While reading a book on the North African WWII theatre, I bounced upon this picture.
It shows a Pz. Kpfw. III Ausf. H rolling towards the frontline with the British in 1941. This time, the tank in itself did not interest me most, but the monument behind it…
The monument was erected in the mid 1930’ies and then opened on March 16th 1937 by Il Duce (Benito Mussolini) himself. It is called the “Arco dei Fileni” (Arch of the Philaeni) and marks the border between provinces of the Italian part of Lybia (Tripolitania & Cyrenaica) at that time. It arcs the infamous coastal road near the Lybian coastline between Ras Lanuf and Al Agheila much battled during the conflict in Northern Africa. The building was designed by Florestano Di Fausto and constructed from travertine stone, of which most of Rome was built.
I started to investigate a little more and found an interesting legend tied to it. Two brothers from Cartago were buried alive there by the Greeks of Kirene to mark the border of Cartago. You can find more on this link (French):
I decided to build this arc as an architectural model in scale 1:35th. It often appears in b/w pictures taken during the WWII action in North Africa as you can see here:
The arc was often used as a flight control station for the airstrip nearby, in fact both sides did so during the North African campaign.
The Planning Phase:
Unfortunately, I could only get three dimensions online for this monument. The actual one was blown-up by the Lybian dictator Kadhaffi in 1974 as it represented to colonial past to him. Today, there is nothing left of it but the bas-reliefs and the bronze statues of the Carthagean brothers. I had to measure relatively from these few dimensions on a set of pictures I could find. I summarized everything in a set of pencil drawings allowing me to start with the engineering of the build.
Most of the info and dimensions had to be inferred from pictures like these:
The Build Phase (ongoing):
I started to build the main frame of the building from hardwood out of the department store (cheap), making sure I bought straight ones for my money. I decided that starting with the inner arc gave most guarantees to keep everything straight and perpendicular:
Today I also added the slanted sides in two steps:
When this is dry, I can start covering the frame with sheeting of 2mm balsa.
For me the most difficult job on this one will be the sculpting of the two statues and the bas-reliefs. I think I will sculpt the brothers’ from green stuff and Fimo. I’m not yet sure how to make the bas reliefs. Maybe wood engraving could do the job? Any ideas?
The monument was featured of a latin verse by Horace: “ALME SOL POSSIS NIHIL URBE ROMA VISERE MAIUS”, which means “Almighty Sun, may you never look onto a city greater than Rome”. I already printed them with my 3D printer (one side thus far):
Hope you like it thus far, I will keep you posted!