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Dioramas
Do you love dioramas & vignettes? We sure do.
Wacht am Rhein
SandersCreative
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Florida, United States
Joined: September 24, 2016
KitMaker: 7 posts
Armorama: 7 posts
Posted: Friday, October 06, 2017 - 10:38 PM UTC
Hey everyone,

I've started quite a large project. I'm a Visual Arts senior in a Bachelors of Fine Arts program, and my theme for my senior show is a dichotomy much like my experiences. "Of Whimsy and War" will showcase more carefree artistic pieces as well as more serious military ones. While most of my military pieces stem from my Army experience or that of people I've served with, part of what I want to do for the War aspect is a large diorama to give the audience pause to think about the Battle of Bulge and what hung in the balance. It will be the sole WWII piece and only 3D construction among 2D art dealing with contemporary military issues.

My idea for Wacht am Rhein is a depiction early in the offensive toward the rear of Kampfgruppe Peiper's column. Officers discuss plans, grenadiers continue the march forward, and Belgian civilians look on as U.S. POWs are escorted past.



I've drafted some preliminary ideas on the structure of the base as well, but honestly it's all subject to change.



So I've received a bulk of the components that I'm going to be using. As I'm sure you can imagine, getting the mail for this project was like Christmas. I completed a Tiger I recently which was my first model in nearly a decade, so jumping to working on a project his ambitious is as exciting as it is daunting.



I started with construction of a few of the Alpine figures. The quality of the details and casting on them is exceptional. The poses seem believable as well in comparison to some of the plastic figures I've built before. There's a more human quality to them.







I've assembled many of the Alpine figures and started on the MiniArt and Dragon figures (whose heads I replaced with Alpine). It's come to my attention that the ones carrying their weapons in their hands are going to need slings. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to solve that particular obstacle just yet.



Still have a number of figures to construct and then start filling in gaps.

I was warned that the Dragon Sd.Kfz 7/2 was a hell of a project, and so far it lives up to that expectation. It's been a fun challenge and the detail is incredible. I certainly hope I'm not the only one who feels nervous when cleaning those small fragile bits.





I'm working with ideas on how to not waste this engine. It's too interesting to just cover up in the final product.



As for the Meng King Tiger, I think working off two instruction books simultaneously will put my concentration to the test. I'm sure that's where Takom gets a leg up but according to many (passionate) people, the Meng kit was the way to go. I've been checking and rechecking placement and how it relates to further parts so progress won't be as rapid as the other kits.





Thanks for checking out my build, I'm very excited to continue working. If you have any suggestions about modeling techniques, historical considerations, or anything I'd be very grateful to hear. Like I said, I'm still very much new to this - particularly doing any model in a serious way - and input is very appreciated.
jrutman
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Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: April 10, 2011
KitMaker: 6,653 posts
Armorama: 6,647 posts
Posted: Friday, October 06, 2017 - 11:32 PM UTC
Like you said,an ambitious project ! I look forward to following your progress. As far as your question regarding weapon slings,I always use lead foil from wine bottle tops,cut into strips and I sometimes add buckles or adjuster slides out of photo etch.
Th Alpine figures are all little gems to be sure and I enjoy them as they are ready to paint with no additional detail needed. I don't know how historically accurate you want to be but I have studied this particular battle group for decades now and no pics have surfaced of any of Peipers or Diefenthals' men wearing the winter reversible combat suits. The LAH generally didn't get issued these until they went to Hungary later on.
J
erichvon
#396
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England - East Midlands, United Kingdom
Joined: January 17, 2006
KitMaker: 1,689 posts
Armorama: 1,579 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 07, 2017 - 12:13 AM UTC
This has all the makings of a superb diorama so will be watching attentively. Nice mix of vehicles and figures and the activity evenly spread so no dead areas. An ambitious project plus an interesting one. Good luck with it!
kurnuy
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West-Vlaaderen, Belgium
Joined: August 22, 2009
KitMaker: 1,491 posts
Armorama: 997 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 07, 2017 - 01:41 PM UTC
Hi ,

nice and very interesting project for sure however i agree what Jerry mentioned about the reversible combat suit .

You're also planning to put civilians on the scene , to be honest the Belgians didn't welcome the Germans and the fact that the Wss was advancing through their hometowns and villages for the second time was extremely frightning for them. To make a long story short you would find the most of them in their cellars with the doors locked hoping for the best . I know some cases where civilians hide Gi's to prevent them from taking prisoner or worse .

Anyways it's your build and as said before it has everything to look awesome . Take your time and a lot of succes.

Kurt
SandersCreative
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Florida, United States
Joined: September 24, 2016
KitMaker: 7 posts
Armorama: 7 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 11:09 PM UTC
Happy New Year, and thank you for the advice and encouragement! I've done some research into the issues mentioned that would impact historical accuracy, and I've decided that I'm going to take a little more artistic liberty than I initially planned.

For the reversible winter combat suits, I'm going to keep them in to add visual diversity for the German troops, particularly because the end product will be seen an audience unfamiliar with the subject matter.

As for the civilians, I agree it is almost completely improbable that any would remain, and that most fled at the first whisper of a German advance. However, for the sake of narrative and incorporating an element of the war that stretches beyond the purely military, I've elected to continue with my plan for civilians.

For the build progress, I've been very much focused on the Sd. Ah. 52 ammo trailer. The Bronco model was fairly involved and had a few tricky components (though not nearly as much as a Dragon model).

Trailer 1

Finding references for German trailers, particularly this one, was tough. What little I did find didn't lend much in the way of functional uses. I'm not entirely sure, but I'm curious if this wire and end piece are actually the electrical connector that would be hooked to the truck. I know with modern army trailers, we have the cable attachment to allow the trailer to slave electricity from the truck for brake lights, etc.

Trailer 2

I primed it all with a spray can of Chaos Black that my friend showed me. He uses it for Warhammer, but I prefer it other primers I've used. It preserves all the details and dries within a minute or so.

Trailer 6

For airbrushing, I'm pretty partial to Ammo by Mig. It sprays evenly and doesn't clog my airbrush. The first layer sprayed was Burnt Iron. Once that dried, I sprayed heavy chipping fluid over it. That took probably close to a half hour to completely dry.

Trailer 7

Once the chipping fluid was dry, I airbrushed two thin layers of Dunkelgelb.

Trailer 9

To get the chipping fluid to work, I wet a small brush and lightly scraped over areas that would wear like edges and handles. I was surprised how effortlessly the paint chipped. I have to say, I'm a believer in the chipping fluid now. It achieved results I could never dream of accomplishing with a brush or a sponge.

Trailer 10

Trailer 12

I'm sure some of you noticed that I'm a dingus and had the cargo box tongue attached to the wrong side. I realized that during a test fitting and felt incredibly dumb. Thankfully, an X-acto knife and superglue were able to remedy the blunder and painting could go on.

I used 502 Abteilung oils lightly to create small tonal variations but didn't want to do anything too crazy just yet. I'm waiting until I have a better idea of the terrain before I commit to final weathering.

Trailer 13

Also, I experimented with Vallejo Environments Fuel Stains enamel. The entire bottle is very frothy and hard to see where the fluid actually is, so I got a little more than I wanted, but I'm okay with it.

Trailer 14

I strapped in the jerrycans with the string included in the kit and painted it with Vallejo Pale Brown. There's an area where it's not quite as taut as I want, but I might place a helmet or something over it to hide it. We'll see. I added a chain which was also included in the kit.

Trailer 15

Trailer 17

Overall, I've enjoyed the trailer. It was a good build and made me realize I need to pay more attention when constructing. There's still a bit more I need to do with finishing, such as more oil washes, adding dirt and mud splatters and accumulations, and more storage cargo on top.

Now, however, the Sdkfz 7 is staring me down. My goal is to get it to a similar level of completion as the trailer before the end of the month. That way I can focus my efforts on the King Tiger and figures, which I know will demand a lot more time and effort.

I appreciate the feedback and welcome any advice or knowledge you all have. I definitely feel like I'm flying blind in the reference department for pretty much everything except the King Tiger.

kurnuy
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West-Vlaaderen, Belgium
Joined: August 22, 2009
KitMaker: 1,491 posts
Armorama: 997 posts
Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 - 12:21 AM UTC
Awesome work on the trailer , very realistic look . Looking forward to see more but again take your time .
SandersCreative
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Florida, United States
Joined: September 24, 2016
KitMaker: 7 posts
Armorama: 7 posts
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 - 11:57 PM UTC
I have been chipping away at this project, and progress has been steady. As I've worked, the composition has evolved slightly. I've decided to incorporate a Panzer IV as well as a knocked out Sherman with additional figures.

Box

The Panzer IV J came together initially without any real headache, which was a welcome change after my constant battle with the Sdkfz. 7.

Panzer_IV_1

The only challenging component I struggled with a bit were the side skirts. However, Dragon provided an essential tool for bending the structural components that encase the wire screens.

Panzer_IV

Once assembled, the entire vehicle was primed and airbrushed with AK Interactive's Real Colors. I used Dunklegelb Ausgabe '44 (RC061), Braun (RC065), and Olivgun (RC047). It was my first time using AK's, as I typically airbrush with Ammo of Mig's line, but I found the Real Color series to be a little better in coverage and leveling.

Panzer_IV_initial_paint

Panzer_IV_initial_paint_2

I will begin chipping, detailing, and weathering on the Panzer IV soon.

The Sherman went together without many issues as well. That doesn't mean it was perfect, but this time it was operator error. I glued the cupola ring backwards and had to do a little surgery to get it in the correct position.

Sherman_Initial_Paint

Sherman_Unpainted

It was also primed, dusted with some 502 Abteilung rust pigment, and then airbrushed.

Sherman_Basecoat

Archer decals were added for the serial and registration markings on the flanks and rear of the tank. I'm not entirely certain that the numerical conventions are 100% accurate how I placed them, but it gets the point across.

Sherman_Initial_Paint_1_1_of_1

Sherman_Initial_Paint_2_1_of_1

I did a little bit of oil weathering but plan to spend quite a bit more time on the Sherman before adding the tangible mud textures and tracks.

The Meng King Tiger is also coming together, but incorporating an interior makes it much slower going than the other vehicles. I'm enjoying this build the most though, as it's my first attempt at an interior and really offers insight to the inner workings of the beast.

King_Tiger_Interior_2

King_Tiger_Interior_3

King_Tiger_Interior_4

This boat had a few metal hooks to serve as oar guides that needed holes drilled into the resin. Other than a little clean up, it was pretty much ready for paint right outside the packaging.

Boat_Unpainted

Boat_Painted

As for figures, most have been assembled, gaps have been filled, photoetch details such as belt buckles and slings have been added, and now most are ready for priming and painting.

Figures_Progress

Children_1

Soldier_with_watch_1_of_1

As I have never made a serious attempt at figures before, this has been a daunting task. Particularly in rendering the faces. I have been airbrushing a very light base over the flesh and then using highly diluted 502 oils to build layers as I would on a canvas painting. It's certainly a learning process.

German_Soldier

Well, that's the update on my work so far. I'm working in tandem on a 1/16 King Tiger that will be identical to the one depicted in this diorama as they will be displayed together.

Thanks, as always, for checking out my work, offering great input, and of course, the support.

maartenboersma
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Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: October 10, 2010
KitMaker: 489 posts
Armorama: 471 posts
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2018 - 04:41 AM UTC
Dioramartin
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New South Wales, Australia
Joined: May 04, 2016
KitMaker: 622 posts
Armorama: 621 posts
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2018 - 04:11 PM UTC
There you are! I was wondering what happened, very pleased to see this - you're a quiet achiever, this is looking ever more special. Great work
parrot
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Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 01, 2002
KitMaker: 1,572 posts
Armorama: 1,546 posts
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 10:51 PM UTC
Great work.
I thought I had some crowds in some of my dios,but this is one big crowd.

Tom
ivanhoe6
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Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 05, 2007
KitMaker: 1,444 posts
Armorama: 866 posts
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - 11:11 PM UTC
WOW!! What a great start ! Thanks for sharing.
A suggestion for the engine, Make a crate to fit it with semi-open sides and use it for cargo in a truck. Just a thought.....
Thanks for sharing and PLEASE post more progress photos>
Tom