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A Tribute to Veterans and Fallen Heroes in 1/1 Scale

by Michael Scarborough

 

The Quilt at the Visitors’ Center of Arlington National Cemetery




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Description

 

In America we know November 11th as Veterans Day. It is also known as Armistice Day, Rememberance Day, Poppy Day, and Volkstrauertag in other countries around the world. On that day we observe the anniversary of the cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany that went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, thus bringing to an end the carnage of what was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, it wasn’t, and even as I sit writing this and you read it or put the final touches on your latest model, men and women are in combat around the world.

I work as a designer and maker of custom furniture, primarily in historical styles, and have been honored to create several pieces that pay tribute to Veterans, 9/11 victims, and Lost Heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan … those people who are the end users of the real planes and tanks of which we build models.

Last year, I was asked to design and create an altar to serve as a Veterans’ shrine, along with a 9/11 memorial, both for a church in Brooklyn here in New York City. In both cases, I used motifs from the original architecture of the church and was lucky enough to find wood from the original 1904 construction to use in crafting the piece.  Several of the confessional booths and pews, removed from the church in the 1970s to make room for handicap access, had been “stored” in the basement of the church. Once the rats, cobwebs, and years worth of student’s chewing gum (hastily deposited beneath a pew before confession), were cleared away, this old growth timber was a joy to work with.  The wood itself, along with the long list of immigrant Irish and Italian names affixed to the altar, were a vivid reminder of the debt we owe to those who came before.

 

The creepy basement at St. Agnes Church with its gold mine of old oak.


More recently, I was asked to design and fabricate a display stand for the Lost Heroes Art Quilt, an astounding work of art created by Julie Feingold.  In September, the quilt was  dedicated at a dinner for the Gold Star Mothers (moms and other family members who’ve lost loved ones in the war, www.goldstarmoms.com) and then exhibited at a ceremony on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington.  After meeting several of the families, I can tell you that nothing brings home the reality of war in 1 to 1 scale like meeting a mother with three kids who’ve lost their dad, or a father who has lost not one, but both his sons.

The quilt went from the Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery, and from there began a tour of various military museums and state capitols. As it was to be seen in venues such as these, I designed the stand in a Classical and heroic style, similar to those great civic projects and military monuments of 100+ years ago.  In keeping with this style, I used historical emblems to represent each of the branches of service. I was able to find reproduction emblems from the Indian Wars and late 19th Century, but, obviously, nothing was available to represent the Army Air Corp or USAF from that period. So, like any good model builder would do in a similar situation, I decided to scratch-build one. I got a 1/24 scale SPAD prop from Copper State Models and found an old brass Hapsburg emblem that had wings on it. Some work on the grinding wheel, a little gold leaf and, presto … period style USAF emblem. (Yes, historical rivet counters … I know the USAF wasn’t formed until 1947, and this emblem is not accurate…..just consider it a case of artistic license being employed to fit in thematically with the rest of the piece.)

 

Making the USAF emblem.


You can read about the stand and, more importantly, about the quilt itself by going to www.heart2hand4art.com/lostheroesartquilt/.  It is a moving tribute to those young men and women who are the ultimate veterans and who, as A. E. Housman said, “will never be old.”

A wonderful book was published in connection with the dedication of the Quilt.  I was honored to be asked to add a section of historical quotes about duty, honor, and sacrifice. IMHO, the book would make a great gift for any veteran.  (Proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to Snowball Express, the charitable organization that helps the children of our fallen heroes to heal.)

 

General Gene Renuart, Commander, United States Northern Command and NORAD. Also, a genuinely nice guy despite his astounding resemblance to Brett Green.


I urge you to take a minute from re-scribing panel lines or airbrushing RLM 74/75 and visit the Lost Heroes website and, as Julie says, remember just one name. Somebody’s mom will be glad you did, and it just might take your model building to a new level of meaning.
        

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

 

  • The author/artisan and his wife without whom he would be lost in all things.
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
  • Veterans' Day 2009 by Michael Scarborough: Image
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Model, Text Copyright 2009 by Michael Scarborough
Page Created 10 November, 2009
Last Updated 10 November, 2009

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