Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Recommended Posts

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

 

49063340538_ab8f8e5e27.jpgI

 

49063340773_b76bc3a591.jpg

 

49063340628_2335a17577.jpg

 

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.

Edited by Vox Repeater
Spelling, what else?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mr Repeater,

Welcome back to the hobby, to BM and the best bit of it, the Dark Side Dioramas Forum.

 

First off, I hope you've bought yourself a good airbrush. They can be a bit of a dent in the pocket money, but a good one will last you a life-time and do everything you ask of it. I once had an awful one (2nd hand, years in a cupboard with paint still in the cup - well, solidified magma in the cup, more like) It ended up no better than a rattle can.

 

Secondly, you've made a wise choice in the Churchill. It's an oldie, but the kit goes together easily and well, and all of the figures are well posed, and better proportioned than some Tamiya tank crews. The farmer, hand cart, milk churns and bottles of wine are a great bonus as well and so the Churchill kit is a no-brainer for a diorama.

 

Funnily enough this kit was my 2nd to be completed after my 35yr break from the hobby and whilst it and the diorama no longer exist, there's a WIP and RFI in this section somewhere if you want some ideas. (I think it's called 'Somewhere in France' if you want to do a search) I say that the Churchill and diorama no longer exist because as is my habit, as I improve I tend to look back at older projects and think they are awful, and so I break them up for spares etc. BUT, I did purchase the same kit again, and it resides in my stash. As does the MiniArt French Resistance kit as it happens! Whether the two get paired up, or not, is another matter.

So, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

 

My advice to you is to not be afraid to ask for advice and to do the very best you can.  You don't want to be looking at your finished dio in a year or so and decide to bin it, as I do with mine!

 

Rearguards,

Badder

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Badder

Of course before I registered on BM, I spent a lot of time lurking going through threads so I am aware that your wise words come from experience so thanks for them and the encouragement.

On 11/15/2019 at 5:04 AM, Badder said:

First off, I hope you've bought yourself a good airbrush.

Well no but..... as with all things its a long story (and tangential to the dio but hey). I am big enough and experienced enough in life to know you get what you pay for. What I have gone for is an a 110 euro compressor and airbrush combo from Amazon. What I was more interested in was the compressor - it had to have an air tank, a regulator and a moisture trap. The fact that the two possibly el crapo air brush come with it is almost incidental. I know already that they will be what they are. What I didn't add was that in my modelling tool collection from my past is a Badger 200 NH. I purchased this about 20 years ago, used it once with an air can and went (unsurprisingly) "well I can't use that". I found it the other day and it needs a good clean. However its an alright airbrush so I am not going to be basing my learning curve exclusively on the two brushes with the deal.

 

And on the subject of those. As you may be able to tell from my avatar picture and my user name, I guitar. If there was ever a group of people who will tell you your gear is important then it is guitarists, perhaps to the point of obsession. There is a large German music retailer who sell their own line of guitars. They are look alikes but have a price tag which is much, much lower than the "real thing". Thing is they are made in the same factories that Fender and Gibson use in China and Indonesia to make their instruments. Are they as the same thing? Of course not. However they are pretty good for what they cost. A case in point, I have a friend who makes his living playing bass guitar. I have a very cheap bass from this company that I paid less than 80 euros for, to put that in context a cheap Fender version would be 300-400 euros and a high end one, well name your price. My friend picked it up and played it and after about a minute said "you paid how much for this?". He was so impressed with it he went a got one himself to use on stage at wedding gigs.

 

My point is that yes, they maybe cheap but it doesn't mean that they are going to be unusable. I have done my research and I know what the drawbacks of cheap airbrushes are - the needles aren't the best and the O rings perish as soon as you look at them. I am going into this with my eyes open and will at some point be getting myself a better airbrush.

 

Anyway back to the actual dio......

 

 

 

 

Edited by Vox Repeater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first box has turned up and its the Village Street. Vac formed kits are not something I have ever had any experience of but looking at the parts and instructions (and having watched a few builds on YouTube), its nothing that looks too scary. But of course there is a but!

 

There are a couple of issues that I can see straight away, nothing major but stuff. The first is the production pips and holes. Nothing serious but what looks like a couple of hours work to remedy by scraping, filling and sanding. The other is actually two linked issues - the floppiness of the bases and the join between the two bases.

 

There is no way the bases can be used with some form of support in the void underneath them. Having looked online, there seems to be a few ways around this – fill it with resin or plaster appear to be popular but I don’t fancy either of these. The other popular way appears to be using 6mm MDF, which is what I think I will do. This will also mean that I can build a frame too to lift it off the floor as it were. The bases have a lip thus

 

49068538128_4d92e0ec39.jpgBase lips 

 

Now if I use MDF as a base, I can see two ways of doing it. The first is to take the lip off at the edges where the bases abut, cutting the MDF to fit inside the rest of the lip. The other is to take all the lips off and glue the two halves flat onto the board. The joining of the bases is something that I have thought about not doing and just building them as two different dios. The more I thought about that idea, the more it felt like a cop out. The models I have got to do this with have become a scene in my head.

 

The second option is a bit more work. I think that this will also assist with the join between the two bases. However I do it there is going to be a bit between the two bases that is going to need filling. I think if I take the lips off and glue the bases flat to MDF, it will minimise the join as far as I possibly can. The only problem I can see with this is the actual flat gluable area is the part where the buildings are placed, which isn’t that great an area. I suppose a way round this is to use some sort of thick, almost space filling glue. I suppose this also gives option 1 more credence as the lips can be used to glue to the sides of the MDF.

 

Suggestions and opinions gratefully received.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mr Repeater,

I've had a fair bit of experience with MiniArt buildings, but not roads. However, the same techniques apply with both. If I may make a suggestion with filling the void under the road? Forget plaster of paris etc and use blocks of balsa wood (or similar) as pier supports, just as the romans held up their hypocaust flooring with piers of bricks (for underfloor heating) Then fill the remaining voids with scrunched-up newspaper. You can then soak the newspaper with PVA and set it fairly solid. I must confess I usually douse my 'newspaper' with thin CA, making a more solid stuffing, but some would say that's an expensive option!

 

Rearguards,

Badder

 

ps. When I say 'balsa wood' and 'pier supports' and 'newspaper', I am of course being over-specific. Any cheap wood would do, making the piers from blocks of matchsticks for example whilst the piers themselves could be more like internal walls,  and the newspaper could be layers of corrugated cardboard etc.

Edited by Badder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that was a throughly tedious exercise but one that I won't have to do again

 

49092003553_a3d2685c5a.jpg

 

 

Apologies for the glare, not really sure where it came from. Anyway, that is all the pieces cut out. Thankfully I didn't do too much obvious damage in the cutting process. There is one bit on the arch of the park wall but its sortable. The next stage is to sand all of those edges.

 

Edited by Vox Repeater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll share my Miniart building technique.  From the stage you have reached I cut the lip of outside face pieces then glue the off cuts inside the lips of the rear face pieces to increase bonding surface.  Once there are dry I file the lips flat then glue the outer and inner faces together.  One bonus it makes the walls much prototypically narrower.  

 

Here's one of my buildings built using this technique - two of their workshops joined together.  I have raised the height of the left hand doorway to make it high enough for vehicles to pass through hence the filler.

 

 41163066054_07b169fd15_k.jpgIMG_0756 by tankienz, on Flickr

Edited by dcrfan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Little progress has been made on the actual dio part however I have now started all the other elements and am recording them all in the relevant WIP areas

 

 

 

 

 

One small piece of progress is that I have made a decision with regard the bases and how to support them. As I had some off cuts of 6mm MDF lying around I have gone with this option. I have cut the two ends away and cut the MDF to size. However when I went to put them together, I found out that I don't have any glue that will stick the plastic to MDF! So I now need to find an adhesive that will do this without destroying the plastic in the process. Is a hot glue gun going to  be too much for the plastic?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Vox Repeater said:

Is a hot glue gun going to  be too much for the plastic?

If in doubt you can always try it out on an off cut/piece of scrap from cutting out from the backing pieces

 

   Roger 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 2004, I received an early portable MP3 player as a leaving present from my co-workers when I left a job. The whole idea of carrying your music around as electronic files was new and still a bit niche. I took my new toy home and in the company of some programer friends, we set about putting files on the device. We chose the files and pressed transfer. The window on the screen said it was going to take 10 minutes to move the files from the computer to the device. "10 minutes!" I bemoaned, "why so long - they are not real, its just ones and naughts, it should be instantaneous". My friends laughed and explained that these ones and naughts still need to go through a process of going down a bit of cable from one device to the other.

 

You may wonder why I am telling this seemingly unrelated tale. Well, its illustrative of my trait of impatience with things that should be given more time. Things like glue. Last night I went armed with my glue gun to see if I could sort out adhering the base to the MDF. I went to pick up the base that I had unsuccessfully tried to glue and it wouldn't move. Apparently all the very thin CA that I was using needed was patience and just needed a bit more time to work. However as you will see from the photos, it has caused its own secondary problem

 

49126076978_e21f2b6599.jpgDio 1 by nomisd2002, on Flickr

 

 

49126758997_c73306e373.jpgDio 2 by nomisd2002, on Flickr

 

As I walked away from it thinking that it hadn't worked, I left it with a gap from the middle onwards. Some of it has been filled but the gap at the back (ie the top of the first photo) is a bit too wide to fill with model filler. Das or Milliput would work but I have neither. However its on a bit of earth so the plan is to use a bit of ground work texture paint. I was going to try and build it without such stuff and just use the moulded detail. However needs must. There is also the possibility to use other types of ground cover - static grass, weeds etc etc - to hide it. I am sure it will become obvious once I get to it.

 

Finally a shot of the first placement of the elements to see if they work how I pictured them in my head. I think they do.

 

49126571611_4e2149d312.jpgDio 3 by nomisd2002, on Flickr

 

Edited by Vox Repeater
I don't seem to be able to write a message that doesn't need editing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It occurs to me that whilst I have said what I am building, a reference as to what it is may not be a bad idea. So here is the box art from MiniArt's web site

 

36029.jpg

 

I have started on the buildings, with the house on the left being the first. I went for this first as it has three walls so is the most complicated bit. For once I have RTFM. I have watched a few YouTube vids of people putting these MiniArt buildings together and almost universally they all seem to do it the same way, which is to take the two halves of a wall and glue them together. They then take two walls and glue them together. And almost to a person they get to the gluing the two finished walls and go "I suddenly found out that there was a piece on the edge of the wall that needed taking off so it would fit into the other wall". The other fairly universal thing that everyone does is using waste plastic put fillets around the window and door openings to mate the two halves of the wall as they have trouble getting them to stay together.

 

I then watched the video that MiniArt have made of putting one of their building kits together and thats not how they do it. Indeed thats not how the instruction tell you how to do it. What they call for is to put the walls together by side (lets call them the front and back for ease of reference). So you glue the back walls together, remembering to take the piece of plastic on the end off so you create a a joint (that probably makes no sense at all!!). 

 

So after sanding the cut edges to try and get them somewhere near flat and lots of dry fitting, after two sessions I ended up with this

 

49135941268_09a050e026.jpgHouse 1 by nomisd2002, on Flickr

 

There is still one wall left to go on the back (the one nearest the camera) but I am happy with how it has turned out. There are problems - for example

 

49135941168_5fd1b35365.jpgHouse 2 by nomisd2002, on Flickr

 

This is the meeting of three sheets at the top (above the taped edge). I am sure that if I did it again I would be more careful about cutting the various angles to get a better fit. There is also what seems to be the common complaint about these kits - the seems and the way that they need a lot of work and I am not sure its even possible to get them looking good. However I avoided having to fillet the windows and I got all the bits to stick to each other eventually. I am particularly pleased with how the join with tape on i has turned out. I was a bit worried about this as it was essentially very flappy (for want of a better word) and was the last seam I glued.  However slowly going up the seam and doing it in small parts and then taping it has worked. I have learned a lot for when I start the church at the other end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mr Repeater,

It's all looking very promising. You've skipped along further than I had anticipated so I'm afraid the following tip will be of no use to you, but it may be to others following this thread.

 

When I remove MiniArt walls etc from their 'sheet' I don't actually cut them. I flip the 'sheet' over so that the undetailed side is facing upwards, then I take a scalpel and, holding it at 45 degrees scrape along the edges of the object to be removed. This thins the plastic along the very edge of the object and by scraping all the way around it can be 'popped' out, or, with further scraping will drop out. This process is surprisingly quick and whilst it may seem impresice, it's actually extremely accurate and no further trimming or tidying up is required.  I use the same techniqe to remove the 'lips' or rims off of objects.

 

I actually had a race with someone who also had a MiniArt building and timed how long it took each of us to remove a small section of wall. My 'opponent' used a scalpel to CUT around the wall on the detailed side. I won, removing my section in 6 seconds.

 

j9XP70E.jpg

 

Xg4zdsn.jpg

 

And I can assure you that no further work was required to tidy up the broken slope at the  end of the wall.

Lni96oQ.jpg

 

 

You are correct about the 'seams' on MiniArt buildings I improve and strengthen mine by CA'ing coffee stirring sticks along the inside of the 'lips' and create 'lap joints', increasing the gluing surfaces massively.. I also have an issue about their doorways and their floor/ceiling levels which are all WAY too high. Half the fun with MiniArt buildings is solving these problems. It looks like you're coping  well and whilst you might find it frustrating you will look back on it and realise that you WERE having fun!

 

Rearguards,

Badder

 

 

 

Edited by Badder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Badder said:

When I remove MiniArt walls etc from their 'sheet' I don't actually cut them. I flip the 'sheet' over so that the undetailed side is facing upwards, then I take a scalpel and, holding it at 45 degrees scrape along the edges of the object to be removed. This thins the plastic along the very edge of the object and by scraping all the way around it can be 'popped' out, or, with further scraping will drop out. This process is surprisingly quick and whilst it may seem impresice, it's actually extremely accurate and no further trimming or tidying up is required.  I use the same techniqe to remove the 'lips' or rims off of objects.

Do you know what - this would have been a lot quicker and a lot tidier! I am finding the Mini Art kit something of a curates egg. It has a lot of very good points but, but. I think their main negative point for me is the edges and the joins. I think that you technique would go a long way to negating the problems with these as it would give you a nice clean edge to start with. I think there is also an inherent problem with the edges and joining them together in that they are too "thick". Overall they are nice buildings though.

 

However the more I go through this build, the more I think I know where I want to go with my next project. I have decided that what I really want to try is actually building a structure with yer actual bricks, stone blocks and slates of the cast your own from a mould variety. I have already started scheming and planning this....

Edited by Vox Repeater

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Vox Repeater said:

However the more I go through this build, the more I think I know where I want to go with my next project. I have decided that what I really want to try is actually building a structure with yer actual bricks, stone blocks and slates of the cast your own from a mould variety. I have already started scheming and planning this....

Edited 17 minutes ago by Vox Repeater

Well, after finding all of the same issues with my first two MiniArt buildings I came up with the exact same idea: to make latex moulds of all of the walls and then cast them in plaster. That way I could make solid full thickness walls which I could do with as I please. I don't know if you've seen either of my WIPs Ever Evolvin' dio, or Pit Stop, but in the first I took a MiniArt Ardenne's Farm Building and built an entire rear half for it using just that method, and in the Pit Stop Dio I took their Village House consisting of one gable end wall and have built a 2 storey 6 roomed farm building.

 

I now have a 'library' of latex moulds taken from both kits and I am always on the look out for MiniArt buildings that might proove useful as patterns for moulding. I have a Polish Town Building in my stash which I will never construct, but it will provide a pattern for a street scene diorama - IF I live long enough to finish my other projects first!

 

I haven't seen many other WIPs with MiniArt buildings, so it is great to see someone have issues as I did and overcome them... and it's also great to see you've come up with the same idea with the moulds. I look forward to seeing this project progressing though.

 

Rearguards,

Badder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...