To go with the American Sniper Reminder based of the Ken Smith painting I had to come up with a German base to compliment it. I originally wanted an attic room window and slanted roof section but that would take up to much space so instead stole a bit from Saving Private Ryan. You know the bit where the German Sniper is in the church steeple.
I already had the balsa wood so it really was a case of working round that. I knew using the Linka would not work as the amount of bricks that were needed would make the base heavier than I wanted and the risk of dropping and shattering it was to high. Instead I went down the route of Balsa and then adding the exterior via Reeves coarse texture gel. To make the inside a bit larger I attached this to the edges of the base rather than the top, this added stability and made the inside just that bit larger.
The floor was also balsa that received a number of heavy doses of a wash to stain it. I wanted it much darker than the one used in the other model. The walls received a modeling paste which then was painted off white. The rubble was made up of texture gel and matchsticks some part burnt, others painted to match.
Originally the wall was designed just to be open at the back but the lack of light meant I had to cut down the wall section and add the rubble. Even with that done I still felt the light sources were too restricted so I simply cut a whole in the roof!
The figure is Blacktree, the shame here is that the wealth of detail does not shine through as you have a limited view of him from the front. Anyone who takes the trouble to look through the front window will pick up the stick grenade and entrenching tool stuck in the front of his belt. This got me thinking this was his intended last man stand. So on adding the trap door I also made a table out of balsa which was placed over the trapdoor. He is not giving up that position till he's dead!
I did not want to go overboard with the burnt patches and smoke damage as I wanted to keep have some of the light reflected to help brighten the detail. Note the broken tiles from the roof in the rubble, these are off cuts from the tiled roof.
The tiles for the most part are done on strips but the odd one has been added to make it look a little jagged. Cath made these, I told her how I wanted them to look and showed her a couple of images and off she trotted with red card, steel rule a pencil, scissors and a pair of nail clippers!!! Three plus hours later she had groves in her fingers and these fine tiles. I gave them a dry brush or two and got some great tones (the card was textured) and went about sticking them on. The images were taken whilst still drying so you see the odd wet spot.
The window was by Warbases and was just what I needed for the job. I was going to slat it originally as many Church tower windows were in Normandy but that would have made the figure impossible to see from the front so took the less accurate but more pleasing route.
Just to give an idea the scale of the base. All told this one model took about 80 hours if I include Cath's time. Actually with Cath getting involved made the whole project so much better. It was a wrench to let it go. The original plan was just two slightly more urban bases one of which reflected the Journals cover. In the end it went much further than my mate had asked or wished for. To give him credit once he knew I was planning to take this further than planned he was happy to give me free reign. But it has to be said that he was a little taken back by just how far beyond the plan I went.
I'd like to leave it there, a happy feel good story but unfortunately somewhere between Nottingham England and Baltimore USA somehow the box took a direct hit. Testament to Cath's packaging the dioramas were saved from damage, unfortunately the German sniper came off his pin and proceeded to rattle round the inside of the tower until a good proportion of his paint had come off. The rubble inside the tower was rather course and unforgiving. The table was knocked free but will glue back OK, now the figure is on it's way back to be repainted and then I will send back again for him to be reattached to his pin (sticking out of the floor). Then I can sit back happy with the result.