K5 (E) Leopold
in Scale 1/35 by Trumpeter 
with machined barrel

Diorama preparations
The Base  & The Diorama

Author Th. Schrecke  2004-2015
updated 05.03.2015
Preliminary Remark

This is the English Version of the Making of.. Page that was already published. To give our modelling friends around the world the chance to understand how to handel the kit and the machined barrel by 48 Special Models it was translated.
We recommend to take a closer look to this page before starting building the model. Although we don't think we know all about modelmaking it may be helpful to know the "mistakes" others did!

Instead of the German Version this is a finished Version which will not be updated anymore.


The Kit
  • The machined Barrel
  • Diorama preparations
  • The Base
  • Diorama
  • Shelter
  • Building Report
  • Fitting the Chassis
  • The Carriage
  • Generator-/ Ammunitoncontainer fitting
  • Painting

    Diorama preparations

    To store the assembly sections more easy I decided to build the railroad cross first. Only for getting the size, the whole model will occupy in my livingroom, to my consciousness, this made sense. I instandly realized I need to add a room to my house. The railroad cross occupies about 1m2 of space. A size impossible for permanent display. A straight track was to less for me facing the turntable, which will be erased in that case. The track cross was to wide, that 's why I decided to redesign the tracks. I reduced the one cross section to a short piece and added the surplus to the long track section. I had to check the segments to ensure it will work first. Then the segments were cemented together and the ties where put in. At the connections of the segments 3mm plastic sheet were cemented in from the inside for reinforcement. The base plate was measured out and cut in shape beforehand. For the straight part of the base I used an exsiting 19mm thick chipboard, which was veneered with real wood unnecessaryly. The turntable part was a simple chipboard piece. Both are connected with furniture couplers (from the home store). The use of it is to disconnect the turntable part for transport as well as for separate display. This reduces the total space needed to 154cmx 23cm. Enough to put it on the windowsill or the closet. 

    The Base

    On top of the base a slat is screwed, which is as high as the inside of the railroad embankment and minimum as wide as the ties. This supports the embankment and prevents bending down under the weight of the model. The open end of the embankment is filled with a piece of plastic sheet, sanded to fit and cemented so it becomes a smooth surface. The small holes inside the embankment need to be sealed by use of tape. Sounds like a lot of work, but is more. It is necessary to prevent the PUR-foam injected later to poor out. A 3mm wide papertape will do. Put a strip to a smooth surface and cut out a long 5mm wide strip. Then cross cut 2mm wide small strips by help of a ruler and a hobby knife. Lift them of the surface with a cutter and stick them to the inside of the ties. They will stay there forever.

    The board is exactly as long as the embankment. By use of epoxy glue the embankment was cemented to the board and slat. The whole slat was cemented on. So it has the most strenght possible. Than in both sides of the embankment several holes were drilled. Here a PUR-foam was injectes carefully and in little amounts. It will expand about 2 to 5 times in volume! and release a lot of force. That's why the embankment should be held down by a board on top of it which is clamped to the base. 

    So I want to build the embankment true to the original shape and not in the museum like style like in the kit, I skipped the sanding of the segment edges and covered it with a PUR- foam wedge, which I cut to shape and cemented it on with the same mounting foam. After that the foam was fitted to shape individually, covered with epoxy resin and sprinkled with the fitting size gravel. Afterwards it was completely sprayed with filler from a can to level it and fill small gaps.
    Now the terrain is made by the help of thickened epoxy resin. So it isn't quite complicated terrain I limited it to give it an uneven structure and some tracks from a truck or car. To the still wet resin  sand was applied and some rocks placed too. The surplus sand was brushed off after drying and the edges were cleaned. 
    Now the whole set was spraypainted with matt black from a can. This gives the needed depth for the onfollowing paintjob. Also the base edge gets its final finish. The edges will be taped then to protect them from the ongoing paint activities. The gravel is spraypainted with XF-64 tank grey then and the ties become a XF-10 brown. They need to be handpainted each! This takes a lot of time. After that all will be drybrushed with light grey. This looks erie, but don't panic. After the tracks are laied all will be covered with a layer of rust, to simulate breakedust etc.. Then much of the light grey will vanish again.

    The tracks are pushed to the ties. Beforehand they have been sanded on the lower side and painted iron. Adding on a little brown follows to simulate rust. Don't sand them to good, they need to have a little resistance when laied. Start with the turntable. The cross roads need to be installed first. It is important to adjust them proper and not to cement them, because they may be shifted in small amounts. The plate in the middle needs to be installed before the cross rails are cemented! Same occures to the circle segments which are mounted below the tracks.

    The rails should be pushed from the outside in and be put in no further than one rail lenght before. Use a flat piece of wood or metal to push the rail forward and take care the rail doesn't get wedged. On the first centimeters it is mostly easier to lift the rail at the front and draw it. Take care that two rails ends meet in the right spot! The couplers that connect them only fit to certain positions. Use them as a template. At the edge of the two bases the surplus part of one rail end will be cut of accurate and used on the opposit side of the track again. When all rails fit prefect they can be cemented with thin superglue. Cementing the rail couplers is almost enough. 

    Are the rails laied the embankment will be finished with rust, followed by a darkwash. This will add depth again. 

    The terrain was covered with epoxy resin partially and static grass was applied. So it only stays where it is wanted. A thick bristle brush is used to nudge the static gras to the surface. After drying the surplus is brushed off. Now the terrain will be colored. By spraypainting and drybrushing with several browns it gets a natural look.
    The gras will be spraypainted too with different greens. This helps to prevent it from fading out and makes it more sturdy. Also it looks more like real gras than plastik fluffs. Now the final gardening can appear to happen.

    Tapeing off the holes in the embankment. 
    The support is made from slats.
    Screwing the slats to the base.
    Thickend epoxy resin is used to 
    cement the embankment to the base.
    The cemented on embankment will 
    be filled with PUR-foam then.
    After that foam wedges are cemented to the sides and sanded to shape.
    The wedges have been cemented on with less foam and cut a little smaller for the gravel to be added.
    To the sides a 3mm epoxy resin coat is applied and than gravel sprinkled on. 
    To keep the gravel from running away a barrier of tape is erected.
    The track is masked off to protect it from resin.
    The completed embankment. It is leveled perfect with the plastic part.
    So the tracks don't stop instantly some additional ties are needed. The edge is also converted to a tie.
    The edges of the embankment are leveled to the edge of the base and sanded to fit for a perfect look.
    Following on the whole is spraypainted with filler. The edge is now smooth and perfect.
    To get some depth and a perfect base edge all is painted satin black then. 
    The edge will be taped off for 
    protection then.
    The straight track is made the same way.
    The slat sits direct below the ties. To both ends a sheet of plastic is added.
    The embankment is cemented to the base with epoxy resin.
    On both sides several holes are drilled to inject the PUR-foam later.
    The holes will not be visible afterwards. Use little amounts!
    After injecting the foam the holes are sealed with tape instantly.
    Although taped from inside the foam finds its way through tiny gaps.
     After an hour the foam has set mostly. What looks freightening here isn't a big problem at all, as long as you start removing only after the foam has set completely!
    The onfollowing steps are the same like the turmtable.
    At the end of the track a spare tie is laied and the edge also converted to a tie.
    After spraypainting with filler thick epoxy resin is used to cover the
    terrain. Then sand is applied.
    Has the resin set (about 24h at 20°C) the sand can be brushed off.
    All will be spraypainted black then.
    The end that meets the turntable got some furniture couplers beforehand.
    Watch the angles so the parts fit perfect!
    The same with black color applied.
    Inbetween the gravel the black color will simulate depth. All edges will be taped off then. Good to be seen the perfect match from plastic gravel to real gravel.
    The base after applying the gras and painting the embankment. The black areas will be painted later. Also the gras.
    The embankment was spraypainted XF-64 tankgrey and the ties XF-10 brown by hand. All was drybrushed with light grey then. The turntable was painted iron first. 
    The static gras was applied to partially applied epoxy resin and nudged by a brush. The terrain stayed black on purpose.
    It will be spraypainted later in several browns and drybrushed too.
    Also the gras will be spraypainted in greens.
     This shows the drybrushing effect on the gravel.
    First the rail parts in the middle need to be installed. 
    Therefore sand the lower side smooth.
    To put in the rails they need to be sanded on the lower side.
    Take care on it so they still fit!
    Before installing the rail the circle segment need to be installed!
    The rails can be pushed to the clamps easy and should be cemented at last if at all.
    Push the rail careful, because the resistance increases with any clamp.
    The turntable rails need to be adjusted exactly. Use the rail couplers as a template
    The rail is cut exactly at the edge of the base. The plate in the middle was installed before the cross was laied.
    The surplus track is fitted to the opposite side then.
    The front stays black and is therefore protected by tape.
    The couplers rest exactly on the clamps. This has to be payed attention to. After all rails are installed they should be fixed.
    In the middle section the rail is pushed in about a rail lenght before. Therfore it needs to be bend a little, but that's no problem.
    Pushing the rail in detail. When drawing ahead lift it at the front, that is easier.
    The chassis on the completed track. The embankment and rails will be spraypainted rusty to simulate breakdust.
    The gun with 45° elevation in firing position. The diorama details are still missing.
    The completed gun in its final resting place. There are diorama details added. The Trumpeter gun crew was added with the figures from the Italeri Kübelwagen set and the waggon kit. The size of the diorama is a challange for almost every modeller. I needed to place the diorama on polyfoam blocks to rest it on the cabinet.
    Details make a diorama! The table for telephone and radio, as well as the MG for aircover bring the diorama to life, as well as...
     ...the officer shouting at his crew. Soon there will be also the granades and cartridges in use. The gunners and the crewman at the crank and the lock are just put in place to keep the option of rising the barrel.
    The handmade camouflage netting covers very well the the stack of ammo boxes in the waggon. Except for one all boxes are handmade from plastic sheet, which is much easier than casting them.
    Also at least one open box is needed. This one contains the granade that came with the kit. 
    Attended by Rommel (who is included in the Italeri Kübelwagen kit) the gun crew is drilled. The informal uniform of the two soldiers seems to irritate the General somehow. Together with the still in the making shelter the diorama will become a French Atlantik K5 Gun.
    The Shelter
    Resulting from the need to transport the model to exhibitions, I had the idea to build a shelter like transportation box for the railway gun. So the shelter would be about 120cm of length, it would be not enough to simply use it as  a decoration piece only.
    It should have also any kind of additional use. After studying photographs of the shelters used and by help of the 1:25 cardboard kit I designed the plans for a "transportation"-shelter. This shelter shaped box consists of multiplex birch plywood. On it a layer of about 1cm thick polyurethane foam boards is cemented. These sheets can be modelled to a perfect concrete surface, which is typical for those shelters. After that the surface is coated with a thin layer of epoxy resin. This wil protect the smooth surface from damage. Then the shelter will be painted and fit to the rest of the diorama.

    To place the model, with the complete railroad into the box, one side of the shelter can be removed by hinges. So the railroad can be put inside easy and the shelter can be shown cut open too. By use of the hinges it can also be closed for transport or shown in complete. For transport a handel is to be mounted on, which is taken of the rest of the time. 

    The wooden gates on both ends are mounted movable. Eather so that one side can be opened or both. Therefore the gates are fixed with hinges. 
    The outer gates roll on rails at the top. This rail construction is just stuck into holes in the shelterwall and can be put of for transport.

    The shelter was made after the diorama was completed and therefore made to fit. Who wants to make a shelter also and hasn't even started making the diorama, should check for the right height of the railroad dam and the shelter ground beforehand, to prevent problems when puting them side to side.

    The shelter isn't completed jet. The picture gallery will be completed soon and the diorama can be seen live at the Expertentag in  Mainz.

    The parts of the shelter.
    All right angled parts except the ribbs.
    The ribbs are cut on the bandsaw in one job. 
    Therefore they are fixed with tape.
    The portal with sticked on  pattern. The photocopy of the plan was glued on wit spray mount and is used as a cutting pattern.
    The grey areas show the location of the railsection.
    The shelter consists of two halfs, which are almost similar. The half which can be opened is fixed with take out angles. The other half is fixed to the portals and groundplate.
    K5-Bunker0010.JPG K5-Bunker0008a.JPG
    The shelter in half done condition. Still missing are the gates and final painting. The black aereas mark the parts burried underground.
    The shelter was also designed as a transportation box. Therefore it can be flipped open. The openable side can be taken away to give full access.
    The opend shelter from the side view. Its total length is 1,3m! The inside profil has the same shape like the diorama base so it can be placed inside the shelter easiely.  The inside walls have a rough concret structure.
    The complete shelter diorama as shown at the Inspiration Modellbau in Mainz 2004.
    Detail of the gates. On the original the inner gates are made from wood the outer ones from Steel and/or concrete?