Setting the Scene

Posted on Wednesday 13th June 2012


Battle Scene Productions
Battle Scene Productions was founded in 2006 by Alex Credidio, and Nick Nast. Both had been long time 1:35th scale model builders, who were losing some of their patience in regards to building, detailing and painting plastic models. Pre-assembled and painted toy soldiers seemed like a way to cut down on the labour involved in creating realistic ‘Battle Scenes’, but their respective standards were high as far as detail goes, and toy soldiers did not seem to be the answer. Nick and Alex both joined a few online forums to get familiarized with the toy soldier industry; that is where they met each other, and the rest is history.
Around five years ago, Battle Scene Productions developed a relationship with Figarti Miniatures, a prominent toy soldier manufacturer. After seeing various projects BSP had posted on the internet, Figarti commissioned Alex and Nick to create realistic ‘Battle Scenes’ to showcase their product lines. Figarti and BSP were a good match, as they both had a scale model mentality, rather than a toy soldier mentality. BSP was thrilled as Figarti continued to up the bar with their level of detail. Metal toy soldiers were now arguably catching up to scale plastic models as far as realism. Although Alex and Nick admit many plastic scale modelers will contest that concept.
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A detailed Second World War scene created by Battle Scene Productions.

BSP continued to create their ‘Battle Scenes’ and in 2007 BSP created their own website to showcase the projects they were now making for most of the major toy soldier manufacturers. By 2008 or there abouts, the manufacturers were starting to produce astounding products, and many other talented Battle Scene Artists began to emerge. BSP knew their concepts and ideas would be emulated so, Nick and Alex constantly had to strive to improve their techniques and push the envelope.
BSP believes their creative work is a hybrid between Plastic Scale Modeling and Metal Toy Soldier Collecting. Their attention to detail is remarkable, yet they insist they do not want to become ‘Rivet Counters’, because then it becomes more pressure than fun. They call today’s toy soldier products ‘Military Replicas’, due to their true to life attention to detail.
A new form of ‘Battle Art’ appeared on the scene a few years ago on one of the Toy Soldier Forums called the Diodrama, which consisted of consecutive photos correlated together to tell a story, along with some written storyline. BSP thought this was an exciting idea and something that they would like to create, but of course they used their unique and over the top Battle Scene Productions style to create their Second World War Documentary ‘Mini (Miniature) Series’ entitled, The Great Crusade.
The Great Crusade is an undertaking of staggering proportions. BSP’s main Studio has five 4’ X 8’ tables which are used to create their scenes. They usually develop three or four scenes at the same time, continually tweaking them until Alex and Nick are convinced they are ready to be photographed. Exhaustive research is done by BSP in regards to terrain, structures, climate, the time of day and the military forces involved in the actions depicted for each scene. Battle Scene Productions maintains a vast library of historical military-related books, magazines, CDs and DVDs in order to research their detailed scenes. They also maintain an inventory of buildings, trees, shrubs, bridges, piles of foam for terrain, buckets of dirt, sand, various fabrics and other materials not to exclude a formidable collection of soldiers, vehicles and accessories from many of the major manufacturers which are all combined and used in the development of their scenes. Although Alex and Nick strive for utmost accuracy, they do take creative license at times.
Upcoming projects will involve a cooperative effort between BSP and Conti Collectibles. This special series will have a fictional storyline set in a World War II backdrop. BSP has also recently established a positive relationship with sculptor and artist John Jenkins. All three are discussing possible projects together but nothing has been finalized to date. There will be a few future projects with their old friend Figarti and their newest friend Thomas Gunn.
How does BSP develop their projects? Although their talents overlap, Alex usually comes up with the concept for a particular project and draws a layout and presents it to his partner Nick. They discuss it, and then start acquiring the items needed for the project and the building begins. While Alex is developing the terrain, Nick starts building the structures needed out of foam, cardboard, wood and any other material needed for the project. Sometimes prefabricated structures by Hobby Bunker or Figarti Miniatures are used, with terrain accessories from JG miniatures. Approximately 80 per cent of their scenes are made from scratch. Alex critiques Nick’s buildings, and Nick critiques Alex’s terrain, layout, photography and computer graphics. They both agree this system works out very well and neither are offended.
Constructive criticism makes them a more creative and stronger team. They are always searching for new materials and developing new techniques in all facets of their artistry. Alex has also written music scores for their documentary mini series, The Great Crusade.
Remember this is the Toy Soldier Industry, not Scale Plastic Modeling, so the figures and vehicles do not have to be built, but various vehicles and figures are changed and modified by BSP to fit their needs. This leaves the toy soldier collector the advantage of putting together a quick and well-detailed battle scene diorama with minimal skills. Most collectors do not like to weather their collections like BSP does, because the figures and vehicles get very costly, but some take the chance and create more realistic scenes.That is where the hybrid aspect comes in. Nick and Alex use their modeling skills and adapt those skills to the Military Miniatures.

How did they do that?
For anyone interested in developing a scene to display their collection, Nick and Alex suggest that you always do your research. This consists of looking at numerous photographs and DVDs along with reading pertinent material that coincides with the figures and vehicles to be displayed in your scene.
The preferred material for a base is the pink or blue foam used for the insulation of homes and other structures. The foam can be easily shaped with a sharp knife and a rasp. Use a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water to hold down your grass or dirt. For winter scenes pick a few twigs from your backyard to use as trees. For a summer scenes dried flowers/plants make good trees in bloom.
Structures can also be made from the same foam by simply drawing four walls on the sheet of foam and cutting the wall outlines with a sharp knife. Then you assemble the building with hot glue or a foam adhesive. Of course you will cut out doors and windows using the same method. Balsa wood can be used for windows, doors, door frames and various other details. The roof of your structure can be made from cardboard.
With some practice you can scribe brick or stone on the foam then coat the foam with a mixture of Spackle and paint. If you don’t have the talent to make brickwork or stones, you can just coat the building with paint and Spackle for a stucco finish.
Try not be too predictable when putting together your diorama scene by lining up a building or road parallel with the edge of your scene. Try positioning structures set back from the roadways or angle a house or structure so it is not parallel to the edge road for a better result.
1. To showcase their work
2. To promote diorama building within the military miniatures community
3. To give guidance to those interested in building their own scenes
4. To build scenes for those who do not wish to do it themselves
5. To honour and support veterans
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Battle Scene Productions.

The Great Crusade.

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A selection of dioramas from Battle Scene Productions.

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You will find various manufacturers of products BSP associates with on their website www.battlesceneproductions.net. BSP does not recommend products or services unless they use them themselves, and are satisfied with the quality.

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