30 August 2000

German Flak Outpost - By Nuno Santos

By Nuno Santos (original article formerly on the miniaturezone.co.uk website)

This diorama was built in 1995 consists of a fortification , with an antiaircraft gun and a truck .

The truck is an OPEL BLITZ in scale 1 /72 ESCI- ERTL . This kit was produced in 1988 with the reference 8355 , and contains 64 pieces.

It's a simple kit without great detail. In assembly, the hardest part is the placement of the cabin. I rode the cab overconfident and the result was discouraging . The last piece was bad seasoned unite with the rest of the cabin. As the pieces have almost no fixation point is we need to study what part should be attached first - is that the assembly diagram indicating the placement sites but do not indicate the assembly steps . I had to take off some of the pieces , which was not easy and I went to hit the assembly , with some cuts and modeling clay to cover imperfections .

In this miniature , I conducted some modifications : I opened one of the doors of the cabin, put ' glasses ' windshield and doors ( I used clear plastic , malleable , I got a package ), the canvas roof has been foil manufactured cooking - the two arcs are small clips .

For miniature painting three colors : olive green , sand and black . I used the colors of HUMBROL : for painting miniature general used 63 -sand color , applied the 86 -light olive colored in camouflage stripes , the 33 -black for the wheels on canvas colors used 26 - khaki for the exterior and for the interior 63 . For the whole model , I applied the ink -mid 84 stone , quite diluted , to enhance the details. Finally in headlights 11 applied silver color and the radiator and side openings 33 used color , well diluted .

The OPEL BLITZ 3 tons , which represents the model arises in 1937 and was one of the first to follow the practice , adopted in 1938 , construction of civilian vehicles that could also be adopted for military purposes . This model has total length 6.10m by 2.27 wide and 2.25 m high. OPEL engine had a 3.5- liter capacity and 64cv then be increased to 3.6 liters and 75hp . The top speed was 85km / h with a range of 320kms .

The anti-aircraft weapon (AAA ) is a Flakvierling 38 quadruple ( four guns) of 20mm and is considered one of the best aircraft at the time, with remarkable firepower - 800 rounds / min .. He was seated on a triangular base that each point had a device for leveling the gun. The three seats were removable , folding cranks and had room for the ammo boxes . The firing of the weapon is made via two pedals , in that each of the cannon fires two on each side.

The shot can be automatic or semiautomatic . The initial velocity was 900m/seg shot . with an effective range of 2,000 m . Because firepower , needed a lot of ammunition. The angle of jurisdiction of the guns was 90 º upward and 10 º downward able to rotate all around 360 º. We used a lot against low altitude aircraft and was installed in permanent premises. They were also installed in some vehicles - OPEL BLITZ ; Sd.Kfz 7/1 ; PANZER IV wirbelwind ...

Fortification is my creation and plaster . The molds were made with kitchen match sticks . It took five molds (Figure 10 ) : the top ( A) , bottom ( B ), the portal ( C ), the lateral wall ( D ) blocks to the steps that were carved after the plaster has dried ( E). The various sections were attached with white glue for wood. I painted the first structure , with color 175 - hellgrau 76 . Once dry , the color wash with 119 -light earth well diluted .

In relation to accessories: the two rifles ( MAUSER ) are of the HASEGAWA - MB35 reference , in the truck , the two barrels and the box are the reference ESCI 8060 , 1986 , the bars are kitchen match sticks , the barrel was pulled HELLER kit with the reference 80815 - " NINA " scale 1/75 .

As for the soldiers , the three that are next to the truck that I adapted for sappers , are the reference AIRFIX 01755 - LUFTWAFFE PERSONEL . Modified only one withdrawing the hand tool . The other two soldiers in the fort are from the Matchbox ( 1982 ) and both were modified . Because they are made of plastic is malleable , with the points of the fingers ( thumb and index) you can change the positions of the arms , legs , head and trunk - for smaller parts ( such as hands and feet ) used a flat nose pliers , and with a knife I removed the objects.

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© Antònio Santos , 30th August 2000

15 June 2000

MiniatureZone Gallery Archives (2000 - 2006) - Tony Ivey - Krupp Raumer-S

This article is one of many articles and gallery contributions from fellow amateur smallscale enthusiasts all over the world that appeared on the old MiniatureZone website during the first six years its existence when there were only a handful of websites dedicated to smallscale models and wargaming. 

If you've been around on the internet since back then, we hope you like the nostalgia, and if you´re a newcomer, hope you enjoy looking too.

MiniatureZone Gallery Archives (2000 - 2006) - Tony Ivey - Krupp Raumer-S

From the beginning I decided to make it articulate. I have never done anything like this before, so it was my initiation. I copied the design of the supplied pieces and just used some sheet styrene, brass tube and piano wire for the pins. It took a while, but I like the results.

This vehicle was almost completed at the end of the war. Built by Krupp, it had a crew of 8 including the 2 drivers. The heavy weight of each section was enough to detonate all mines in it's path. Each section could tilt 22 degrees against each other.

It was found at Hillersleben, Germany at the end of the war by Americans. There are currently only about 3 pictures of it. I have heard that there will be a book coming out soon on it, since some information became declassified.

Hope you like...Tony Ivey USA

Copyright Tony Ivey, 15th June 2000

MiniatureZone Gallery Archives (2000 - 2006) - Tony Ivey - Schwimmkorper auf 38(t) Praga

This article is one of many articles and gallery contributions from fellow amateur smallscale enthusiasts all over the world that appeared on the old MiniatureZone website during the first six years its existence when there were only a handful of websites dedicated to smallscale models and wargaming. 

If you've been around on the internet since back then, we hope you like the nostalgia, and if you´re a newcomer, hope you enjoy looking too.

MiniatureZone Gallery Archives (2000 - 2006) - Tony Ivey - Schwimmkorper auf 38(t) Praga : 

The floatation device was tested in February 1941 and consisted of a large, boat-like float AP-1, fitted around the tank. Two propellers in the rear were connected to the tank's engine and in calm water the prototype attained speeds of  up to 8 km/hour. The adaptation was rugged enough for ocean use, but it is not known for what operation it was considered. (Source : Schiffer's "Czechoslovak Armored Fighting Vehicles 1918-1948", page 205)

Hope you like...Tony Ivey USA

Copyright Tony Ivey, 15th June 2000

01 March 2000

Making a Stone Bridge from Styrofoam

Making a Stone Bridge from Styrofoam

Bridges often form an important focal point or strategic element in a game, and can also often make attractive centrepieces for interesting dioramas.

Building from scratch is not too difficult and the object of this article is demonstrate how to build a simple but effective representations of these stone bridges.

Construction materials 
  • EPS foamboard, also known as “Styrofoam” 
  • Cereal box or stiff card 
  • 1 sheet of paper 
  • PC & laser / injket printer 
  • Scissors 
  • Craft Knife 
  • Ball-point pen 
  • White glue 
  • Black, grey, white acrylic paints (or other colours according to preferences) 
  • Very fine sand (optional) 
The main material used to make our bridge here is EPS foamboard (greatly superior to expanded polystyrene) because it’s compact, can easily be cut without crumbling and is durable. You can buy it in sheets at hardware stores (a well known brand is called “Depron”) but you can also use the same stuff that little trays are made of that you find in supermarkets to pack fruit or meat.

Making a Master

In order to make the bridge we’ll first need a master and making this isn’t particularly difficult, though it can be a little time consuming.

For a basic bridge we need to make four templates from very simple shapes as shown here. If you click on the image below it will open in a new window. You can download and print the template onto A4 paper.


Print your masters onto a sheet of A4 size paper, then with a pair of scissors cut the templates out. The sides of the bridge and the base sections will be made from foamboard, so we’ll use shapes we’ve cut from paper as templates Place these templates onto the foamboard and lightly draw around them with a ball-point pen and then with a sharp craft knife cut the foamboard along the pen lines.

Now all we have to do to represent a stone pattern is to draw it on with a ball-point pen

We need to make the pattern convincing so it’s important to take a little time doing this.

Best not to use anything sharp to do this, you´ll need to use a ball-point pen because instead of scratching on a design, we have to leave an imprint and the ball-point pen “glides” across the foamboard.

Once we’ve got the stone pattern finished then we can assemble the bridge. 

Stick the two sides of the bridge to the bases with white glue and wait for it to dry overnight so it’s fixed well.

The next stage is to make the road section from stiff card,making sure that it curves without any creases and just stick with white glue (a bit tricky and you might have to hold this for quite until it’s stuck well). Finally the last piece to glue the underside of the bridge’s arch.


Painting is a matter of personal taste and everyone has their own techniques and preferences. I used artist’s latex based paints that you can buy from hobby shops, starting with undiluted black paint then mixing in some very very fine sand and once you have this mixture ready paint all over the bridge and leave to dry for a few hours.

Once the black paint is dry, take a suitable stone colour and give the bridge and roadway an extremely heavy drybrush and you’ll see that the stone pattern becomes very nicely defined due to the black undercoat staying in the recesses of the pattern - it should now resemble a stone bridge. Just to finish off give a final very light drybrush with some white or other very light paint according to your preferences.

The only other thing I added was a border of grass and small rocks along the side of the base as you can see in the picture at the top of this article.

10 January 2000

Esci Opel Blitz Ambulance

Esci Opel Blitz Ambulance - Diorama by Stephen Brezinski

By Stephen Brezinski, Maine USA (10/01/2000) (original article formerly on the miniaturezone.co.uk website)

The vehicle is a 1/72 ESCI Opel Blitz truck, painted in dunkelgelb with a green camoflage pattern. This vehicle was one of the most common German 3-ton trucks, produced in either a 4x4 or 4x2 version. Besides fuel and cargo versions, the van variant was common and used for ambulances, command,and communications vehicles. The van could even be seen on the tracked Maultier (Mule) version of the truck.

I opened up the rear doors and added four bunks using the stretchers from two ESCI SdKfz 251 ambulance kits, a desk/operating table, seat, and various boxes and bedrools. Windows were also opened up and clear sheet styrene glued in with Kristal Clear. Inside I also scribed in the door panels to match those on the outside walls of the van. Wood steps were created from a model RR kit.

The markings and license plates are decals from the kit, set down with Solveset. Clear windows and windshield was also cut and added to the cab. There were fit problems with the cab which required careful fit and putty. Also added to the cab was a rearview mirror, wipers, and width indicators on the fenders.

The grass was created with model RR flocking. The figures sitting, table, and chairs are from Preiser's 1/72 tank repair personnel (in hard, polystyrene plastic)

Most all the paint used were acrylics, though the flesh tones are enamel which can be blended a bit with a brush dampened with thinner. Overall the kit can be challenging but looks great when the fit is corrected. The figures are superb and I hope more are released.


© Stephen Brezinski, Maine USA


09 January 2000

Individual Basing of 1/72 Miniatures with Circular Plastic Gaming Chips

Depending upon the types of games you play (and of course your preferences) you'll want to base your figures either on common bases or individual ones. Basing gives much greater stability, as generally the small bases that plastic figures possess are not really suitable for wargaming purposes because your troops will inevitably fall over in the heat of battle (or when someone accidentally bangs the table !) Furthermore, basing will certainly lessen the amount of wear and tear on your painted figures due to the fact that you can pick them up by these bases and thus avoid touching the actual figure too often.

There are a number of basing techniques and of course each wargamer will have his or her preferences and the basing medium is a personal choice of course. The technique described below is one that I like to use for individual figures using circular styrene bases as follows....

Styrene gaming "chip"

These are small round plastic counters or "chips" as they are also known and are the ones that you use in board games. They have a diameter of approximately 1.7mm , are lightweight, and are really cheap and you can obtain a box of 100 (depending on where you live), for about 1.00 - 2.00 US / Euro Dollars ..... or maybe even less.

Once the figures are fixed to these styrene circular bases they will not fall over no matter how hard you bang the table. Also, due to the fact that the counters are lightweight, if you happen to drop the figure on the floor it will not shed its base, as could happen with a plastic figure based using much heavier pennies / cents or metal washers.

Note : By basing the figures before painting them, you'll then be able to get good grip on the circular base of the figure, allowing you to easily paint it. Furthermore, when you put the recently painted figure down it will not fall over and spoil your paint job.

This step in not entirely necessary although it is a procedure I follow because it takes very little time and assures correct adhesion of the figure to the base. First start by roughing up the figure's polythene base and also one side of the counter (both the surface of the counter and the figure's base are very smooth). In the picture you can see a heavy duty sharpening stone here - five or six strokes back and forth are sufficient. Alternatively you could use a hand file laid flat on a bench instead.

Usually most of the figures' polythene bases won't overlap the sides of the counter, but if they do just trim them down a little before proceeding to the next step.

To fix the figures to their bases use thick white glue, or alternatively tile adhesive (which sets like concrete !) .I prefer white glue however and I've had no problems whatsoever, and I find tile adhesive to be a bit messy. Besides, with white glue you can rectify mistakes easily but tile adhesive goes rock hard once it's dry. White glue will also allow you to rebase your figures without too many problems at some future date if you wish.

Put a big heavy blob of glue onto the polythene base of the actual figure as you can see here, and then press him down on to his new circular base. You can rub off any excess glue that overspills the side of the base. Once you've finished fixing all your troops to their bases leave them to dry for at least 24 hours

24 hours later next day, you'll find the figures nicely and firmly fixed to their bases. 

Leave this until you have all the troops painted and varnished. Detailing of the bases should be the very last thing you do after having finally varnished your figures to protect their paint jobs.

Detailing is quite easy and just requires some slightly diluted white glue, fine stones or sand and some scatter material. Obviously the choice of scenic material is up to you and will be in accordance your preferences.

All you need to do is apply the diluted white glue all over the base, taking particular attention to avoiding the figure's boots, and sprinkle liberally with the fine sand and scatter material ( I usually choose a mid-green colour ). Now shake off the excess and leave to dry for a few hours Once dry, I go over the sand and scatter material on the base with matt varnish to finally seal in everything and that way the scatter material won't crumble off with handling.

The only thing left is to start wargaming with your figures !

Created: 09/01/2000