You’re probably thinking that this is a bit of an unusual and odd subject, even for me. Normally, I build models in super detail that are a representation of the real thing. Why all of a sudden am I going down the route of fantasy? Well, a good question and one I considered myself as well. So, let me explain.
Although I’m not a fantasy/sci-fi fan at heart, I do like the creative freedom it provides you with. I came across a model about a year ago in which the artist had converted a figure of a German soldier to a “walking dead” type of soldier, titled “Home by Christmas, they said” (or something like that). It really left an impact on me because I had not seen something like this before, and I really loved the creative approach the artist had taken. Since then I’ve been playing with the idea of making something that’s purely in my imagination, but do it in such a way that it could be portrayed as real (to a certain extend). Using new techniques that I’ve never tried before, this model became my attempt at just that.
First, I needed to select a subject. During the last few years, I’ve read various books on the Sixth Army in Stalingrad and their demise once they were given up by Germany’s High Command. A few managed to escape and were hunted down by the Russians, yet most died in the city’s ruins. The ones that escaped quickly became my subject for this model. I wanted something big that would allow me to easily model a vehicle and person that had been on the run for almost 80 years. A tank would be unsuitable, as would a car. I eventually settled on this 1/9 model of the popular German motorbike, which was widely used on the Eastern Front. Plus, it was relative affordable and thus justifiable when cutting it up into pieces.
The figures became my next dilemma, as all I could find were soldiers that didn’t fit my intended display. Perhaps not as cheap as the bike itself, I found resin figures that would be perfect for the job. Not sure if the original artist would appreciate what I’m about to do with his creation, but I’ll do my best to do him justice. In combination with 3D printed skeletons by a fellow model club member, I was ready to get started.
In light of the recent clear out of all old kits and unfinished projects, I decided to get started with this one as I could freely do what I wanted, without being constrained to the real subject. I found photos of motorcycles that had been recovered from lakes and old battlefields, that were in less than perfect condition. Actually, there was little left of them. They provided me with a huge amount of detail on what time does to them and how they rust and fall apart over the years. Seen as my subjects have been driving the Tundra’s for all this time, I thought they would look very similar.
My first job was to come up with a way to replicate this appearance. After seeing a modeller build a crashed helicopter with thin aluminium foil, I copied his technique and started using the same product to create the severely rusted appearance of the bike. The plastic kit parts were cut and subsequently covered by this foil. Using a sharp object, I would then create holes and wrinkles in the material, trying to replicate the effects of rust. To this, I added filler, which was applied in a rough manner, in the hope it will be useable as paint chips in the painting stage. Finally, I held various parts of the bike above a small flame to soften them, before reshaping them with a sculpting tool to create dents and other deformations to the vehicle.
The bike itself has been build in various sub-assemblies, to make painting easier. That’s the next stage, as the assembly phase is pretty much completed (aside from small parts that will be done last once everything has been painted). I’ve never managed to build a kit this quick, then again, it looks nothing like the box art. The next step will be to start cutting the figures and modify those. That, however, will be for the next update. I’ll have to find out how to create torn clothing first….
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