Number Seven diorama blog

1/35 Herons

I have been spending an evening looking at pictures of the Dniepr on Google Earth, fascinating tool and place..

Anyway, after albatross and seagulls I had a try at herons, the tip of the wings are done of CA glue coated paper, while the wings and body are in Green Stuff and Magic Sculp. The grey shades are Mr Surfacer.


1/35 herons

T-26 resin turret

I didn't do much modelling this week, my kids gave me their various diseases. So i have been spending time writing articles for two different european mags (no, not French).

Well still to make me forgive for the fact the site was down for a whole day, and also to test some facebook->rss feature, I put up this thread which is about that Complekt Zip turret I tracked down from Russia, thanks for some advises I got on Armorama.

Well, it took the gentleman one week to send it by post, and then 2 extra weeks for the postman to deliver it, but then I didn't regret it.

Having no experience about resing kits whatsoever, it took me less than 45 mn to build this very beautiful turret. No flash, no bubbles, ultra clever placeholders, so much easier tio build than the Zvezda turret, a real bliss and  highhly recommended (and I don't recommend highly a lot of mail orders or companies)

Actually I was in doubt because of stuff I read, indeed Zvezda's kuit made some engine cover that doesbn't match the turret, so either I kept the turret and scratchbuilt a new turret vent, or I changed the turret and kept the engine.

well I choosed the second solution, half because of laziness, the other half because I liked the look of that conical turret, looked a bit pathetic actually, an dthe whole of my diorama will be dead pathetic.

Anwyay here are two pictures

Complekt Zip T-26 turret



T-26 turret



Evil Dead

Okay so how many people who might fall on this post did I actually meet? Actually 7 it seems. Some still seem to find it hard to understand how an honest father of two, happily married and all can actually model these kind of things.
I have always been sort of annoyed by some sort of pink colour modulation haze surrounding the realms of model making. yes you can model some soldiers having  a cup of tea near the tank, but you can't model the people they will kill nor can you model them after having been killed.

Like or not like tanks, they're here to kill, that's war. You can't take a part of it and ignore the worst of if. And this time I am definitely here for the worst.

Now since a few short years, I have been noticing a raise of the dead in diorama making. My brother Nicolas Cabaret is particluarly apt at showing this. Usually though, the dead stay polite, are nice, lay on one side and seem to have had a peaceful death -which is another way of taking back all the fangs from death.

Well, my dead are evil, they are ugly, they are violent -well at least that's what the way I wanted to show them, with limbs fixed in various off positions, everything about them would be violent. Up to you to say me if I succeeded.

I have been taking my sources for those various deads on several pictures I found on the Internet so that they could look like the real thing.

Credits are : ICM and Tamiya for the portyankis end boots, Hornet for faces and hands (got lazy on that one), Hornet and Tank again for the helmets, tank for the rifles. The rest if magic Sculp, homemade photoetch  and Duro.

T-26 and soldiers

Thanks to Dimitris for making out that one: I used 2 left hands eh..
T-26 and soldiers

T-26 building end priming time

So I have my friend Alex coming and saying "As long as you model a tank,  why did you spend so much time building such a dog of a kit while the Tamiya BT7 builds so easely".

Well for the same reason that i won't model the Bismark or the Yamato for starters -and also because I believe some shapes are better for dioramas than others.

BT-7 look like a winner and is also a very long tank with nothing much going on throughout much of its length -It looks like a matchbox, teh eyes slip on iot and go elsewhere while the T-26 is shorter has a more obvious hotsopt in the shape of this huge turret comparted to the rest of the tank.

It also looks more lousy. Let's be clear, I never model winners, i model pathetic, the T-26 looks unfit for war and that suits my needs. As for the soldiers I always model them as victims. Someone said "War are done by people who don't know each other that kill each other for the benefits of people that know each other but don't kill each other".

Here is the interior of the tank as painfuilly scratchbuilt.

T-26 interior

fater that time to paint the interior, glue the 2 halves of the tank together -that was a real mess!! part because the Zvezda kit is so-so, part because the deformations I made to the hull led the whole gluing buisness to be a very tricky affair.

In case you wondered that postion of the fenders I picked on a 1941 picture

T-26 completed

The whole rear of the tank is scratchbuilt as it will be obvious on other pictures. i didn't fixed the wheels or the turret yet.

And here I prime the tank..

Well, I first primed it with some Tamiya grey primer, and then I covered the parts that will end up being lit by the sun in white Vallejo primer while I added some black ink to that same primer in order to prime it in dark grey where the sun doesn't shine -behind the wheels etc..

T-26 primed

Next it's going to be fun! painting and weathering at least :)

And extra thanks to Dimitris and Vittorio for finding about those *two* figs that had two left hands eh..

Starting the T-26 painting

Now the Blacken -It is really an amazing product. I thought it blackened the metal Friul tracks but it doesn't really. they get some sort of rusty sandy tint which is spot on. With even some natural weathering here and there. When you rub the tracks with your fingers they start to get a darker color etc. Really good.

Now I just fixed them in place without overpainting them and started my usual painting process on the wheels. This is not bad looking, but nbot very precise and some work will be needed still.

Friul tracks with Blacken it on T-26


Here is a view of the other side of the tank, with more weathering attempts on the lower part of the hull. Work in progress I say.

T-26 wheels unweathered

where does the sun shines from

Okay now let's explain my own take on "color modulation". I am always taken by the fact that however beautiful and aah artistic the tanks painted with those brand new ways and products always look like, they are painted in a completely neutral light that baths every part of tanks just like some spotlights were placed everywhere like in a dream museum if you will.

Well, that's not the case in real life see? If it's 4PM even in winter, there are some great chances that the bottom of a tank will appear to be almost black because there is nothing to light the ground below the tank or the bottom of the tank. Then there is the colours themselves. You know the story of the white horse? Well, in the summer when you look at a white horse under a tree, the horse will be green. No matter by which end you take it, the light will be filtered through green leaves and a green light on a white horse gives you a green horse. There's only your brain that sees it as a white horse because you know a green horse doesn't exists.

Same thing with tanks man. Now when I see people trying to get the exact Russian green for their BT-26..

Well anyway, it's 6PM on the Loire's borders in august '41, the sun is at maybe 40° high and comes from the rear center of the tank: which means that the rear of the tank,  the side of the turret will be of a nice frog yellow-green, while all places behind will be of a normal green.

if you ask me why there is so much brown stains on the rear of the t-26 that's because that's the place where the soldiers rest, they cast a shadow too.

Of course under the fenders, under the turret it's a brown dark green..

When it comes to the quality of the weathering itself, that's still work in progress, i have at least another 4 or 5 hours to spend on it.

T-26 clear side

Now that's the same tank, taken from the other side, where the sun doesn't shine

T-26 color modulation dark side

Okay now, I have a lot of extra time to spend with a 0 brush to arrange everything, add a few rust stains, stuff like that. And then i think the inside of the turret hatch is whitey too.

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Two days ago I read about the death of Katerina Golubeva (????????? ????????) while doing some computer work. So well. I usually never care about such news and passed to something else.
Then I went in my garden shed, dressed in JBA Diorama, started to paint something and then I really fell it. 
I remember a long time ago going to the cinema to see the 2 movies she did for Lithuanian filmmaker Sharunas Bartas, "few of Us" and "Three days" which were both abysmally boring for anyone either not drunk enough or not patient enough to adjust to the extremely slow tempo of those young people smoking fags and wandering through derelict industrial landscapes as taken on camera. The heart of my diorama making ideas in fact. My ultra old diorama "Orange 0" doesn't figure Katerina because I couldn't sculpt anything then except hair -so I gave my converted figure her haircut.
Of course since then she didn't only do good movies (blame the abysmally bad Carax), but yet today I feel really sad, my dioramas are somewhat orphaned of that incredibly wild looking woman, certainly one of the best reasons ever to model Russian.
Katerina Golubeva
Katerina Golubeva

Blending soldiers into the Tank

My hapless tanker is now pinned on the roof of the tank. Now that needed quite a bit of dry fitting and I still have some work to do on the fig painting.

t-26 with dead pilot

I don't know if that's much notcieable, but I have been using quite a bit of light direction on that fig, for instance the green on this side of the turret is of a very yellowey green. I have been airbrushing a much darker shade of green on the turret before fixing the tanker to mimic the shadow the body would cast on the hull.


Finally, here is one of the soldiers lying on the floor. the 2 extra ones will lay on the tank, and that will be for nex week :) 

dead man