The Blog about Diorama Clervaux


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, 20:36

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

Nothing new

, 16:53

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.

OK, Ok, I know

, 13:44

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.


, 20:39

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!

Reference books for the Clervaux battle

, 19:30

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)

To Scott

, 11:01

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.


Terrain building for the shadowbox dio

, 19:16

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.

70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in Clervaux

, 21:34

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.

Setting up in Clervaux

, 16:44

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!

Storage of the dio

, 19:41

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.

70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in Clervaux

, 18:34

I have the great honour to be invited (late but nevertheless) to show my diorama during the commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. 50 war veterans are invited to the commemoration, so I will not only have the chance to show my diorama to hopefully a couple of thousand visitors but also eventually to those veterans. I think that will be the ultimative test! What will they think about it? It is probably a bit to much peaceful for them. I hope they will find the energy to pay my dio a visit.

Come see me at the "Brauhaus", the old brewery, the house just opposide the entrance gate.


It is the exact house the Sherman ran into during the fight and got abandoned thereafter. The same Sherman standing now in the court yard and whose complete history is told on my homepage.

The Layout

, 18:09

The basics: I wanted to make a "Rain" dio, during the night. First ingredient to show the rain element. A kissing couple under an umbrella. Second ingredient, the lights to act as contrast for the rain. First a coupel of streetlights of course and then the lights from a car.

I choose it to be a Taxi, staying in wait to take one passenger, from the couple certainly.

The background: My first thoughts went to a "Restaurant" background, but frankly, I build enough houses for now and was happy to find a replacement. I would do a park behind the couple. I have some ideas, but am still not clear about the usefullness of it.

I would love for example to use this opportunity to play with perspectives. But do I really need to show the backdrop of the park to make my scene working? Of course, in a shadowbox, you need to find something to bar the view from the back of the box, so either I work with a lot of hedges or I go as deep back with my perspective until the darkn ess of the night hides the black painted back of the case.

For the moment it is the last solution I am working on


The taxi, , feels a lot to big for the scene and it is not even on it's wheels. Unfortunately, the London Taxi I choose, is bigger then a normal car.

The umbrella

, 06:28

At some point I started working on the umbrella.

I had a little bell to use as a template. The umbrella ribs (hope It is the right word) are positioned on the bell and fixed in the plasticine.

The bell is covered with a coat of Vaseline to avoid the tissue to stick on it. I covered it with a tissue soaked in Mod Podge. I ordered that one to try it out for my rain element of the dio. I brushed more on it and tried to get it as straight as possible

after drying

umbrella3sm.jpg and after lifting off from the bell. The vaseline coat worked!


I then cut it down to the good part, primed it black. My original ribs got submerged by the wet tissue and essentially just assured the umbrella look of the whole thing but I had to remodel the visible ribs on the inside with 0,25 mm lead wire.

Finishing the figures

, 22:52

Working evey day a bit on the figures, I am now nearly done.

One side, with some problems on the guys arms. While corrsponding exactly to the norm, both upper and lower arm looks a bit to long.

No problem, as I will probably show the couple from this side, with the ribs of the umbrella well visible.

In the meantime I added more folds on the guys right arm and sized down a bit the hand of the girl. I will add a belt to the girls coat and give her a purse.

I started working on the Taxi driver also.


Remember please that this is my very first face sculpt.

More on the figures

, 19:44


Just the lower part of both bodies is somewhat finished and already baked. I must say that I like the couple as it is a somewhat unique combination.

I an now working with FIMO Classic and it is good working with it.

Figures for the raindio

, 12:02

While I am still waiting for the book to arrive and experimenting with different varnishes , glues, resins and other stuff to simulate rain, I started already on the figures.

My idea for the overall dio is to make a couple, kissing for Goodbye (under the umbrella), while the Taxi is already waiting. All this illuminated by Park lights and of course the lights from the car. In the night also, to allow for the rainy element to be better seen.

These will be my first ever complete scratch-builds (if you take exception from the 1:144 figures I put on the two towers on the bridge of the Clervaux dio), so be patient with me. I started with a typical mannequin, the size and proportions based on freely available charts on different sculpting sites.


I made the heads from a blob of Magic Sculpt and, heavily inspired by the tutorial on Alan and Marion Balls website, started to carve the face in. This is still Work in Progress, some parts needed an addition of Magic Sculpt because my head ball was not correct and other parts still need some carving. Of course there are still no eye balls, ears and hairs. The woman will probably just wear a trench coat, so it may be enough to make a rough sculpt with somewhat correct female proportions and just put her the trench coat on later.


It is clear that for a clerverly positioned kissing scene, not a lot of the face will be seen but that is a good occasion for me to experiment and I will try to do every feature of the face, even if it will not be seen.

Got the Revell 1:24 London Taxi also and start to build it as I will need the reference for my first mockup of the scene. Maybe I will cut away half of it later.

Next project, from squaremeters to micrometers

, 18:36

While for the last project I had to take into account the wide of the door and rent a van to transport it, the next project requiered as one of the first steps to converse millimeters to mikrometers ( µm ) ! The size of raindrops is best calculated in that size. Yep, I will give a rain dio a try and see how far I can go with the realism.

As raindrops are as small as 100 µm, the first thing to do was to plan with a bigger scale. For now, I am thinking to make it 1:24.

I am awaiting a book about boxed diorama from Ray Anderson to educate myself as good as possible about that technique. Some experimental stuff is also on the way, more on that later. Ideas about the scene are finding their way into sketches, but the rain issue must first be resolved. No convincing rain, no need to start this diorama.

Well back from SMC

, 05:40

After a three hour trip through pouring rain I made it safely back to Luxembourg, unloaded the truck and made another trip to drive the truck back to the renting station. It was midnight when I could finally sat down and close one of the last chapters of the Dio Clervaux story.

The show was great, simply said. Starting with the enthusiastic welcome, cheering even on the sight of the fully loaded truck, of the SMC crew who quickly unloaded the truck after having recovered.


This time has two small transport damages. A part of the railing on the side of the house with the old men fell down, second time it deed that, the reason being more my initial soldering errors then transport vibrations. Remember, it was at that time my first soldering experience. (well, not a lot came after that) The glue keeping the fallen tree on the truck also stopped doing what it should and it slipped down on the hood, and took that one with it. I only saw that one after all was set up. With a very long 20 cm tweezers. I was able to push it back on top, just enough to be unnoticed by the visitor.



Setting up for everyone else on the day of the show started really late, so that my usual routine of being there early to be able to see the expo myself did not bring a lot as there was hardly anything to see until after 9 p.m, except for the SMF Alley with the excellent display of the works of the club members. As other exhibitors also profit from the quiet time before the show, I was therefore already fully occupied on my stand when 10 a.m. came and the door opened for the public. It enjoyed that last hour very much. Meeting again and being greeted so cordially, sometimes after years of not seeing them, those acquaintances I made during the last decade in expositions all over Western Europe, yes, most where in Veldhoven, meeting new ones with colleagues I had only Email contact until now, was really great.

Compared to my attendance in 2010 a lot more visitors poured into the halls and this without the usual calm down around noon. It was only around 3 pm when it started to be quieter. I don't know about the last years, but I have the impression that the organizer can be satisfied with the visitor count.

Visits on my diorama stand where great, as usual I might say. Photos where taken by the thousands I suppose.



My information display in Dutch language was really well used. Hopefully it will also help the city of Clervaux to get a few more Dutch tourists, if that is even possible after hearing from all sides the number of visits spend already in Luxembourg. I did not count the times I had to answer the question about the number of years spend on the dio or about my next project. I am happy that I can type this as my voice still does not work very well this morning. Unfortunately, the whole diorama is meanwhile so big and the viewer as to take so much in in a short time, that questions about specific parts of the dio are not asked a lot any more. Nonetheless I spend all day talking, to the "normal" visitors of the expo and to the dozens of modelling friends, some of them having made the trip from pretty far to see the complete diorama a first and probably last time. Thanks for that guys, it was an honour for me to guide you around the property. Sales of my book went really well also, so I had an overall superb expositions and I hope that the organizer was satisfied with my coming too.

So, what will I doing next? LOL Well, I started drawing some sketches for a shadow box. I want to give a rain diorama a new try. Something special needs to come out after Dio Clervaux, isn't it?

Who knows, next year I might come to Veldhoven like every other modeller, with my private car and the model loaded in the trunk!

Thanks to Robert, the whole SMC Crew and all the visitors for this excellent day.

SMC I am coming!

, 10:24

Here, nearly live, photo taken at 10 a.m this morning, the truck is loaded

I counted the parts twice, 8, plus a box for the roof of the castle tower and the willow tree, I am good to go. A quick lunch now and around high noon you will see Dio Clervaux on Tour! LOL

Ready for SMC

, 18:57

Well, I am ready and I can't await to get on the truck. Robert is making so much advertisement for my coming that I am a bit overwhelmed, honoured of course also. Had someone told me that when I started scale modelbuilding ....

The coat of Envirotex over the river worked wonders. As I also first sanded down some of the less attracrtive traces in the resin, who happened probably due to badly mixed components, the whole river looks now as shiny as after the first day. Dust was a lot less then feared. At last I did not notice it. Hopefully the diorama is not getting more and more grey without me noticing it. Well, after SMC I will tightly pack it until the museum calls.

This evening I will check wat I will bring else. Questions about the materials I used for the dio are more easily answered with the material at hand. So a sample of my wave work, some moss or other stuff to explain the tree work will be packed for sure also. Perhaps all that is not for the specialists among you, but the normal visitors always appreciate a visual help.

There is a lot of rain over Luxembourg for now. More announced for tomorrow. Hopefully I get an hour of dry weather in the evening for loading the truck.

See you around 3 pm in Veldhoven on Saturday, where I was told a reporter will wait to see me unload my little scale model. LOL

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