The Day the Music Died – Part 3: The Diorama

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  • Last reply 3 months, 3 weeks ago
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  • James B Robinson said 8 months ago:

    This article is part of a series:
    1. The Day the Music Died – The Glenn Miller Story Intro
    2. The Day the Music Died – Part 2: The Aircraft
    3. The Day the Music Died – Part 3: The Diorama.

    Twinwood Control Tower and support Vehicles

    As previously stated, the premise is to recreate the last time Major Glenn Miller was seen on December 15th, 1944. To catch up, please venture back to the first article.

    This new article will cover the building of the Control Tower, the support vehicles and various other additions to the Diorama. It will be a ‘Work in Progress’ and will extend into the next year, beyond the end of the Group Build Deadline.

    The plan is to include a U.S. Army Staff car that delivered Major Miller to the Control Tower at the Twinwood Farm RAF base first. This will be followed by several other vehicles as space permits. Possibly a Tilly and an Albion AM463 Refueller.

    There is some controversy over the Tilly’s roll in the RAF. Tamiya got it wrong. The Tilly was never ordered or acquired by the RAF. Contrary to popular belief, this has been proven. I will simply add it as a delivery vehicle. It’s kind of a unique vehicle and I cannot resist.

    U.S. Army Staff Car

    Tamiya U.S. Army Staff Car Model 1942 No. 32559

    Over all a really simple build. Straight forward enough to be a quick build. The kit includes a metal base and not a lot of detail. Lacking an engine and a sparse interior, it is very rudimentary.

    The front of the box.

    The instructions:

    The sprues:

    I initially applied a primer to the entire kit. Checking for imperfections, which are almost zero, but I did find a slight dimple in the roof of the car. The metal base is a different animal. Multiple ejection spots that probably won’t be seen, but were in plain view.

    I applied a general coat of O.D. to the entire model. Once that was dry, I inspected for further touch up and decided to ‘Spruce’ up the interior a bit. Starting with the floor boards, I made some floor mats from Strathmore paper stock, cut to fit. Here’s a few views of the carriage base with the seats and floor mats.

    I then turned my attention to the front seat. It is lacking a back. Might not be visible once assembled, but what the heck. I attached some Strathmore stock to the back end, and then stuffed the void with some tissue to give it some visual effect.

    Of note, the dry fit at this time indicates there may be a gap between the rear seat deck and the body. This could be because the interior window is not installed, we shall see.

    Stay tuned, more to come………….
    James B

  • Louis Gardner said 8 months ago:

    I like what you are doing here !!! What most people don’t realize is that during WW2, all of the US auto manufacturers quit producing cars for public use. They still made cars, but they were no longer made available to the public during the 1942 model year. There were some built for public use in the early part of 1942, but that’s when things changed over to full wartime production.

    1941 was the final year of full scale public auto production in the US during the War, and they didn’t start producing cars for “public use” again until 1946.

    So Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Dodge, Plymouth……….. all of them made “staff” cars for the US military. You could get any color you wanted, as long as it was a military color !!!!

    Here’s a 1942 Cadillac staff car, reportedly Ike’s car……………..

    a 1941 Ford

    and a few others…………….

    You know I couldn’t resist putting a Dodge in the mix…..

    This is going to be great !!! Sign me up…….

  • Robert Royes said 8 months ago:

    What a great project! The Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach has a tower that they shipped from England and rebuilt it.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • James B Robinson said 8 months ago:

    Robert @roofrat, Thanks, its been a lot of fun so far. That is a classic example. Thanks for sharing. I’d be willing to bet that was a later model during the war. The windows are larger then the example at Twinwood Farms. I actually have enough images to build out the top and bottom interior rooms where the actual control operations took pace, but don’t have enough time.

    Louis @lgardner, thanks for dropping by and sharing those buddy. It’s a shame that nobody makes those models in 1/48 or 1/72 scale. Lot’s of opportunities await. That Caddy looks like a beast!

  • James B Robinson said 7 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Update 12/15/19

    As expected, this kit built up fairly fast. In lieu of using the provided decals for the Stars, I used masks and painted. They turned out pretty good IMHO.

    This was my first attempt at painting a figure in this scale, ever! Not terribly disappointed in the outcome considering it won’t be extremely visible once it’s all buttoned up. Here are a few shots of the progress.

    Still need to add a few final touches and a little clean up. Soon it will be time to start another vehicle or possibly the Control Tower building. Still working on the schedule of this.

    Stay tuned, more to come………….
    James B

  • Michael E Rieth said 7 months, 3 weeks ago:

    I’m liking the staff car build. The seat leather looks realistic. I’ve been looking for the staff car kit, resale, cheap. I have a dock bon voyage diorama scene I’d like to do.

  • James B Robinson said 7 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Hi Michael @mrieth, they are kind of scarce at the moment. I set up an Ebay search just to find them in the states. You can get them from overseas, but I shy away from most of those sellers.

    When you get one, be careful with the alignment of the back wheel assembly. mine ended up a little snug. Looks okay, but to the builder’s eye, it’s off a bit.

  • Michael E Rieth said 7 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Thanks, James, @jamesb, I’ll keep an eye out. I may get the P-51/staff car combo for under $40.

    Did you see this article from the National WWII Museum about Glenn Miller,
    Or this one about the flight,
    It might add to your build.

  • James B Robinson said 7 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Thanks Michael @mrieth, I had not seen those. Most of my research has been from Dennis Spragg’s book, I’m keeping a Reference List / Bibliography of all my research for the final Article. I will add these to that list.

    Going for the combo kit might be the best bet. The color I chose for the seats is Vallejo Model Air Burnt Umber. I like the way it turned out.

  • Erik Gjørup said 7 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Great build! I always enjoy looking at fellow modelers’ quarterscale vehicles, knowing that most AFV and other four-wheeled stuff is in 1/35. Your build is very cool indeed – like the seatback and other details. I’m tuned in on this build now @jamesb

  • James B Robinson said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Update 12/31/19

    Finished the car. Here it is next to the UC-64 in its current state.

    Now to move on to the base. First thing, and probably the easiest part was to cut boards for the paving. I selected an Art Board produced by Canson in France. I decided that #431 Steel Gray would be a good resemblance for the paving and side walk. These will be permanently mounted last, so I can change them if the color doesn’t make the grade.

    I then started on the walls. After deciding how the walls were going to join, I cut each one. The next step was to layout all of the openings and areas that would need to be cut out. Once I have these cut, I will start applying the brick work using pre-formed sheets from Plastruct.

    Stay tuned, more to come………….
    James B

  • James B Robinson said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Here is one more showing the exterior walls. This is reversed, meaning you are seeing the inside of the building. I will carefully drill out the corners of each opening, then cut the openings using a new Exacto Blade.

    Old college skills coming back into use. 🙂

  • James B Robinson said 6 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Update 01/26/20

    Quick update. After finishing the UC-64 and the Command car, I’ve turned my attention to the diorama base. This weekend was all about my Daughter’s baby shower, so I was not able to see much bench time until today. Setup the photo tent for images of previous builds to be posted soon and turned my attention to the Diorama Base.

    I had previously laid out the concrete pavement next to the Control Tower and today I started installing them on the base. Here I’m aligning the paving panels cut into individual sections as they would have been installed.

    Several more panels laid down, with the Tower wall sub-base walls in place. Of note, the brick is a weight I’m using to secure the panels. It is of some significance, a Whiteselle Cherry Red from Corsicana Texas where my father was born. I came across a few of these while boarding in a Fraternity House in College. The house was over 100 years old back in 1979. I selected a few and with the permission of the Fraternity gifted then to my father as ‘Book Ends’ for his office. Whiteselle employed mason immigrants from England. They built the city of Corsicana and laid brick all over the Dallas to Waco to the College Station area. College Station being the home of the famous University of Texas A & M ‘Fighting Aggies’.

    Stay tuned, more to come………….
    James B

  • Robert Royes said 6 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Every thing is looking great! Nice story about the brick.

  • James B Robinson said 6 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Thanks Robert @roofrat, kind of nice to find a bit of history from the family’s past indeed. I had no clue about the history of the Manufacturer until years later. Just knew it was from where Dad was born when I found them.

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