A Step In Time- France 1916 & 1940

The photo is near the start of this documentary:

The opening sequence reminds me that Agincourt and Waterloo are in the same general region.

Belgium is sometimes called the “Cockpit of Europe” (in the old sense of a Cockpit being the arena where the “sport” of Cock Fighting was* conducted) because of the number of battles fought in the vicinity it now occupies. Alternatively, according to James May on Top Gear “Belgium: A country invented so that Britain and Germany would have a place to sort out their differences”. Actually a country created to put an end to Franco-Dutch border disputes starting more wars.
Flanders is pretty flat so any sort elevation, however slight, has been of military significance since people were hitting each other over the head with rocks. It was the blank sheet on which Vauban and Van Coehoorn practiced geometry. Human remains from WW1 are still being found and even the occasional straggler from WW2, while a mass grave found last autumn in Holland by city workers of Vianen excavating a disused moat that once surrounded Batestein Castle is now believed to be around 80 British casualties from the War of the First Coalition (1792-1797), possibly from a field hospital mentioned in a local newspaper in December 1794.
It’s not just in Europe this sort of thing happens, the recent bout of unpleasantness in Gaza is just the latest in a long list going back to antiquity, to at least the end of the 4th millennium B.C. when the Egyptians established a fortified settlement (discovered in 1993, bulldozed by the HAMAS administration in 2017). There were two battles there between British & Commonwealth forces and those of the Ottoman Empire in 1917 and Napoleon claimed to have razed the city’s fortifications in 1799. Some 20 miles south of Gaza City near the southern extremity of the Gaza Strip is Rafah, now largely devastated by the construction of a border zone through it. First recorded as Rph in 1303 B.C. it was the location of an Assyrian victory over the Egyptians in 720 B.C. while in 217 B.C. the Battle of Raphia was one of the biggest in the Hellenistic Era, with Ptolemy IV’s 75,000 Egyptians defeating Antiochus III’s 68,000 Seleucids (quite overshadowing a little backwater skirmish at a place called Cannae the next year where Hannibal’s 50,000 strong army routed 86,000 Romans). Raphia was taken by the Hasmonean Judean King Alexander Jannaeus around 100 B.C. and in 96 B.C. he took Gaza, massacring many inhabitants. Raphia was later taken by a Muslim army in 635 A.D.
In the same neighbourhood, in Egypt in 2012 archaeological excavations in the Ptolomaic temple and tomb complex of Taposiris Magna were expecting to find human remains, just not Italians and New Zealanders from the Second Battle of El Alamein in 1942… The archaeologists also found about sixty items of UXO, most of which they removed themselves (I’ve also heard of similar unofficial bomb disposal activities from a participant of a dig in the Orkneys back in the late 1970s or early ‘80s).



*Or more correctly, “is”; in February this year a cockerel that had been fitted with a metal “spur” for an illegal cockfight killed its owner in southern India. The man was impaled in the groin as the fowl tried to escape and died on the way to hospital from loss of blood. I wonder what cause they put on the Death Certificate - “kicked in the nuts by a chicken”?

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I saw the scenes of the soldiers walking past the memorial- that is truly fascinating. Thank you for taking the time to seek it out.

I have to say I was thinking some of the same things you have talked about- the whole thing in Israel/Gaza had me thinking of all the history of warfare in that area back through the ages. And as you mentioned they find things in the earth nearly every time they dig something up- same in some parts of Europe and Africa as you mentioned.

Ooof, yeah that’s a nasty situation!

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Karl I don’t know you are using FB, there is a site WW1 Colourised Photos with a lot of reference and photos.


grtx Jan

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Yes Jan I have an FB account- I will check out the photos on the link. Thanks for posting it :+1:!

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The second WW1 soldier in the scene is also from the Masterbox set and I’ve given both legs and torso the same treatment I outlined before. For this fella I’ve decided on the name ‘Cyril’. Luckily this time I didn’t get too drill happy and managed to keep the collar intact! I’ve picked out a Hornet head too.

I’ve begun to fit Basil’s equipment and first up is his 1908 Pattern ammo pouches. These are a lovely mould and capture the shape well.

Just to compare, I made up a Tamiya figure.

Here the ammo pouches are already moulded on but perhaps not quite as sharp as the MB variety. I think the Tamiya ones may become better looking under primer. As you can see below the Tamiya head revealed much better definition under primer.

I’ve also noticed a couple of discrepancies with the MB box art (pictured below) and what you actually get in the box.

The artwork (and indeed the picture upon which it is based) shows the soldier on the right side wearing 1914 Pattern Leather webbing gear and ammo pouches yet both figures in the box are wearing 1908 Pattern gear (which is khaki coloured cotton webbing material). Not sure why they’ve not just adjusted the box art.

There is also a difference in the box art and the assembled and painted figures used for instructions on the rear of the box (pictured below).

The artwork shows the wounded soldier wearing khaki colored pants (suggesting he is British/Commonwealth forces) yet the corresponding figure on the rear is wearing field grey (suggesting German forces). Again, I’m not sure why they have done that other than to perhaps illustrate there’s no reason the wounded man could not be from either side.

Up next is a photo of the gear in the MB box.

The topmost item on the sprue is the water bottle with carrier, next is the entrenching tool handle (or helve as it is also known) and bayonet scabbard (the webbing that holds the scabbard is sometimes called a frog) then the e-tool head cover with the haversack on the right.

And this is the same kit from Tamiya.

Both sets of parts are nice moulds with good detail. The Tamiya e-tool covers and water bottles lack the straps of the MB variety. However the Tamiya e-tool cover has a very nice outline of the e-tool bulging against the cover which it would on a real version.

The MB bayonet scabbard and e-tool handle are too big- the real items are quite slender and Tamiya captures this better. Unfortunately MB only provide empty scabbards as the figures have their bayonets attached to their rifles. They won’t be fitted in my scene so I must use the Tamiya variety.

You can see the difference with the items side by side.

The item on Basil.

MB has the edge on the haversacks- the shape and size both seem better (imho) than the Tamiya offerings.

The MB water bottle seems to me a bit big compared to the real thing. I was going to use it anyway but when I went to put Basil’s on I found it wouldn’t fit. I think I glued the e-tool cover a tad too far to the right. So I made some straps and went with the Tamiya one- the picture below shows the straps and the 1mm markings on my cutting mat. (Work like this is not as tricky or tedious as it may seem- decent masking tape or some lead foil, a steel rule, craft knife, good tweezers and some PE buckles and clasps is all you need to make straps and items like weapon slings.)

Here it is in place- the straps have yet to be trimmed (where the top-most horizontal strap is across the bottle) and glued in their places.

So up next I will be getting the rest of Basil’s equipment in place and doing the same thing for Cyril.


So my stuff from DioDump has arrived! Here are the two main components, the wall and road.

I’m not fully decided on how it will all go together but I have a cunning plan…!


Actually I think Baldrick’s hair-brained ideas are probably better than most of my model ‘plans’- that is when I actually make one!

But I am working on getting the WW1 memorial idea,that was discussed earlier in the thread, into the scene and the items will need some tweaking for this.

As you can see the quality of DioDump products is very high and I’m looking forward to painting it as I quite like painting streets and buildings etc.

Basil and Cyril are also all sorted now and ready for their trip to the paint booth.



I have been quite impressed by the figures now they are more of less all built up. The extra satchels and bandoliers sit very well on them and the fit of the arms on both figures was pretty much perfect.

Earlier on in the thread I had found some interesting images of Abbeville in 1918. You can find them here.

Up next I will be working on the resin pieces and some other bits and bobs.

Thanks for reading.


Karl , beautiful work man , a cunning plan you could call a weasel …

This thread is modelling and history-candy!!
Keep it comin’!

‘So cunning you could brush your teeth with it.’ :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:! Thanks for the compliments bud.

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Thanks for saying that :+1:- I like to try and throw in a bit of history with my builds because I enjoy history (like a lot of us here I suspect) and its usually from reading some bit of history that I get inspired to build a subject connected to or inspired by it.

It is basically the same for me. Unless I can score a cheap tank. Then I reverse the process. :wink:

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I think all ofvus share the same process. Reading or seeing some history and than hunting for the right kits to use. That hunt usually unearth some forgotten kit in the stash and then the process is reversed, we have a kit and now we need a historic snippet to cover the build.

This work on the figures is lovely, a beauty to behold, and a subject of envy to all Braille scale modellers, like myself who wish to have real kits of figures. There are some as you know or not, like Preiser, but these are German for the most part, with some Russian, but Commonwealth and others are absent

Yes you are exactly right about the process of either getting inspired by a book/film/documentary etc or buying a kit and then going hunting for info.

Thanks for the compliments regarding the figures. I understand about Braille scale figs- it’s a poorly supplied scale in figures. Most that I see being sold look very old and there isn’t a whole lot of choice in subjects whereas in 1/35 there is a wealth of choice these days.

Perhaps with the advance of 3d printing Braille scale will get a bit more choice. I’m planning to get some 1/72 Japanese sailors soon for my 1/72 Battleship Yamato Turret. Paracel Miniatures released a few sets in resin and there is a set on the way from Beaver Corp which I am waiting to see previews of before I buy. It will be interesting to see how the figs compare to 1/35.

As you mentioned the Braille scale figures are mostly more like toys and although Dragon had some figures in 1:72 scale, which looked like their bigger brethren in 1:35 scale, they are exclusively Germans, like those from Preiser (which has excellent selection of figures in 1:87 scale, which more for railroads) and we also have Caesar Miniatures but they also have only Germans. Mind you this is only talks about figures that has to be assembled like those in 1:35 scale, which have such a large variety to be envied.

For the next bit I will be doing some resin work. I just want to take a sec and remind you that resin is dangerous and can produce the following side effects:

-Advanced Modellers Syndrome


-Wallet Fatigue




-Unintentional Stash Addition Syndrome


Resin may not be right for you. For further information you should contact your preferred model dealer.

True story: first time I used resin I was wondering why my trusty tube of Revell Contacta glue wasn’t holding the parts together…:sob:!

Many years later I wonder why my ‘Ultra Mega 2 millisecond bond time Superglue’ won’t hold the parts together… :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:! Such is the timelessly frustrating quality of resin.

So for this project I had a base and a wall that I thought was too big for four figures. I’ve had one or two projects in the past where the scenery has been a bit too big for the subject and I wanted to avoid that here.

A portion of the length and another part of the width was sawn off and I could then use this to work out what I needed to cut off the wall.

But the wall needed put together first so I could get an accurate length measurement. I use the ‘pining’ process on a lot of resin as it will go together more securely. For the pins I cut straight sections from paper clips, drill holes in one side and then insert the pins with some superglue. Once the glue is dry I put a bit of paint on the pins and line them up with the part they need joined to.

Then just drill the holes marked by the paint and insert with either superglue or, for larger parts, two part epoxy. I always try and use epoxy when I can as it is much more secure and durable than superglue.

About a day of drying time later I measured and cut what I needed to match the cobbles.

What I wanted to do now was separate the two time zones on the wall- one half in 1916 not all that well kept which is the state the wall has been cast in. The other half will be well kept as a small war memorial with nice plasterwork.

For this I applied magic sculpt over the wall to resemble a smooth and well rendered surface, one that since 1916 had been repaired and well looked after. This sort of work is probably the most straightforward of sculpting jobs and I’d recommend trying a task like this if you are new to sculpting as it is a good way to get used to how putty such as magic sculpt behaves.

Right now I’m building up the base using a picture frame and I set things out to see how they looked.

The bollards are from Mac One and the rubble cast is from Fields of Glory. The war memorial will (hopefully) fit in between the wall and bollards. Though if it doesn’t work out with the memorial I will likely not use the bollards. I’m happy with the size of things as they stand though.

Quick update on Basil and Cyril too. Both have been in the paint booth. Only needed a little filler and a bit of work on a seam line on them after the primer. I sprayed grey first, checked for issues, corrected any and then sprayed a misted white coat which helps when picking out highlights and shadows. I will be getting the paints out pretty soon.

I also put a coat of primer on the Tamiya figure I showed earlier.

The details are sharper under primer although I think Masterbox has the edge in some areas- particularly the ammo pouches and the puttees.

Anyway, like I said it’s time to get the paints out for Basil and Cyril so I will update on that soon.

Thanks for reading!


Any color you want, as long as it’s grey.

Obviously if you are going to paint something in black and white the color choice is going to be limited! I usually use Scale 75 Artist Acrylic but they only have three usable colors including black and white which I wanted to avoid using except perhaps for very dark shadows and extreme highlights.

It may very well be the same with other paint brands but luckily Vallejo do many grey tones and I think I have ended up with nearly all of them in the Model Color range.

A rainbow of dullness!

One thing you can say about this technique is that you are not short of references! This certainly makes it easier to choose the best tone of grey. For the uniforms themselves I went with London Grey. In my test fig of a WW2 Tommy I went with that color but it seemed a little dark for BD’s when I compared it to photos.

Much of the rest of the gear was picked out in lighter colors as borne out by the tones seen in pictures.

As I got into the painting it became difficult, at times I was almost itching to use color as using grey tones just seemed so odd! Usually I can keep track of what color is on what part but for this I needed to write them down and I also had to remember what color was where in the wet palette.

As you can see below both Basil and Cyril have all the base colors done now and I will be moving on to shadows and highlights now.

Unfortunately the War Memorial angle has not worked out- I was hoping I could use a beautiful piece from Monroe Perdu Studios. It was a 1/24 scale item I thought might just fit but in the end it stood taller than the wall and was too thick and wide- it would have overshadowed the scene to much too great an extent. Though it would likely go well in a scene with more room to play with.

Anyway, you can’t win them all and the build must go on! So now I will definitely have the ornate bollards and chain and I’m thinking of some plant beds at the foot of the wall. We’ll see when I actually get to that point!


Diggin the whole then and now theme , especially with the b/w tones .
Keep going man , looking good !!

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Instead of the wall maybe you could find a 1/32nd scale [ or a tad larger ] figure and put him on a pedestal , paint him bronze as a now statue ?
Just sayin …

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I had thought about something like that actually- was thinking a 1/72 fig may have worked as a small statue on a plinth. However, it was finding some text for an engraved dedication or plaque that was the problem- I doubt my sculpting skills could get anywhere close to what I wanted either. I do appreciate the ideas though, even if I don’t use them in this dio- they may end up in another at some point :+1:!