Wall of stone

Neither my torpedoes nor my boat are completely finished, but then I wanted to have atry at some walls, made of stone.
Now, if there is an era of modelmaking that moved a lot since last time I built some massonnery of any kind (Brest Litovsk, 2005, another life), that's really the way the model makers build their walls ruins, whatever. Hydrocal, plastic (Miniart, let my eyes roll), cork.. well none of those ways are mine. I always believed that to reproduce an element accurately in scale you should use the same material. Metal for metal, Stone for stone. Aha that's easy being said of course. But really if I had the skill to do my boats all of metal or wood I would do them this way.

There is one thing where I feel like model makers don't have much excuses buying ready made products, it's really when it comes to ruins, walls, houses etc. Because they're freaking easy to do! We a(rte not speaking homemade photoetch here, just to put a few wooden sheet together, pour a bit of plaster and using a modeling knife.

It took me 2 hours to end up with that one below

First let's cut a bit of plastic to have some raisings in the massonery and then using some plasticine for kids to do all the borders (okay, I reckon cutting the plastic in geometric shapes can sometimes be tricky)

pouring plaster to do a wall

Notice some detergent thing for the round shape.

plaster wall in scale
Let's trim this thing once it's dry -don't wait too much because it's harder when the plaster is rock hard.

sculpting the wall
Here is the process (a bit boring) to scratch all the different stones. Do that with the back of a X-Acto, something like that.

When the stones are done, don't hesitate to redo them another time, vary the amount of space between each stone, scratching them with the tip of the blade, half removing them etc.. More tricks about that soonish

Anyway, here are two views of my small bit of wall. A much bigger one next ime/

The Russian 1905 PT boat is completed

So that was some three weeks worth of "work" then, the 4 first meters of that small ship are finally completed. I have no real time to feed t-hat blog properly, so here are some of the steps I used in order to build all the accessories. few text, loads of pictures.

So this starts with homemade photoetch. I only had a few bits of brass left -and then my French online mail order is sluggish to get the stuff delivered, so I had to rely a lot on some of the leftovers from previous dioramas I carefuly store. Anyway, I could still do some of the 47 mm Hotchkiss parts as well as air intake stuff etc.

photo etch homemade

First that air intake. I hate building air intakes, this is very difficult because you have to work out a master in plastc and Magic Sculp, then you have to vacuform it (with the heat of a candle!) and then you have to join and fill the two halves..

Air intake scratchbuilt


here is a bit of soldering, those are the two supports for the side lights. I don't think i will place them on the boat because their shape somewhat hides the gun, and then I have  a reference picture where those had been removed solder

half dried Magic Sculp, evergreen tubing, breech sculpting and trimming, sanding etc, here are some parts of the Hotchkiss 47mm gun parts of the Hotchkiss 47mm gun

Hotchkiss 47mm gun completed! Hotchkiss 47mm gun

Here are all the parts done! Now it's time for gluing those parts for the 1/35 russain PT boat

And here is the thing.. I will post some better pictures showing it primed soonish!

Russian 1905 PT boat part2

That's the hull completed, I post it at the top because it looks nicer on the RSS feed.

A Russian PT Boat scratchbuilding

Actually there's still a long way from my last post to that hald baked result.

First let's fill the hull with some car repairing mastic. of course to minimize the amount used I put some plastic sheets near the sides

filling the hull

Of course what's good with this kind of mastic is that it can be filled very easely.

Now this particlaur boat got a not so nice accounter near the conning tower. So i cut out the plastic, glued some lead foil (harder and harder to find) and filled the joints with Tamiya grey mastic.

holes in the hull

Now these steel boats got countless rivets as obvious on soem details pictures I was sent. No way i am going to drill a hole for each and put a brass rivet inside. Fortunately, those were rather small and Aires put out some resin rivets on decals. And those were ideal for this build so here my rivet covered hull..

Aires resin rivets

Now I will have some work to do on all the "details" like air intakes, trapdoors, stanchions, the 47mm gun etc etc, quite some work!

A Russian PT Boat scratchbuilding (the start)

Hard to realize but I had some sort of diorama burnout right after SMC Eindhoven. I had to work way too much just prior to the event, and certainly needed the rest.

Whatever, after this kind of things I usually ned to get back to the basis. Why not scratchbuilding (again) a Russian 1900 ear PT boat?

So i found that very special one built in Finland (then a part of Russia) in order for the navy to place them on battleships like the Orel or the cruiser Retzivan (that I already modelled on the Tsushima diorama).

I needed as always a lot of reference to get started and I thank my friends Kronma and Cerberus JF to have filled me with great reference.

As alsways it started by drawing the cross sectiopns of the ship on a graphic software, printing them down to paper..

Russian PT Boat crossections printed

Then I glew those on some 1mm plastic card and proceeded to cut them, and assemble them like I show below.

assembly of the Russian 1900 PT boat

hey, notice something. i went a bit fast here! What about the turret on the lower left of the picture? now that was the difficul part..

first notice that i hollowed the top of the boat so that i can place that turret afterwards.

Then what I did is that I put a small sheet of paper in place and managed to draw the shape of the final turret that way :

the shape of the PT boat turret

Of course I neede tons of adjustements and tricly finger placing before getting that. Notice the crosses which are the position of the portholes.

Then  I glued that bit of paper on some plastic and cut the shape out, and used my (great) Czech punch and die to hollow the portholes

hollowing the portholes

Then I assembled everything, trying to leave the less gaps possible, glued everything in place with some Tenax like  glue, and added a roof with Magic Sculp covered plastic sheet.


Okay, I don't feel like I make it plain here; but such a work is twofolds -really it is ultra fast as all the plastic work was done in less than 2 hours, but then it was a really tricky work to do because what you must look after is leaving the less gap possible when you assemble the turret and you must get the shape right which I *mostly* did.

You still noticed that there is a big Tenax  trace on the turret with some embedded fingerprints that is going to be hard to correct with Mr Surfacer.

Oh well..


Whitehead Torpedoes (part 2)

the shape of those torpedoes was okay really, but I soon discovered I would probably be unable to drill some evenly spaced holes at the 2/3 of the length of the thing.

But well I had foressen this and prepared some PE ring (soldered of course) beforehand. So I had to destry the shape in order to insert those metal rings.. Whitehead Torpedoesand then to cover the parts with a fresh layer of Magic Sculp. I let dry and then sanded again.. Whitehead Torpedoes Then I drilled a few holes around the tail of each of my 3 torpedoes and proceeded to glue each and every blade of the propeller. Finally I glued in place all the tail bits.. Now I have to sand an extra bit where the superglue overflowed -and I also have to add quite a few details

Whitehead Torpedoes (part 1)

One good thing when being around for a bit of time is that you get great help when asking for some very precise stuff. So here is a gentleman that scanned me some very old plans for Whitehead Torpedoes as they were built in Fiume -ex Austria Hungary. Well thanks once more because they're almost finished by now, and reasonably accurate.

Whitehead Torpedoes

The first thing I had to do was to cut some aluminium and brass tubes at the right dimension using this kind of plan

the right size for tubing

Then actually cut the tubes. i filled them with Green Stuff so that every element would be at the center of it's parent.

cutting tubing



Let's cover those assemblings with Magic Sculp, wait for a few days and then sand until the shape is perfect. Now those early torpedoes look so much better than later types.

the shape of whitehead torpedoesTime to sort of draw some lines all around the tail of the torpedo, so to do that, I embed it in my Punch and Die set and turn the shape until I have some sort of line all around.



Homemade Photoetch - Rhein Gold part 2

Now the trick for etching brass is that the etching must be the fastest possible.

That means that the bath musn't be clogged, the Perchlorure de fer (okay, can't remind how to say that in English), it must also be stirred and heated

So in an old aquarium I put 2 liters of the acid, an aquarium heater and air pump and dipped the fret in it.

You can see pretty fast if things go well. look below the parts pop out of the metal


Then when the parts begin to fall apart, better clean everything and get the parts

Rhein gold! finished PE

Let's filter the water, dry the parts and clean them with Acetone so that every trace of the photoresist material can be wiped away.. and time to start the building of the diorama

Homemade Photoetch - Rhein Gold

When i changed my website earlier this year, all of my archives went down the drain. including everything related to Homemade Photoetch. So here is a bit of a reminder associated to my newest project.

Well first let's spend a bit of time on Inkscape or Illustrator (any vector graphic software) drawing this nice plan. Remember, there should be the less white possible because the white parts will be dissolved and you don't need to get your acid bath clogged too early.

Homemade PE -designing the fret with a vector graphic software

I use a regular HP desk lazer printer to printb this drwaing *4 times* on some transparent paper.

print the drawing for homemade photoetch

So why 4 times? that's because the drawing is not opaque enough with one print.

Do some sort of sandwich using some tape, 2 printings on the top of each other, because you're going to insert the brass sheet betwwen each of those 2 coats.

Cut the photoresist coated brass sheet at the right dimensions.

Cut the photreisit coated brass sheet

insert the photoresist coated brass sheet

Here is the sandwhich - Remove the tape protection on each side of the brass and insert the photoresist coated brass sheet betwwen the transparent printings like written a few lines up.

Place your sandwhich on your insulating machine (some special UV neons, plans are everywhere on the internet)

Insulating machine

Then place your brass sheet in the revelant bath (usually it's either sold in a dry form that you dilute in water, or as a concentrated liquid). You can buty this in most electronic shop as it's the same product that is being used to make some printed circuits.

Rememember that the temperature of the bath may be important too. Try not to touch the brass with your fingers and wear some gloves because this is acid and it actually may burn you.

revelant bath

And after a few minutes stirring (you must have a few minutes actually, if you develop the stuff too fast the print can me of a bad quality) you may have this which looks quite good indeed!

printed PE(to be followed..)


SMC Eindhoven, best show in the world

So I walked out of SMC last sunday, a bit dazed by the whole day, and went to sit alone near the big pond near the venue. Then some majectic heron took out, the loop was looped. That was a great omen. Back to my bubble.
What can I say about SMC? The best modeling show in the world? best organisation I ever see? best friendship I ever came through? so many things really.., I truy to sum up..

Best thing : the overall friendship
Biggest surprise: A/ nobody talked models before the actual show, B there was actually quite a few people attending my own demo!
Biggest lesson taught: never get yourself photographed near german or Dutch model makers (Canadian and British ones as well I should add)  because they're mostly two times bigger than you are.
Best quote : "you should change nationality, as long as you stay French you won't be reckoned as a truly great modeller"
Best advice: from Mig really. And mr Van Gills as well, I will give it a thought..
Best thanks: to Everybody really, but especially to Robert and SMC who took an enormous risk in inviting somebody who never goes out of his house for such things
What I got out of it : A clearer view of what I like and don't like in model making, a truer view of what a model maker is like, and of the whole "scene". Truly great support from great modelers. Finally I got the confirmation of something I only guessed: fewer and fewer diorama makers these days, all the best then it's time to get new things, new ideas, a new vision of diorama making!


The picture is opne of the few I took: there is my dioramas near Mig's models, I was very happy about the amount of picture being taken of those! SMC my stand

Last update before SMC

So the week-end after next one I am going at SMC Eindhoven to show those dioramas. I will bring each I did since 2008 -starting with Sokol -all except Galilée which is too fragile.
This will be the first time they move out of my house so that's quite an event as far as I am concerned really -also because I don't intend to renew the experience before quite a bit of time. Now I think that one (the T-26 diorama) should be ready -and even if it isn't I will still bring it.

In the meantime here a few views of some details of the diorama, of course the ground is not yet burnt and there lacks quite  a few stones and sand and grass bits etc..

Of course, even the very light green and light sand tones are defined; there is still  a lot of colour correction that must be done!

Diorama T-26

diorama T-26

diorama T-26