Bob Letterman

<< Back to Home Page

(05) “Logistics” The Rolling Stock

August 29th, 2012 by admin

This topic will eventually include ALL railroad models/K-5 railway gun and trolleys in the diorama. Another vehicle for the next diorama will be a locomotive, tender and a RR Gun. I have the locomotive and tender complete up to the point of painting and weathering, and the RR gun is barely started with one of the trucks ready to paint. This is, of course, the Trumpeter kit. I had originally built the Tank Workshop kit and when this came out, discovered that the TW kit was almost twice the size of this and really out of scale!

Here is the BR-52 with base coat. The first two are normal photos, the third enhanced with brightness in Photoshop. The next step will be to lighten some of the larger areas with black plus some khaki drill, Humbrol matt 72, then to the detailing.

And a shot I lightened in Photoshop to better able to see it.

This will be on the tracks of the train station cutaway w/tender and K-5 railway gun.

Haven’t worked on this section for awhile. Here are two more for this one. I will have a powered unit and a slave unit on the back street of Logistics, fairly damaged but not total wrecks. The model is the box art I’ve been carrying around for years and a little beat up. It will be the slave unit. The new one in the box will be the powered unit. I intend to cut the windows out of clear plastic.

Also, I have one of the trucks built for the K5E rail gun that will be behind the tender and locomotive in the cut away train station in the front of the diorama.

Onwards and upwards!

The locomotive, tender and the K5E rail gun will be under the cutaway train platform under the canopy. In this picture, you can see the first carriage of the RR gun behind the tender.

I finally finished something on this thread! This is the Custom Dioramic’s Trolley. The original pattern was made by Ben Jacobsen, IMO, one of the very best! It went together like a plastic kit, perfect fits throughout. I added the glass, mostly shot up. I have seen this built by a couple of the big names in modeling. Both beautiful jobs, but…. and I’m not a real picky guy, but safety glass has been around long before WW II. Both those trolleys had jagged glass shards like those in your house windows would break. Especially all public transportation vehicles had safety glass when this was in service. As you know, safety glass is two thin plates of glass with a clear polymer plastic sandwiched in between. When it breaks, the plastic holds it together. Otherwise, accidents would have a lot more fatalities than they do. When a bullet goes through them, they look much like a spiders web. I’ve put my share of them through the rear windows of cars I was chasing way back when I was a cop.

Here are two shots of safety glass broken in a vehicle.

And here is how normal glass breaks into shards that is in windows of houses and some buildings.

I did these with only an exacto knife. Just made holes, then made starbursts with the knife, then uneven concentric circles expanding out.

I added a lot of detail to the roof electrical system. I found some European trolleys on the web and kinda scratched and/or used similar parts from the scrap box. (And a little gizmology!) If one of you readers is an expert on European trollys of the forties, specializing in the power conducting units, Then excuse me all to hell! Without this, it looked way too plain.

I used various data plates and other signage both inside and out from a box I keep those types of things in.

I’ll be finishing off the locomotive and coal car soon. The railway gun is started but quite a bit to go. This trolley will have power poles on either end with the wires resting on the upper contact.

I finally got around to building the K-5E 28 cm rail gun for the dio. As I was finishing it up, I kept waiting for the instructions to attach the wood lathe strips to the gun deck. Then I started looking for those strips. I kept thinking, “Have I lost those damned things somewhere. Then I went on the web and looked up the Dragon K-5E. Lo and behold, I came upon another builder who had scratched the wood because, as he said, Dragon forgot it.

So, I dug out the old Evergreen strips and finished it up. Amazing they could have forgotten that. It is on the diesel engine roof along with the rails for the shell carriage. Weird.

I left off some of the details until after weathering. The guard rails will be damaged by the collapsing steel girders from the canopy. I will probably put some G.I.s standing on the barrel while a photographer snaps pictures for some added drama!

Anyway, here are some pics.

Here you can see how the wooden lathe strips were added on the diesel module roof, but not on the gun deck.

I used a lot of PE on this, the brass kit PE is obvious but the Eduard doesn’t photograph well because it blends with the plastic color. Also, I shot the entire model with clear flat before photographing it which makes it all the more invisible. I want to mention that Erik, (Dragonov), actually gave me the Eduard set about 2 years ago. He probably didn’t think I was ever going to build this thing! Thanks Erik!

In these shots, I photographed it on the diorama along with most of the other vehicles that will be on it when finished. Some are finished and some only base coated. It will be very busy, but that is why I called it logistics!

Here, you can see the size of this gun compared with the tiny Shermans above it.

When finished, the train canopy will be collapsed on top of the rail gun. It will hide a lot of the detail I put in it, but until I actually build the canopy, I don’t know what will show and what won’t. So, I built it as if everything would be seen. I believe the effect of doing that will be really dramatic as well as it will also allow the viewer to see all the action going on above on street level.

I finally got the RR gun painted, the base coat at least. I hate weathering German yellow. IMO, it is the most difficult color to weather, even more than white, and this is one big kit.. Oh well, it has to be done. In these photos, the yellow looks very bright. It isn’t, just the lighting caused that.

I know how long this is all taking, but it will be not only the busiest dio I have ever built, but I am making certain the quality of the workmanship on every aspect is also the best I have ever done. At least I hope it is!

Well, here’s what I have been doing with the locomotive. I’ve only worked on the cabin so far. I will wait to weather and dirty it up when I do the outside as it will save time. The kit doesn’t give you much detail at all, so I had to add a lot. It seems like a shame because when the locomotive is finished and on the diorama you will only be able to see all this through a door and a single window on the right side of the locomotive.
I’ll start with what you get in the kit. This is the built and painted cabin with every single part that comes with the kit.

Now, here is a photo of the real cabin of the BR-52.

So, I built what was in the kit and began detailing. First, I added data plates and the left and right Wasserstandsanzeigers, (The vertical things with the diagonal stripes, from scratch. The zug fur dampheife and the zusatzbremse. (The gadgets near the right window just above the large red wheel). I prepared the floor for the wood technique by giving it a acrylic flesh coat.

A closer look.

Then the cabin prior to weathering and dirtying.

Another angle.

And the other side.

Till next update!


Now that I posted the locomotive cabin, here is a problem I encountered. I wonder if anybody can relate?

Has anybody ever had a brilliant idea? I mean a real epiphany! Then you get everything you need to pull it off and the results suck?

Well, I had one in the building of the locomotive cabin. There are all these gauges, right? They all have white dials. So, I went on the Internet and found tons of white faced gauges. Perfect! Then I bought some laminating sheets. The kind you laminate your Social Security card, etc.

Then I use my computer program to reduce the gauges to the right size, (Very tiny). Then i cut them into small sheets with several gauges each. Then I laminate them to, 1), make them stronger and invulnerable to liquids. 2) To give them a gloss finish that will approximate clear lenses. So far, wonderful! I’m on a roll now! I get out my punch and die and start punching them out.

And they look great! Maybe a bit pixilated but, installed, nobody will notice! Right? These are really blown up compared to their real size.

Then, I put them in the gauges and the glue gets inside. I forgot that when you punch them out, the entire edge on the gauge becomes suseptable to liquids. Now they are not only pixelated, they are blurry as well! I will never be able to live with these damned things, even though you will barely be able to see them after the locomotive is built, so, I’ll put them on the back burner until I can find something to replace them with. Most aircraft gauges and dials have a black face. There are white faced model car gauges out there, but they’re 1/25th, many are not round, and I could run into the same pixilation problems again.

You can see them clearly in this photo on the right side.

I’m open to ideas you guys! Help!!!!


Some progress on the locomotive. Still a lot of detailing to do, but, I’ve finally got the finish I was looking for. I used something different this time.I wanted a certain look, a finish that I couldn’t get with the routine raw umber wash, the burnt sienna pin washes or the lighter flat black/Matt 72 50-50 mixture dry brushing. After all that, I used pastels, not pigments, but old fashioned pastel sticks available at art supply stores and still cheap, grind them into powder on a face up sandpaper. Then, using a soft brush, move the black and burnt sienna powders around on the finish outside until it looked like I wanted on one side. Then I sprayed it with clear flat spray. After drying, I did the same to the other side. Here is what it looks like!

There is still a lot of detailing to do, but it all is beyond the basic structure. It is easy to duplicate on those accessories which are mostly brass, after attaching them. I will first have to attach all those hoses to the undercarriage. Note the cabin roof is not yet weathered.

I did a little weathering on the cabin interior, but not nearly as much as I will. I still have more detailing for the underside of the cabin roof.

Another shot!

A couple of shots of the undercarriage.

Finally an overall shot of the locomotive!

Thanks for looking in!


Got almost all the PE and other parts on and it is ready for the final painting and weathering. I used a lot of PE, but it is mostly Eduard and it doesn’t contrast as well as brass PE. Anyway, next step is finishing it. That shouldn’t take long at all!

I made some changes. There were 7,800 of these made and not on an assembly line. Each was a kind of one off. Therefore they were all different in anywhere from minor differences to major ones. When I originally bought it, I intended to paint the running gear red, however, after a lot of research, I have learned the BR-52s as well as all other marks, did not have the red undercarriage during the war years! A pity as I think that could have added some color to the diorama.

Here’s where it’s at now!

Thanks for looking in!


Well, Finally finished! In fact, this only leaves one more in the “Rolling Stock” to wrap up. The K5E rail gun! I’m dreading that German Yellow already! No Pain, no Gain, I guess! I did get some ideas on how I will approach it from this locomotive, believe it or not!

I’ll start with the cab. I finished it and photographed it before I sealed it completely in the sides and roof of the locomotive. You’ll be able to see even less than I thought when It’s on the diorama.

I dirtied it up some and left some coal on the floor.

Another angle.

Then some worm’s eye shots of the locomotive.

Then the tender. I used some 1/25th scale coal that I glued over the fake coal cast in the top.

Then I took it into the Museum and photographed it where it will be in the diorama. The train canopy shown here, will be collapsed from an Allied bomb further back and be strewn on and around the RR gun.

Imagine all those 435 figures in and around everything. It’s going to be busy as hell, just like I planned it years ago!

I thought this shot looked realistic, considering it’s surroundings are not finished yet. I’m going to hang some Nazi posters on the wall beside the train, then smoke them up good and do the wear and tear thing! BTW, the steel columns on the side of the train are not set in place as yet and are leaning slightly. I will plumb them when they are installed permanently!

Another four Shermans to fill out that column!

And a final shot of it from the rear!

Thanks for looking in!