Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Move 'em out, Sarge."

Bernie is working on a book dealing with the broad (to say the least) subject of "The Railroad Goes to War." (for the record, I'm not sure of the exact title.)
When Bernie was starting his research for the book, I mentioned to him that a number of trainloads of German POWs were run on the CV during the war years. According to Bob Jone's Central Vermont series, these trains were moving the Germans from east coast ports to camps in Canada. 
Some online research led me to this web page, which had a number of photos of Germans being loaded on trains, including this one:
 Although not taken on the CV, it did serve as an inspiration for a scene I staged for Bernie's book. I didn't try to recreate the photo directly, but I was inspired by this picture. 

The first problem I ran into was no one makes HO scale German soldiers in warm weather clothing in "non-combat" poses. But Preiser does offer a set of German POWs - in winter clothing. So, my Germans are in winter garb. Finding the Americans was even harder - I ended up doing some minor surgery and using the Russians that come with the Preiser set, along with some of the heads and other body parts from an American tank crew, to create my guards. The fellow in the officers uniform is from a Preiser set that included a sailor, mailman, and some other folks. 
I removed some of the buildings from the Waterbury section of the layout and added the large City Classics building to the background (it was built as the large Green Mountain Paper warehouse in Everett). A Branchline New Haven coach is sitting in for the NYC coach in this test shot. I also felt the background of my photo needed something dynamic - I ended up including a steam locomotive working the yard behind the train. Perhaps some of the Germans are feeling apprehensive about their prospects for victory when they observe the industrial might of the United States mustering right before their eyes. 
My 1:87 scale Germans are walking, so getting them to stay in place was rather problematic. For this test I  used some blue painter's tape to hold them in place. I photographed the scene from several angles and sent the results to Bernie. He picked one or two he liked and I've spent the last few days finishing up the scene and plan to take the final photos this evening. 
Once I know he's okay with the pictures, the buildings will be moved back into place, the Germans and GIs will go into the figures box, and peace will return to the Winooski River Valley. 
All in all, an interesting project. 

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