Sunday, February 5, 2017

'Home' from MartinN: If Walls Could Talk

It was a sad day for Frank Sperber, Obergefreiter of the Wehrmacht, when he returned home for the first time in over a year. The last time he saw the house he had called his home was when he departed for his first assignment after basic training, sitting on the floor of a horse cart, holding a lock of blonde hair in his left hand. He was to join a newly raised Panzergrenadierdivision in France and he could still vividly remember his parents, standing at the garden gate, waving him goodbye with tears in their eyes as if they'd knew what was to come. And there was Anne... 

He hadn't allowed himself to think about Anne the whole day now. She'd been a girl from the neighbourhood and his first love and they had been friends for as long as he could remember. While his parents had fled well in advance of the soviet steamroller, she had decided to stay and wait for him to return. Still believing the lies of those treacherous bastards in Berlin. The "Endsieg" would finally be theirs. The Allies in the west would break and sue for peace, while the red hordes, teetering on the brink of collapse anyway, would be driven back to the Ural and beyond. Crushing the menace of bolshevism once and for all. All with the help of the new "Wunderwaffen" Or so she believed...

And than came the bombs. At first only a few bombers, for the most part concentrating on the nearby railway hub. Finally the real bombing began. Wave after wave of big twin engined bombers flew overhead and unleashed hell on the town. Her parents' home was struck and burnt out almost completely, while she had found refuge in one of the small air raid shelters scattered around the vicinity. When the raid was over she went to his home, still not prepared to flee westwards.

Weeks of relative calm followed and she had sent him letter after letter to let him know she was safe and still waiting for him. All his appeals to follow his parents were in vain. Providence, or bad luck, saw his unit moved to the eastern front. Only a few miles from his home town, but the relentless pressure the soviets put on the Wehrmacht meant there was no time for him to visit his home and first of all Anne. It was only weeks later when their retreat led them through the remnants of his town when he could convince his superior to allow him and his squad mates a small detour to look after his love.

He had found her in what little was left of the kitchen. She was sitting at the table as if just finished with breakfast. Her head lay resting on her right arm while in her left hand she was still clutching his photograph. A fragment of the artillery grenade that had laid his home in ruins had taken her life. His comrades had to forcefully take him away from her lifeless body and had to use the contents of a bottle of cheap vodka to stun him in a merciful stupor, while they buried her in the garden.
Shortly after they'd woken him of his comatous sleep as russian artillery started their gruesome work again and interrupted the relative quiet with shells of all calibres falling all around them. Like a puppet he had followed his comrades through the ruins of the neighbourhood, crossing the town square in sheer flight, passing through deserted streets and finally linking up with what seemed to be the rearguard of their Division already leaving the outskirts of the town. Now, hours later, his head was aking and he still felt numb. He was sitting on the floor of a horse cart, his comrades around him. In his left hand he held a lock of blonde hair...

This theme proved to be a really tough one for me. Only after much head scratching and rummaging around the treasure trove did I remember this superb kit from Elladan, formerly Stronghold Terrain. I had bought it at Tactica last year and was rather intimidated bythe level of detail so I did what we all tend to do at times. I put it into the pile and all but forgot about it.

And bloody right I was too! Has I only known how much time it would cost me to finish the piece I'd probably better skipped this round. Being the pedantic little turt I am I couldn't just assemble the basic kit, splash some paint on it, hit it with pigments and be done with it. No, I had to do all the little detailing that is possible with the Diorama-Set available for this building and more.

I even decided to add a small personal touch by adding the portrait of my great uncle who fell in 1940 in France, serving as a bomber pilot. Funny enough, people who know the picture often mistake it for me wearing a reenactors uniform.

To properly present the building I even did a staged photo shot, creating a complete scene with garden fencing, a small orchard, dung heap and so on. Unfortunately the lighting proved to be so bad I could only use some few close ups of the building. And for that I had risked my marriage by sprinkling sand around the flat...
Anyhow, despite my rumblings I'm rather pleased with how the kit has turned out. It will probably make for a nice center piece in future games. Downside is, it's rather fragile and thus I'll probably not take it out of house very often, if at all.

No figures were painted for this entry, so it should be bonus points only this time.


  1. Hats a really amazing model, all those details really bring it to life

  2. That's an incredible piece of work, well done!

  3. Wow, I will really have to look at their kits! Besides the kit though, amazing paint job! Truly stunning!

  4. Fantastic, kit and detailing a really nice job.
    Best Iain

  5. Fantastic Nick! Really enjoy all the detailing you did. As fragile as it is I do hope you bring it over so I can look at it.


  6. I could weep at that backstory.

  7. Wow, this is just amazing, Nick. I'm always impressed with your command of English and your backstory is excellent on so many levels. I love all the details that have been packed into this piece of terrain, from the shattered glass to the wallpaper and tilework. It's all fully realized. A real tour de force!

  8. Fantastic model and a very sad and moving story. You can be very proud of all the time you spent on this kit.