Black Ops, northern Italy -43

I have joined a GB on YouTube that will end 28 of February-22. So this is a quick build.
The whole thing is to make a YT video about the build. I really need to make a new better how to video, so I thought this will be a great idea.
The theme is artillery, including mortars.
I had an old mockup that I have showed before, now is the time to finish that work in 1/72.

I have to missions with this work:

  1. Make a good “how to build a diorama” video.
  2. Make a diorama in the artistic way that I have read so much about lately.

Pictures from the first mockup I made a year ago:

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The idea:
A German elite unit operates with black ops in the north of Italy 1943. Hunting partisans, killing civilians and blame the partisans etc etc. All terrible things you can though of. It’s war right!

Artistic way and Storytelling:
The story should be clear to the viewers, okey it’s not clear who they are going to attack, but it’s clear that they are preparing to attack something.
It’s a little odd that so many of the figures have their faces in the wrong direction for the viewers. We se the back of the heads on most of the figures. But that is an ingredient, and I hope it helps the viewers to move their eyes to the wall were the diorama ends. Because you want to know what they are looking at.

Explanation:
Triangle: Catching the viewers eyes. The three figures standing in the field will definitely be visible in a good way. The figure in the middle of the three will have civilian clothes to really pop out.
The figure giving orders to the three will have a visible face to give action to the scene.

Circle: Viewers eyes will go their after seeing the figures in the field. The viewers are sort of forced to do so.

Two big squares: Balance in the diorama. A building to the left and tall trees to the right, less in the middle.

Three small squares: Details for the viewers to discover and look at after the first look at the triangle and circle objects.

This figure is custom made from different parts.

A lot of plastic is needed to be cut away from the Caesar figures. But I have done it before.

I will add some unusual equipment so the black Ops theme works better.

I added a binocular to this snipers rifle.

Some different photos of the new mockup.

I realized that the wagon was more interesting if it was laying in an angle instead of just standing straight up.

I will work with details on the building. I have an idea of this appearance of it.

Guys, I really hope that you understand what I am trying to do here :laughing:
Please help me as usual, I need feedback, and I need to know if you follow my red thread I am trying to have in this project.

Cheers!

PS I got a new toy:

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I see that you really read a lot and practiced.
This will be really fun to follow and watch the video
Keep on the good work :grinning: :grinning:

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Another great idea and very interesting scheme even at this early stage.
It’s good how you explain the concept and the different aspects that are meant to attract and guide the viewer.
The mock up looks great so far and you are working with some nice figured to bring it all to life… I know this will be super realistic …
I also think your step by step explanations really help in people visualising the whole scene and how it unfolds :+1::+1:

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Good idea to go about how to build a diorama, the way you do it here, Erik.
Will be watching this story unfolds.
BTW I’m also part of the YT group build

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Erik, really fantastic how you present the philosophy, concept, and layout of “the diorama” in general and this one specifically. Interesting following how you guide the viewer through the diorama and get a feel for the whole tone and emotion of the scene. I really like this one a lot as the focal point of the subjects is just over the horizon; within grenade range but still unseen. Lots of action all over, but tight groups. Very well thought out and wonderfully executed.

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If ever dio building will be tought at school or university, you should be the first to be teaching. Almost scientific aproach of making a dio, great! And very clear on how and why!
The dio irself:nice right from the start, even with only a few figures…

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Thank you so much guys! I will continue the work some evenings next week.
I will try to scratch build some parts of the wagon to have a more old, broken and weathered look.
/Erik

Great! What will you build?

Certainly what the best dioramas are all about – planning & coherent story-telling so bravo Erik for doing this. As we all know there’s a strong element of subjectivity & spectrum of perceptions when we look at any scene, so my opinion is no more or less valid than anyone else’s and the creator always has the last word, as it should be.

Coming from an art history background it’s great to see you detailing how the eye should travel through the scene. I doubt many people consciously analyse this when viewing pictures but it’s often the difference between liking a picture or not – either it immediately makes sense, or it doesn’t. Looking through that “lens” at your plan, my first reaction was that the cart’s a distraction that contributes nothing to the scene - decorative yes, fills a corner yes, but something more relevant to the soldiers might be better, for example how they got there i.e. their vehicle?

As you say the focus is in the circle, but without knowing what those guys are looking at I’m lost, apart from assuming it’s an ambush…but of who/what? It looks like a very small “window” beyond so I’m not sure how much visual information could be squeezed into it or whether it could be easily understood. My other issue is probably the most subjective of all (and I could probably find many excellent scenes where the following is equally true) but looking at the overall scene perhaps 10% or less of the total visual area contains any relevance or clue about what’s happening. This is a totally arbitrary comment but I think it gets increasingly risky to drop below a minimum 25% of the area actively contributing to the narrative.

I should say (before anyone else does) that I could easily address all the above negative comments to 75% of my own work, so please don’t take it personally! All of us who make dioramas are magicians trying to deceive the viewer’s eye into believing things that are there, and also not actually there like the world beyond the edges. The great thing about this forum is we can all pick up a new trick (or tricks) and you’re right up there for teaching. So this is just one pupil’s response that you asked for, let’s see what others think & I’m always willing to be contradicted with good reasons :wink: :tumbler_glass:

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The kits involved are a StuG III Ausf E with the observation/vommand half track Sd.Kfz 253 and ammo carrier Sd.Kfz 252. I might add a Maultier. The setting itself isn’t yet completed in my head

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As you know I am thankful for all feedback. Without that, I would not be forced to improve my work. So thank you:)

I think you’re right here about that the cart could be an distraction. I disagree about placing a German military vehicle there, as you see the figures are having rucksacks, that is for a reason. They are operating by foot because they don’t want to be heard or seen by civilians or enemies. To visual that I used the title “Black Ops”.

Unfortunately not everyone will get this detail, and maybe it would be better to place a loud vehicle there just to answer the question how they got there.

I will see if I could change the cart with something else that is less distracting.

I am a little surprised that you are lost with the storytelling, isn’t it obvious that they are planning an ambush or attack? Do you have to know who they will kill? How they got there? Etc. I thought the tile would help to understand?

Relevance: Your right again, but you have to consider that this is a 1/72 diorama. If this would be a 1/35 work it would just contain this area:

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Then the whole scene would be like a classic “look around the corner vignette”.

Like this two by master Johan Fohlin:

Of course the best is build something like this, also by Johan Fohlin:

There you have everything in one piece except for a road sign to tell us exactly where we are.

So, instead of doing a 10 x 10 cm small 1/72 vignette of a mortar crew that no one would’ve seen or pay attention to on a contest, I wanted something else. That’s the reason why 80% of the diorama have no relevance to the figures.
Those 80% are the space I have to show quality work of a building, a field, trees etc.
I think that without those 80% the viewers would just see a group of 1/72 plastic figures, that could be painted by a kid.
Those who never have tried to build a quality 1/72 diorama probably have difficulty to understand this.

Example, I made this many years ago. I think this picture looks nice. In this 1/72 diorama 80% is not relevant, but it’s looking good, right? It’s not a storytelling diorama, more like a picture from real life. For me that is another type of diorama, you must not have an artistic way like a painting. But that’s another story:)

Therefore my conclusion is: for a 1/35 diorama the scene is too big just as you say. But for a 1/72 build i feel forced to add more scenery.
/Erik

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For what it’s worth: for me the whole scenery, including the cart, adds to the scene: a quiet village, German soldiers sneaking up to it, ready to unleash the beast of war upon this rural area: if this is a group of SS men, the houses might be burned down once they leave… for hiding partizans or jews…
And to me it doesn’t matter which scale…

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Yep all fair points Erik & that’s a particularly important distinction about different scales sometimes needing differing treatments, something a mono-scaler (1:35) like me ought to be more aware of. Whatever, intriguing it certainly is so on with the show maestro :tumbler_glass:

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@Dioramartin thanks man, you have to trust me on this one.
@bwilt Thanks! Spot on:)
/Erik

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I worked two nights with the building. I think the pictures speaks for itself:

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Work continues tomorrow. /Erik

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Probably you as well noticed the difference in size of the stones? I apologize for that, I saw it now and have tried to fix it.

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I am not sure about the hight of the wall. Right now it’s 28 mm, but after adding the groundwork it will be like 25 mm = 1,8 meter. Right now I assume that is realistic. After making the other broken parts of the wall tomorrow we will see how it looks.

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That stonework gets me every time. It’s brilliantly done Erik and each time that you do this scale, I have to remind myself after a few images it’s not 1/35… It’s damn good :+1::+1:
The wall dimensions look pretty good to me. With the figures there as a size reference it all looks like you would imagine it to. Great start to it all…well done :+1:

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Very nicely done!! Beautiful stones… and here in Holland garden walls and fencing is usually 1.80 meter, so I think yours are ok.

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Thanks guys! I woke up this morning and thought, what am I doing? The wall must be as low as in the mock up. It’s supposed to be 200 year old wall that by time line as slowly fallen apart. It’s not destroyed by force or explosions.
No one should be able to stand up behind the wall, the soldiers must hold their heads down. I will fix this.
But I save the idea of this 1,8 m wall. For sure it looked good:) /Erik