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The Forgotten Nest of Sleeping Hornets

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I was still building 1/72 in 1982-3. I was doing a diorama that depicted an abandoned factory in Belgium that had been used as an advanced airfield by an unidentified German Jasta.

On the afternoon of Aug. 20, 1918 the unit had just returned from a strafing and bombing mission with near empty fuel tanks and empty ammo boxes. The word came by field telephone; “The enemy has broken through in sector 7.” Being so close to the front the Leutnant in command realized that the only option was to take the few ground vehicles that were ready and abandon the field. As they left a prudent feldwebel (sergeant) secured the factory gates with an old chain and padlock . Later that day when the British arrived the building was by-passed under the notion that “No-one was home and it probably had been abandoned since the beginning of the war. “

Years later a young farm girl went looking for some errant livestock and in her search came across this old building that she had only see in passing from the road. She ventured in with the innocence of a child and the heart of an explorer. The oddities she noticed certainly, but her mission was the retrieval of the lost sheep, cows and horse that were in he charge to feed and care for.

Later at dinner her father asked the girl where she had found the livestock. She said "At the nest of sleeping hornets..." Thinking he might find a store of bees sweet honey he had his daughter show him the location personally the next day. When they arrived it became finally clear what the child had meant. The dormant, dusty, rotting German fighters were marked with black and yellow bands around their nose and tail areas. The war was over several years previous and he knew immediately that his little girl’s find was of a potentially dangerous nature. Local authorities were summoned. Engines were removed for farm use and the rest dynamited to render the area safe.

There were nine model 1/72 aircraft in the diorama and I didn't do any rigging in those days. The rigging lines you see here were added to the images. This effort was one of my first attempts at a large diorama. It underwent several roof modifications and I can admit today that there needs to have more representations of internal building roof structure to be realistic. Rigging would have improved the overall look. Many more of the struts should have been replaced fo more in scale appearance.. When finished I stuck the whole build out in an outdoor storage shed to age and acquire cobwebs. I have several of the common Texas arachnoids to thank, though they have been dead for many years now.

It won several minor IPMS accolades in its day. The building was started with an HO rail road repair house that was cut into sections containing the windows and a section of wall on each side. Then I added sections of common cardboard between the plastic window sections. I decided on the needed size and went fom there. All of the internal structure was bone in balsa wood. I added Preiser and Highway Minatures, farm animals and vehicles.
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3. R-L, Revell Alb. D.III, Airfix Alb. D.Va & Veeday Pfalz D.IIIa.
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3. ESCI Sopwith Camel.
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3. Revell Triplane and Veeday Pfalz D.XII
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3. Revell Triplane and Veeday Pfalz D.XII and ESCI Fok. D.VII
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3. Alb. D.Va fuselage
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    1/72 scale diorama done in 1982-3. ESCI Fokker D.VII.
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About the Author

About Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash)

I was building Off topic jet age kits at the age of 7. I remember building my first WWI kit way back in 1964-5 at the age of 8-9. Hundreds of 1/72 scale Revell and Airfix kits later my eyes started to change and I wanted to do more detail. With the advent of DML / Dragon and Eduard I sold off my ...


Absolutely amazing! Imagine stumble across a forgotten place like that in the middle of nowhere in real life, with some WWI fighters.....WOW! Fantastic! SmileyCentral.com SmileyCentral.com
JUL 05, 2007 - 10:34 PM
Yet another amazing build from mr. Lawson. It really works well on my imagination! Cheers, Nico
JUL 05, 2007 - 11:20 PM
Greetings all; My sincere thanks for your kind words. It is not my best work but we all started somewhere. Like Shep Paine says we should be doing it better as we go. If it inspires someone else thats good enough. If someone looks at my old diorama and says " I can do better than that !" Then may be they will. We should help and inspire one another. None of us would be where we are if someone didn't share their experiences. Like I said in the text. I see lots of things I would do differently today. On to the next build. Model On!
JUL 07, 2007 - 03:36 PM
Nice job Stephen, not only well executed, but extremely creative.
JUL 07, 2007 - 11:12 PM
wow! thats a nice dio stephen, it really captures the look of a place abandoned for years. is it based on a true story?
JUL 08, 2007 - 12:44 AM
Thanks Dave and Phil! As for the story line. . .it was revealed to me in a dream.
JUL 08, 2007 - 06:37 AM