28mm WW1 Timeline

Those of you kind enough to follow my blog will be aware of my WW1 Timeline project. After a good few months of work and several periods where I hit the wall in terms of inspiration the project is now complete.  I say complete, to be fair this historical period has been one which I have really enjoyed and as such I cannot see myself not adding to it in the future.  For now though, and in particular for the Armed Forces Day event to celebrate 100 years of the ending of the Great War which inspired this work, the job is done.

I thought I would share with you the sequence of these 28mm figures, vignettes and dioramas as they accord with the timeline.  Full details and better photos on each model can be found under the menu header “WW1” if your interest extends beyond this post.  For now I’ve just been lazy with regard to the photos I’ve pulled together. I didn’t have my Light Box when I started the project but when I get a moment I’ll retake all the photos and update this post.

Looking ahead I’m very much open to suggestions for expanding this project with further figures/vignettes/dioramas and any ideas you might have will be gratefully received.



Model 1 – “Read All About It” – Britain declares war on Germany – 4th August 1914

Believe it or not this little guy was key to my project.  I wanted to kick the thing off with the announcement of war but couldn’t work out how to do it until I found this little chap.


Model 2 – “It’ll Be Over By Christmas” – Enlisting 1914

Enlistment was a major event and took place all over the country with lengthy queues of young men signing up.  Little did they know what was in store for them.


Model 3 – “Passchendale” – July 1917

One of the major conflicts.  Nothing like a slow walk towards machine guns!


Model 4 – “James Newton Langley” – Middlesex Regiment, June 1915 to November 1918

This is my Great Grandfather.  He went through the war unscathed.  When I found this figure which had an uncanny resemblance to his photograph I just had to do it and include it in the project.


Model 5 – “Scottish Highlander” – 1914 – 1918

This started life as a spare figure. I didn’t want to do a big thing on the Scots but neither did I want to leave them out.  I then had the idea of turning the figure into a bust.


Model 6 – “Field Marshall Douglas Haig” – Commander British Expeditionary Force, Western Front 1915 – 1918

Love him or hate him a key figure who divided opinion. Impossible to leave out.


Model 7 – “Ypes” – April 1915

This was the first model I completed before it grew into a project.  Painted entirely with oils.  There were several battles at Ypes, all bloody conflicts.


Model 8 – “The Somme” – July 1916

Possibly the most famous incident of the war with an incredible loss of life on day one.  Hard to associate it with anything other than death.


Model 9 – “Vickers Gun Crew” – Amiens August 1918

The machine gun of its day and a must for inclusion.


Model 10 – “British Command” – 1914 – 1918

Lions led by Lambs.  Not all the officers were incompetent!


Model 11 – “British Casualties” – The Somme, July to November 1916

A sad reality of war.  Not everyone survives or gets killed. Some get to live with devastating injuries for the rest of their lives.


Model 12 – “British Signallers” – 1914 – 1918

Communication in all walks of life are key but not very Hollywood!  Underrated heroes.


Model 13 – “British 18 Pounder Gun Crew” – 1914 – 1918

The volume of shells fired during the war was incredible.  No wonder the landscape was so devastated.  An artillery piece was another must.


Model 14 – “British Troops French/Belgium Border” – 1915

I felt I needed a centre piece and fancied another building project.  I settled for a scene depicting troops making their way through a French/Belgium farm


Model 15 – “Gone But Not Forgotten” – British Cemetary 1917

Not everyone died on the battle field, some died from their injuries after they returned home.


Model 16 – “Daddy’s Home” – November 1918

The last piece (for now).  I needed an ending and decided a soldier returning to his family would no nicely.



28mm WW1 Vignette – 18 Pounder Cannon and Crew

This week saw the end of my WW1 timeline with the completion of this little Vignette/Diorama.  I say the end but as I enjoyed the period I may well add to it at some point in the future if the right idea comes along and I can find the appropriate figures.  For now though this is it for the clubs June show in Plymouth.

Of all the pieces I have put together this one is probably my least favourite.  There are two reasons for this I think.  Firstly, the subject.  I felt I ought to at least feature an artillery piece and this one from Gripping Beasts caught my eye.  The downside is I wanted to do less conventional models and failed to deliver with this one.  I guess it’s a bit like going to see The Rolling Stones. They may have plenty of new songs to sing but if they don’t play some of their hits from 50 years ago then you’re going to be a little passed off!  Thus we have some artillery.

Secondly, the model isn’t a great piece of work.  It’s fine overall and may look OK but in truth I rushed it.  I think I just ran out of steam with the project.  I have enjoyed it and discovered lots of new things along the way.  I have tried to do other things in between but now it really is time to move on to something else and to use a few other colours. The April challenge will now receive my attention!

Images of the completed model appear  below.  In the next week or so I will try to put together a post of the whole project.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering the guy third from the left in the first picture is holding a shell!


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28mm WW1 Diorama – Communications Team – Part 1

The weather in England, as pointed out by Just Needs Varnish in his most recent post, remains unsettled.  I beleive the technical term given out on the SouthWest Weather report referred to it as “f’ing awful” but I may have miss heard.  However, for every ying there is a yang and the good news is that the full on winter modelling season has been extended into spring.  Hooray!  As a consequence work has begun and is well underway on this the penultimate model in my WW1 Timeline sequence.

One of the things I wanted to avoid with the various WW1 stuff I have done to date were stereotypical trench scenes and tank dioramas and so far I think I have achieved this.  Not that I have anything against trenches or tanks but there were many other stories to be told I wanted to try to tell those.  Nevertheless trenches are hard to avoid completely and so this diorama does have a trench feel but I hopefully not a dominating one.

The emphasis on this little diorama is communications, a key component in any war but one which rarely gets highlighted.  How many WW2 action films have there been as a ratio to the film “The Imitation Game” for example?  To be fair communication as a subject probably doesn’t make for the best box office figures but you get my drift as to the importance of the subject I’m sure.

I’m not sure if the scene when complete will represent an accurate portrayal but it puts the subject out there and gave me an opportunity to paint a pigeon, surprisingly something I’ve never done before (I have however been “shat” upon by many a pigeon in Trafalgar Square!).

Progress so far consists of figures in various states of painting and ground work almost complete.  Construction of the base enabled me to recycle what I can only describe as various bits of “rubbish” which would otherwise have ended up in a land fill site somewhere so I’m feeling good knowing that modelling can be good for the environment too.

Progress pictures below.



28mm WW1 Vignette – Vickers Gun Crew

Not the best of weeks but I managed to complete this outstanding WW1 Vignette and begin work on a new WW2 project, more of which in a separate post to follow.

Throughout my WW1 project I’ve tried to steer away from the slightly more convention images of war in an effort to tell the story in a different way.  As commendable as this idea was, in my own mind at least, there is a point at which something’s have to appear.  A Vickers Gun Crew being one such example.

Once again I turned to Empress Miniatures.  They really do some great figures and these came under the banner of the Mutton Chop range.  Composition is basic, there’s only so much you can do and in this instance only so much that I wanted to do.  From a timeline perspective it was also a model that I could fit in pretty much anywhere within the sequence.

Another one down, only two more to go.  Beginning  to lag a little now but I will get there! This one is one of my least favourites and I wasn’t going to post it today but for the fact that I would have failed my self imposed deadline. The groundwork leaves a little to be desired, the photos don’t help, so at some point I will go back and revisit it.


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28mm WW1 Vignette – “Daddy’s Home!”

Today’s second post.

No excuses, I’d simply fallen behind on my WW1 timeline project and needed to get back on track, thus establishing the aim of completing an outstanding item for this week and the next.

Although June is still some time away I can’t believe just how quickly January and February have passed by.  As a consequence I did a review of just where I was with this project and my audit indicated that several vignettes and dioramas were complete, some were being worked upon but some had not yet been started.  It also struck me that I hadn’t given any further thought to a model which would act as the “end” piece in the sequence.

Obviously the war ending is the stand out incident but was it really the end?  In my imagination I envisaged marching troops through London in front of crowds of cheering people but bringing that to life was difficult to get my head around, not least of all because I struggled to find anywhere near the type or number of figures I would have required.  I also thought of something very sobering such as a graveyard scene – Gone But Not Forgotten – but whilst I did do one (see an earlier post) I decided that although relevant if was not how I wanted to end the sequence.

In the end I decided on the idea of daddy coming home from the war and being greeted by his wife and child.  For many this was the real end of the war, seeing a loved one returning home.  More up beat and more personal.  So here you have the returning soldier coming down the garden path.  Would he have had his rifle?  Possibly.  Would he have had a fixed bayonet?  Almost certainly not!  I did think to remove it but on closer inspection I thought I would almost certainly cock it up so felt it was better left alone!  It’s the story that’s relevant not the accuracy.  That’s my excuse any way!

So now I have a beginning and an end to my timeline and but need of a few more for inbetween. No time for slacking as the clock continues to tick.



28mm Building Project No: 7 – WW1 Farmhouse Diorama

Off the Work bench!

This week was all about assembling the various bits and pieces to complete the diorama.  All in all it went together pretty well after some careful thought as to what should be placed into position first.  It wouldn’t have been the first time I’ve boxed myself into a corner but on this occasion I managed to avoid any such dilemmas.

Not a great deal to add in terms of narrative as I think I covered most aspects of the build in previous “On The Work Bench” posts.  Will be interesting to see what, if any, feedback I receive when it receives its first public outing.  If nothing else my mum likes it and thats good enough for me!

The aim of the diorama, as mentioned in the first post of this sequence, was to depict a small group of British soldiers making their way through the French/Belgium farming countryside.  Hopefully I managed to convey that.

Now on to the next project(s).  Still have a few WW1 items to do to complete the series but think I need a change of period in the coming weeks too so still deciding what next is on the agenda.

Pictures of the completed diorama below.






On The Work Bench – Building Project No: 7 – Part 5

This week was all about finishing various scenic bits and pieces but mainly completing the figure painting.  I had hoped to complete the diorama assembly too but alas life caught up with me and so that will have to wait until next week.  All being well this is the penultimate post for this diorama.

The figures were all painted in Vallejo acrylics with oil paint washes. The figures were from Empress Miniatures, Great War Miniatures, Gripping Beast – The Woodbine series and from a company in Belgium who supplied the rural types.

This coming Saturday I’m off to my first show of the year being held at the Bovington Tank Museum in Poole , Dorset and am hoping to take the completed model with me so whatever happens I do need to get it finished! I doubt anyone who reads this is likely to be at Bovington but if you are then please come and say hello!

In the meanwhile some photos of the finished figures.



WW1 – “The Somme” – 28mm Scale

Those of you kind enough to follow my blog will know that I have been trying to put together a WW1 Timeline for an exhibition to be held in June to mark the centenary of the ending of the Great War.  The event itself will be held in Plymouth on Armed Forces Day.

When I first set about my contribution I drew up a list of key events with the aim of trying to produce a figure, vignette or diorama to mark each incident.  Not surprisingly the battle of the Somme appeared on my list.  For inspiration on how to depict this event I did a quick Google search for ideas.  The only thing which came to mind was “death”.

On the first day of the battle which took place on the 1st July 1916 the British lost over 60,000 soldiers (killed or seriously injured).  By the end of the campaign in November of the same year that figure had risen to 420,000.  An almighty loss for a land gain of 25 miles!  Incredible.

The model itself features figures by Great War Miniatures.  The mud is real mud!  A little earth together with some potting soil, paint and PVA was mixed together and allowed to dry before dry brushing some highlights.

My little vignette is dedicated to the 420,000 brave souls.





On The Work Bench – Building Project No: 7 – Part 4

For various reasons, not all of them to do with modelling, this has been a busy week.  It’s also been a week in which I realised I have a great deal to do in the coming weeks and months and less time to achieve it in than I would have liked.  Failing to deliver on numerous commitments is not an option I want to consider so I’m  left with little alternative but to get my finger out!  With this in mind I managed to make progress on this diorama and, as an added bonus, managed to complete a vignette that had taken a back seat over the last couple of weeks.  Details on the vignette will follow as a separate post shortly after I hit the publish button on this one.

A few finishing touches were needed to the building itself, one of which was painting the filler that I had been placed at both ends of the “drinking straw” ridge tiles and had simply forgotten to do. I also completed the wire aperture for the tree which will feature and also managed to get the filler added to it along with the first few coats of paint.  Hopefully the tree will be completed this week.  A few figures have also been completed and all the others are well on the way.

The diorama when complete will also feature a small barn/shed.  The main significance of this building being to provide the “walk through” between it and the main a house for the British troops, something which will make far more sense when the diorama is complete.  I’ve managed to get the walls done, the roof made and the painting done but the door still needs to be attached which will happen once the building has been fixed to the base and the ground work has been built up around it.

The barn/shed itself was made using foam board on this occasion. The board was clad inside and out using coffee stirrers.  The roof was made using a tool I acquired from”Green Stuff World” for making corrugated panels using metal foil.  This was the first time of using this tool and it wasn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped.  In the end I found it worked better if you turned the key slower. Although I didn’t think I’d been turning it quickly the metal kept going off at an angle.  In itself this wasn’t much of a problem but it meant I had to square up each sheet that had passed through and that produced a lot of waste metal foil which wasn’t particularly cheap to buy. I shall definitely being looking at alternative materials to use In the future but the tool did produce a good result.

The nice thing about using the metal foil for the roof was when it came to weathering it after initial coats of paint had been applied.  Simply scratching away some of the paint exposed the metal beneath and produced a nice result along with the addition of a few applications of Humbrol Rust weathering powder.

If I’m lucky I hope to have this one finished in a couple of weeks.  The figures need to be completed along with the tree and numerous other bits and pieces but the assembly will undoubtedly take a while as it will need to go together in stages in order to access individual areas for  fixing and painting.  In the meanwhile I  need to get ready for the Plymouth Model Clubs annual competition on Monday (my first) as well as this year’s first show which will be at Bovington in a couple of weeks.  Hopefully both will prove to be fun.

Latest progress photos below.









On The Work Bench – Building Project No: 7 – Part 3

This week saw the main building of this diorama virtually completed.

Before the outside painting was started there was a need to complete some internal details.  Clear plastic was placed behind each window to provide the glass and an internal wall was added.  I couldn’t be certain if it would be possible to see into the building through the windows but couldn’t afford to take the chance.  Once the building was stuck down and having decided on a fixed roof there would be no opportunity to do so later.  The internal wall was given some wallpaper and a couple of pictures were placed on the wall to be visible through each window.  I had also decided that the front door would be ajar and so I also added an internal porch and flooring for appearance.

The wooden shutters were painted and fixed into place as was the chimney and the front door.  For the rounded ridge tiles I used a plastic drinking straw.  A piece of drinking straw was sandwiched between two pieces of foam board to create the chimney.

The outside painting, walls and roof, was done using a variety of oil paint colours thinned with white spirit to create washes of various dilutions.  Darker colours were used for the brick pointing and lighter colours to provide highlights as appropriate.

Before fixing the building into place it was appropriate to construct part of the groundwork, specifically the cobbled area around the building itself as this was created using another Green Suff rolling-pin.  Milliput was used instead of DAS clay on this occasion.  Time allowed for some vegetation to be added around the building, primarily to cover up the joins between the bottom of the building walls and the base as well as to add colour and authenticity.

Next up is creating the small outside barn, a tree and a few other bits and pieces as well as painting the dozen figures which will feature.

Progress pictures appear below but suffer from too much shadow and so appear rather darker than the actual model.  I will try to do better next time but photography is not one of my strengths!