My best mate Warren (Big Waz) and I share the same birthday. January the 11th 1979. He was born in Australia and I was born in England.
We’ve been best mates since we were fifteen years old and have seen a few lows and many, many highs together. It’s been an absolute trip.
Im lucky enough to have two older sisters, by blood, but also lucky enough to have Warren and also Keith and Glenn (two other best mates) as my brothers.
I wanted to give/do something special for Warrens 41st birthday and pondered for quite a while on what it should be.
I considered doing a miniature in his likeness. Then I started thing of doing a Predator diorama because he loves the movie.
Then it hit me…
His favourite war movie, battle and time period for WW2 is The Battle Of Britain.
At first I thought I’d do an airfield diorama with, maybe, a crashed or destroyed plane and a anti-aircraft gun position but I didn’t feel excited by the idea. Then, while at the the local hardware store buying bits and bobs for my work, I spotted a wooden box/crate and a lightbulb went off. I could stand the box up on its side and do a dogfight diorama.
Originally I was going to paint the box like an old ammo crate. Green with some stencilling but in the end I went for navy blue, a Union Jack on the outside and clouds, for effect, on the inside.
The planes I chose are in 1/72 scale because I was conscious of how big, in its entirety, the diorama would be. I went with the classic and well known Supermarine Spitfire and the, infamous, Messerschmitt.
What I’ll say next might be a bit controversial but I discovered that I don’t like oil paints at all! The dude at the hobby shop, where I bought the planes, recommended them and said they’d be a Matt finish. Well they were goopy and glossy. Maybe I did something wrong, I don’t know. Anyway I went back to my acrylics and was much happier with the end results.
I also discovered that I’m not a big fan of decals but I persisted because they were a vital part of the finished look.
My wife helped me with painting the clouds as she is quite “arty” which turned out so well.
Attaching the planes was a little tricky especially to get the angle right but kind of fun to do as well.
Anyway enough of my jabbering, onto the pix.
I can see a lot of faults and how I could have done things a bit better but, overall, I am happy with it.
I set the box diorama up in my studio and then when Warren came round for a bit of a get together at my place I made him close his eyes. Then I put on the Battle Of Britain Movie theme music. I then lead warren down into the studio and SURPRISE!!! He seemed to really like it.
Later I got this text from him…
“Thanks for my awesome gift bro. I love it. You’ve done an amazing job with it. I keep looking at it and appreciating all the details. :)“