The Blog about Diorama Clervaux


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A picture

, 19:52

Here is one picture of the finished diorama. It is not easy to make a picture of a 3 meter long dio and show everything. It definitely does not reflect the real thing and the real feeling of the scene.

You must see it live!


I have technical problems to put the picture on my homepage and show it a bit bigger for you. Sorry for that.

I just found this picture among the thousands I have meanwhile on my HD. It was the very beginning of this adventure when I sketched the whole thing on the bottom of my attic. Nice progress, isn't it? :-)


The book is going good for a publication in October. It will have 152 pages, a layout and distribution made professionally, so It will be a bit more expensive then the last one. I saw a first preview of the new Layout today and I can assure you that it will look great!

Stay tuned!

I allowed the comment function again, let's see how bad the spam is meanwhile.


, 19:21

A very short title for the Blog entry but a big step for me! LOL

Yes, I am actually done with the whole dio. After 8 years! I am a bit speechless I must say. I anticipated this for a few months already so the actual event is now not really something special any more.

Where are the pictures ? Beside the one on the homepage showing the last 4 modules together there is still none showing the whole thing. I did not yet see it myself together as the other 3 parts are waiting in the garage for the whole thing to be put together.

The only thing missing now or incomplete is the lightning for the farmer's house (that is only a gimmick anyway) and some hand grips for transporting the river modules.

I set only 2 of the soldiers. I am not sure about all this and will have to wait for the first reactions on the expo to get an idea if my story works. Considering the size of the dio, it looks like a real lack of figures, but apart my growing disdain to paint figures I have a hard time to decide what kind of micro scenes would work together. When in doubt, I tend to do none. Is that correct, I don't know.

During the expo this weekend I hope to make a trillion of photos and be able to choose a few dozen for the book out of them. Hopefully the light in the hall is good enough.

The book has already passed the corrector eyes and he will give me his verdict shortly. I am myself already translating the book in french. That is a lot more work than anticpated. I have roughly 80 pages of text and I am neither used to architectural terms in french nor modeling hobby slang in that language so it is defintely not a smooth runing job. It will not be a perfect work but I will probably not go to a corrector for this. It will get to expensive otherwise.

German language will be next. I have the whole summer to get that done if I want it out together with the book.

If anyone has a good (and cheap) proposals for a site I may use to offer the books for download (remember, this is a image loaden book, so Amazon and Kindle are not the right choice), just drop me a mail. Choosing one site would not be difficult, but I do not want to send a french modeller who wants to buy my french pdf because he can't speak english to an english site for the download process. Same for german and spanish. Doing it myself is a legal and potential logistic nightmare so I am not to warm to do that. A flipping software for the PDF would also be nice, but they are pretty expensive for one ( or three) books. Any other idea?

That's it for now

Stay tuned, I will publish a photo of the whole dio next week!

Expo - 4 weeks

, 19:14

Some words on the progress, without pictures.

I anticipated that despite shrinking the Villa I would have a hard time getting it on the remaining surface in a plausible and nice way. I had a big laugh when I saw the Villa the first time near the river with the side garage doors at only 5 cm from the river! I can impossibly leave it like that.

After some thoughts and measuring I decided to extend the whole dio by another 20 cm! Yep, this will bring this thing to a total of 3m x 2,20! I already added them to the Villa module who now has at least some space around and looks a lot better. There is hardly more work involved apart a couple of bushes more.

The extension of the 20 cm for the other module will be a lot more work. I need to make a separate module of 140 x 20 cm, extend the road over the bridge and I will add a simulation of forest and hill behind the existing one.

I will do that calmly during next winter and it will not be part of the book. Albeit it would give a better photo background for the river it will not make a difference in the quality and completeness of the book.

Besides that I am finishing sculpting a Harley driver (who actually rides the bike!) and I just finished an Opel Olympia from Bronco. I will set it with a flat tyre somewhere, the driver standing nearby desperate about the delay.

5 Gi's are in the making also. I may only use 2 of them, I will see.

Regarding the book I completely finished identifying correctly all the pictures I chose for the book and also associated all the pictures with corresponding captions.

What comes now

, 22:18

I have a tight time table for the next weeks.

- I already choose the figures and primed them. Painting comes of course after that. I must finish sculpting the Harley driver and paint the motocycle. - I ordered more photoetch parts for Villa Prüm, shutters and a railing. I hope I will get them soon. - Villa Prüm must be set in the dio near the river and the surroundings build. There is not a lot of space, so this may be done quickly. - The other side of the river must be adapted to the parc modul and a bit of wall replaced. - Some bits in the farmer kitchen must be finished. - I must recheck the lighting for the farmer's house.

This must be done for July 5. On July 6 I have a local expo and I want to show the finished dio and make plenty of pictures for the book.

The book

- I am right now in my third passing of the text and am constantly correcting and revisiting. Right now I have filled 115 pages and I did not even start writing about the last module! This means that I will easily reach 136 pages. It will make it more expensive of course, but I hope you will appreciate the content. - My plan is to choose the pictures for the book after the expo, in a matter of days, and hand it all over to the next stage, layout.


The last house is finished

, 22:01

Yes! The Villa Prüm is also done. It took me 1 month and about 125 hours to cover the whole roof. 5 month overall to build the Villa, a few little bits and weathering left to do, but essentially that's it. That would be nearly it then for Dio Clervaux, but let's not burn the stages. I have a half dozen figures and the Harley to finish plus some landscape.

Back to the Villa and two pictures. I bought a new wide angle objective to be able to offer some different photos in my book. The book takes of course the lead now and I will refrain from posting many pictures.
This one is of greatest symbolic. It is the last tile I set for Diorama Clervaux. Considering that the castle alone holds some 30000 tiles, I have easily surpassed the 100 000 (one hundred thousand) tiles for the whole dio! Wow!


This is a view from the side DSC00573small.jpg

I do not yet have a picture from above. Believe me, that last few weeks have been so intense that for example I did the first picture with the new wide angle only after owning it for 2 weeks. I simply did not have the time!

I see the end!

Comment function disabled

, 17:59

The comment function is completely broke because of spam so I disabled it for the time being.

If you would like to comment ot contact me for other purpos, just drop me a mail. (see Contact page on the main page)

Thanks for your understanding


By the way, I am working on the Villa hours and hours every day but I am just tiling the roof, so there is not a lot to show actually. Work on the book is going good to.

Progress report

, 21:20

I take hardly the time to take some photos, so let's just update the Blog with a imageless status report.

I working daily on the tiling of the roof, gutter making, dormer making and so on. I am satisfied with the progress so far and I am sure the look of it will be great. Progress on the book is a bit slower. I did myself correct and read again the first 60 pages. I am well on the way to get a 120 page + book. No news on the Layout. I must soon relaunch my partner on this.

For the moment I don't see how I can respect my own schedule. There is so much left to do on the book and the build isn't even finished. I still keep the target Octobert this year but already see a delay as probable.

I realize that this Blogupdate reads more like a telegramm, but you should know taht I do not forget the Blo, but a modeling day has only so many hours.

Follow up on the book

, 22:01

I have now 90 pages completes in a rough layout. There is a lot still missing, a couple of pictures from the castle (not a lot be assured), the whole last Modul including the Villa and a lot of other pictures. I will probably get 120 pages if not more.

A Layout is actually getting prepared. I did not see any test layout myself. I found also a distributor to help me get the book out to more customers.

The time line is still for a publication date in October, but for the moment I have so much of work with both the build and the book that I am not sure if I can make it.

Building nearly finished

, 21:53

except the roof !

I had 10 days off from work and during that time I had roughly 100 modeling hours to get this building done. I did not get as far as I hoped but there is so much to do and I certainly did not waste my time.

I finished the front side with most of the detailing

added Ivy and glued everything together, sides and front.

During the last 2-3 days I mounted the roof structure. This is now nearly done also and I may start to tile the roof beginning next week.


There are a lot of details to finish, two rounded roofs to tile and tiny dormers to build, so I don't expect to be finished before two months.

Powering ahead

, 21:44

That's what I literally do for the moment! Just this weekend I have done 18 hours of modelilng work.

As I have a tight timetable I need to go a bit faster then a hobby actually should. The last Blog post from march 13 showed actually a picture from the same day. This one is taken 4 days later

Here are all the individual parts to get all done.

The whole complicated part of the Villa is put together already a week later

A few more days of work to put all together and I will be able to start the roof work.

PS. My Blog is ofr the moment "again" subject to massive junk comments at a pace of 50 a day. So If your comment is labeled accidently as Spam (happened already) be not surprised that I will not be able to rescue it from the Spam folder. If it's important, please mail me.

Habemus Papam

, 21:15

I am pretty sure that nobody in the world has build a chapel the very same day a new pope got elected! I am not saying that I offer a chapel to the pope because that is definitely not me. He is to be satisfied to have another one in the world Here it is, at least the shell construction

Getting dizzy

, 13:48

No update does not mean no progress. I started detailing elements up to painting steps. There are parts impossible to reach later, so i need to get that done before. I am also turning in cycles regarding other parts like this one

A part the fact that the top is broken (in the mean time I had it fixed and broke again at least three times) i did not like the look of it. I have only one picture of this element , taken from far, but no, that's not what I have in mind. In fact, the grout filled the joints to much. What did I do?

Took all away and started anew!

After this update I am going to repaint the thing as the remodelling is already done. Of course you can't progress very well if you do everything twice!

But there is progress after all, just check this picture


Progress is good

, 17:27

In no particular order i show you some elements i have done so far. The rounded side of the house is nearly done, with the help of a Whisky bottle tube and a sanitary tube. Windows are scratched, copied in resin and bend over a hard round container after a dip in hot water

Same for the lower level and another window design

Curtains are glued in and both parts put together awaiting the roof work

Another tower is also in the making

and the arched terrace is on a good way too

A second book

, 22:54

Yes, thanks to all the buyers from all over the world who made this selfpublishing adventure a success, I am actively working on a second volume already. I will try to cover the path from raw material to the publication through the Blog, just holding back some names until all is set for sure.

The book will cover the whole diorama except the details about the castle. The castle' s front will of course be seen on a lot of photos because it's dominant feature. I will probably show 2-3 pictures from the back of the castle, overview style, not more in order to respect all those buyers of the first volume and just enough to put the whole thing in perspective and eventually spark the interest of new followers who might be tempted to pick up the first volume to.

But now comes the biggest question i had. What should be the content of the book? The history part of the battle is already covered in "Capturing Clervaux. A pure photo album was an option, but I am not sure it would sell well. Inserting Tips and Tricks is the way to go, but I am certainly not reinventing all the existing techniques and I also do not want to rehash modeling tips widely accessible on the Internet or in other recently published diorama books. What do I have to offer what could be somewhat unique?

Let's leave that aside for a moment.

For the publication of the first book i had tremendous help from my friend Paul from Iowa (USA) who transposed the script and layout I delivered in open source SCRIBUS software into Adobe Indesign and also worked intensely on the quality and appearance of the pictures I choose. Due to his job he made it also possible that i got professional proofreading (for the price of a drink) and some of the printing stuff done (pre-press and so). I was really lucky to have him. Unfortunately he does not have the job any more!

A big problem for selfpublishers is distribution!

I contacted certainly near to a hundred online modelling shops, was lucky enough to find 15 interested ones, but the most frustrating part is that only those interested answerd to the mails, all others ignored my inquiries! Very impolite! Why not give a short reply and say "No, thanks"? I found a few other takers during expositions, but there is certainly more room to grow.

Getting someone who does the layout for me and assuring a decent distribution, but still retaining myself the self publishing status, is a path I am pursuing right now. I am confident I found it already but am not yet announcing a name.

I finally decided to start writing some text and see where it would lead me.

Well, that is more easily said then done. The build of the lower part of the village, the first part i will cover, started in 2007! That's over 5 years ago already. Should I explain the build chronologically? How would I avoid repetitions?

I quickly dismissed the language question? I had a few potetial customers not buying the book because the do not have the necessary english knowledge. Being quadrilingual myself (if you allow me to count this english gibberish as speaking the language) i would be able to make all the book in german and french without relying to outside help. The problem here is the cost/income ratio. Doing the whole book in either of this languages is financially suicidale. I would barely be able to sell a 100 copy edition in those countries, but it is well known that the first 100 copies of a print job are the most expensive. There is always a fix cost in printing, the more copies you do the cheaper it gets.

Doing the text in the book trilingual would be possible of course, but this would engross roughly 20 more pages, ergo some 20-25 % more printing costs compared to the 80 page book it will probably be again. Everybody would need to pay 20 % more just for the few customers i would add myself! So I am really sorry for those customers but I can assure them that there are plenty of pictures to look at and if need would be I can certainly help them out with the text.

Ok, meanwhile i have completed over 50 pages already, sifting to 1000 of pictures, doing new ones, adding text, sorting and resorting, slowly advancing!

This post is long enough now, more later

Prüm shell construction almost done

, 17:20

After a few weeks of pretty intense work the shell construction (without most roofs) of the Villa is nearly done or at least planned so far to be close to be done.

The good thing is that basically all the windows are also build already and duplicated, just awaiting the final go. There are 5-6 models of windows I scratched. Before starting to put them in I wanted a final check on dimensions of the complete build.

From Friday afternoon I had a 20 hour modelling weekend to get just two things done, imaging an how to and actually scratching the arched terrace Here is a picture of the original seen on the inside

I made it out of plaster, but because it is only 3-4 mm thick and therefore impossible to handle i immediately poured some silicone over it to make a mould


Two copies have already been made and can be set back to back to form the arches.

Another feature of this building i racked my brain on is this multi sided structure,


Hardly visible is the fact that each of the five sides has a window incorporated on the upper part.

I got something figure out, but still have it under silicone in the hobby room so I will discover shortly if it will be a success. I intend to make the sides complete, opening and window already in each copy, just need to assemble five parts. Hopefully :-)

Stay tuned

Final build started!

, 19:46

Happy New year to everyone!

Did you do your homework and collect some firework sticks?

Ok, let's start this build of the Villa Prüm.

The pictures i have of the building either show the lower part of the façade or parts of the roof-work. It is also essential for a scale build to understand the layout of the building you are going to tackle.

That's why i normally sketch all the buildings before starting my work. In this case it was even more important as i had some spots on the roof i did not have any picture at all. I magnified all my pictures and used some old historic views to support my hypothesis. I magnified a publicly accessible version of a cadastral map who allowed me to get the approx. measures of the house. As the Villa is to build to fit in it's 1/35 version on my module, i am shrinking it a bit, so all the measures need to be adapted. Heights are done a lot on feeling and also by analysing the pictures, again.

Here is my sketch of the most difficult side with a chapel in the midst of the roof!


I did my best to do the perspectives somewhat correct, the most important thing was to get most features of the roof in there.

I also started to do the second essential help to build such a complicated building, a mock up made of cardboard. This is very important to get the right feeling of the measures.


Let's get this started then

New Year , new module

, 21:18

Ok. the new year is still 3 days away, but let's not be picky.

Like i said in the post before , i have few things to do regarding module 6 , but really wanted this one out of the starting block. I will have a lot of copies to do and during drying times i figure i will have time to work on the last bits of mod.6.

Before I start I would like to tell you that i got contacted by a film studio regarding my diorama. The looked at the option of using my dio structures as a background for a feature film, all done with visual effects and CGI. Nothing is decided yet but i don't it that it would probably be a great experience for me. Considering how i started the diorama 7 years ago, this development still leaves me stunning.

Two expositions are already more then probable, so 2013 announces itself to be a busy modeling year.

Before that, I will have plenty of time to finish my whole dio.

Module 7 is only 70x80 cm big and consist essentially only of the rest of the river and the one house i will place on it. The river has already be done during last year as i wanted to use up most of my resin, so this leaves me with the one structure to build. But what a build! The "Villa Prüm" is called after the owner, it is a massive construction whose look has changed a few times and was expanded ever more. I am joking already that the architect of this house should have immediately be fired. Convince yourself: Here is a view from far to get you an idea where to place it in the town. It is the massive whitish house on the right side of the river Clervaux! If you continue your look along the river it will lead you to the bridge, 2 cm above the house on the picture.


Here is a few of the front right after the war

Fortunately, the house is still standing today and i got the possibilty to do some close up shots. The vegetation around the house is so dense that i returned in winter to get some more shots without disturbing leaves.

The front today
On the back of the house Prum033small.jpg

and finally this one! Look at the roofwork! DSC01569small.jpg

I have about 100 pictures to cover every thing i could see and am right now again, for the third time, trying to figure out how to build this Villa. I am sketching every angle of it (there are more extras in the house then those i showed you) and try to place all those towers and dormers and terrasses, chapels and whatever else is in there at the right place.

There is more. Strictly taken the Villa should be 77 cm big in 1/35 ! I only have 80 cm on the module. I certainly don't want it look cramped between the river bank and the module's border, so i need to shrink it somewhat to a size of about 60 cm.

Why did i choose this monster? How about looking for a challenge? :-)

Consider Modul 6 done!

, 20:35


After 2 years and 3 weeks of work (every day except holidays) i consider this module done. As you notice there is a bit of landscaping to do in front of the bridge, but this is only a few hour workload.

Ok, there is also still the Harley and his rider to finish and i may add a civil vehicle (a Citroën 11) somewhere but i intend to do those things during the next months. The fountain column is not written off also, i just want to get on now an start the last part, the Villa Prüm.

After all the doubts I had at the beginning of this module (water, tower sculpting, available space and lack of reference photos) i think the end result is not to bad.

Have a nice Christmas everyone

Details and more details

, 20:03

Near the finishing of a dio or in this case a module comes the time everything falls together or need to be finished. I think it is necessary not to rush and really finish every thing correctly. Defering a task to later is a no-go. This later will never come!

Ok, some goodies now

I placed a exterior toilet near the house. The joke here is that i opened it also from behind, giving you a rare view of the interiors
Don't try to look inside the hole, there is nothing :-)

I scratched a horse plough

A butter churn (?) is added to the kitchen. The original stands in the rural museum in Peppange

A view of the kitchen, complete now!

The bike shop got his signs! The bike frame is scratch, the wheel part of a Kit. The lion is photo-etched to order on my design, corresponding to the original shown below

A letterbox

, 22:38

In an old picture of Clervaux i got a glimpse of a letterbox hanging on a house not far from the Hotel Central.

I contacted the local post museum to get some infos and they kindly send me this picture of an old letterbox

Here is what i have done to copy it


The letters are 1 mm Aber photoetch letters. As you can see i had no space to make the full text, I applied and glued the letters with Gloss Varnish. The post horn is made with Magic Sculpt.

I think this will make a great addition to the Bouvier façade or , nearer to the viewer, on the corner of Hotel Central, I will decide that tomorrow-

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