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Bear with this post – its my background philosophy and a stake in the ground to myself… For many years I have tried and more or less failed to model railways. I say failed as in all the years that I have been trying, I have yet to finish a working layout. Now its not like I haven’t nearly got there but I have never actually got there. I have worked in various scale 1/76, 1/87 and 1/43. The problem with model railways is that, for me, there is too much that you have to get right for it to work. The track has to be flat, the wiring has to be right, the points have to change, the rolling stock has to uncouple and couple. Want to build a loco that only exists as a kit? Can you solder brass? No, ahh bad luck. And on and on. However the bit I have always enjoyed is the making of plastic kits. Over the years I have done loads – buildings, wagons, road vehicles. Its always been the thing that I gained the most satisfaction from; getting to the end of a build, painting it, putting a bit of weathering on and looking at it and saying to yourself “yep, that’s a good one”. I have even tried my hand at a bit of scratch building, especially on my last aborted layout when I did these I But at the end of the day, I have always walked away frustrated. For some reason unknown to me a few months ago, the YouTube algorithm started popping suggestions for videos about diorama building in. I started watching them and seeds began to be scattered and took root. Especially as something that had always bothered me about my model making was my painting. For a long time, I have been thinking about getting an airbrush to improve my painting. Now if I was going to get an airbrush, I would need something to paint with it. I then undertook a very long and detailed search on what that would be. I had decided that I was going to go back to my childhood and do something military. I like many people my age, I spent weekends and school holidays building Airfix kits. I think I built all the 1/72 scale WW2 vehicles and planes (and even the Tamyia pink SAS jeep). Hardly surprising – my grandfathers and all their friends were of an age where they had participated in WW2, I spent Sunday afternoons watching black and white images of Kenneth More and Trevor Howard et al on TV endlessly relive the actions of that war, I read Warlord and Commando comics. As I got older I took more of an academic interest in WW2, becoming a voracious reader of books on the subject. I visited sites all over France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany where engagements occurred. Just over 5 years ago we moved to France and purchased a house about 10kms from where the American 6th Armored Division pushed through in early August 1944 in the left hand side of Operation Cobra (Brittany if you are still confused). Whilst we were renovating our house we came over a couple of tantalising details – a 1930s German typewriter and a 1943 pro German newspaper embedded in the wall of an extension that obviously dated to then. Our village has a memorial to seven resistance men who were killed during an operation and appears quite extensively in this history of a Jedburgh team and its operation (why this account hasn’t been turned into a film is beyond me). So when deciding what I was going to make, all of this had a bearing on my decision of what to build. I also wanted to put it in some context so it needed to be in a diorama. But did I really want to infuriate myself by starting that from scratch? Probably not. Something else that I had to wrestle with was build out of the box or go after market details? In the end I have decided for this first attempt, go out of the box – after market details will come the next time. So what to chose? As anyone who knows anything about the popular kits available, the title of my project probably gives away what tank I have gone for – the Tamyia 1/35 Churchill Mk IV with the crew and farmer with cart. Once I saw them I couldn’t really not get the Master Box French resistance figure set. I thought that this needed something to complement the German officer in the set so I have also got a Tamyia Simca 5. And to put them all in context? As this whole exercise is a two pronged one – to ease back into model making and to learn how to use my air brush, I decided that a kit diorama is probably the easiest way of achieving these two aims. I do want to build a diorama from the ground up but next time. For this effort I have decided to go with the Miniart Village Street. Big and there is a lot to build there but its not a 18ft by 2ft6in area (like my last model railway)! I am also in luck in that Mrs Repeater is something of a craft person herself and has expressed an interest in painting the figures and who am I to refuse? All of the above has been ordered (along with an airbrush and compressor, paints and other miscellaneous bits and pieces) and has started arriving at the door. Lets see how it goes from here.