SokolThe idea was just so clear it didn’t take me much time to come up with decent plans. The same evening those were drawn. They showed the upper structure of a boat, and some groundcover just like if the boat had been stranded and broke underwater in some marshes.
But then I didn’t know at first where to set up the action or which boat to use. For the last two years I have shown my work on the internet and I have been asking many questions, received many answers, many of which pointed to links that allowed me to build a comfortable stash of reference material concerning early Russian 20th century naval equipment. It was here that I set up to find the right boat.
The main issue I had to take care of was the funnel. It shouldn’t be as big as to dwarf the figure standing near it. This alone limited my choices to some kind of torpedo boat as destroyers’ funnels were certainly too big. Then I remember last year meeting a Finnish modeller who was immersed in his country’s naval history. He sent me some pictures of his work – but also a great picture he shared with me showing the close up of the gun cradle of a torpedo boat in the Sokol class. Now searching a bit deeper, I managed to find some books about Sokols which were a help when it came to plans but which only showed some general view of the boat. Those certainly would be enough to create a 1/700 model but not quite detailed enough for bigger scales. Nonetheless, I set up for a Sokol thanks to that great single close up picture I was given.
Furthermore, some profiles in the book as well as a picture I was sent showed a particular ship of the class which was painted green which could prove useful as I never showed any enthusiasm towards the predominantly grey color of 20th century ships.
So what were Sokols? In a lot of Eastern European languages it means “falcon”. The real Sokol was built in England for the tsar by Yarrow, and was later copied more or less brilliantly by Russian arsenals. A good dozen (?) were built, a few sank during the Russo-Japanese war; some others were used as minesweepers during World War One – the Finns managed to pick up a few for their own navy when they gained their independence in 1920, and the rest was finally scrapped during the 1920’s.
This is one of those, dragged from the sea coast to a marsh and left to rust. It could almost be an accurate scene.
The challengeI just can’t start a new diorama if there is no real challenge. But this proved not really hard to find.
You know what’s pretty hard to model when you want to scratchbuild those kind of early 20th century warships? The main guns as well as the secondary rear one stand on some large metal surfaces pierced with hundreds of holes.
I remembered gloomily of the pictures my Finnish friend sent me of his own handsome 1/48 Sokol model and had a look at his pierced gun cradle only to realize he did all the holes by himself using a drill.
I don’t have the patience to work like this so I had to think of an easier way to guarantee an even holing scheme.
Then I wanted to create a marsh and got to remember a childhood memory I am very fond of. Some flooded old Gaul quarry near my hometown where we used to bathe. The water was so pure we could have taken a look at the fish way below our feet.
So I decided the water would be see through and yet, when we would have a look at the diorama from its side, the water would be of a nice blue/green shade just like it would be in a normal bit of still water.
Last but not least I wanted to work on a light source. I worked the idea that a diorama should show the direction of the light. I planned for those warm colours you get at sunset. Here the light would come almost horizontally and bathe most of vertical surfaces. I was aware right from the start that the diorama would work best if viewed from one specific angle, but yet the point would be that different colours schemes would be available if the viewer chooses to have a look from unexpected angles.
Copyright ©2020 by Jean-Bernard André. _OPINIONS IPMS-UK KitMaker Branch, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of KitMaker Network or the British Bulldogs IPMS-UK group. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2008-02-16 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 59758