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The Road to Stalingrad – Getting Cross

As part of the on-going Stalingrad build project, I am still very much on the road East.  The plan is to have a campaign covering the drive Eastwards rom Kharkov through numerous small villages and farms.  Much of my current build programme has been focussed on creating a collective farm and a small village to go with it.  This has involved a selection of buildings from Warbases and Charlie foxtrot, but I noted with interest that Sarissa also do some nice looking Eastern Front buildings, two houses and a church, so I sent my order off and they duly arrived.
Both Charlie foxtrot and Warbases do very nice churches, but the Sarissa one really appealed as it as imposing in that it was quite tall, but it also has a very small footprint, something I was keen on as a 6 x 4 table can get a bit cluttered.
In summary, a nice model that goes together very well.  However, there is one area which I am not fully happy about, the dome and cross.

Now, I know that you cannot make a solid dome in MDF, so I realised from the outset that this would involve some work, but I had a plan for this.  The big issue is that the cross on top is a Presbyterian cross rather than an Orthodox one and that is a pretty significant error.  I am not a particularly religious person, but I want to get this key detail right on a Russian church.
The first step was to cut away the circular part of the cross and the extended arms of the cross itself.

With that done, I used a pin vice drill to put two holes through the MDF.

I then built up the arms using green stuff applied on top of the pins.  As an aside, when pinning like this I use ordinary staples for thin pins, or paper clips for thicker pins.  There is no need to buy special kit, just use household bits for jobs like this.  Pin vice and drill bit sets can be had on eBay for around a fiver, so cheap as chips.

As you’ll note, I buggered this up slightly as the section at the bottom bumps into the roof, I should have put this slightly higher, but I am not bothered as it is clearly now an Orthodox cross.
The next step is to create the dome.  I had a clever plan here to use tissue soaked in PVA and build this up so that the section of tissue looked like copper sheet.  I could then paint this in a verdis gris colour.

Unfortunately, as can be seen, this did not go to plan; it looked bloody awful, so I then gave it a coat of Polyfiller before smoothing this out with a wet finger.

I let this dry overnight and then sanded it down.  It looked okay, but another coat of filler was applied before I was happy with it.  As in happy enough not to throw it in the bin.  It’s not ideal, but hey ho.

As can be seen, I used my usual Russian roofing technique with three grades of planking.  I also wanted this to be a boarded up church, no longer in use.  I used coffee stirrers for this purpose.  After that a quick paint job finished it off.  I added some Soviet anti-religious propaganda posters and added a few slogans.  Here’s the finished model.

And here it is on the table.

As said, I like this model as it has a small footprint.  However, this model does show the limitations of MDF.  Both Warbases and Charlie Foxtrot provide resin domes for their Russia churches, a better solution methinks.


8 thoughts on “The Road to Stalingrad – Getting Cross”

  1. I’m with Derek and would have replaced the rather complicated mdf solution with a polystyrene ball or the end of a wooden curtain rail which can be onion shaped.

  2. Was thinking the same lines of getting something from a craft store. I completely scratch built mine – I ended up using a large wooden chess piece (a pawn), Dremeled out the onion like lines on the thing and painted it gold. Bottom line Rich, looks pretty good for the table…will match the rest of the village.

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