Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NEW PROJECT: Abandoned Demag 7 Ton

I decided to knock off a project that had been sitting in my "just finish this" pile for far too long. Over the course of 4 years or so, my ideas for it evolved as I've randomly stared at the crowded parts trees on my desk. When I say crowded, I'm talking at least 100 bits per tree. I was originally hoping this was a simple kit I could just knock off in a weekend. Not so - not even close. I have however, determined to finish this as soon as I can. I have a lot of other unbuilt kits I'd like to get cracking on.

My idea for this kit was a familiar theme, the Germans had to make a hasty retreat leaving behind a lot of damaged gear with no time to repair it. This Demag was part of a mass armor retreat in western France in March of 1945, and would have likely made it had the track not snapped under the strain. It would show obvious signs of wear and tear, battle damage and all the weathering I could lay on it.

First thing to remember while building your kit is figure out what you want to customize. In this case, aside from typical denting and and bending, I left various hatches down, to be properly prepared for the stowage that was going to be scattered about. Lots of hastily discarded gear, and the typical detritus that gets pushed roadside at wartime, will surround the truck once integrated with the base.

Now that I figured out which season (muddy) and the basic story, it was time to look at my leftover bases from previously destroyed dioramas to see what I could salvage. I like the idea of continuing the natural base theme I've been doing, so I resurrected an old piece of what used to be firewood that had a great angled "hill" on it.

I went through my garden leftovers for trees and shrubs, and then spares boxes to add all sorts of gear that would be in a scene like this. Rusted damaged fuel drums, old discarded parts guns,boxes, and rusty metal scraps by the ton were found littering the roadsides.

The rest of the body has been detailed with all sorts of knobs, clamps, buckles, and straps. The detail won't really come out until the painting process is complete. S you can see I have a LOT of wheels to get together and weave into the half track section.

Next post, I'll get into the what's left of the assembly and begin the painting and weathering process.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Retreat at Ardennes

This is the first diorama I have done in about 6 years. The finished piece in it's native environment - freezing cold and snow. I hadn't planned on doing a step-by-step post, but I thought it was interesting the way this piece evolved. On future projects, I'll be more diligent in trying to capture the process.

This shows the very beginning stage. Adding the natural elements, scattering rubble, placing key items and trying to figure out what the story could be. I knew one thing for sure, I wanted to capture the feeling of desperation of retreat as the axis forces realized they were outnumbered.

This phase shows additional gear and debris being placed - At this point, I had decided that this one would be a snow scene to honor the 3 weeks of blizzards that hit Maine.

Here we see a HUGE leap in progress. Franky, I could have left it at this phase without the snow - thereby showing a lot more of the groundwork. I did however, go to town on the weathering process as well as adding various blankets, camo netting, rucksacks and other essential gear that would be appropriate for a machine gun nest. As you can see, only our shivering soldier is in the scene as the other figures were being painted separately. The foreground tree trunk was a gift from my garden this past summer. When I yanked it out of the ground i was shocked at how realistic the root core looked as a small scale tree. Glad I saved it.

Here is a good shot of our commander radioing that he and his team need to retreat immediately.

Now we've added our baking soda snow and started other final details like smoke in the smokestack. I started shooting in the yard to get the feel of a freezing day - which it was.

Here is a final shot showing some of the more intricate detail. This was a fun project in that it challenged me to constantly keep freezing temperatures in mind when building this. The next project challenge will be a very wet and muddy scene. Muddy, rainy conditions have always challenged finescale modelers to attempt to create the proper scale and shine. I look forward to it, as now my insomnia has an outlet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Continuing the 'found print with crappy background so i'll fix it in photoshop' theme, I have another desert scene where an old volkswagen is being repaired. There's a bunch of exhausted soldiers huddling around a cooking fire in front of an armored car.

Here's a zoomed in version - as you can see prints are somewhat limiting.

I managed to get a lot of different shots of the Volkswagen. This was the first time I had learned the beetle design came to being in 1933.

Here we can see how practical, yet laden down this Bug is.

Strangers in a strange land, survival is the only option.

A hot baking sun does not make getting the trick to volkswagen repair any easier.

Those bugs got banged up pretty good in the desert.

As history has since proven, the only thing ahead is defeat.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Going through the boxes of crap in my attic, I have stumbled upon a large valise with photos in it. Fortunately some long-lost photos of earlier diorama work are in there. As I discover more, I'll be sure to post them right here..

This one I'll call "Middle East Meetup"

The Germans enlisted many locals and had them wear the uniform of the Afrika Korps. Here 2 locals share a couple minutes and a drink catching up on more domestic issues.

These 2 were depicting a gear-laden staff car in the Middle East.

This is only a fraction of an entire mini airiels complete with crew and plane. Not many photos exist sadly because at the time, I was most proud of this particular piece.

"Wary Pilots"
I used a bit of photoshop for the ackground. I captured some great foreground detail, but neglected to frame the overall shot. (something I learned once I went digital)

This is an overhead view of the previously mentioned scene as well as a very early attempt at photographing the work. It at least gives you an overall sense of how much is in the scene with the Stuka, as well as a sense of the early thawing spring on an airfield in France in 1943. This, along with the other found prints were shot on my roof deck on 61 Lexington Ave in New York city circe 1999/2000.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


S.A.S. soldiers are arriving at a recently knocked out cannon emplacement. They are confirming there are no remaining troops or other danger.

Here is a similar angle but shot against a rock emplacement.

S.A.S. jeeps were notoriously loaded down for desert warfare. Water and fuels needed to always be carried along as well as ammo and other essential gear. We also see the extent of the damage to the now unusable cannon emplacement.

Here we see our other guy signaling down to to other troops the emplacement is indeed knocked out.

It's hot and dry, these guys just wanna get back in the shade.

The leftover ammo adds a suspicious air to the scene. Fortunately, this jeep is armed to the teeth.

Here is another sunny angle peering over the destroyed cannon.

Pressing deeper into Germany - Rathaus Stop.

Here we see an allied jeep pulled up next to a knocked out "Rathaus". Allied tanks roll through the streets in the background pressing deeper into Germany. We see that there was a lot of activity in the area before the allies invaded. Our jeep driver has obviously stopped and found a collection of souvenirs from his tour of duty.

Here the guys are trading their various souvenirs, goofing off wearing enemy helmets and breathing a bit of a sigh of relief.

The ass end of an M3 Howitzer rolling through town. Ideal armor for urban assault.

Not much room for more souvenirs.

This is a good clean shot of a soldier looking through a perfectly centered bullet hole in the middle of a German helmet.

Lower angle POV of the jeep parked on the sidewalk.

The M3 rumbles over the cobblestones.

The jeep filled with swag and the bartering process.

Looking through the doorway of a still-smoldering Rathaus.


A command car has recently come upon a recently evacuated rural train station.

Well equipped for combat reconnaissance missions, this team was dispatched to confirm no enemy troops were still entrenched.

A walkaround the scene shows a massive Elefant tank still atop the flatbed transport.

looking down the barrel of the massive Elefant, it appears the crew just recently left.

An enemy air identification flag makes for a great souvenir.

His buddy reminds him of the ever present danger of booby traps.

Shouting over a hastily evacuated station shows troops were in disarray.

It's time to go back and report what we found here.