Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Stug Factory

A recent commission from a collector involved making a display for his 54mm German tanks. He had been inspired by an article in a model making magazine of a German repair shop with a  couple of Stug III 's in it.The brief , then, was to make a 2ft x 2ft diorama set inside a German bombed out tank repair shop. It had to look like the building had been badly damaged and we were able to look inside because a wall and half the ceiling had fallen in due to the damage. 

the empty repair shop

The shell of the building was straight forward to make- a square brick building with a big metal door at the far end. The challenges in this diorama was the detail. I needed to try to make it look like a working repair shop but leaving enough space to put the tanks and figures in.
I bought alot of bits and pieces from Verlinden. They are 1/35th scale so strictly a little small for the 1/30th scale figures but by choosing carefully what I got the difference in scale is hard to spot. Verlinden do some very nice bits of machinery along with barrels and bottles that all help to make the scene.
examples of Verlinden machinery.

In the UK, Verlinden kits are available from:
There is a big range so take your time. They also do 1/48th scale stuff which works well with 28mm figures (a bit big but OK)
populated repair shop
 You can see there is a fair amount of metal work in the diorama. Most of it is made from plastic strips from Evergreen. They do all sorts of profiles and shapes so makes it alot easier to make convincing metal work than without them. The gantry work was added once the walls were finished and the structure was made from I beams and rectangular support rods from the Evergreen range. Cutting them to shape and gluing together with plastic kit glue the whole thing becomes very strong and certainly gives the impression of a strong metal structure.
The walk way was from my spares box so but was just the right size- the moral of the story- never throw anything away!


The boiler was fun to make. The parts came from:
These are well worth a look as they have loads of useful detailing pieces for all scale of model making.
 The top and bottom are plastic elliptical heads with plastic tube for the main body. I just cut the tube to length and glued the heads to top and bottom and I found myself with a tank. Adding some pipework and other details soon makes the tank a good looking boiler.

Once all the detail modelling was finished then I had to paint it all. It is an industrial working building so I used lots of greys and browns with splashes of colour supplied by posters and bits of equipment painted in bright reds and yellows.
Once all the basic painting was done, I love to go over it all and weather it with streaks of oil and grime. I find this final stage is what often brings a diorama to life. I think it did it for this commission as well. Of course the final touch is when the figures and tanks arrive and that pleasure is always left to my customer!

This reminded me of another German repair shop I made a year or two ago. This was, again in 54mm but was very much an improvised shop-

improvised workshop
 If I can find more photos then I will post a detailed account of this commission at a later date

1 comment:

  1. David did a fantastic job delivering on my brief for the factory workshop. It was especially interesting to work with him at each of the design stages, discussing the most haves, what we could buy commercially within budget and using David's vast experience of what would look good! I still have this display as a centre piece to my K & C collection - although the StuG 111s here are Collectors Showcase as the tops are detachable. William G