Taxi de la Marne

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by btavis, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I have been working on a diorama since August of this year and I would like to share the development of this project for those who may be interested. I have taken many pictures and will use this thread to describe the project in as much detail as is warranted. It is the first major diorama I have ever undertaken so feedback would be appreciated. It is entirely scratchbuilt.

    As time permits I will post pictures to this thread with commentary to explain the process.
  2. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    The particular incident I chose occured in September 1914. The German army had within one month virtually invested Paris and the threat to France was as dire as as those dark days during the siege of Paris in the Franco Prussian War. General Joseph Gallieni was the Military Governor of Paris, responsible for its protection and being a very able commander responded in a quick and tactical manner by employing every conceivable vehicle in Paris, mostly Renault taxicabs, to tranpost six thousand soldiers of the 6th Army to the Marne to help check General Von Gluck of the German Army.

    For my project I chose to replicate in 1/32 scale a Renault, Model BY taxicab. I started with a model by a French company called JMP of a Renault electric car. This resin model provided the undercarriage, wheels and other accesories I needed to make my model. After scouring every resource I could think of including a verbal description of the taxi on display at the Invalides Museum in Paris by a friend I started to design my version. I constructed it out of plastic card and brass wire. An in progress picture of the early stages is below.
  3. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Since the taxi was to have a driver and soldiers inside I needed to create those figures before finishing the taxi so I could fit them inside. I used the wireframe armature method and heads from various sources that I had. I modified the heads to make them fit the period and style. The officer next to the driver is General Gallieni although some poetic license is required as he probably did not ride to the front in reality. The picture below shows the General and the driver completed and the soldier in the backseat partially created. Gallieni will be holding a map pointing out something to the driver.
  4. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    This picture shows the driver and Gallieni painted and in position.
  5. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here the taxi is virtually complete with the figures mounted inside.
  6. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    To create a sense of urgency I wanted to show that the act of transporting six thousand soldiers by these taxis was a considerable undertaking and true to reality, I then started creating soldiers that would be on top of and on the runjning boards of the taxi. I started with the classic wireframe method as shown below.
  7. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is the soldier who will be holding the French tricolor further along in creation.
  8. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a picture further along in development.
  9. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I envisioned this diorama to have a sense of drama so gave a lot of thought to the characters to be portrayed, their interaction with each other and the overall setting. I decided that I would portray a small section of a 1914 Parisian street somewhere in the Montmarte district with civilians on the roadside.

    I made a mockup of the scene to get a sense of how it was to look as shown in the pciture below.
  10. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I pasted pictures of Parisian storefronts to cardboard to get the scale correct and then proceeded to build the structures out of cork, basswood, plascticard and wire as shown below.
  11. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Central to the theme is the interaction of a bakery woman giving a loaf of peasant bread to one of the soldiers who eagerly accepts it. Since the French army lived on bread and wine I thought it was an appropriate gesture. Pictured below is a side shot of the bakery woman who at this point is finished.
  12. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    After the street scene had been mostly completed including the construction of the cobble stone road I could then start postioning the various figures to get a sense of the overall composition. The picture below shows all of the sculpted figures and the Taxi in place.
  13. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a closeup of the two businessmen. The one on the left will be holding a cane in his right hand.
  14. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a close up of the soldier riding in the backseat of the Taxi.
  15. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a closeup of the flower shop.
  16. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a picture of the two storefronts with a Nun blessing the troops as they pass.
  17. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is a close up of the grocery store and Nun.
  18. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Here is an angle looking down the street. Note the hump in the road and the paver stones. Also, the gutter is full of wet leaves appropriate for fall.
  19. MSzwarc New Member

    Bob,

    I've seen your earlier posts on this wonderful diorama, but I'm glad you've posted this SBS. This scene is rich in action and detail, and it's great to see the various action and detail highlighted. Beautiful job (y) !

    Mike
  20. btavis Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks Mike. I figured the workbench area was the place to recap this project from the beginning. Indulgences to those who have seen most of this before. I should be adding the finished pictures of the soldiers this week as I am off work. Most of them are nearly finished. This is getting so close to being finished I can taste it.

    Where in Texas are you? I am near Dallas.

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