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It's a working title.

With the ISU 152 nearing completion, just some minor additions and finishing off the figure. I started thinking about doing a simple diorama for the model. I didn't initially intend to do so, but a discussion with a few people at my LHS convinced me otherwise. The usual trawl through the photo collection searching for inspiration and accuracy. I came across a photo that was taken in the outskirts of Berlin in 1937 that I liked. A simple street with a mixture of concrete road section, cobble stone drainage and from what I can tell, concrete slab sidewalk paving stones, no tram lines.

Base is 300x300x9 MDF with a balsa strip side.

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Marking everything out next.

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I look forward to following your progress. Judging by what you've done so far (which is neat and tidy) I suspect yours will be a good build with many useful tips.

i returned to modelling last year, after a 35yr absence, and my first diorama was a street scene. (Viller Bocage) and I can tell you that urban scenes are definitely the hardest to depict. With a rural scene: grass, bushes, trees, mud, tracks, streams etc, things can be a bit more relaxed, random and lacking in uniformity. With urban scenes, one has to worry about scale; the height of buildings, their sub-divisions into floors, roofs, the size and spacing of windows, doors, and brickwork etc and how the buildings fit in with others on the street.

There are some good kit buildings out there, but also some bad ones. I scratch built my dio, but I though it was worth the effort at the time. However, after a year of model-making I now look back at it and think I could have done better, so I will be improving it in the future.

Good luck with yours. And I hope you give us plenty of details and pics on the 'how I did it' front.

Rearguards,

Badder

Edited by Badder

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This looks right up my street, I've go a similar project in the offing but I've coped out of scratch building the building. I've gone with a mini art kit and going to add rubble and general battle damage.

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Excellent choice for a diorama! I've started an ISU-152 build, and I stated in my initial post that my image of the defeat of Nazi Germany is an ISU-152 rumbling through the ruins of Berlin. This should be interesting.

Regards,

Jason

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Thanks for the interest guys.

Badder: I will definitely be trying to make this as detailed a project as I can.

Ozzy: I did look at several different companies and their respective building offerings, and none of them really suited what I wanted. So, making my own building is my only option.

Learstang: For my ISU152 and its crew, their fight against the Germans is over.

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Marking and scribing and a little detailing for good measure.

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Footpath pretty much done. Now for the fun part, not. The mistake I have made (thus far) is the drainage ditch is concave, with cobbles angling down to the edges. In my infinite genius (cough..hardly..cough) I cast it as part of the road. So, I have been thinking on how to go about fixing this: A I can try to chisel out the section and sand/fill and smooth until the desired shape is achieved or B cut the section out completely, and just pour in new plaster and shape whilst it is setting. Plan B I think will be the easiest option.

Edited by Crayons

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Nice cobbling there mate.

(I'd have said cobblers but it just didn't sound right)

Can't say I've ever poured a street. I have done something similar with gypsum board however.

(dunno what you lot call it over there)

Soak one side and peel off the cardboard and carve away!

Useful stuff.

Bye the bye, It looks brill so far. :popcorn:

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That scribing looks really effective, can't wait to see your building.

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Nice cobbling there mate.

(I'd have said cobblers but it just didn't sound right)

Can't say I've ever poured a street. I have done something similar with gypsum board however.

(dunno what you lot call it over there)

Soak one side and peel off the cardboard and carve away!

Useful stuff.

Bye the bye, It looks brill so far. :popcorn:

I know the stuff you are referring to. Fibre reinforced plasterboard commonly used for ceilings and interior walls in single leaf housing.. I have been contemplating using it instead of casting slabs of plaster. Would scale out producing a wall with a thickness of 350mm.

Cut the slot for the drainage, ended up looking like father christmas (minus the belly) from the clouds of fine plaster dust. Photos to follow.

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DSC_7692_zpsutsg2czk.jpgDSC_7693_zpsyk4plk4o.jpg

How exciting....drainage.

Still undecided about whether to cast the buildings or go for the plasterboard option. I am leaning towards the casting idea.

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So.....casting the slabs it is.

Balsa wood test mould. I was going to use styrene sheet, but that will produce a perfectly flat featureless finish on the plaster, meaning more work for me when it comes to adding surface texture. The balsa SHOULD give me a good textured surface to work with. I have tried casting something similar to this in the past using styrene and it failed terribly. A combination of the plaster not filling the mould properly and the heat from the curing process ended up distorting the styrene. Hopefully the balsa will not suffer the same issues.

IF this works, the resulting wall at 1:1 will be 9800mm at the highest peak of the roof with a wall thickness of 227mm. Looking at several different street photos to try and gauge roof pitch, I settled on a 30° pitch angle after realising that not one roof had the same pitch. The wall thickness is probably a little on the narrow side, but given the varying range of construction methods and the periods over which these houses were built, it should work out okay. It isn't much under what we build here which is 110/50/90 in the case of a double leaf wall.

My solution to making sure the plaster fills out the mould properly is going to be a small funnel (SWMBO must never find out) with a plastic drinking straw attached to the end and a very watery plaster mix. This should allow me to pour the plaster directly into the mould base without it hanging on the sides. My only concern is the shrink rate of the plaster using such mix.

DSC_7696_zps5sdlvi6f.jpg

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re the funnel - if she finds out, she finds out. It's plaster, not strychnine.

And if all else fails, you can buy her a new set of funnels. Or flowers. Or both, depending on her annoyance level. :)

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Rob, much to my shock and surprise, she passed me the funnel without so much as a frown of annoyance.

The casting went well. The test mould survived the experience, so I made another two in the wall configuration I need. One thing I have done is to increase the wall thickness, 1:1 scale is now 315mm. Surface finishes to think about next as well as door and window layouts.

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Thought I would put it all together (progress thus far) just to get a sense of how it is going to look. Had to put it inside the cavernous depths of my spray booth as the desk is a bit cluttered at the moment.

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The more I think on it, I am starting not to like the idea of the concrete surface for the road. Suggestions on something else? Cobble the entire thing? For the building, rendered brick with the vast majority of the render broken away.

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Nice casting, could you not do it as if it was a Tarmac surface? Or you could have rubble on the street, then you could cobble a smaller area? Your idea for the building sounds good.

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Tinkering with ideas for surrounds for the windows, traditional stone framing with a slight deco detail. Made from 1mm styrene sheet and then textured after it has been cut to shape. Still needs a little clean up.

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Great job so far. Loving the cobbles, curb, drainage and pavement.

I myself, wouldn't have gone for casting the walls in plaster... mainly because I'd fear their fragility. I opt for the styrene sheet (2 thick sheets glued back to back) I carve the brickwork directly into the sheet wherever I want it exposed. I scrape back individual bricks with a scalpel to add variation. For the render, I simply PVA fine grade sandpaper to the sheet and trim it to fit the exposed brickwork. A bit of work with a scalpel will create cracks in the render, and tiny off-cuts can be added to the rubble pile below.

Rearguards,

Badder.

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Great job so far. Loving the cobbles, curb, drainage and pavement.

I myself, wouldn't have gone for casting the walls in plaster... mainly because I'd fear their fragility. I opt for the styrene sheet (2 thick sheets glued back to back) I carve the brickwork directly into the sheet wherever I want it exposed. I scrape back individual bricks with a scalpel to add variation. For the render, I simply PVA fine grade sandpaper to the sheet and trim it to fit the exposed brickwork. A bit of work with a scalpel will create cracks in the render, and tiny off-cuts can be added to the rubble pile below.

Rearguards,

Badder.

I hadn't even considered that approach. Something for me to think on for the future. What I forget to mention is that sandwiched between the layers of plaster is a sheet of fibreglass mesh, similar to flywire and two brass rods.

Nice work, lots of detail for a road!

The devil is in the details.

Finished all the window surrounds off, four in total with two additional pieces as sections of windows. Next, the exterior floor demarcation details.

I had initially planned to do this as a three storey building, but after a conversation with one of my colleagues at work about the fact I wasn't happy with the floor and ceiling heights in that configuration, he suggested do a large two storey with a semi sunken basement. I was dubious about the idea, but after looking through building photos of the time, it seems such buildings did in fact exist. Now just to figure out how to incorporate into the existing works.

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I hadn't even considered that approach. Something for me to think on for the future. What I forget to mention is that sandwiched between the layers of plaster is a sheet of fibreglass mesh, similar to flywire and two brass rods.

The devil is in the details.

Finished all the window surrounds off, four in total with two additional pieces as sections of windows. Next, the exterior floor demarcation details.

I had initially planned to do this as a three storey building, but after a conversation with one of my colleagues at work about the fact I wasn't happy with the floor and ceiling heights in that configuration, he suggested do a large two storey with a semi sunken basement. I was dubious about the idea, but after looking through building photos of the time, it seems such buildings did in fact exist. Now just to figure out how to incorporate into the existing works.

The fibreglass mesh is a good idea.

BTW, I made two 3 storey buildings in my dio 'Villers Bocage', using plasticard mainly. One had it's upper floor and roof mostly destroyed, while the other had a full roof. They weren't too big for the dio. When you have a Tiger tank next to them, they actually look rather small! Having said all that, I have since removed the fully roofed building and will be replacing it with a better one.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Rearguards,

Badder

Edited by Badder

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The fibreglass mesh is a good idea.

BTW, I made two 3 storey buildings in my dio 'Villers Bocage', using plasticard mainly. One had it's upper floor and roof mostly destroyed, while the other had a full roof. They weren't too big for the dio. When you have a Tiger tank next to them, they actually look rather small! Having said all that, I have since removed the fully roofed building and will be replacing it with a better one.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Rearguards,

Badder

I have only just seen your dio. Very nice composition and balance. If that is your first model in 35 years, I will definitely be keeping an eye your future builds. Nice addition of the boots on the power line, amusing little touch with a story I am sure. Question; what is the OAH over the Cafe Bleu building?

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Wall starting to take shape. The window and fascia details are just sitting in place for now, fascia details need to be cut to length. Windows need squaring off. Finish off the coursing for the brick work and run some cracks through the remaining render. Then move onto the next wall.

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Edit:

The fascia pieces are made from 0.5mm styrene sheet with a length of 1.5mm half round styrene glued in place.

Edited by Crayons

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Unfortunately, yesterday was not as productive as I had hoped. Mainly due to my father in law stopping by.......for the entire day. However, exterior face of one wall is now finished. Started working on the other wall.

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Progress shot of the other wall.

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I am thinking of making this a small government building, maybe a police station or similar. The exterior is starting to look more like the minor government buildings I have seen photo's of in Berlin. That being the case, I will start working scratching up a few furniture items, filing cabinets and the like. Will start casting up bricks tonight for the rubble, similar idea as the balsa mould for the walls.

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