A few years ago I found a rare 1/48 scale model of a Valentine Tank – the type my Dad told me he drove when he was doing his Compulsory Military Training years ago.
While clearing out one of their sheds I even found the pennants from his intake!
I discovered a few years ago that he might be eligible for the New Zealand Defense Service Medal, as the government had opened the criteria to include those who did CMT.
Dad was never much of a medal person, but he was a hero to me and he spent a lot of time serving others – having been a public servant for various central and local government departments for years of his working life.
So I applied to get his military records and then applied for and, in turn, received his medal last year.
Dad always spoke favorably of doing his CMT and it was heartening to discover he got promoted from Trooper to Lance Corporal during his CMT service!
So with the tank and his medal as well as his old beret badges and a glass case I repurposed from a diecast model I had recently sold I wanted to make some form of memorial plaque, or diorama to honor him.
I headed onto social media to see if any of my friends had a piece of native timber that I could use as a base and Ben Keehan provided the woody goodies!
I’ve never been the most tool-crafty person (this was Dad’s department), but I wanted to make an exception with this project and, with the hardware of my father-in-law’s garage and some supervision from him, I was able to cut, drill and sand the rough piece of timber into a gorgeous, grainy goodie!
With the glass case seated nicely I made a few fine-tunings (including using our neighbor’s mitre saw to angle the front of the base in the middle of cutting posts for the new fence we were building between our properties) I gave it a couple spray coats of varnish and glued on some model train ballast to give a more realistic base for the tank.
The results were just what I wanted:
Dad’s medal memorial will take pride of place wherever it is placed.
A great reminder of my Dad, his service, commitment, and even a homage to his fine carpentry skills that may have not been completely lost on me after all.
It is a wonderful wee thing to look at now, knowing that I was able to do it.