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Diorama "Pirates of the Somali Sea"

built by Stefan Beck (1/35)

Diorama Pirates of the Somali Sea
Somalia, Horn of Africa, battered by civil war and economic mismanagement. Since 1991 there is no government, local warlords and clans rule the country. In this situation, many Somali fishermen, who live on the ocean coast, see their only hope in modern piracy.
Equipped with fishing boats and easily available weapons, they board freighters to hold them to ransom from the shipping companies. The waters around Somalia are an important route of international freighters, so good prey is found rather quickly. Allright, back to modeling!

Das Boot (no, not U96)

In 1/35 there is no fishing boat available, even in the wooden-ship-modeling scene, I got no results - conclusion: I have to scratchbuild. First step is the classic approach of a rib construction, planked with "Evergreen" strips.

Outboard motor

My scale modeling colleague Thomas Hufnagel (thx) told me that, if searching for some outboard motor, don’t forget the toys section, with a little luck you get what you want. Fortunately some googling later I found a set. But what a disappointment, after close examination I had to massive rebuilt and detail the motor to get a good looking replica. Maybe a complete built from scratch would have been the quicker way, but who cares :-) Finishing the motor with decals from "Tamiya" makes the boat ready ...

Diorama "Pirates of the Somali Sea" (1/35)

  Diorama built by Stefan Beck, photos taken by  
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Pirates (arrrrrr ...)

Well, pirates are still underrepresented in the figure scene, so scratchbuilding is the only way. Fortunately "Hornet" offer a set with 5 African style heads, but I need 7, so I had to modify 2 European heads. Next I modeled the basic structure ("Miliput") with correct dimensions and hands and bare feet ("Historex"), additionally I mounted the heads. Wellington boots and sneakers are modified "Dragon" items. Now body details and clothing is sculpted with "Magic Sculp", doing bandanna and hair is the last step on the figure.


As always the devil is in the details, just pirates and a boat is a bit boring so we need accessories. "PlusModel", "Accurate Armour" and "Voyager" provide the eyecatchers. Other things like grappling iron, fenders and paddles are self-made, the tarps are made of "Magic Sculp", and all the ropes are dyed strings. OK what’s left, right ... painting :-)


All the painting was done with "Vallejo" colors, the heavy used look of the boat was achieved with masking liquid ("Mr.Hobby"). After the color coat dried you can rub off the latex and you get nice chipping effects. The accessories are also heavy used so used pieces of foam padding to dab the color on the pieces. All the figures are brush painted, nothing special here.

All the guns ("Tank", "Dragon" and "Voyager") were painted separately and mounted after the figures were finished. This procedure is a little troublesome but you will be rewarded with a great look, way better than you paint the weapons in situ.

The (deep) sea

Presenting water in scale modeling is always tricky, this time I choose the following method. First things first, I cut a piece of styrofoam (with a cut out for the hull of the boat), next I grind the contour of the waves into the foam (messy work!!). This is followed by a coating with modeling paste ("Lascaux") to get an even surface.

Now some painting and a layer of clear hardening texture gel ("Lascaux"), for modeling the wave crests. Finally a nice coat of Still-Water ("Vallejo") for a deep shiny look. Well, that’s all folks.

Thanks for your attention and happy modeling
  meet the modeler      

Stefan Beck

  My name is Stefan Beck. I began modeling very early, probably since I started thinking. Like many others I started with Airfix and Esci. As the years passed and the modeling budget increased the subject matter also grew in complexity. I now build (civilian) motorcycles, (military) dioramas and figures but also Science Fiction (Warhammer 40000) in diverse scales (1:12 to 1:285).

If you have questions or constructive criticism donít hesitate and contact me.
  Stefan Beck  
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This page:  GALLERY: Diorama "Pirates of the Somali Sea" (1/35), built by Stefan Beck
was last modified on: May 02, 2013
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