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Tappie Scholtz
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"Chason d' Automne" Normandy 1944.

March 26, 2016 · in Diorama · 26 · 1.6K

"Chanson d'automne" ("Autumn Song") is a poem by Paul Verlaine, one of the best known in the French language. It is included in Verlaine's first collection, Poèmes saturniens, published in 1866.

In World War II lines from the poem were used to send messages to the French Resistance about the timing of the forthcoming Invasion of Normandy.

In preparation for Operation Overlord, the BBC had signaled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of the 1866 Verlaine poem "Chanson d'Automne" were to indicate the start of D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, "Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l'automne" ("Long sobs of autumn violins"), meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks. These lines were broadcast on 1 June 1944. The next set of lines, "Blessent mon coeur / d'une langueur / monotone" ("wound my heart with a monotonous languor"), meant that it would start within 48 hours and that the resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system; these lines were broadcast on 5 June at 23:15.

This diorama is set somewhere in France on the eve of the D-Day landings. The Germans are quite oblivious of the events to follow so soon. Here a group of Germans are crossing a little bridge on their way back to the front.

They are unaware that the French resistance has booby trapped the bridge and that their "peace" is to be shattered.

I hope you enjoy it and that you dont give me an earfull as Marc just did...

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

26 responses

  1. That's a fantastic piece of work, It must have took a long time to build.

  2. This is terrific, Tappie, great modelling and interesting background story. Is there any chance we can know more about the models and techniques used to make up this masterpiece? I'd really love to know more!

    • Thank you George. Sure can do. I made a basic structural mould for the bridge out of pieces of styrene sheet which I then filled with plaster of paris. Once it was set, I peeled off the styrene sheet and scribed the cobblestone and brick work. The Schwimwagen is the old Tamiya kit, The BMW also Tamiya while the Luchs and the marching soldiers came from the ICM kit "Normandy". The Resistance figures comes from a very old Italeri kit, The tank crewman from tamiya and the armoured car from Italeri.

      The base was sculpted with plaster of paris over polystyrene formers. The trees were made from twigs from the garden, the grass with some string bound at the bottom and then frayed and trimmed. The stream bead was painted and clear resin cast over. I originally had made some fish for the stream but somehow the resin cracked with them in the water. The demolition charges was some backpack I replicated in resin. The charges are connected with detonating cord and connected to the shot exploder. I used Humbrol enamels, Tamiya acrylics and oils for everything, doing washes and dry brushing as usual. Over spraying everything with Tamiya buff to tone down and create a dusty look. I reduced a real map of Normandy and printed that on normal paper for the BMW crew. The rest of the detailing came out of my spares boxes and some styrene strips, toothpicks and thread for the bridge railings.

  3. Well planned and executed.

  4. I like it a lot! The fellow with the Molotov cocktail, looks like he's going into his windup for delivery, and it's about to get "real"...

    Great story presentation, congrats Tappie!

    • Thank you Frederick. I do believe a diorama should tell a story which of course, just as in real life, consists of a number of sub-plots.

      • You did an excellent job with the "story." There are those who do dioramas who fail to realize that everything has to be to the same quality level - figures, vehicles, background setting and that it all has to "tell a story." You obviously know that. This is really excellent.

  5. Great work Tappie, and a lot of it by the looks of it.
    Well done sir.

    • Thank you sir, I appreciate all the great comments. I also know I am in the company of great modellers which makes everything so much more appreciated. The base was the most time consuming and I guess I sort of started to skimp off on it at the end.

  6. Excellent diorama, of the best I've seen. Nice work!

  7. Thank you sir. I think I said it all in my reply here above. I love doing dioramas. I'm at a stage in my life where single models ust doesn't gel nicely for me anymore. I am placing all my new stuff on bases.

  8. Wunderbar, very nice

  9. Fantasties Tappie ! Jou diorama getuig van goeie navorsing en meesterklas modelkuns! Well done on an all round stunning piece of modelling as well as the history behind it.

  10. Great work and inspiring.

  11. Well...what did I tell you. This is a great piece of modelling my friend, wonderful. As Morne said, Meesterklas. Well done Bud.

  12. Wow - when I saw the headline pic, I thought it was just the bridge, but then got into the rest of the photos to see the entire thing. Just excellent! Did you have to do any additional posing of the figures or were they already molded just so? I love all of the various action shown in them - very dynamic. Love the bike on the car - a nice touch. All-in-all just a great vignette of life in action.

    • Thank you Greg. I played frankenstein by changing some body parts among the figures just to give them a different look. Some where assembled and painted as per instructions.

  13. Really like this dio. Lots of hard work bringing it all together. Full of action before getting to this point and now they are in a few seconds before actually taking on the fight. Inhale...go! I just watched The Longest day the other day, so seeing the headline brought a smile as I knew what was comming.

    • Thank you Stellan. It is indeed exactly where I got the inspiration for the diorama. it is one of the ultimate classic war movies ever. Reading the book however is even more compelling.

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