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Saturday, September 26 2015

Probable layout

Nothing special in this layout of course. The focus will be on the rain..... hopefully

I added the handbag and made most chrome parts on the taxi.

Don't put to much emphasis on some details, It will be night and the umbrella will cast another shadow, so lighting of this all will be completely different. Even so much that I probably do not need to detail the wind-shield of the Taxi (meaning rain marks and wiper movement), it will stay in the dark anyway. All I really want from the Taxi is to show the Taxi light (it does) and provide the headlights as contrast to rain.

Now it will rest upon my return from vacation when I finally will start to make the case around the scene.

Thursday, September 17 2015


I started painting the figures. Civilian figures are very easy to paint as there are no rules to observe like for uniform painting. It just needs to look good. The umbrella was painted a linen colour. The original black, as I noticed during a test run, made he umbrella completely invisible in the box. I think that the umbrella in a original item, there was enough work and ideas involve to make it, so It should be part of the scene. Now the tough part will be to chose which side I will turn my couple. This


or this


Don't pay attention to the positioning on the ground. That will be arranged once my decision is taken. The lightning here comes from my work bench light. Later, in the dio, the main light will come from above, so that the upper parts of both bodies will be in the shadow from the umbrella. A light placed on the other side of the street will illuminate them a bit, but far less then now. Some of my sculpting errors (not so smooth surfaces) will be hidden also, luckily.

Tuesday, September 8 2015

It's not easy

Most work for this shadowbox has to be done, without having any idea how the final look will be. I hope it will be good, but I only will be sure when most of it is done.

The easiest part is the landscape. I spread a coat of Valleyo White Pumice over the plaster, let it dry and sand it down a bit, eliminating a bit of the coarse structure. It's then painted a True Grey (brand Aleen's) and washed Sepia oil colour.


The hill is covered with some vegetation. Nothing special and fancy needed here, most will be invisible or in the dark.

When I looked for some suitable wood for the tree, a trunk with a nice branch would have been best, I suddenly remembered a twisted wire tree made long long time ago, in fact, it was the first one I ever tried. I still had it somewhere. Well, it was perfect for now, I just snapped away every branch except the two lowest.


coated it with Magic Sculpt for the bark and added some fine branches with copper wire


Saturday, August 29 2015

Mock up

I have a cardboard box, bigger then my dio, but set on the table the inside remains dark nonetheless.


I put two 3V LED's as the cars frontlight and one near the street light and inside the globe who is coming with that one. The street light is operated with 16 V Led's. When I bought them I did not yet know how to handle all the LED stuff. I will try to solder a 3V LED in side the globe to be able to put my 3-4 lights on one single battery holder with two AA-Batteries (3V). The taxi lights will be dimmed down somewhat if placed behind the kit's headlight plastic clear plastic cover. I placed a 4th LED on this side of the road, invisible to the eye, playing the role of another street light, but more important so, giving some light to the couples faces who are normally in the dark because of he umbrella.

The black umbrella itself is nearly invisible, a pity because of the work involved and the plus it will give the whole thing. Therefore I will repaint it with some lighter colour, a beige or something. I figured that the black would be easier to make it a wet look, but priority is on the visibility. The park will be outfitted with a tree (the trunk only, a couple of hedges, perhaps a bench.

I have no idea if my order of work is ok for a shadowbox and if the result is any good. For the moment have no idea what I should change. Should I use a stronger street light? Anyway, this all stands or falls with my rain effects.

Friday, August 28 2015

Shipping costs

Yes, it's possible. Shipping costs can be reduced!

Because of a complete change of the price structure by our national post administration, I will be able to offer you reduced shipping costs.

As I want to pass on the savings to you, I will reduce the COMBO offer to 47€, starting on Sept.1.

Packages with one book will reflect the true costs, with savings between , 3.25 and 5.5 Euros!!

When before I had problems with the 1 kg limit for those small packages (my package weighted between 1.000 and 1.005 depending on the scale) I need to pay attention now on the length of the package. The limit for the length is now coming down from 60 to 34 cm ! Packed without attention my letters are about 34.5 cm long. Therefore you will see my Combo packages packed a bit tighter in the future to get under 34 cm.

Sunday, August 23 2015

Thinking, thinking and thinking before continuing

It's nearly 9-10 months since I last worked on the dio, so I needed to get "in " to it again.

Using the Taxi and the sculpted figure I checked the layout one more time.



With the help of some cardboard I made a few tests how the viewer is supposed to view the scene.

As I, regardless of Diorama Clervaux and the fact that indeed the cellars I build in that one are boxed dioramas on their own, I consider myself a newbie regarding stand alone shadow boxes. To unlock some of the mysteries I bought Ray Anderson's old FSM book about boxed dioramas and studied most of the dioramas featured on the excellent website I don't need to reinvent the wheel by myself, isn't it?

Combining all I saw and the tips I gathered, I decided to cut down the dio by 10 cm at the back and 7 cm on the left. The Taxi needs to be cut also then.

The long stairs and the park hill fulfilled not only my desire to make it a autumn park like scene, but also provided a natural horizon at the back with no need of an additional sky scene. (hence the trunk lying on the men's head to check the height) Lowering the couple by a few steps allows me not only to achieve the same but also allows the cutting of the whole back. I still need to see how lightning works and the effect on the couple's heads when the umbrella is going to hide the street lamp's light.

I must unfortunately admit that my park scene is getting less and less prominent. Here, I must remind myself what the main goal of this box will be to simulate convincingly rain, the nice park being only a backdrop.

I will cut the dio today and check again what it will look like.

Tuesday, August 11 2015

The first step is done

Well, I finally took my Raindio - Shadowbox project up from the cellar to my hobby room. I also cleaned up that room again. So, while I am not yet back into scale modelling, the first steps are done.

Sunday, July 26 2015

Mural Paint finished

I call this summer occupation done! This was my first ever painting experience, so , overall, I think it's not to bad
The wall has two sides of 3,20 meter plus a little bit around the corner to the window, so this is an overall 7 x 2,5 m paint! I defintely can't do anything normal :-) wall2sm.jpg



Now, hmm, I should probably take a look at my diorama again and try to restart that one.

The spanish translation of my book is done, the PDF is done, gets reread for the moment. Stay tuned, it will be out in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 1 2015

Spanish PDF nearly done

It's nearly done!

Pedro has finished translating everything a while ago.

A word here about his work. Pedro volunteered for this task. I knew after translating myself the book in German and French that it was a lot of work. Indeed, while I defintely had another motivation and of course as the writer knew exactly my train of thoughts, even could allow myself to change the text to make it better fit with images or the language, Pedro did not have this advantage. Painfully he needed to translate section by section, navigating through my partially mediocre english or alternatively through my attempts of humour or sarcasm. I think he propbly quickly regretted having volunteerd for it. Nonetheless, after more then a year, he made it through and for that I probably can't thank him enough any time.

There is one chance for the spanish speaking modeling community to thank Pedro for his work! I promised to compensate him for his hard work by ceding him a part of the income I get for this PDF book. There is only one chance to make that a correct amount. Please buy the PDF and please, don't share it for free!

So, during the last two weeks I put it all in the PDF, meaning I took the Print ready english language PDF and, using a software called Nitro, replaced the original text with the spanish one. Pedro is right now reading again over my work. Overall we had about 500 different text parts and between all that work, there are probably a couple of errors. As it will sell this PDF for money, I make sure that the quality is in there. What I can't influence are probable clashes between particularities of the spanish language used by Spaniards and the text in my book made by Pedro who is from Puerto Rico.

I need to find a solution for the web offering now. As I don't want to hassle with the potential download problems from the clients, I am going to outsource that part. I will probably use E-junkie if I can get the file under 50 MB and qualify for the lowest pricing plan. I do not expect a very big rush of sales, so I need to keep the fixed costs at a minimum. 10 % of the price will disappear for fees between Ejunkie and Paypal, but for the comfort of the customer and me, the price is probably worth it.

The making of the French and German PDF was useless as there is absolutely no interest in it! A couple only for the German version and Zero (nadda) for the French version. Please make that not to be the case for the Spanish version.

A little reshuffle of the front page is also needed to get this PDF correctly advertised, so give us 1-2 more weeks to get that out. Stay tuned for the first modeling book available in three languages! (Probably)

Thursday, June 18 2015

Nothing new

Nothing new here regarding scale modelling. Holiday was very good, now I need to get that mural paint finished. Well, it's more work then expected but I actuallly like it and not being satisfied with the first best result is provoking a lot of repaints. All that takes time. Let's not forget it's summer here, so staying indoors to do a mural paint in a room who is not actually needed, takes second rank in priority .

The diorama is still in Clervaux waiting for final transportation inside the castle. I am awaiting news here.

The book sold a bit after the review on, mostly directly on my website, thanks to the Combo offer, but sales through retailers were a bit disapointing.

Saturday, May 23 2015


I am showing you what I did the last few weeks. After renovating a spare room in my house, including putting new dry walls all around, I am right now trying myself on another artistic project, a mural paint of over 7 meters nonetheless Here is a picture of it, not ready yet


Remember, I never painted anything before, except my modelling stuff of course.

I am heavily influenced by a guy who called himself Muraljoe and is doing intructional viseos on Youtube. I like his style, remembers me a bit when I oainted my groundwork for the dio.

Tomorrow, holiday time, the Dordogne in France

See you in two weeks

Wednesday, April 22 2015

Nothing new

From one house project to another, all in 1:1 scale, so yes, I am still not building anything in scale.

Meantime, I had a nice News article on the website

Thanks Adam for that.

I got a big wholesale order from South Korea by Neighbour Hobby also! Great, bring me more :-)

The site for the dio in the Clervaux castle is decided, it's the one I wrote about some time ago. Sometimes during the next months I will set it up there. More news to come.

Monday, March 2 2015

OK, Ok, I know

but I do my very best! The 1st part of the house renovation work is done, I worked well and fast I think. I am cleaning up the whole thing now and hopefully be able to restart a bit with the hobby.

The dio Clervaux is still in Clervaux, hopefully will for the next 30 years or so, but I am awaiting news regarding the final display spot.

If you want to order the books, I am here :-), the site is not dead.

Tuesday, January 27 2015


Well, during the last 9 years of working on Dio Clervaux, I probably should have paused a few times to do some 1/1 scale house work. I did not and now a couple of things must finally get done. Working now to isolate my attic. The shadowbox is patiently waiting for me and is not running anywhere.

The Spanish translation of the book is also progressing. Only 20 pages left to translate before I will be able to offer it online. Hopefully it will sell a bit better then the French version, sold zero times!

Wednesday, January 14 2015

Reference books for the Clervaux battle

While cleaning up my working room, among all the books gathered meanwhile regarding a lot of aspects about model building, I saw the books assembled to get as much info as possible about the Clervaux part of the battle of the Bulge. I list them here, for what it's worth.

- to save Bastogne (R. Philips)

- A Time for Trumpets (Ch. B. Mc Donald)

both I think the very best reference books in English language

- Alamo in the Ardennes (Mc. Manus), excellent read. The action seen from the soldiers view and not so much strategic infos

- Battle The story of the Bulge (Toland) , he is referring mostly to the two first books above, so not worth buying

- Die Ardennenschlacht (J. Milmeister, in German language) , I found a copy of this Out of Print book on Abebooks. A must have.

- The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg (Roland Gaul), Vol. Americans and Vol. Germans (in depth analysis of everything you can imagine, but all around and south of Dekirch, so no details from Clervaux)

Saturday, January 10 2015

To Scott

Scott from Philadelphia, if you read this, thanks a lot for your nice mail. I wanted to answer you but my mails are getting bounced back and can not be delivered.


Thursday, December 25 2014

Terrain building for the shadowbox dio

Still recovering from your Christmas meal? How about a walk in the forest. It's could for the health and you may find some roots for your diorama project.

LOL seriously, let's give you an update of my new dio.

Taking inspiration from the hint's you guys gave me, I adapted the layout. To get to something I actually like and who may work later, I carved a big piece of styrodur, leftovers from a mock-up for Dio Clervaux, until I got a result. It morphed from this one


to this one, the stairs covered with air drying clay and with a light I bought recently and may be using in the dio


just to be changed to a layout with the stairs climbing up to the horizon, thus having later on no major problem with the back wall of the shadow box


This morning I covered it all with a saw dust, glue, water and plaster mix


This needs to dry now for certainly 2 days before it starts to harden a bit. I will then start to build walls along the boardwalk.

After having build only scenes of square meters space during the last ten years, doing a piece of only 1 foot by 1 foot is actually strange for me and I am astonished that I am nearly done already.

Monday, December 15 2014

70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in Clervaux

I just spend a very interesting weekend in Clervaux as a guest to the commemoration for the BoB anniversary. It was an honour to be there, albeit I was a bit disappointed that the veterans couldn't make it to a short visit to my dio. I was therefore occupied to tell all the very interested Clervaux citizens why a specific house of my dio was not at the place it should be. It was very amusing, as the same topics came back over and over again during the day. After hearing my explanations, all understood very well that compromises had to be made during such a project, choice and location of the structures being one of it.

But let's start at the beginning. I got great help to unload the modules from the truck. A few impressions of the setup operations, probably the last time





During the night, the guys from CEBA put a special guard near the dio to protect it. Armed with machine gun and Panzerfaust they awaited potential burglars.


After a hard night, a few leftovers


The expo day started very slow regarding the visitors, not only for me but for the whole site. More info on what happened around the castle during that special day can be read here

A view at the Brahaus where I had my expo in

A few guys from the reenactors had the opportunity to visit the dio during the morning


After 3 pm the visitor number grew to a very good number, really making worth the whole effort for everyone


I had a lot of interesting talks with Clervaux citizens, old and less old people, some providing me with informations I could have used to make the dio even more accurate. One man even took an envelope from his jacket and showed me some original photos from the war years, some I had seen somehow already, but also one very interesting showing German soldiers with bicycles near the cemetery . I gave the man my card in case he would like to offer the photos to the museum.

In this context a short word regarding my research ten years ago. Summarizing it, I could probably say, "Who was I in Clervaux ten years ago?" Simple answer, nobody. Imagine me knocking on all these doors ten years ago and asking those villagers about there knowledge of the town, telling them that I wanted to make a miniature version of it. I can't imagine me doing it. From another perspective, I was also novice modeller back then without any experience and never imagined that my efforts would yield in something like I did in the end. Had I know that in advance, myself would have deepened my researches a bit more.

Now of course, presenting my work, I am somewhat legitimate and people voluntarily give me more information, at a point everything is done. Unfortunately for that, but I think that the compromise now standing in Clervaux is not bad at all, a fact confirmed indeed by all visitors.

Being confined to my expo room, I missed most of the activities outside. Here a display in front of the witch tower


My wife is on this picture. Who can spot her :-)


Lex, during his efforts to power up the Kettenkrad and get it under shelter for the night.


Departure of a Dodge manoeuvring through the castle gate


I took the opportunity of this great location to make some additional pictures




That's it for now. I left the dio in Clervaux with the promise from everyone involved that in the next months another spot inside the castle will be found, possibly the one where it will then by permanently exposed to the public.

Saturday, December 6 2014

Setting up in Clervaux

Clervaux , I am approaching!


Just opposite the outer entrance gate is the building in which I am going to display the diorama.

I did set up this afternoon

A nice big room, white walls, it would have been a perfect setting for the book photo sessions!

Wednesday, December 3 2014

Storage of the dio

Here is a picture of the storage room for my dio. I took it now as a souvenir as the day after tommorow, just 5 weeks after having everything carefully packed, I will take it out again for the expo in Clervaux

You notice that parts are partly stacked one above the other and dust protected. I will keep the plastic on for the moment as a rain protection in case there would be any during the unloading of the truck.

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