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“Big Fish” Revisited

August 21, 2014 in Aviation

Five months ago, I posted the Headlines article, “Big Fish” – Rotterdam Oude Haven 1952. It depicted the salvage of a Heinkel bomber (Revell 1/32 modelled) into a small Dutch port several years after WW2. Having lived with the diorama for these past months, I decided that it needed further detailing, and further refinements to existing areas.

You can revisit the original article at to see the differences and, hopefully, to note improvements:

– for the water texture I used the craft material, Mod Podge, applied by brush over the original resin base in seven coats to achieve that familiar choppy-sea effect;

– the skulls were sourced from a firm in Germany (the only place I’ve been able to find skulls in this scale); the ribcage and other bones in the open coffin are made from wire;

– wicker baskets, closed coffins, dog figures, additional figure in rowboat, additional vegetation and other miscellaneous detailing added complexity and depth;

– the prostitute and dockworker were moved from the back of the wharf to the side-front of the composition to add interest in an otherwise isolated corner;

– the ‘sparks’ from the cutting torch look less coarse when viewed as Mk1 Eyeball than through a macro lens, but I thought I’d share the detail.

Originally, most figures and equipment were de-pinned from the set and stored separately, but I found that repeated handling of these led to damage of smaller parts, and so elected to fix them to the base, with only a couple of figures and the two cranes to be stored separately. The main wharf section is modular as before and simply lifts off the base for storage.

Having completed the exercise, I feel more confident that the diorama is now of exhibition standard.

22 additional images. Click to enlarge

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13 responses to “Big Fish” Revisited

  1. Impressive looking diorama, Rob…the time and effort put forth is definitely apparent. The attention to detail is outstanding. Very believable-looking ‘water’ as well I might add. Very nice work, sir.

  2. Great work Rob. I still admire the fact that you “sacrificed” a big impressive model – the He 111- to build this diorama. I’d have been too feart! Do you have any pictures of it before it was incorporated into the base? I really like all the new imbelishments you’ve made to the original.

    • Thanks, Gregor. No, no earlier photos of the Heinkel. It was planned from the start that a complete wing and the back of the plane would be removed along panel lines, with foil layers added to simulate sheared metal skin, and naturally without the rudder and rear planes it became more manageable and compact for the diorama. Even so, the scene is still 670 x 930 (around 2′ x 3′).

  3. Wouldn’t have thought you could improve the original but you certainly did. Unbelievable attention to detail.

  4. Great job Rob.
    The re-positioning of the figures and the other added pieces made this master piece even better mate.
    Well done sir.

  5. You’ve put a lot of thought into revising this diorama, Rob, and the results are extremely worthwhile, definitely exhibition standard.

  6. Rob,
    Loved it the first time I saw this and like it even better the second time.

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