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Brave Little Belgium

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by btavis, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I have started my third piece in my World War One trilogy following the Taxi de la Marne and The Day That Shook the World. This will portray an engagement in Belgium during the first few weeks of August 1914 in which Belgian forces using armored cars pursued German Hussars and Uhlans who served as advance scouting parties for the main German army. The Belgians were quite resourceful and aggressive and proved to the Germans to be a better match than they had planned. It can be argued that the sacrifice the Belgians made considerably helped British and French forces redeploy to check the German envelopment plan.

    Simply, the dio will center around an incident on a country road in which a Belgian Minerva scout car encounters a squadron of German cavalry and immediately engages killing many Uhlans in the process.

    I was inspired by the following painting as a point of departure:

    [IMG]
  2. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Since the armored car is prominent I started with that. The Minerva was a Belgian car company and along with another company called Sava produced most if not all of the armored cars the Belgians used. They were part of the Belgian cavalry and had such dignitaries as Lieutenant Kervyn de Lettenhove in their ranks.

    Unfortunately, there are no kits of the Minerva in 1/32 so I had to build one from scratch. Here are some pictures of the car at about 75% of its scratchbuilt completion. As usual the car is made from plastic card and brass with a wonderful set of wire spoked wheels from Scale link. The wire wheels took longer to assemble than the rest of the model!!!

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    ChaosCossack likes this.
  3. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    The car will contain Lt. Lettenhove and two or three other soldiers in the Minerva. In addition I will add a Belgian bicycle soldier and two Belgian cavalrymen on horses as well as four or five German Uhlans. There will be several civilians dodging out of the way as this engagement ensues. I suspect there will be around twelve to fifteen figures in this piece altogether.

    Incidentally, the Minerva could only muster 25mph but packed a stinging wallop with its mounted Hotchkiss machinegun.

    I will make this diorama into an open front shadowbox and consequently will be able to control the lighting to create an early morning setting.

    Here is a website with some more information on the Minerva.
  4. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    YEEEESS!!!

    I been waiting for this one ever since Tulsa last year!!

    Sweet looking car for sure, looking forward to see how you get along with the horses :)

    If you need any equine reference pics let me know, we have 30 some horses at work of all different colors and markings.
  5. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Anders, I may take you up on the horse reference offer. Too early at this point to know what I need but maybe later down the road as I get to that phase I might need a pointer or two.
  6. pgarri27 Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Bob,
    This promises to be another outstanding piece. I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two dioramas. Waiting and watching.
    Pete
  7. captnenglish Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Another BoS in the making
  8. Jason W. Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Wow, Bob! This is going to be great!

    Jason
  9. megroot A Fixture

    Country:
    Netherlands
    Mister Tavis,

    Isn't it enough that one person goes for a mega diorama. (Bill Horan). :eek:
    Now you wanted to do the same. ;)
    Are you and Bill very sure there is nothing wrong under the skull roof?? :)

    Honestly, i admire this great diorama's. Great stuff, alot of research, sculpting, planning etc.
    Amazing, how do you find the time??

    Looking forward to see the first pictures.

    Marc
  10. pgarri27 Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    [Isn't it enough that one person goes for a mega diorama. (Bill Horan).
    Now you wanted to do the same.
    Are you and Bill very sure there is nothing wrong under the skull roof??
    ]

    To Marc,
    I guess you haven't seen Bob's other dio's in this series, or you would know already there is something wrong under te skull roof. Bob creates incredible scenes that require a bit of lunacy to attempt. But aren't all great artists a little 'strange'?

    To Bob,
    Keep on being crazy, we love your stuff.

    Pete
  11. Figure Mad Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Hi Bob

    What a superb subject, I for one can’t wait to see this one unfold... :)

    Dave
  12. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I am not sure about Bill since his foray into dioramas is somewhat infrequent (but absolutely brilliant nevertheless) but to me it is like making little movies and I think that of all aspects of modeling it has the most compelling lure for me. Since I really enjoy making everything (people, cars, buildings, weapons, lighting effects, etc) I find that dios allow me to stretch whatever skills I have acquired and as a result projects that take months actually keep me sustained with all of the intricate aspects.

    As far as time is concerned I become singularly focused the whole time and I probably model about forty hours a week. When you have a strong passion for something the time somehow becomes available. Plus, I don't play golf!
  13. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks, Pete. It's really all about the love of history and the amazing number of dramatic and epic stories that invoke such strong imagery to me. I always see in my mind's eye what the piece will look like before I ever start. Then it is just a matter of making all the pieces to fit the image as I envisioned.

    Besides, there's a fine line between modeling and insanity!
  14. captnenglish Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    You are an inspiration sir.
  15. quang Active Member

    Country:
    Belgium
    Bob,

    You're the Cecil B. DeMille/ David Lean of the figure world. :lol:

    Looking forward to seeing this project unfold.

    (y) (y)

    Q.
  16. amherbert Member

    Hi Bob.

    I look forward to seeing this come to life!
    I've just started reading about the Great War, and the stories of 'Brave Little Belgium' certainly stirred the UK!

    Cheers
    Andy
  17. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a painting from around the same timeframe depicting the Battle of Haelen. Johan Putseys provided this to me last year for uniform references.

    [IMG]
  18. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Lights, cameras....Humbrol!
  19. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Andy, that's right. Considering that the violation of Belgium sovereignty by the Germans was the reason the Brits entered the war in the first place, it makes sense that the Brits were "up in arms" over the whole thing.
  20. jjgurk Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Excellent idea Bob. The Great War is an oft overlooked era in our miniature world. As an aside, and this may help you for reference, Lyn Macdonald has written a superb series of books that deal with WW1.

    John

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