A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

September 9, 2013

Making Progress on the WWI Layout

I am just less than halfway done with the WWI project layout.  This has been an interesting and fun diversion. I have enjoyed this opportunity to paint figures in colors other than Federal  and Kersey Blues. Added bonus, the biplanes in WWI were very cool.

I am looking forward to getting back to Aquia Landing soon.


  1. impressive! the background decor is beautiful !
    How can you put the plane in the layout ?????

  2. The plane right now is to show a crashed airplane in no man's land. However, my wife likes the flying plane and is lobbying to include it. It would be mounted on a thin steel piano wire.

    1. You're wife is right!!
      (it's not always the case... !)
      It gives a lot of life at the scene.

  3. I have to agree with your wife- the Sopwith Camel in flight looks really good!

    Tom Patterson

  4. That aircraft in the photos is a die cast Corgi model. It is suspended over the layout on a piano wire, which I remeoved with Photoshop. The airplane can be moved around as I just have to stick the wire in the ground.

  5. I Like "de'Plane Boss"...your wife is right as usual...Have him buzzing over the crashed plane he just shot down to confirm his kill...and you said it was too rainy at Cambai to fly...pish posh...

  6. Yes, the votes are in and we will include a flying aircraft to the scene. The crashed airplane is out. Mark will build the plastic model as a flying aircraft. It is a plastic kit and therefore lighter than the Corgi die cast model. It should be able to be suspended with a lighter, less visually obtrusive wire.

    W/re to the weather. It was rainy most of the time, but some air activity took place. The Brits took great care to camouflage things during the day to maintain secrecy and avoid detection by air.

  7. Dear Bernie,

    1 - Love the flying Sopwith, although enabling it for "flypast" motion would be both cool and relatively-easily do-able (Hint: for "flypast" a circular motion which disappears and "waits a spell" behind the backdrop is one solution. For "flyby" work, a Tamiya Chain Run in an elongated oval or even "curvy oval" formation can provide a "long parallel to fascia run, with quick turns-behind-the-backdrop at each end" situation. Use Magnets instead of actual physical connections, and there doesn't even need to be a "slot in the sky"!)

    2 - I do hope we'll be seeing (hearing) a proper subwoofer-supported Layout Sound deployment for such a scene? It's begging for it, and yes, it's _entirely_ possible to get that stomach-kicking "Whump!" of a localised bomb hit _without_ exceeding 60dB SPL (a polite 2-person conversation level), _if_ the physical speaker deployment + layout height is suitable, and you know what you're doing in the Audio Editor...

    3 - With strategic use of some off=the-shelf Model RR lighting and "show control" gear, merged FX such as sound + mortar-hit/smoke FX is entirely do-able. A show layout here in Aust called "Black and White" from a few years ago had simulated "bombing runs" accross the scene (WW2 No-Mans-Land), using sound imaging and sequential Seuthe smoke gen triggers...

    4 - It may be getting a bit too macabre, but a decently-configured oil-tank-fed Seuthe gen, + a couple of low-revving PC fans positioned "just out of scene", could simulate "drifting cordite/smoke/gas" accross the scene...

    Happy Modelling,
    Prof Klyzlr

  8. Dear Bernie,

    I'd also suggest checking over Dr Geoff Bunza's recent animation work with his seaplane on MRH, a toothbrush motor would make a perfect fit for the Sopwith propeller.... of you could just replace it with a disk of thin perspex or acrylic sheet, painted to emulate the blured appearance of a rotating Prop-in-flight...

    Happy Modelling,
    Aim to Improve,
    Prof Klyzlr

  9. Bernie,

    The simplicty is stunning.
    Rod Hutchinson, Australia

  10. Thanks for the comments. We really don't want to emphasize the aircraft element of the layout because there was very little air activity before the battle. The major factor was that the weather during the build up was foggy and stormy. This limited air activity and helped the Allies achieve surprise during the attack. If we have airplanes zooming around that would not tell the right story.

    However, WWI biplanes are cool, so we planned to have a crashed one, a fairly common event. The flying Corgi die cast toy was an afterthought that seems to be a big hit. So while we are shifting things around a bit, we still don't want the airplanes to steal the show. This is a model RR after all.

    Having an animated plane, as cool as that could be, is beyond the primary scope of the layout. It is being built for a chapter in an book. The animation aspect would not be captured in a static book. This project has to be put to bed in about 2 weeks.

    The more pressing concern now is to figure out how to have convincing night photos where the soldiers were in black out conditions, as this is a RR that pretty much ran only at night.

    But keep those ideas coming. How about animating the Mk IV tanks? Just remember, this was the "quiet sector" before the battle.