La Résistance

So, I keep a notebook of various diorama ideas and sketches as I see or read things that provide inspiration. I’ve had one entry in my notebook for several years describing a vignette of a waiter attempting an assassination of two German officers at a cafe. I think it might have been in Paris during the Nazi occupation. I can’t recall where I saw the image, but it may have been on the old site.

Nonetheless, I recently picked up the Miniart Cafe Visitors kit at my local hobby shop which brought this idea back to the top of the list.

For my recreation of the scene, I’m using Cafe de Flore in Paris as the basis for the cafe. There are a few great historical pictures of the cafe, and coupled with Google Earth, there are solid references. The cafe itself will be an important part of the story - almost a character in its own right.

Below is the rough construction of the cafe. Foam boards and drywall plaster. I created all the windows, trim, corbels and architectural elements in Blender and 3D printed them. For the time being, the awning is linen paper. Still working on the design of the railings.

I plan to use the Miniart figures together with several originals to populate the scene. Ultimately, the focal point of the story will be the waiter “serving” the Germans seated at the cafe. In my imagination, the waiter is part of the French Resistance. Still a lot of details to sort out, so I’ll be looking for advice along the way.

I’m excited about this one.


Excellent idea Jim & merde I was thinking of doing it too but you’ve beaten me to the drop! No problem I’ll likely go to Plan B later this year, liberation of Paris.

Your plan reminds me of this…

Your dio’s obviously different in many respects but there may be some handy refs in that clip. Bon chance, looking forward to this one a lot :+1:


Pretty cool diorama idea. The cafe looks really nice.


Very cool man , very cool !!


That building is stunning! Beautiful!


I agree with Matt… The building is gorgeous!


That seems like a nice cafe, I’m curious about the result.


Very nice progress! Do you have any plans to share/sell those design files?

Seeing your café with all the architectural details makes me think of the works by (the late) Bob Letterman, I’m sure he would be impressed with what can be done these days.


Thanks Tim. Don’t put your idea on the back burner on my behalf. There is more than one way to skin this cat. Great clip by the way. I like the idea of having a figure peering over the newspaper while seated at the café. It may add some mystery as to whether he’s part of the plan or not.


James, Glenn, Matt, Erwin and Francois:
Thanks for the kind comments. I’m thoroughly enjoying this build. I’ll post some additional photos as I make some more progress.


I hadn’t really given any thought to selling the STL files, but I’d be happy to share or design something if you need a particular item.

Yeah, I can’t fathom how Bob did what he did back in the day especially as large as his dioramas were. 3D printing sure does open up all kinds of design possibilities for those of us without Bob’s talents.


No you go for it mate, as others have already said your building’s a fantastic start!

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The building is well on its way. Looking forward to seeing the progress of this project. The Miniart figure sets of similar style have lots of potential.


I have no firm ideas right now but the details you have designed really looks great for 1/35th scale typical European buildings really look the part, so I might be interested further on.

But either way you should consider selling rather than sharing to make up for the work you have put in. :slightly_smiling_face:

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A bit more progress to share. The cafe is primed and ready, I’ve also laid out and painted the sidewalk section of the scene leaving room for a couple of street trees. Looking at historical reference photos, it looks like the trees were planted in the early 1930’s, so they won’t be massive and overwhelm the scene.

I also started working on the cobblestone street. I’m using the dried lentil and split green pea approach. It will certainly take a while, especially having to remove the skins from the lentils, but I like the look. Once all the cobbles are in place, I’ll apply some grout.

More to come soon…


That is a method of doing cobbles I’ve never seen before- you are very dedicated that’s for sure! The facade is looking beautiful too- cool details all over it.

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Interesting, those cobbles. The only question I have, is if they are not a bit widely spaced out? Usually cobbles are lying closely to each other!

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Erwin, I think you are right. That was bothering me too. I need to go back and redo the cobbles anyway since all the lentils split. The green peas are the way to go as they are more durable. If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing.

In the meantime, I’ve printed and painted all the ground floor storefront pieces and started fleshing out the awnings. While many of the reference photos have white awnings, I’m going with a hunter green so that I can provide a pop of color and some contrast against a neutral-colored building.


Some progress to share on the cafe. Building is painted and weathered, and the detail elements in the middle section are completed.

It’s hard to tell from the photograph, but the windowpanes are installed in the center of the building. Once I put a black backing board on the building, the windows will look more like the storefront on the ground floor. When all the awnings are in, I’ll cover the seams and weather the whole assembly. It was a real bitch removing the railings from the 3D printer sprue, but I am happy the way they turned out.

A close-up of the architectural elements. Next time I take some photos, I’ll add a flash or some directional lighting, so the lower sections aren’t in so much shadow.


Beautiful work–for the next photos how about a bonus, illumination inside for a night-café scene :bulb: