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...
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.
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