Thursday, 14 July 2011

20mm Omaha beach 2

This week has found me hard at work on the beach project. I am still doing the hard landscaping and planning work at the moment.The beginning of the week saw me pick up the wooden carcasses for the whole table. There are 8 boards in total and the profile you can see in the first post. My work table is a bit smaller than 8 feet long so I haven't got them all in this picture but you can see the effect

the empty carcasses laid out
You can see where the cliffs will be and the sloping away into the Normandy countryside. I then had to fill these boards with polystyrene. I use the cheap white stuff as the wooden carcasses protect it from the side and when I have covered it in grout then it is rock hard from the top so I don't need to spend the money on the expensive blue high density foam.
I buy my sheets in 8ft x 4ft slabs and usually 2 inches thick. I use a hot wire cutter to cut them down to size and at this stage I don't have to be too precise as all I am doing is filling in the boards. I glue it all together with PVA glue which has never let me down although it can take forever to dry. I always try to leave the boards stacked up with weights on them for at least 48 hours before I start work on them.

boards being filled with polystyrene
stacked and drying
Once dry enough I just used the hot wire and took off all the excess foam. This was easy as I ran the wire along the wooden sides so I was able to cut the foam to shape very quickly.

the result with the draws cut out as well
At this stage it looks a bit too clean and precise but I wanted to resist hacking it around until after I had sorted out where all the fortifications go. The customer and I discussed in great detail where everything was to go and so over most of today I have been working on fixing the bunkers and trenches in place. This has been a long process but is worth the effort as once they are in place the creativity and artistic bit of the job begins. I don't want that bit of the process disturbed by having to go back and adjust work I haven't done properly at this stage.
So far I have done the fortifications around the D1 draw (bottom right on above picture) along with adjoining trenches and WIN71 the group of bunkers to the left of the draw. This is still a very messy stage as it involves alot of hacking and cutting into the polystyrene and really doesn't look anything special. You just have to believe it will all be OK in the end!
WIN71 and the left of D1

draw D1

WIN71

Draw D1 trenches- they will look better than that when finished!
Most of the fortifications have been bought but you may have noticed a part built bunker on the right of D1. This is built into the bluffs and will be completely covered by earth and vegetation so the only detail I need to concentrate on with it is the firing slit that overlooks the draw and allows a 75mm gun to fire the full length of the beach. I also have to design it so that you can get inside it to place the gun.

That is it for stage two. I should finish the fortification layouts in the next day or two and then when they are thoroughly dry I can finish carving the bluffs and filling in gaps. I can then cover the whole thing in grout and then sand and finally paint it all. That will be detailed in more posts next week.

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