Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XV - 1/35th is it!

I started building the Renault UE from Mirage. I think this 1/35th scale version is just about right. While it is not the greatest plastic kit I have built, its not bad either. Its going to take a little corrective work in a couple of spots but I'm basically going to get it to the point of gluing on the tracks and then try to correct. The only thing missing is this version does not have the trailer. I think I have another kit on the way though that should have one. If it comes down to it I could probably use the 1/48th Gaso.Line trailer.

Here is the build so far along with a couple of scale shots at the bottom with one of the Sledgehammer crew.

The MadBob 1/56th scale Renault with the Sledgehammer crewman

The Mirage Hobby 1/35th scale Renault with the same crewman. I think this one hits the mark.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Early Christmas - USS Arizona

A very large packaged arrived this week containing my Christmas present from my wife. This is quite the departure for me and I imagine its going to be a very long build, but after visiting Hawaii this year this seemed quite appropriate.

I'll try and build it as it was the day of the attack, I'm sure there is plenty of reference photos out there. There is another whole kit of photo etched parts coming too, that will be a new experience. I know for sure that I won't be using the crew as supplied, they are not much more than blobs of plastic.

1/200th scale plastic goodness

The hull is about 36" long and 8" wide.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XIV - More Parts!

With a diorama this large, its helpful to break it up into a series of vignettes that lead towards the primary focus. In this case I'm envisioning the viewer taking in the whole piece, then focusing on different little scenes all of which will lead the eye back to the Sledgehammer. I found some resin rats and ravens on line through Tabletop-art out of Germany. Those arrived this week and I took a quick look and I'm very pleased with them. The rats I really could have gotten anywhere but the crows or ravens were the tough part. I'm quite pleased with these. I feel like I'm moving closer to realizing some of the ideas that are in my head.

Can't have trenches without rats!

A few crows/ravens should add some nice touches different areas.

A thank you card and another base that I doubt I will ever use!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XIII - Mirage Hobby Renault UE

I have moved up in scale one last time. I aquired a Mirage Hobby Renault for $8 on eBay this past week and it arrived on Saturday. I opened it up and it still looks to small for my intended purpose, and this version doesn't have the trailer but it does have the MG upgrade. So I'm going to go ahead and build this one up and then decide what to do from there. The Schneider CA1 is starting to look better and better at this point.

Here is a quick look at the kit. The box was definitely battered and bruised but I figured that was fine as long as the plastic sprues weren't damaged.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XII - Gaso.Line Renault UE

I did manage to find a 1/48th scale Chenillette Renault UE from Gaso.Line. It arrived during the holidays so I have only been able to take a cursory glance at it. This is another resin version of the vehicle and I'm a bit surprised at the sheer number of parts in the bag. At this point I'm just hoping that nothing is actually broken. I grabbed the 1/56th scale version from MadBob's just for a quick size comparison. The Gaso.Line kit one is certainly bigger (as expected) and has some very nice, and much finer, detail. It may well prove to still be to small.

I have already begun a search for a 1/35th scale version and there seems to be some good chooses including one from Tamiya. My other option is going with a 1/56th scale version of the WWI French Schneider CA1. It has a suitable boxy look with some 40Kish elements on it. I'll get this Gaso.Line kit cleaned up and assembled and decide after that, at least that is the plan right now.

Another small box had me concerned right from the start.

Then a zip locked bag full of resin parts. Certainly more than I was expecting.

The instruction sheet, at least its printed front and back with some English text.

MadBob's on the left, Gaso.Line on the right. Frighteningly similar in size although the Gaso.Line kit is obviously bigger.

The Gaso.Line trailer is both bigger (as expected) and much better detailed. Can't hold that against MadBob though. His stuff is meant specifically for gaming while Gaso.Line are models meant for display.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sledgehammer Project; Preparation Pt XI - First Mockup

Its been a really busy around here but I have managed to work on a mock up of the basic diorama during spare moments this week. This mockup serves a couple of different purposes. The first one is to make sure that I don't have to make to many masters for the various components of the trench system. From the looks of it I can get away with two wall sections (long and short) and two floor sections (straight and angled). I'll do two masters of each of the wall sections to include a bit of decoration and maybe a third type of floor piece (bridge like perhaps?). Overall I like how things are going together with the pieces. I still need to do the caps for the top of the wall, which will make them look more trench like and some kind of firing step as well.

Before I start any construction on the masters I'll snap together the Sledgehammer and see how it fits in the position and adjust things accordingly. I have also decided that the French tractor from MadBob Miniatures is just to small. I found a 1/48th scale version of it and I'm hoping that will arrive shortly and that it will be a better fit, otherwise it will be back to the drawing board for that and I may just drop it from the scene altogether. There are a couple of other possibilities out there but they may be big enough to dominate the scene and I don't want that. Finding the right vehicle will allow me to get a much better idea of how big the base for the diorama will need to be. In concept its the largest diorama I have worked on and I'm struggling with some aspects of it. There will have to be enough vignettes to keep the viewer engaged and yet not distract from the Sledgehammer itself.

It starts here with scribbles in my little black sketch book. Here are the initial thoughts

How do I deal with corners? Here is the first attempt, far to complicated and to many masters to build.

This is better, keep it simple

Lets layout the concept on graph paper and see how it might go together. This is the outline, but I would like a little more detail.

Adding in the "tread" basically a square mesh turned 45 degrees to add interest.

Inking it in.

Adding the walls at the bottom of the sheet.

Cut out the walls, I added tabs to each end to help put things together.

And the result.

I think this looks pretty good, the walls will have more detail built into them to add further visual interest. Things like the tower emblem from the sketchbook and nut/bolt/washer castings in the corners and along the sides.