by: Keith Forsyth [ ]
I have always had a fascination with building Dioramas, I love the idea of being able to convey a story or a moment in time in three dimensions. The one thing that I have really noticed over the years with my passion for dioramas is how difficult it is to be able to create a large successful diorama without losing the whole story you are trying to convey, but every now and again a modeller succeeds, and this is one of those moments.
The book is the first in what I would hope to be a possible series that goes on to explain this diorama, starting with the main focal point, that of Château Clervaux. The book introduces the reader to the history behind the diorama stating the reason behind the builders endless research and determination to complete such a large project. Taking the period during the "Battle of the Bulge" when a small group of American Soldiers are resting up after a period on the front line, and the initial invasion into this area of Luxembourg by a determined German battle group, the Diorama depicts various moments during the battle where the American forces were besieged in the Château.
The book itself is presented in a soft back format and runs to around 80 pages, with plenty of full colour pictures and descriptions including the history back story. This in itself makes a fascinating read as most model builders are probably not aware of this part of the Battle of the Bulge. For some reason its place in most history books seems to have been missed. You get a real feel for the passion of the modeller and that this is a life's work, which he now has the opportunity to share.
As stated earlier the book starts with a good look at the history, accompanied by various black and white pictures, maps, and various plans of the Château allowing the reader to really see where he was coming from and what he wanted to achieve.
With the history out of the way, we drop into the actual building of the Château, starting with the huge base it sits on and how to make the multiple walls used in its construction. The author has taken the time to explain every aspect of his work, breaking the book down into logical chapters. These chapters show, in both pictures and text, the various techniques used to create such areas as; the windows and doors, the various differently shaped towers and the internal fixtures and fixings. The author also takes the time to tell the individual stories that actually happened in the various locations.
The modeller has tried to use every day materials that are readily available, and seeing as he has had to scratch build pretty much everything, the techniques are simple, but effective, and that is a true test of a model builder. Some of the ideas you can see in various other publications, but the full colour pictures and accompanying text make a lot of them easier to follow.
Finally the book ends with a montage of photographs of the completed work, and its only then do you really understand the size of the undertaking, with every picture showing small details that you only really spot when looking over and over again at them.
I have to recommend this book to anybody who has an interest in building dioramas, there are so many good simple techniques on show that anybody reading it will come away with an idea they can use in their own work. The whole book exurbs the passion of the builder, and you really get a feel for what he wants to achieve. I truly hope that this work eventually ends up in some museum somewhere when complete.