The world’s smallest copy of WEIT

I defy any other writer on evolution to have their book presented in this way! In a comment on a recent open thread, reader Mark R. said this:

I like to build dioramas, and last week I finally published my latest that features the smallest WEIT in the world. It’s on top of the gear-pile at the rear of the ‘Greyhound’…you can see it on a couple close-ups. Could be a nightjar. I also cited the book and PCC in the copy as “my favorite book on evolution” which is also true.

You can see his amazing dioramas of army scenes at Mark-Armor, and the Sherman Tank diorama here.

This is what the whole diorama looks like, and imagine all the labor it took to build this thing, one of many war scenes he’s constructed, from scratch.


Here’s just a bit of his description called, “Late Spring: Decisions, decisions”:

There is no doubt that certain landing sights on D-Day were obscenely more terrifying and horrific than other landing sights. The typically dramatic American movies depict Omaha beach since that was the pinnacle of Axis resistance and Allied (American) retort. However, the Allied invasion created a new dynamic to the war, one that became fully realized as Europe opened again and the Nazis retreated into smaller and smaller pockets. To slow the Allied invasion, it was a typical tactic of the Wehrmacht to blow bridges after their retreat, thus impeding the inevitable Allied onslaught.

This diorama depicts a setback in the advance of the US 7th Armored division. The setting is a small French town with the backdrop of a ruined church. There are a few soldiers trying to figure out the best continued advancement, the rest are relaxing, brooding or responding to civilians. Orders come from the top, so as an infantryman, it shouldn’t be difficult to keep steady and be patient- survival depends on it. I wanted to depict a lot of tobacco smoking as all American soldiers during WWII were supplied cigarettes as a standard part of their kit. I tried to show a few different conversations and interactions: soldiers giving/taking information, exchanging pleasantries or giving/taking orders. A rifleman generously hands a priest (presumably the destroyed church’s) a canteen; the French civilian who is obviously on clean-up duty looks on with folded arms as if grumbling: “And what about me? I’m doing all the work.” The front left corner is occupied by two elderly civilians in front of a German propaganda poster which depicts German infantry on the move. It reads: Infanterie Königen aller Waffen (Infantry, kings of all weapons). Propaganda always seems to end up biting the propagandist in the ass. The lady is struggling with a bucket of canal water, and the man offers his assistance; even in times of war, civility is not forsaken. At the end of the bridge, two engineers are sizing up the damage. One engineer is using German 10 x 50 Service Binoculars which were more powerful than the standard US 6 x 30 optics. Who knows where he found them. Two other soldiers on the bridge are looking down at the destroyed Willys in the canal, a stark reminder of war’s deadly nature.

This photo, “Sherman Tank – Rear View Detail” shows the effort it takes to make this thing:

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 12.07.46 PM

Another detail: soldiers on the tank (“Three tankers”). You can be sure that every bit of this is accurate:


And the WEIT sighting—”Soldier Sitting on Greyhound Armored Vehicle”


It was hard to spot, but I recognized the orange cover immediately, sitting next to the crate on the right. Mark’s notes on this tiny book (and note that “a few mm” is probably about one-sixth of an inch (ca 4 mm):

Yeah, that’s it…the four critters on the front are blurry, as well as the title…too small to print…the “book” is just a few mm long. As an added bit of irony, the book was actually a part of the priest kit…it was supposed to be his bible. heehee

I have to say that I’m mighty chuffed, despite the anachronism!


  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Like I said on the open thread itself – this is great work! The body language is phenomenal and the details stunning! Congrats Mark!

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Thanks again Diana- I appreciate it and am happy you like the work!

  2. George
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    This was a work in progress a year ago –

    At that time, the only vehicle was the M8 light armored car (Greyhound to the Brits) which is now on the bridge. A year ago, it was off the bridge and on the road. There was a copy of WEIT is true on the Greyhound. My question for Mark is – did the guys on the Sherman tank borrow the copy of WEIT from the crew of the Greyhound or did they get their own?

    Have to pump up the sales for Jerry so I hope each (and every vehicle in the 7th AD) got a copy.

    • George
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Wikipedia has good histories of US Army Divisions.

      A brief excerpt:
      Action in France
      The division landed on Omaha and Utah Beaches, 13–14 August 1944, and was assigned to Third U.S. Army. The division drove through Nogent-le-Rotrou in an attack on Chartres. The city fell on 18 August. From Chartres, the Division advanced to liberate Dreux and then Melun, where they crossed the Seine River, 24 August. The division then pushed on to bypass Reims and liberate Château-Thierry and then Verdun, 31 August.

      The 7th halted briefly for refueling and then on 6 September drove on toward the Moselle and made a crossing near Dornot. This crossing had to be withdrawn in the face of the heavy fortifications around Metz. The 7th then made attempts to cross the Moselle northwest of Metz but the deep river valley was not suitable terrain for an armored attack. Elements of the division assisted the 5th Infantry Division in expanding a bridgehead east of Arnaville, south of Metz, and on 15 September, the main part of the division crossed the Moselle there. The division was repulsed in its attacks across the Seille River at and near Sillegny, part of an attack in conjunction with 5th Infantry division that was also repulsed further north.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 13, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Have to pump up the sales for Jerry so I hope each (and every vehicle in the 7th AD) got a copy.
        Love it!
        The M8 crew have the one and only WEIT in existence at the time. If the Sherman crew asked to burrow it, I’m sure they would be glad to share the truth.
        Thanks for the excerpt. I usually research my dioramas with Wikipedia and my own reference books. The internet in general is a huge resource for all things diorama. There are so many small manufacturers around the world with proprietary figures/models/materials. I don’t know how people did it before the internet. Some of the best sourcing are companies in Europe.

    • gluonspring
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this link. For a moment I thought I was having the most powerful deja vu ever.

  3. dargndorp
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    A small correction to the text – the propaganda poster hopefully says “Königin aller Waffen”, which translates to “Queen of all weapons/arms”. The term “Infanterie” is feminine in German.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you very much!!! I had a few years of German in middle/high school, though I used a “translator” for the poster. I’ll correct it.

  4. Sastra
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    These are amazing. The skill, study, and time which goes into crafting these dioramas is enormously impressive.

    I’ve always loved miniatures. My great-uncle in Arkansas became somewhat well-known many years ago for his teeny tiny little books. He used to advertise them in the backs of magazines. As family lore has it, he entered a contest during the Depression (the prize was a mule!) sat inside a very hot woodshed with a pen made out of a watch spring … and managed to write a company’s motto into a few square inches many thousands of times. The next runner-up wasn’t even close. He wrote the Lord’s Prayer twice on the head of a pin, and it toured the country. I saw it once — under a microscope.

    When I was a child I remember that we had a few of his books, but the ones which are best preserved are inside Colleen Moore’s dollhouse in the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. I’ve been told that more than a few of the volumes in the library are his — and you can open them up and read entire fairy stories, if your eyes are good.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      That is a very cool story…and a man after my own heart 🙂 I have no idea how he was able to write microscopically.

      • Sastra
        Posted June 14, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        As I recall from the time I saw it when I was maybe 6 years old the “pin” was more like a nail — and you could see the writing without a microscope, you just couldn’t read it very well.

        I’d have to ask my 84-year-old mother if she remembers more details, but the technique which sticks with me are my great-uncle’s stories about heating the farm shed till it was almost unbearable so that the ink would become very thin and flow correctly. I’m going to assume that for the “Lord’s Prayer Twice on the Head of a Pin” he used a microscope and something that scratched — maybe something he took out of the inside of a watch. This was back in the 30’s and 40’s. He was a poor Ozark farmer living way out in the middle of nowhere and could only work with what he could afford and get.

    • keith cook or less
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Bloody hell! and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Miniature artist are many and varied in the works they do, it is quite something to see. I’d feel very nervous around it, one scratch and it’s gone.

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I am blown away. The dedication to detail (and to WWII) is really stunning. This is terrific.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mark! Though the diorama I’m working on right now is of two samurai warriors in a 1:20 scale…far off from WWII 🙂 It’s been fun working in a larger scale.

    • Lurker111
      Posted June 14, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      If this is, indeed, a WWII diorama, I’m not getting the C-4 ref. According to wikipedia, that ref. didn’t exist before 1956.

      Other’n that, this is, indeed, a remarkable work.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        I referenced TNT, not c-4…TNT was invented in the 1800’s. Maybe I missed something?

        • darrelle
          Posted June 15, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          I think Lurker111 is talking about the box on the back of the Sherman that is labeled “C-4.” But, it looks more like a C-4 ration box to me, rather than explosives. However, the C-4 Ration did not enter service until 1954. The combat ration of WW-II era was called simply a C Ration, or more formally, the Type C Field Ration.

          When I lived in Germany the father of a friend of mine worked at the motorpool at the US Army Post in Landstuhl. He would bring home C-4 Rations by the case, and we would eat the heck out of them. This was in the mid ’70s. These rations were from 1958. The chocolate and peanut butter were good! At least, that’s how I remember it. Most entrees were horrible.

          • Mark R.
            Posted June 15, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            Yes, you’re right, and I knew those were from the Korean war…couldn’t find any from WWII, but I loved the realism since they were made out of “cardboard” easy to bend and weather, etc. You guys are good! I thought maybe I had a typo talking about the blown bridge, that’s why I was scratching my head.

  6. Todd Steinlage
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Really amazing work! Do you work with a magnifying light, or a stereoscope? Your brushes must be tiny (single bristles?) What a fascinating way to learn about history! And the book is great, “Tiny book, huge ideas”. I look forward to checking out your site, thanks 🙂

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! I use a 7x magnifying headset and a very bright 5,000K (daylight spectrum) light. The smallest brushes I use are 000. It’s really all about the point of the brush, which in a 000 is somewhat comparable to a single bristle. I think a single bristle wouldn’t have enough bulk/volume to carry paint.

  7. merilee
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm | Permalink


  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Mark’s diorama should be on the lookout for a Wehrmacht diorama attacking though the Ardennes around Christmastime.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good suggestion…there were many famous battles during winter in the Ardennes.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 13, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        You’re right, of course, but it was the “of the Bulge” battle I specifically had in mind — siege of Bastogne, Gen. McAuliffe, “nuts,” Patton getting the Third Army to hang a hard Louie from southern France to Belgium, that whole ball of snow and carnage.

        Very nice craftsmanship, btw.

  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    This is just incredible. I’m in awe of your work Mark. I love dioramas. I used to make 1/12 scale miniatures, but mine are nothing compared to these. Your dioramas are just wonderful!

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Gosh, you’re nice 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy them. Right now I’m actually working on a diorama of samurai warriors in 1/20 scale. It’s a fun scale to work in with it’s own challenges.

  10. keith cook or less
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    That’s an impressive collection of dioramas. I have just recently watched a series about the landings. It was voiced over to rare footage, along with simulations, by mainly US infantry personal who fought in these campaigns. It was all about them and what they experienced before it was to late, as they were very elderly. Needless to say, when they cut to them and back to war footage as they sat in front of the camera, it was difficult not to get emotional with them as they retold some very harrowing, some amusing, and brave stories.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Do you remember the series? I love watching WWII documentaries, especially when retold by the soldiers who were there. World at War is one of the best documentary series made about WWII, and inspired much of my work.

      • keith cook or less
        Posted June 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Short of banging my head against a wall I can’t remember even the station it was on.. (New Zealand) although in the holy google I came across one about the Canadian war effort (History Channel) that seems to fit the bill I don’t remember it being 18 episodes long, which makes me think I saw some abbreviated version. It was free to air, I don’t pay for TV of any sort.
        Anyhow you dioramas evoked their stories once again, which is a cool tribute.
        My apologies for my brain fade..

        • keith cook or less
          Posted June 14, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          Guess what? I go upstairs, turn on the tv and there it is, day time TV no less, a repeat of the very programme:
          World War II. Last War Heroes.
          Oh the relief, heh heh.

          • Mark R.
            Posted June 15, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Very cool, thanks for the tip. I’ll look into it.

  11. Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant work, Mark R.!

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! 🙂

  12. Posted June 13, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    One other anachronism. C-4 wasn’t invented until ’56… at least, the explosive. The C-4 ration was ’54.

    But it’s still freaking amazing work. My own models tend to get a bit of camo paint and some silver for the metal bits and that’s about it. My eyes are way to bad for that work.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Someone else mentioned C-4…I can’t find where I referenced that… I did mention TNT which was invented in the 1800’s. I’m confused.

      • Posted June 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        The second picture shows a back view of a track. There’s what appears to be a cardboard box with “C-4” on it. Still stunning detail.

        • Mark R.
          Posted June 14, 2015 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          Aha! Thanks. Yeah those are an anachronism, but I like the realism they add. I’m glad I wasn’t going crazy 🙂

  13. Mark Joseph
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 11:27 pm | Permalink


  14. Diane G.
    Posted June 14, 2015 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Amazing work! I love most things miniature, and historical works like this are mind-blowing. And your backstory/details add so much more to it.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink


  15. HaggisForBrains
    Posted June 14, 2015 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Incredible work, Mark. I particularly like the fact that all the characters are discernibly different, and indeed have character. Is that you grinning at us while sitting next to WEIT?

    Off topic:
    UK readers may be interested to know that Your Inner Fish by Neil Stubin is currently showing in the UK on BBC 4. I’ve just viewed the first episode (which is very good) from a recording I made from the episode broadcast at 10pm on 9 June. The second episode is scheduled for 10pm on 16 June. The first episode is available on BBC iPlayer – Your Inner Fish for the next 27 days.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      There is a resemblance…no, not really 🙂

      Thanks for the reference to Your Inner Fish. It looks like it shows on PBS in the US. I’ll check it out.

  16. Kevin
    Posted June 14, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Really impressive work. Though I wonder about the length scale, i.e., about 1 mm. You have inspired me to think about making a smaller version…it will probably have to involve SEM or X-ray CT.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 14, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      That’s too small for me…my eyes ache just thinking about it 🙂

  17. Posted June 14, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Truly amazing! You really do have readers with all sorts of talents!

  18. Posted June 15, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Very beautiful work Mark! Wow!

    I just read Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe about his commands in Europe in WWII, including Overlord. Good stuff, but not as good as Churchill’s history of the war.

  19. Posted June 15, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


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