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Discuss World War I and the early years of aviation thru 1934.
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FEATURE
Zeppelin Staaken R.VI
TedMamere
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Moselle, France
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Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007 - 05:53 PM UTC


If you like superlatives, make sure not to miss this diorama feature by Stephen T. Lawson (JackFlash.) Centerpiece of it is a huge model of the Zeppelin Staaken R.VI in 1/72 scale, but there is a lot more to see!

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
thehannaman
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New York, United States
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Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007 - 06:15 PM UTC
There are a few models and dioramas that truly stick out in memory as the finest and most well crafted of their time. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of those. The sheer magnitude of this display is awesome. Everything has a purpose and there is a multitude of stories being told simultaneously. Well crafted, superby executed, and VERY memorable. My hat off to you Stephen.

JackFlash
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Colorado, United States
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Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007 - 06:25 PM UTC
Jean - Luc, Merci mon ami!

Justen, my sincere thanks for your kind words.
Antoni
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Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007 - 06:48 PM UTC
Model Hobby 26 has an article on the Staaken R.VI with scales plans and diagrams as well as colour photographs of parts from 35/16 stored at the Polish Aviation Museum in Cracow. Apparently this is part one but when part two will be published I don't know. Easily obtained from the Jadar Shop http://www.jadarhobby.waw.pl/model-hobby-c-47_48.html?amp%3Bcurrency=USD&sort=2a¤cy=EUR

Price just over 4 Euros or about $5 US plus postage. Its in dual Polish/English by the way.
Merlin
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Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007 - 07:35 PM UTC
Hi Stephen

I remember being stunned by pics of this diorama when you first joined Armorama - and that sense of awe simply doesn't fade despite repeated viewing. It's one of those scenes that you can return to again and again and always find new levels of depth and detail. Magnificent!

All the best

Rowan
JackFlash
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Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 04:23 AM UTC
Rowan, Thank you.
JackFlash
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Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 04:26 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Model Hobby 26 has an article on the Staaken R.VI with scales plans and diagrams as well as colour photographs of parts from 35/16 stored at the Polish Aviation Museum in Cracow. Apparently this is part one but when part two will be published I don't know. Easily obtained from the Jadar Shop http://www.jadarhobby.waw.pl/model-hobby-c-47_48.html?amp%3Bcurrency=USD&sort=2acy=EUR

Price just over 4 Euros or about $5 US plus postage. Its in dual Polish/English by the way.



Antoni, thank you sincerely for the additional information. I wish I had this back when I started the "projeckt". But no doubt those who are doing the modern Roden kit will find it very useful.
Grumpyoldman
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Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 10:18 AM UTC
Spectacular!
JackFlash
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Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2007 - 03:40 PM UTC
Thanks Dave.
One of the many stories surrounding the construction of this diorama began back in 1989. Just before I finished the build and before the unification of Germany I sent the elder Paul M. Preiser a letter with some images of the whole diorama. He was so impressed that I was willing to spend that much on Preiser figures, especially the Prussian band numbered set No.342 (in 1989... 165.00 USD) he sent me about 75 more painted versions of the same 1900 era figures gratis. Included was a kindly worded letter dated 18.07.1990.

More later.

SGTJKJ
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Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 12:34 PM UTC
Simply fantastic work. A diorama like this shows a huge amount of dedication to the hobby and demands a lot of well deserved respect.

The huge amount of work obviously put into this diorama has created a fantastic diorama that can be looked upon again and again with nice details and small histories in the diorama coming to life every time.

Thanks for sharing - and respect
JackFlash
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Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 03:06 PM UTC
Many, many thanks Jesper.

Another story on the Staaken diorama was after it was finished I had it on display at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The display was a temporary set up but after the General of the Air Force toured through one day he ask the Capt in charge of its oversight if in fact there were 722 figures on it.

The Captain detailed a couple of cadets to count each figure and the came up with 728. Their report served notice that cat and dog figures were included in their tally. The US tax dollars at work.
trahe
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Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 05:18 PM UTC
Outstanding diorama. Truly a piece of art.
JackFlash
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Posted: Monday, March 26, 2007 - 02:26 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Outstanding diorama. Truly a piece of art.



Thank you Thomas. The extent of the research allowed me to dip into my binder of existing 1/72 decals. I sold them off after 1992 to some wargamers.

The Captured Sopwith F.1 Camel represents B'6234 from RFC 3 "A" flight, captured 5 Dec.1917. Flown by Lt. L.J. Nixon, victim of Vzfw (acting sergeant) Konnecke of Jasta 5. Kit and decals were from the Revell issues.
JackFlash
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Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 11:43 AM UTC
I was going to college while building this project. In 1984 I was involved in a terrible auto accident in the month of June. I was driving a lumber truck and a pickup truck with 2 women and four kids pulled out in front of me. I had to swerve and another driver coming from the opposite direction decided to pull in to the street where I was heading to avoid the first collison. I was under the speed limit but still the result was terrible.

I was told not to borrow any grief. No one blamed me but still I had to deal with the pain and loss as did the family of the other driver. Part of my therapy was to keep my life normal. This project helped me do this.

The Nieuport 17 with the red & white comet:
Lt. Santa Maria's Nieuport 17, N 1831, which was shot down intact by Kunz of Jasta 7 on 23 October 1916. This Nieuport 17 captured intact and extensively flown at the Adlershof test centre. The fuselage decoration and the single Vickers armament indicate a French-operated machine(Esc. 86 ?), and note that the completely circular engine cowling has joining ribs at the top and not on the sides as shown in another photograph.


The late model Spad VII represents S.1639 Captured on 16 Aug. 1917. Flown by Lt. Henri Rabatel and his victor was Oberflugmat (ensign) Schoenfelder of Jasta 7.
JackFlash
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Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 12:41 AM UTC
Greetings all;
Astute observer Mike Reilly commented to me.
Quoted Text

The 1/72 Nieuport you have as N1831 seems to have the same star / comet as your 1/48 Bertrab Alb. D.III.



This is one of those anomallies that we have pondered for years. What was their relationship? We know that Bertrab had nothing to do with the bringing down of Lt. Maria's machine. It was tested extensively at the Military eval depot (Adlershof) in Berlin. Bertrab could have seen photo images of the Nieuport while it was being tested. It may have come from a popular children's book image or from a pouch of pipe tobacco. As mentioned in Bertrab's bio on the "Day of the Comet" thread here in Early Aviation the image of a comet held mystical conotations at the turn oif the century. Even the The insignia for French aviation collar tabs was a comet / star with a tail.
JackFlash
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Posted: Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 08:46 AM UTC


One of my other projects during this time period was 1/72 experimental / prototype Fokker single seaters. As mentioned previously the diorama was damaged during a second photoshoot several years after completion. It was decided then to replace certain pieces especially the damaged ones. This meant the Albatros D.Va and the Nieuport 17 N1831.

Starting with the Fokker V.6, I had built, it was ordered on 7 July 1917. The original was powered by a modified Mercedes D.III 160hp inline type. Possibly built just to compare with an earlier V.3 type. The heavier Merc. engine was to blame for its less than stellar performance. It was eventually dismantled as other prototypes were to be built. Fortunately we don't have a demolition date. I went with an overall lt. blue but CDL is just a viable.

JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007 - 05:04 PM UTC


This kit was the old Airfix Albatros D.Va from a Bubble / blister pack. One of the first attempts I ever made with adding PE pieces it predated the whole diorama by several years. If my records are correct and I think they are it was built back in 1979. There was no 5 colour camouflage decals at that time and I thought to add a firth colour but never did. The radiator was drilled out and a rudimantary scratchbuilt one was originally in place. This was replaced in 1983 with a spare from Meikraft Albatros D.I /II kit. As mentioned earlier this model was one that was damaged severely during a photo reshoot in about 1991-2. With the Superscale 1/72 scale 5 colour lozenge out then and my building a Pegasus SSW D.III that fit the time period. See next post below.

The markings are from the Blue Rider st and portray a machine that would have just been turned in from Jasta 14. They had begun receiving the Fokker Dr.I and this represents the Richtrad from Oblt. Hasso von Wedel. He flew several Alb. D.Va types with this marking and it was his family coat of arms.

This dates back to medieval times when his family were judges in the low-court. The Richtrad was a wagon wheel was used as a torture device to which the broken arms and legs of the condemned were woven through the spokes and nailed in place. Then the wheel was up-righted on its rim and a grease tipped pole with a retainer boss was inserted through the hub. Then the pole was dropped into a hole and wooden wedges were hammered inplace at its base to keep it up-right. When the pole was dropped into its ground socket the opposite end pushed through to the retainer boss. It was of sufficient length at its protrusion to break the back of the accused. Then ropes that were already attached to the rim were left to hang loose. So that the occasional passer-by could give the wheel a good spin. When not used for torture the device was used in spring celebrations as ...the May pole.
JackFlash
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Posted: Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 08:16 AM UTC


This 1/72 Pegasus kit build represents a SSW D.III from the early production and modified at the factory. Early versions were sent to JG II in the Spring of 1918 and and were then later returned for modifications. This included larger area control surfaces, (ailerons & rudder) The cowling that had completely enclosed the rotary engine was cut back and reinforced. I built this when the Eduard 1/48 scale kit came out and had them side by side on the workbench. I scratchbuilt most of this 1/72 kit's cockpit interior. The 5 colour lozenge was the old Superscale sets that had only recently been released in 1992.

My usual modifications for kits at this time were replacing all struts with metal rod of an an appropriate diameter. The rigging is fine wire. With the advent of Aeroclub extruded STRUTZ, life has even gotten better.
JackFlash
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Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 09:22 AM UTC
The Morane Saulnier Type LA is found in the back of the diorama at the end of the beer tent.


This kit began life as a Revell Fokker E.III. I borrowed a Cramer Craft cowling and modified the fuselage. The spinner is from a Revell Alb. D.III with some modifications as well. It is marked as B.1611 as flown by Lt. V.J. Woodcock and AM J.T.Gadd of RFC #3. Though neither survived the fuselage was in reasonably good condition. Here it appears stripped of instrumentation and some wag has placed an errant lady's parasol where the parasol wing would have been. The LA was supposed to be an improved version of the French type L. Wooden hangar / factory wheels have replaced the originals. This also represents the later type where the forward landing gear legs have been moved further back for strength.
JackFlash
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Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 12:52 AM UTC


This is the Revell Nieuport 17 in the Blue Rider decals for A.313. Purchased from France in 1916 it arrived for sqn assignment in early 1917 at RFC #1 having a single Vickers .303 and an over the wing Lewis gun for armament. It was piloted by Ltn M.A. Walter (WIA) when brought down on 22 April 1917 by Ltn. Hanko of Jasta 28 for his first victory.

The kit landing gear is replaced with steel rod and the motor is an Aeroclub 110hp LeRhone.
JackFlash
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Posted: Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 03:08 AM UTC

B 4869 was the first aircraft in the third production batch from the Royal Aircraft Factory consisting of B 4869 - 4899. It left the factory with a 220hp Hisso but was later given 220hp Wolsely Viper. The cockpit sides were modified in RFC 32 Sqn. It was later lost when assigned to 84 Sqn RFC on 8 November 1917. Piloted by Lt. J.H. Deans and credited to Ltn. des Res. T. Quandt of Jasta 36. Depicted here as having landed intact and been captured. Remarked and used in simulated dogfight sequences for the festivities.

This is the 1/72 Revell kit with modifications and a scratchbuilt instrument panel (from sheet plastic) and brass PE details from Fotocut.
JackFlash
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Posted: Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 02:21 PM UTC
Greetings all I had a PM from an Aeroscale member that among other things asked;

"Hey Stephen I have several questions. . . about your Staaken diorama I note several of your military figures are wearing the bear skin hats of the hussar units. Weren't they disbanded in 1916?. . ."

The answer is yes I modified several and changed the basic colours of their uniforms. I have a more than mild interst in these military units. Though they were dismounted after 1915-1916 ( due to the advent of the infantry version of the machine gun on a tripod.) Concerning their dress uniforms and in some cases daily uniforms many were allowed to wear their original purchase gear. The heads were modified to take the simulated bear skin by removing the original head gear and adding a small section of sprue in its place and then winding sewing thread around the sprue and attaching with supergue. when dry clip off the excess and paint accordingly.



In this image note the family at the centre of the shot. The husband in the dress uniform and bear skin shako as described earlier. The wife and child is dressed in sympathy to dad's uniform was a cultural phenomina that was the fashion of its day. "Opa" (Grandad) appears not to follow such concerns dressing in his tan suit. For the Hussar this was the "Class A" uniform for high celebrations. Later of course there were much mor subdued uniforms for "Sunday" and "walking out" occassions.
JackFlash
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Posted: Friday, April 06, 2007 - 06:06 AM UTC


Here is one of the humorous scenes. A little girl has snuck through a crowd of on lookers. The circus strong man has stepped forward to the crowd and is apparently talking to some and wiping his head witha white cloth. The young girl walks up behind him and picks up his barbells over her head. Thus revealing the secret of the strongman's strength.
JackFlash
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Posted: Saturday, April 07, 2007 - 05:32 AM UTC


In this image we see a large crossection of activity. Often the overall size of a scaled down sene belies the activity especially in smaller scales. With a circus atmosphere the viewer expects high traffic. Images help compartmentalize these scenes. Note the friars, the old woman and her grandson (?) trying to out distance the marching band to get around them. The Ice (cream) vendor's white push barrow. The tall man on stilts is something not often seen in today's traveling circus'. I have this one in black and another in red on the other side of the diorama. Preiser has great circus figures and their "European (cone head) clown" with the usual "tramp clown" are employed elsewhere in this build. Everywhere in the build there are groups of men obviously engaged in heated conversation. I was reminded of the scene in All quiert on the Western Front where infantry soldier Paul Baeumer is at home listening to the old men of his village spout their opinions and armchair general battles. The success of this diorama is heavily rooted in the fine sculpting of Preiser of Germany's figures. Everything from the Prussian band leader to the flower lady replicate the social invironment of the day. Simply choosing the right figure for the job become ultra easy.
JackFlash
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Posted: Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 03:24 PM UTC


This is another view of the crowd at the back end of the Prussian band. The circus tumblers seem to be warming up for their performance, later in the tent. At the upper left you can just see the circus strongman wiping his head and the barbells that the little girl has lifted over her head. The crowd is displaying mixed emotions. Another great advantage to the Preiser figures is their use of the stance and gestures of the posed figure to convey emotions and activities. Even in this small scale you know whats going on.