Ive posted a set of diorama pictures on Braille Scale and it was suggested that I put them on this panel as well. Apologies if this is a something you have already seen.
Ive been working on a set of three large dioramas depicting 'Jimmy Mapham's D-Day'. Sgt Mapham was an AFPU photographer who was embedded with 13/18th Hussars during Operation Overlord. Original photographs are now housed at the Imperial War Museum. The first diorama is based on the pictures taken in Shoreham on either 4th or 5th June 1944; the second shows the scene on the beach at about 10am on 6th June, approximately when he landed; and the third scene shows the junction at Hermanville-la-Breche, the first lateral road off the beach an hour or so later. This article mainly deals with the third scene, as that is furthest developed.
Mapham's pictures give an excellent narrative of D-Day. They are perfect for model makers because he tends to take a bunch of pictures in a single spot before moving on to the next.
It needs a lot more dirtying up and I'm working my way through the figures in the photographs, adding them to my figure range as I go. If you look at the illustrations for the figure sets on my websitehttp://www.dantaylormodelworks.com/british-army-36-c.asp
you can probably work out where they are meant to be placed. The buildings are (with minor alteration) still there and so I was able to fully survey the site and create plans of each of them. I have somewhat over produced the vehicles so that all of the ones depicted in the photographs are available in order that I can choose the precise moment at a later stage.
The vehicles and markings can be seen on my website here:http://www.dantaylormodelworks.com/vehicles-12-c.asp
Though there is still some work to do, you can get a pretty good idea of the scope of the model from this aerial view:
The Making of Hermanville-la-Breche
I'm fortunate to visit Normandy fairly regularly and have made two stops to survey the site and measure the buildings. The picture below shows the building just right of centre at the bottom of the aerial photograph in the post above. It shows how I'm making up the fret work for the veranda across the front but it gives an idea of the starting point. Although the actual buildings are still there, a number of minor changes have been made like window frames and other architectural bits so the plans had to be adapted for the correct period.
This is a brass etch fret I made up of the window frames. This method has the big advantage that everything can be painted before attaching to the model. It contains windows, doors, shutters and some wrought iron window railings. The keen eyed among you might also spot two engine decks suitable for M10 TDs. Another story.
This is the basic build of the ornate building in the north-east corner of the diorama. The shell is made up of 40-thou plasticard and then detailing layers of textured plasticard added. The coloured card is mainly brickwork with a stone wall for the garden surround. Notice that the floors have large holes in the middle so that I could place the windows from the inside and add some interior detailing after that. This meant that I could spray paint the exterior without having to mask:
This pictures were taken after the base level of paint had been finished, before weathering. Each wall panel was pre-shaded a little to make them more interesting to look at. One thing I've done here is the textured surface for the large wall panels. After the base coat was applied and cured, I masked the narrow surrounds and stippled the surface with a PVA/plaster mix. This was airbrushed and the masks removed.
To paint the bricks you need a steady hand and lots of time. As they are textured, if you get the right angle with a smallish (No.00) brush, you can get into a rhythm where it doesn't seem too hard or boring. Even then I did it over about a week of small sessions whilst waiting for other jobs to dry or before the school run. I had three slightly different coloured tins of enamel paint on a palette and so could vary the specific shade of brick. Notice also that I've added some varied tones to the stonework to make it look a little more natural too.
My background is in architectural modelmaking with some film work thrown in. The first has advantages when making structures, the second has taught me to create colour charts to give character to the scene and give it the correct 'aged' feel.
Another useful feature of surveying the buildings is that it was possible to identify where repairs had been carried out on the stonework. This suggested where they were damaged during the war. Notice the broken stonework near the chimney above the bay window. You may also notice the way the building has a foundation which projects below the line of the bottom of the walls. My base is made up of loft insulation foam board (great for cutting and sanding to shape) which, after appropriate contouring, has the shape of the buildings cut into it so that they sit in the landscape.
On the picture showing the rear of the building you can see that I have begun to install the etched windows. Hopefully you can also see the broken glass?
The weathering is essentially what I would do with a tank. Discreet amounts of well thinned oil paint: browns and blacks. It is easier to add than take away so I tend to build it up in layers
Though the Hermanville diorama is the furthest developed, the first is coming along fairly well too. It depicts two landing craft of 41 LCT Flotilla as they are being are loaded with 13/18 Hussars and various units of 3 Inf Div. When I built the LCT4 for Accurate Armour about ten years ago this scene was the intended conclusion:
This is just a basic layout and requires a lot of work to finish the sea, the hard and the myriad figures. There's going to be a jetty running out between the two craft and a number more vehicles in LCT 789. You can probably tell, it is a labour of love.
The plan is to have the three dioramas completed next year so that they can be displayed for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.
Thanks for taking a look