all the ground work not covered by the Milliput patio area.  Once dried the patio and ground work was given its first coat of paint.  I figured the two buildings adjoining would need a dividing line so I went for a wire fence made using twisted 0.5mm wire and drilled match sticks.  To draw attention to the rear of the buildings I thought I would need a center piece, something tall and decided on the obvious, a tree.  A couple of walls were also needed to close the rear gardens off at the sides where applicable.  These were done using plaster board which I carved to provide a weathered effect.


You may have also noticed in the pictures above that the chip board base has also been given an edged finish which I will stain in due course.

The next task was to lay down some static grass and to put the smaller branches on the tree using Sea Foam.  Once the glued Sea Foam had dried the tree was covered in a mix of general filler and water/PVA and allowed to dry.  It was then painted and the leaves applied in various colours using a strong hold hair spray.

I also added a small flower trough to the patio area.  In my bitz box I had some old Tamiya 1/32nd scale sand bags.  Painted and used upside down they worked just fine as a trough.


Sea  Foam also works very well for making shrubs and climbing plants so I added a creeper to the outside wall of the Brasserie.


Next up was adding the street lighting.  Each light was tested to check that it worked but the proper wiring would be done later.

Finding lights on Ebay was easy enough but getting the right height and style was a little more difficult.  Getting English Victorian street lamps wasn’t a problem but I wanted something which I felt had a little more of a French feel and in the end I managed to find the ones you see in the photo’s below.  I reckon they look OK but just need to keep my fingers crossed that they all work once wired up.  They came from China and only costs a couple of pounds so I’m not getting carried away with the quality of them but as long as they look the part.


Next up was the fountain.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a big fan of the finish you get with MDF even when painted, owes more to my ability to paint it as much as anything else but I didn’t have many options in this instance.  For colour I added some red plants to break up the dull ground work.

Something still didn’t quite look right and I figured it was that the fountain wasn’t working.  In an effort to improve things I used some wire and water effects to try to simulate the fountain in use.  I’m not entirely sure that it looks that great but it might look a bit better once its fully dried and highlighted.  We will have to wait and see but for now its what it is.


The next job was to start adding the debris from the damaged building.  Now before I assembled the original building I made an outline of the damaged sections so I could get a feel for how much actual debris there would be.  It didn’t need to be precise but I didn’t want to go completely overboard either.  The debris needed to be added a reasonable amount at a time and allowed to dry.

It isn’t clear from the photo’s I’ve taken but some of the debris had wall paper added to it to match that inside the building to help keep the thing looking reasonably authentic.  Wood was also needed in the debris and of course a fare few roof tile as well!


During the piece meal process I got a couple more figures painted although the photo’s below leave a lot to be desired.  In too much of a hurry to get this post out, sorry!


Not entirely sure where I go from here, need to sit down and reflect fully on where I am.  Off the top of my head I need to complete the remaining couple of figures, wire up the lighting, finish off the rear gardens, get the figures in situ, stain the edge and take some decent photo’s if I can.  Doesn’t sound quite so bad now I come to think about it.  Never know I might even get it finished for next week!


Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 4 – Base & Figures)

With the three buildings almost complete it was time over the last week to start thinking and working on the base and to begin painting some of the figures.  To be honest it made a welcome change.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed the buildings but it was nice to focus on something else for a while.

Let’s start with the base as there is a lot more to comment on.

Originally my plan was to have the three buildings positioned in a straight line, face on and square to the base.  However, when I positioned them and considered the figures it looked shit.  I then considered putting a road between the buildings whereby two were positioned either to the right or the left with one on the other side.  Although it looked much better it still just didn’t look right.  I then remembered one the of the rules of photography, the rule of thirds.  By splitting the buildings, two one side and one on the other, and placing them at right angles it was possible to position the buildings closer to the sweet spots.  You may not agree when looking at the images below but to my mind this looked much better and thus I made the decision to go with it.  The downside was that there was now much more space behind each building which meant I would have to make back gardens for all three buildings as well.

Another decision I made was to go with the two undamaged buildings on the left with the damaged building on the right.  Why?  You may well ask!

Now I’m no WW2 expert and don’t claim to be.  When completed this model is intended to be a representation and not an accurate depiction of a true scene or event so the way I see it is this.  France, despite being occupied, was for all intent and purposes operating as “business as usual”.  Putting the French Resistance to one side, the shops were open and the people generally went about their business.  All hell of course broke lose when out of the blue the Allies invaded on the 6th June 1944.  My idea therefore was to show business as usual with the two intact buildings on the left and the beginning of the end with the ruined building on the right.  Does it work?  Well I guess that’s for you to decide.

The next step was to draw around the buildings and glue a border of coffee stirrers lightly to the base.  This was to serve two purposes.  Firstly, it provided a clearer boundary line when it came to laying down ground work as pencil or ink would most likely get covered up.  Secondly, when removed the buildings would sit nicely into the recess leaving less ground work to be touched up later.

I mentioned in previous posts that my aim was to include some lighting.  It remains to be seen if this is going to work out but one of the things I needed to overcome was where and how to house the battery and the on off switch.  If I simply stuck it under the base then the base would have to be raised.  Not a problem if it only needed to be raised slightly but but as this was not going to be the case I thought it would look ridiculous.  I therefore decided to drill a FGH (Fucking Great Hole!) through the base so the two parts could be hidden away.  I also needed to make sure that the hole was central so that the wires from two buildings and from street lights which I planned to install would all reach.  All I had to do now was decided how best to cover up the FGH which neatly sat in the middle of the bloody board!

Fortunately I had a eureka moment.  The angles of the buildings gave me the impression of walking through the gap between the buildings and into a village square.  This being the case a lot of village squares have at there center either a statue, a fountain or both.  Fortunately I was able to find a 28mm MDF fountain which I could use, the outline of which was added to the base before starting on the ground work.

For the ground work I decided to go with a cobbled pathway in front of the buildings and a light gravel finish to the center and around the fountain and that’s where I am to date with the the base.  In the photo’s below the buildings have just been placed in situ to provide a first glimpse of how the layout will look.  There is still along way to go!

Now to the figures.

Currently I plan to have eight figures, seven US 101st Airborne and one German.  So far I’ve made good progress on four of the US figures.  Not a great deal to say.  The figures are all ironically from a German site I discovered called “Stoessis Heroes” and are excellent castings in my opinion.  Painted using a combination of Vallejo acrylics and Winton and Newton oils.

Photo’s of base progress and figures below.  The pictures of the figures are poor as I had little time to mess about with the focus which seemed hell bent on placing the focal emphasis on the clamp!








Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 3 – Building No: 3)

Finally managed to make enough progress to post an update!  OK so it’s not the most interesting one but it is as far as I’ve got for now.

If you have been following my progress you will be aware that this is the third building in my planned diorama.  If you haven’t the the title of this post is a bit of a give away too!  It’s also the last building as I’ve decided there will only be three.  As you can see from the images below this building represents a bakery.

The building itself differs in a few ways from the other two.  Firstly, being a shop it has a large front window which can easily been seen into.  Secondly, bakers are up very early so I figure if this diorama is to be set around the early hours of the morning then the lights would be on.  Thirdly, it has a balcony with french doors which means it may be possible to see inside.  With these three points in mind I felt I needed to do a proper interior in some places.

Externally and internally I set about doing things in same way that I built the first two buildings.  Chinchilla dust was used for the external render and a colour printer was used to produce floor and wall tile images which I literally cut and pasted to the MDF interior floor and walls.  The counter with bread loaves and rolls was a very basic scratch build from Milliput.  Far from perfect but hopefully sufficient given the final angle of view.

For consistency I once again went for individual roof tiles, about 1200 of them to be a little more precise!  An LED light was fixed into place to illuminate the shop.  It’s been tested and works and will hopefully continue to do so when the time comes to assemble the building on the base and configure the wiring!  These things are so delicate.

Most of the painting has been done but there are still a few things to be done before I can call it completed (weathering, chimney, balcony and external brick flooring judging from a quick glance).

The time has now arrived to start thinking about painting some figures and getting my head around the base.  The figures will hopefully be straight forward, there are eight in total if I decide to use them all.  The base on the other hand requires a lot of thought.  The positioning of the buildings will be key, there is a need to conceal wiring and I’m toying with the idea of a fountain and street lights.  Some walls will also need to be constructed and each of the three houses will need a back garden.  All in all a long way to go.  Still, everything in good time.

Various progress photo’s below beginning with the basic MDF shell tnrough to where the build is currently.



Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 2 – Building No: 2)

Work on the second building for this diorama is almost complete.  Some additional weathering to be done along with some base work once the building is in situ but that’s for later.  Overall an easier build than Building No: 1 – See link to previous post below – which I pretty much anticipated.

The theme going around in my head has the diorama set in the early hours of the morning which to my mind means a Brassiere would be closed.  This allowed me to put blinds at the windows making the place look shut up, so seeing inside wasn’t a significant issue.  However, I did decided to have one window which could be seen through as I’m now considering the idea of lighting.  We’ll see how that idea goes!

I wont describe the build process in great detail, mainly because it was done along the same lines as the previous post.  Instead I’ll simply highlight the bits which were different and show stage development photos of the build at the end.

A bed was made and wall paper added to the “room” that can be seen into just to be on the safe side.  Just how visible any of it will be if it is lit up remains to be seen.

The “Brassiere” lettering was outlined on the MDF but needed carefully painting.  It went well but was time consuming.

Azazel reminded me of a good tip for tiling the roof, specifically to do so using strips instead of individual tiles.  I had been made aware of this technique a while ago but had forgotten about it so I was grateful for the reminder.  However, having done the first build with individual tiles I decided to go the same way again, fearful that the outcome might look odd.  It probably wouldn’t have done but once again I chose not to leave things to chance.

Probably the stand out feature for me, and certainly the most problematic, was the addition of the “Dubonnet” wall advert.  Painted wall adverts are pretty common in France, well they were back in the 1940s,  so I was very keen to add a simple one.  I ruled out free hand without some guidelines because I didn’t feel confident of getting it right, so I thought I would trace the words on.  Unfortunately the textured finish using a sample I made simply didn’t want to know. The idea of making a stencil crossed my mind but when I looked at doing one it was evident straight away that this wouldn’t work either.  Far to intricate.  I was stumped.  I gave YouTube a go but my searches threw up nothing until by pure chance I discovered a craft tutorial.

In the tutorial the artist took a stone, covered it in PVA and then stuck a picture printed on ordinary paper to it face down.  It was then left to completely dry.  Once dried water was rubbed onto the back of the paper which removed the paper slowly and left the picture, albeit inverted, on the stone.  Presumably the PVA absorbed all the ink and retained a very, very thin layer of the existing paper.  Not a technique I had ever come across before.  Anyway, I thought I would give it a go.

The first thing I had to do was print the word.  I chose to go with “Dubonnet”, a drink which has been around since 1846 so would therefore have been relevant in the 1940s.  I typed it out in Word Art on the PC and played about with sizing.  I then flipped the wording so that it would read the correct way around when glued face down.  Applied the PVA to the chinchilla render and left it to dry.  The next day I rubbed water onto the paper and what you see is pretty much what I got.  A bit of weathering and a few minor touch ups and I ended up with something I was quite pleased with.  Doubtless someone will say “all you needed to do was …”.

So there you have it, an almost complete second building.  Work will now start on the third building and probably the last one for this diorama.  This build may prove to be the more time consuming as I think much more of the internal building will be visible but more on that in a future post.

Development pictures below.





Kelly’s Heroes – 28mm Artizan Figures (The October Challenge)

The Azazel challenge for October was to complete a unit of at least 3 figures and/or an Ork for Orktober.  As I typically do single figures, vignettes and dioramas unit challenges don’t naturally fit with what I do.  Having said that I love the challenges and whenever possible like the idea of contributing something.  With so much to do at the moment I limited my self to the unit challenge only, I’ll have a crack at an Ork some other time, might even call it IRO!

I didn’t really have any idea what to do for a unit but when I was searching the Artizan website for something else I discovered this 28mm three figure set representing the primary characters from the classic film Kelly’s Heroes.  So here we have Kelly, Big Joe and Oddball.  I’m not sure Kelly or Big Joe are great representations of the actual characters either in sculpting terms (like I have the right to be critical!) or in respect of my paint job but the sculpt of Oddball is excellent in my opinion and unmistakably “him”.

I suspect I am not alone in nominating Oddball as my favorite character from the film so for a little added nostalgia a few Oddball classics lines …

“A Sherman can give you a very nice… edge”

“Crazy… I mean like, so many positive waves… maybe we can’t lose, you’re on!

“I’m drinking wine and eating cheese, and catching some rays, you know”

“It’s a wasted trip baby. Nobody said nothing about locking horns with no Tigers”

Images of the three figures below.





Operation Overlord – A 28mm WW2 Diorama (Part 1 – Building No: 1)


The Plymouth Model Club has chosen D-Day as the theme for next years show, an exhibition to mark the 75th anniversary of the invasion landings.  All the club members have plans to produce something and for my part I thought I would, in addition to a few other models that I will produce, make a sizeable diorama.  If I manage to pull it off then it will be the biggest diorama I will have done.  Not necessarily the most complicated but certainly the biggest.

It will also be time-consuming to produce so this will most likely be the first of a number of posts on this project.  I will post regular updates but for my sanity as well as yours I expect I will work on a few other things in parallel and vary my future posts accordingly.

So what do I have in mind to put together?

The concept is a simple one and one which may well evolve a little as I begin to make progress.  The plan is to have three, possibly four, buildings representing a small street scene with troops from the 101st US Paratroop making their way carefully along the road.  Dimensions and aesthetics will play a part in the final design.  Written down I can’t believe how shit this concept sounds but the image in my head is much better so at this stage you’re just going to have to trust me!  The devil will be in the detail as I hope you will come to see.

Key to the diorama will be the buildings.  Initially I thought I would do my own completely from scratch but windows in particular are a nightmare.  I then decided to buy a kit from Charlie Foxtrot, ironically a company I discovered at this year’s Plymouth show where Colin, the owner had a display.  If I like the end result then I will purchase the remaining buildings from him too.

So let’s get this series underway starting with the first building.

The Kit – Ruined House No: 2 by Charlie Foxtrot Models

Below is a picture of the actual kit as it appears on the website.  It’s probably easier to look at the pictures of how it is designed to look than for me to tell you, particularly as I have plans to make a number of changes.


The link below will take you to this kit on the website and to the online shop if it’s of interest to you.

28mm 1:56 "Ruined House 2"

Looking at the kit you may well be asking yourself why would I want to make changes to what is essentially a highly detailed kit?  There are two main reasons.  Firstly the kit is made of MDF which is a great material for accurate laser cutting and etching but the finish is flat and characterless.  Secondly, whilst the kit is probably ideal for war gaming in that it neatly comes apart it is not detailed enough when it comes to being a feature of a diorama (well not for me at least).  This will probably become clearer as the construction of this kit gets underway.

I mentioned earlier that my plan is to have at least three buildings.  This is the first of the them and I expect it will prove to be the most challenging, mainly because it will require internal changes and enhancements in addition to an external makeover.  I’ll explain why as the build progresses.

Time for a couple of photos.


The first picture shows an image of the kit unopened in its bag.  The second and third show all the bits neatly laid out as I try to work out how the hell it all goes together.  A single A4 sheet of instructions is provided and to my surprise it did prove to be sufficient coupled with a bit of common sense and a few references to the online images on the Charlie Foxtrot website.

The model when assembled is meant to consist of three parts.  The ground floor, the first floor and the roof.  Because it is a war gaming building it is also meant to come apart rather than to be assembled as a solid single construction which is what I will be doing with it.  My first consideration therefore was to determine if it would be possible to see inside the ground floor.  If it was then I would need to make changes at this point as access to this area would not be possible once the first floor was added.

I decided it would be possible to see a little bit inside through the windows and through the hole in the ceiling as you look down from the first floor but I couldn’t be sure just how much.  I therefore concluded that some internal fitting out was necessary, just to be on the safe side at least.

The first thing I decided to do was wallpaper the internal walls.  On a “Dolls House” website I found some free wallpaper downloads.  I chose a small print for scale purposes and printed a couple of sheets on to photographic paper.  Photographic paper being thicker would glue better to the walls and would not make the inks run.  Each wall was “papered”and the floor too was covered with a wooden floor board print which I also found on the same website.  Normally I would use coffee stirrer’s for a wooden floor but didn’t think that was necessary on this occasion given how much would be seen.


The next step was to glaze the windows using clear hard plastic.  Pieces were cut and stuck to the inside of the walls.  The windows would go in later after they were painted.  Completing the glazing at this stage would also stop the windows from falling into the building when assembled when it would be harder to get them out if that happened.  I also made one of the windows with “broken glass” by simply cutting the clear plastic accordingly.  Using some paper painted with acrylic paint I also made curtain for the windows which would be visible from the outside looking in.


A similar problem to the windows existed with the front and back doors so to prevent them from falling in when it was time to fix them in place I glued matches to the top and bottom of both the door openings.  When the first floor is in place there is a hole in the floor which looks down and into the ground floor.  Now was the time to put debris in place so ground plaster board along with a few scale brick and pieces of timber were added.  At this stage the modified ground was complete and duly assembled.

The next step was to direct my attention to the first floor.

The first floor is divided into two rooms, one of which represents the damaged end of the house where the roof above the floor has been blown up.  Now the first thing I noticed with the kit design was that you could look into both these areas.  In itself this would not have been a problem except for the fact that the kit has no internal staircase.  This bugged me and so the only way I could see to get around the problem was to put a ceiling above the undamaged room (if anyone asks the staircase is on that side of the house!).

The ceiling was made using wooden coffee stirrer’s stuck to a piece of MDF which was cut to size.  The ceiling piece had to be inserted rather than simply laid on top as this would have thrown out the fit of the roof at the next stage.  For support coffee stirrer battens were positioned at the top of each of the four wall sides.  Having created a ceiling for one half of the first floor it was appropriate to make a damaged one for the other side too.  The first floor was also wall papered and glazed in the same way as the ground floor.



The sharp eyed among you might notice that I have Peter Gabriel on in the back ground!

The next stage was to look more closely at the roof assembly.  The only thing which really needed to be addressed was the tiling.  I don’t like flat roofs and do not have the skill to produce 3D style painting so there was nothing to do but cut out several hundred cardboard tiles and glue them row after row to the MDF.  I’ve done this several times in the past and my method is tried and tested.  With suitable music or a DVD on it doesn’t take that long to achieve.  To make the tiles I used my Greenstuff World tile punch and cardboard from a cornflake box.  I find it is best to use cardboard where one side has a gloss finish.  The gloss finished side should be facing out when the tile is stuck down.  This is better for painting.  The other way around and the cardboard turns to mush if you aren’t careful.

Finally the two wall ends of the roof were rendered on the inside using ground plaster board on PVA glue.


Following a little painting of areas which would prove difficult to paint if not done now the three components of the kit were ready for assembly.  The assembly itself was very straight forward, testimony of the quality of the kit.

The next job was to glue the windows, which had now been painted, into place.  This was then followed by adding some initial bits of debris to the first floor and then rendering the outside walls.  The rendering was done over several days as each side was allowed to thoroughly dry before moving on to the next external wall.  Diluted PVA was used on the outside walls before chinchilla dust (yes, chinchilla dust!) was applied to the outside.


The damaged wall kit pieces came with small MDF brick sections which could be stuck on.  As with the roof tiles the brick looks very flat so I simply decided to go with ground plaster board to provide a rough cast finish to the top edges of the exposed MDF.

Once it was all dry I painted the render with some Dulux Emulsion paint and used Burn Umber oil paint heavily diluted with white spirit to provide some initial weathering to the walls.

The completed model to date is shown below.  It is not finished.  The render needs to be weathered further, the window shutters need to be fixed in place and so do the doors.  At this stage I’ve yet to decide which windows will have open or closed shutters and the same goes for the doors.  These are things I will look at more closely when I make further progress on the rest of the diorama.  Scattered debris of brick, tiles, wood and broken glass will be added to the inside and outside at a future assembly stage but for now I have done as much as I can do on this one.

The next step is to order the remaining buildings for the diorama having decided I like Charlie Foxtrot’s kits.  While I’m waiting for them to come I can divert my attention to the October challenge!

Images of the current state of play below.  It doesn’t look very impressive at the moment but there is a long way to go!



WW2 Rubicon 28mm Willys Jeep – (The April Challenge – Project No: 1)

An early entry for the April challenge under the banner of “build or assemble something”. This was not my planned entry, details of which will follow later in the month, this one was an accident.  Let me explain.

For quite a while now I have wanted to attempt a plastic kit.  I reckon it must have been the best part of 45 years ago when I last did one.  Why?  Because I loved the look of some them all those years ago, as indeed I do to-day, but I simply don’t enjoy making them.  My willingness to have another go was fuelled by my desire to try to encourage my model club who are well into such kits to base them, even simply as is the case with this one.  The passage of time also helped, it couldn’t have been that bad all those years ago could it?  Alas it was and readers of earlier posts will be aware that this little project was in danger of going tits up and being abandoned altogether.  Then the April challenge got me refocused on getting it done.  I figured if I was going to do it then I might as well kill two birds with one stone.

Pictures of the completed piece appear below and the eagle-eyed amongst you might notice that there are no “in progress images”.  There is a reason for this.

As I have mentioned previously I am not a vehicle kit person chiefly because me and glue simply do not see eye to eye.  I was dreading the build rather than looking forward to the challenge that lay ahead.  Nevertheless I was determined to complete the exercise come hell or high water but had no desire to record this momentous step by taking progress photos of deformed plastic covered in blobs of glue.

So how did it go?  Better than I thought but not great.  Were my worst fears justified?  Not the worst ones but the ones just below the worst ones.

The first issue I had was shortly after I opened the box and started to assemble the kit.  It turns out this Rubicon kit can be assembled into one of four configurations.  Being a man I don’t tend to read instructions so this point initially passed me by.  However, I got lucky.  I wanted to build the US version and without realising it this is the one I had started on when I discovered all the additional parts that I couldn’t work out what to do with.  Score – 1.

After eventually reading the instructions, assembly to be fair was pretty straight forward and the fit of parts were good, not that I have much previous experience on which to judge this.  I even managed to think to paint areas before assembly and to add things like mud to the wheel arches before fixing the wheels themselves in place.  Score + 1.

Unfortunately some things hadn’t changed, I’m still heavy-handed with glue.  As light a touch as I might have with a brush the complete opposite is true with glue.  Alas trying to apply super glue with a modelling brush which would be the ideal solution for me is simply a way of ruining a brush.  So, crucially glue everywhere, Score – 10!

I had hoped the figures would be my saving grace and although they were OK the faces left a lot to be desired.  I’ve been lucky of late in that a lot of the miniatures I have been working on have been superbly sculpted and the expressions on the faces have been simply awesome.  As a consequence I have been able to get away with my painting skills.  Unfortunately the faces of these figures were plain, very flat and featureless and although I felt I made the most of them the end result still left a lot to be desired.  Score + 1.

Final assembly of the kit including the figures went together better than I had hoped but for one error.  I’m not sure if the error is with the kit or with my assembly.  Having googled some images of completed kits done by others I think I can be certain the error is mine but quite where I went wrong I’m not sure.  The error in question is with the rear sitting down soldier and the way he is holding his rifle.  He’s holding it far to low down and although I was aware of this at the time I simply couldn’t get it higher and get the figure sitting in the back of the jeep.  Still that’s why I’m The Imperfect Modeller!  Score – 1.

On to something positive, the base work.  Now there is nothing much to the base, it’s all pretty basic and that was the intention, to keep it simple as a demonstration piece for presentation at the club.  However, if there is one thing I have learnt, albeit with room for improvement, it is how when creating dioramas and vignette bases to cover up errors!  With a considerable effort I pretty much managed to conceal excess glue thanks to some weathering, decals, ground work and opting to lay the windscreen flat to the point where the overall model just about looks OK.  Score 10 – not entirely merited but brings the overall score to 0 which feels just about right.

In summary, did I enjoy the experience?  No.  Will I venture into a kit build again in the future?  Only if the wife is present to tell me to read the bloody instructions or if I can learn how to better apply glue!

Conclusion?  Never say never but if I did embark on another kit then I would only do so if I was drunk!


DSC_0804 (1)DSC_0802 (1)DSC_0821DSC_0801 (1)DSC_0827DSC_0803 (1)