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Dioramas: Campaigns
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Hosted by Darren Baker
Contest: Cold Feet
European Union
Joined: February 15, 2002
KitMaker: 2,289 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 03:39 AM UTC
I was so excited with the diorama campaign idea I took a day off to do my shopping.
I had a few good sniper ideas, but those are for modern times. So to fulfill Keith's conditions I went looking for a WWII figure in 1/35 - my first in twenty years.

Since part and parcel of this contest is to share experiences with other wackos around the globe that set out to do the exact same thing (what a crazy idea, huh ?) It will be my pleasure to share my experience with you. So, without further ado, here's the first episode of my contest adventure.

Cold feet
Though the "snow" condition was lifted from the programme, I decided to try my skills on a winter wonderland landscape. I once made one with X-mas tree decorating spray and that had become a complete failure (to live up to my callsign name). To clear my reputation, I started looking around to find a good figure. Since I have half a kilo of 1/35 arms and heads stacked away in my magic modeling box, I hoped to find a figure that could be adapted in such way, that he really looks as if it's cold out there.
So I went to the specialist figure shop (one of the smallest shops in Antwerp, but a modelers' goldmine !) and sniffed through their secrets. Then I saw him. Discretely positioned between a Hitler Jugend drummer boy and a half naked Amazon princess, he stared me right in the eye. A German SS M42 gunner in Greatcoat. Not only he's wearing a spectacular winter uniform : he's so cold his head is tucked away in his collar and he's blowing his hands for some relief to his frozen fingers. That MG42 is probably all frozen, so he stood it up against his leg so he wouldn't have to touch the frozen metal. 13, 25 Euro down the drain, but I think my little friend is worth it and the rest of the vignette would be scratchbuilding (=cheap) anyway. Since he needed a name, I baptised him Volkmar. I'm not sure wether he likes the new name, but one thing's for sure : Volkmar was as happy as a squirl up a tree when I put him in my warm pocket.

This is not a picture of my own, but I already found a picture of Volkmar on the internet : A model by WOLF. Since I spent the last few years building trucks on 1/16 (120 mm series), I'm not familiar with all those new brands. I never heard of Wolf before. Some of their models look out of proportion, but others are little jewels. Volkmar looks just right.

(meet Volkmar : )

Aaaaah... the wonders of Armorama. Yesterday I still planned to try my luck on dry shampoo and white sugar to imitate snow, then I read a few posts on snow. And then... WHAM ! Without any warning I was introduced on one of these posts with a new product : microballoons. It took me half an hour to locate a shop that sells the stuff in the yellow pages, and a day off to go and get it, but for 5,33 Euro I now have 100 grams of the magic substance in my posession. If the police had stopped me with that, I'm sure I 'd still be explaining that its purpose is to make a snow diorama ! Now 100 grams sounds like very little, but this stuff is so light that you can fill a whole bucket with only a few hundred grams ! I still have to think how I'll do it, and what kind of building (to have that *#@!! window in the vignette) I will scratch. Maybe a farmhouse somewhere in the Ardennes. The ochre painted facade of a noble house in a Eastern European or Russian city...
Sigh. So many problems to face. I spend an hour in the car every morning and every night, in a huge traffic jam on the highway between Antwerp an Brussels and I've nothing better to do than to find a good idea. I'm sure that'll work !

Diorama base
Like most old houses, ours has stairs with wooden barristers. The bottom collumn is thicker than the others, and features a round decorated disc on thop. Perfect to serve as a diorama base. But since I won't risk my marriage on that, I had to use someone else's. Not too far from the airport, there's a guy who sells pieces of demolitioned houses : tiles, windows, stairs, fireplaces... It took him about 30 seconds to find what I was looking for and 30 minutes of discussing the price, but he let me have it for five Euro flat. It will take some polishing, filling the hole in the center and a coat of varnish, but it will look just the part for this vignette "campaign".

So. These were the incredible adventures of General Faillure, in the first episode of "Volkmar's cold feet". Watch out for the sequel !

(and finally, at my son's request, here's a few smileys he'd like to share with you :

North Carolina, United States
Joined: February 22, 2002
KitMaker: 11,718 posts
AeroScale: 305 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 03:50 AM UTC
Well said. I love the name!!
Now I feel the 'pressure' - the name the name what do I call it.... #:-)

I'll post 'my story' soon. I like the idea.

Hauts-de-Seine, France
Joined: April 11, 2002
KitMaker: 1,757 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 06:44 AM UTC
Very interesting for a start !
If my project evolves the way I'm planning it, it's name will be "too cold to be outside"
Staff MemberSenior Editor
Croatia Hrvatska
Joined: February 13, 2002
KitMaker: 5,571 posts
AeroScale: 15 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 07:37 AM UTC
:-) LOL... nice story there, Jan... Volkmar looks really cold, in fact he is one of the coldest figures I've seen.. (:-)

I'd like to know something more about microballoons from your perspective, please. Where did you get them from and how does the stuff look to you?

Mario M.
Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Joined: May 22, 2002
KitMaker: 4,082 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 09:52 AM UTC
Nice thoughts Jan.... better watch them "flikken" as you drive that powder around Antwerp...

Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Joined: June 07, 2002
KitMaker: 8,797 posts
AeroScale: 190 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 11:24 AM UTC
yeah I like the name
As you are telling about it I`m getting curious about the result of it

For me I`m not really certain what the name of my dio is going to be
but it has te be a little bit mysterious
something like "distraction" or "decoy"
i`ll explain the story to you later I also have drawings of the original concept
maybe there is a possibility to post them together to show the process

European Union
Joined: February 15, 2002
KitMaker: 2,289 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 11:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

:-) LOL... nice story there, Jan... Volkmar looks really cold, in fact he is one of the coldest figures I've seen.. (:-)

I'd like to know something more about microballoons from your perspective, please. Where did you get them from and how does the stuff look to you?

Mario M.

I never saw the stuff before today. It's as light as a feather (I thought the jar was empty !), and looks like most other white powder. Please note I have NO PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE with this stuff yet : I just bought it. I'll let you in on all the gory details when I start using it.
It scares me a bit : this stuff is SO light I'm affraid it will blow all through the room if I even breathe while applying it... What it looks like ? I guess like a bag of cocaine. I think microballoons are cheaper, though. Furthermore, everyone agrees you should NEVER use food products in your model !
If this is indeed the best stuff to make snow or not... I wouldn't know. i trust the friendly advice of some other Armorama members who used it for many years. Exciting, huh ?
I'll let you read you all about it in one of the sequels to the life and works of Volkmar !

Oklahoma, United States
Joined: March 01, 2002
KitMaker: 6,043 posts
AeroScale: 80 posts
Posted: Friday, November 01, 2002 - 12:28 AM UTC
LOL. Yes those microballons are going to change your way of seeing things. Cut the bannister post at the house but afraid the ole lady would throw you out LOL. Kind of wish we could do the half naked Amazon Princess Great explanation on the Trooper Jan. have a cold one you deserve it.
Donegal, Ireland
Joined: May 14, 2002
KitMaker: 9,763 posts
AeroScale: 35 posts
Posted: Friday, November 01, 2002 - 12:48 AM UTC
Lots of hardware, timber merchants have these bannister tops for sale in finished or unfinished (cheap) state. They are ideal for bases and plynths also as some of them are thicker and with more deatil. Theres not a shop in town that doesnt have something that can be used somewhere, sometime in some dio. Thats about the "sum" of it!
Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Joined: May 22, 2002
KitMaker: 4,082 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Friday, November 01, 2002 - 03:02 AM UTC
Picture this :

December 24, 1944.... a cold and dark shed in a countryfield near the town of Bastogne..........where just a couple of candles light the room...... There's fighting everywhere except in this deserted and peaceful shed just a couple of miles behind the frontline, where a single soldier is thinking 'bout home.........

He's on his own for just a couple of hours R&R....... a couple of hours before the fighting comes into his life again..... destiny unknown......... Will I live...... or are these fields the last I'll ever see ....... His mind wanders off to his family back home.... a tear drops........ and he decides to write them a letter.......maybe his last........

This is the setting of my entry in this contest...... the Title........ "It will be lonely this Christmas...."

The idea : A Soldiers Christmas

More to come...... The idea is there, the building has started.......
European Union
Joined: February 15, 2002
KitMaker: 2,289 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 03, 2002 - 09:37 AM UTC

Le Fabuleux Destin de Volkmar Freitag - the saga continues
A modeler's nightmare. That's what this whole contest is becoming. My ulcer is playing up again, and my blood pressure is over the tops. I hardly spent an hour sleeping last night. .

I wanted to do a sniper dio in the first place, but since Keith dropped that condition from the contest rules, I brought little Volkmar into the picture (and into my home). I found interesting pictures of a few Art Nouveau style houses to scratchbuild as a backdrop setting to place little Volkie in a Big City setting, out in the cold far away from his mom. My big worry is how to get such building in a 4x 6 dio, but I'm sure that can be solved some way.

Now since then, about a dozen of you gangsters start to write mouth-watering testimonials about snipers hiding left, right and under. Other snipers are moving around water towers, under bridges, or on roofsSome of them bring tears to my eyes with endearing X-mas letters to their loved ones, others are yanking their puppet's chains to add yet another notch on their gun.

They only have one thing in common : they are all snipers !

And guess what : poor little Volkmar isn't. He'd like to be, but he's far too young and unexperienced. Instead of being a sniper hero, he was saddled with a heavy MG42 machine gun. Nice for the family picture, but no fun if you have to drag it all over Europe. Blistered heels and frozen toes. Forget the sniper carreer, Volkie.

Bye bye Volkie !
Now since it was my initial idea to bring a sniper to the party after reading Envar's Silent Death Tower's mails, I cant' abandon ship.

Since you all met my endearing little model Volkmar who's blowing his hands to survive the freezing wind, you understand how hard this is for me. I've already christened him Volkmar, and gave him a last name (Freitag). My heart's bleeding, but this is not for pussicats. Sniper time has come ! To make Volkie feel better, I'll give him a nice paint job, so he doesn't look that resin-ish and cold anymore. Fact is : I silently started brooding on a new contest idea.

I want to bring a sniper into the picture, AND winter wonderland. I promised myself that the new tree-making skills would be shown in my next dio, too. On top of that, the challenge expects a window, too. All that has to be brought together into ONE little vignette with the dimensions of a picture postcard... !

(not a kitten) Stuck up a tree somewhere
After two whole days and nights of brooding over this (while I finally finished work on the fuel cells - pictures follow in the coming days ! (:-) ), I came up with (probably) working solution : put the sniper in a tree hut !!!. You must have played in one too: the cosy hut that your (or a friend's) dad/granddad built on a thick branch of an oak tree... The hut has a window, the tree is there, the sniper is in the hut or preparing the setting. it's just perfect, and low-cost.

What I need to do now, is to find a good sniper figure. Just for a moment I cherished the idea of transforming Volkie into a sniper hero, but I let it go. The expression of cold is so nicely present in this model by Wolf, that it would be a pity to touch that. If I make a German sniper with a Greatcoat, I would rather go for a figure with loose arms, so I can start tranforming it to naturally blend into the background. I'll take another half day off later this week (I still have 16 holidays to take in 2002 !), just to find a good model. I look forward to that already. In the meantime, I started working on the tree and I made a few drawings for a tree hut.

Needless to say... I'll keep you posted !
Texas, United States
Joined: March 05, 2002
KitMaker: 2,250 posts
AeroScale: 22 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 03, 2002 - 09:51 AM UTC
Hola Jan!

Well, I wish Volkmar and his heavy MG 42 a successful end of the war
As far as your new character, whom ever he may be, I might have an idea for you.

Ok, In the winter wonderland trees, the is heavy snow coverage, your sniper is under one of the trees and looking inbetween the other trees at some sign that some unknown enemy has left in the deep snow. Hes trying to make something out of the signs, like who made them, what direction are they leading, where did they come from etc.

Or. Your sniper could be laying under the cover of the trees and aiming at something, or sitting taking a quick breather? But then again, there is no window!

AAAAah I got it

Make the base kind of like a slope, at the top there are a bunch of trees, and toward the bottom they are not as close together. Find yourself a good print, and at the end of the slope (the lowest part) put the print of a small town, with, ofcourse WINDOWS!!.
So the sniper is at a high point somewhere above the town looking down at suspected targets. If you ever have seen The Grinch, like he lives in the mountain above the little town, and you can see the town in the distance.
This is mighty heavy thinking going on Might not make sense But hey! Maybe its a begining to an idea, its all brainstorming!!!
Joined: October 03, 2002
KitMaker: 142 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, November 03, 2002 - 05:49 PM UTC
THE FUGURE IS REALLY COOL!!! Modeling in Austrlia isnt big so its hard to find something good besides dragon tamia those popular ones. I cant wait to see your dio! There are gonna be a couple of really good entries, I think yours is is really sometihgn to look forward to