Le Liberatéur
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Base and Presentation

I wanted to do something different in the presentation of this particular vignette, instead of just placing it on a wooden base that was covered with a sidewalk and cobblestone street. As I worked out the ground plan, rearranging the two building elements and figure to get proper distances from one another, I saw that I was getting some interesting angles set in a diagonal progression, and I could do a staggered sidewalk, which I made from a sheet of balsa foam. This is a nice product to work with, as it cuts and carves easily and holds paint well. Unfortunately, it is almost completely covered with debris, but I sectioned and painted it all just to cover my bases (so to speak).

Rather than putting cobblestones down, I decided to paint the wood base (purchased at a crafts store) the colors of the French flag, but aged and worn. First, the base was stained grey and sealed with flat lacquer. Then I masked off the sections one by one. I dappled the grey surface with a plastic pan scrubber dipped in EZ Mask. When the EZ Mask was dried, I painted the flat color, and after that had dried, I rubbed the EZ Mask off the surface. Either the wood was still too porous, or the EZ Mask isn't really suited for wood, because it took some effort to remove it and expose the wood beneath the paint. When the three sections were completed, I gave the base a wash of turpenoid and black/sienna mix. The sidewalk was glued to the dry surface, and the buildings and debris were added.

The building elements and street lamp come from Verlinden. The building sections were constructed and painted as usual, with the addition of wood trim for the window and door frames and flooring.

The street lamp is tall compared to the other parts of the vignette, and I didn't want it to overpower the rest of the scene. I decided that "damaging" it by having the lamp box broken on the ground would keep the height in check and reinforce the sense of devastation. First, I inserted the top port of the pole into boiling water and bent it slightly, away from the buildings, and glued one of the horizontal arms askew, to suggest how the lamp was struck by building debris. I drilled out the end of the post and bottom of the box, and added conduit pipe to the end of the post and broken electrical wires running from the box. The light bulb was cut in half and hollowed out. I cut the clear plastic sheet that comes with the lamp to represent broken glass.

The frame for wedding picture is from one of VP's 1/35 scale sets; the photo was resized from an actual period wedding portrait I found in an antique store. Cut up bits of clear plastic represent the broken glass.

The rubble is a mix of cat litter, sand, sawdust, and wood scraps, mixed into a paste of artist's terra-cotta tempera paint and glue. This was spread over pieces of foam that helped build up the debris piles. Layered into this were 1/16 scale bricks from Custom Dioramics, which had to be painted to match. More rubble was added using white glue, and the entire area, including the figure, was dusted with MPP powders and sealed with a flat spray.

I'm quite pleased with this project. It was relatively quick for me (just a month) and was a good change of pace.

Construction and Detailing
Paint and Decals
Base and Presentation



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter