When I first started making models I built mainly American Hot Rods and Dragsters. I recently decided to do a diorama that had been lurking in the back of my mind for some time. A wreck of a pickup truck is found and later a complete rebuild is finished. I got hold of 2 1951 Ford models and made a start, first by chopping the roof of one model and filling in some trim gaps, then a set of wheels from and old AMT Plymouth fury and after a lot of filling and sanding, I painted in in metallic blue. The wreck was a bit easier with general roughing up, denting and rusting. Some bits and pieces were added and some balsa wood fencing.
I have always been interested in the Vietnam war but all the early figures from Verlinden were I thought a bit basic. When I saw a recently released figure by Gog Tag, I decided to have a go at it just as a single figure on its original base. When I looked at the Historex site and saw another by the same company of a U.S. marine in the Pacific, I realised it could also be adapted for the same diorama.I found 2 more small resin bases in the spares box and fitted all the base parts down to a hardwood base, all the gaps in between were filled with ployfilla and das. A third figure was made using odd parts and wrapped in thin das clay for the fallen comrade. I gave the Marine figure an M16 in place of the machette and a flak jacket from thin rolled das. I found a few more asseccories and added these around the base.
I decided to have a go at a diorama that would include a 20mm flak 30 that I had previously scratchbuilt some time earlier but wasn’t sure how to show it. I looked through some books and found just what I needed, a couple of photos showing a 20mm flak and crew in place overlooking the Volga river in late 1942. I cut a piece of MDF board to 12 x 10 inches and fixed down a piece of expanded styrene and painted the whole lot in dark earth, I then spread some Unibond glue randomly over the surface and sprinkled on some baking powder and a small amount of lichen. The three standing figures were made up from various bits from the spares box, the sitting figure had to have some fairly major surgery to get him to fit in the seat properly and after some pushing and shoving got him in OK. The gun, figures and accessories were then fixed down and another dusting of snow was added.
Another interesting subject to me is the American west although I have never built any models relating to this, in the back of my mind was to do a diorama of this famous or perhaps infamous gunfight.The basic figures are from various Verlinden, Tamiya and Dragon models and quite a few parts from the bits box. Also a lot of use of Das clay for the coats, hats and so on. In there somewhere is Gen. Patton and Rommel..so they did meet !!
When I first decided to do this diorama, I told my wife it would take quite some time and she said more like a twelve year project ! As I was doing it for myself I could only fit it in between doing other peoples models but even so it only took 8 years. I bought the model of Hitler and Hess at a trucks and tracks show many years back and have no idea who made them but I left the Hess figure as it was. The Hitler figure was in a greatcoat and was not that good but I used the head and fitted it to various Verlinden parts and a new converted right arm. The main Standard bearers and the banners were from a friend’s original model and after several false starts I managed to get 20 in good order, 11 of which had the ” Deutschland Erwache ” banners and pole tops all done in resin. The other larger flags were from beer can metal cut to size and painted with the circle and swastika and the smaller square standards were copied from books and done as two sided items. The Deutschland Erwache writing is rub down lettering and the swastikas from the xtradecal range. The main podium is 24 x 12 x 8 inches and the actual base board is 34 x 16, the cake decorating pillars are 10 inches high with a top eagle and swastika from Das clay. The car in the side road is a 1/16th Academy model that I had previously built…now does anyone know where I can get more of the Hess figures ??.
The first time we heard about the new Famo Half track model from Tamiya,immediately made me think of a diorama. The usual thing that comes to mind is of towing another vehicle, but of course you then have to decide what to use, how many and so on.
The first thing I did was to have a rake round the bits box and although I don’t have a lot of 1/35 spares, idid find quite a few useful parts, some of which were still more or less complete.
I first found a lot of odd tools and accessories and best of all almost the whole lot of the Italeri field workshop set,i then bought a couple of sets of figures and with the ones I already had set to doing some minor conversions, when I was satisfied with them (14 in all) I put them aside and got on with the Halftrack.
The model was built out of the box except for a few minor changes, these involved leaving a couple of the halftrack wheels off and one of the front wheels the rear axles were then made a bit larger and detail added to the front wheel hub.
At a later time when I was fitting together the sub-assemblies I also cut out a couple of the floor panels inside the cab so as to have two of the figures working in it, because of this I also had to extend the gear selector rods under the floor which could then be seen.
I finally got the whole model finished and was quite pleased with the end result, now it was time to make the workshop and it was to be fairly basic. First I made the back wall and two ends using all the scrap pieces of 60th card over from earlier large scale models, making inner and outer walls all round spacing them with 1/4 inch scrap pieces and cut the windows into the rear wall, I cut them to this shape because I had some clear ready made windows from an old H.O. scale Railway shed,these were fitted to the rear of the wall and then the door cut out.
A walkway was made and added to the rear wall on brackets and handrails from 1mm rod fitted, all lighting conduit and power fittings were made from 1mm and .5mm rod and the lamps and other parts from the bits box.
The inner walls were covered with embossed random brick plastic card and the outside and tops covered with polyfilla, the paint inside and out was a made up colour of light stone, all the wall fittings were painted in a medium olive drab and the doors in grey and gunmetal.
The overhead gantry is a piece of old plastruct I beam with a made up hook and block fitted, two of the benches were made from 30th card and doors at both ends from 20th card and 80 x 20th strip.
I then started adding all the tools,benches etc to the rear and side walls leaving enough space for the Halftrack and figures in the middle, at last all the bits and pieces were in place and some figures were changed around to what I thought were better positions.
I really enjoyed doing this diorama as it’s been a long time since I made one, and who knows perhaps i’ll do another soon.
The usual models that I’ve made over the last many years are in the main military, but every so often we all need a break and to do something different and that is what made me decide to do this diorama.
I suppose nearly everybody has seen the film Bonnie and Clyde and although it’s not very factual, it is entertaining, and when I was sifting through the old odds and sods of 1/16 scale figures I found a model of a woman in a state of undress (and still don’t know where it came from honest) and a pair of sitting legs and upper body with no head or arms. <p>
All the bits and pieces were found to make two rather basic looking models, the Bonnie figure was at least complete and after some cutting and cleaning I had a reasonable model, I then fitted her with a new right hand holding a Colt 45 from the Verlinden range and altered the left arm to have her hand on her hip (after my wife told me it would look far better than my own version, and she was right).
A converted German bread bag was fitted over her shoulder and I then made a dress from Das and fitted it in three separate pieces and also made a beret from Das, her shoes were the originals trimmed down and new straps fitted from 5th card. The whole model was then set aside to dry.
The sitting model was fitted with new arms reshaped and with new hands, these new parts would (I hoped) look like he was sitting with a shotgun or machine gun across his knees. The figure was then dressed in Das with trouser bottoms, complete jacket, and hat. I then added all the smaller bits, lapels, pocket flaps and of course the shoulder holster.
I’m Bonnie, he’s Clyde…We rob banks !!
I then set to work on the “tools” of their trade, the “Thompson Machine Gun” was part scratchbuilt to a kit stock as was the Pump shotgun and as an afterthought a B.A.R. I then made a couple of extra magazines for the Machine Gun and added some grenades from the spares box.
I suppose what started out as a fun model was now turning into a must do model, and as the two figures had come out fairly good I was now thinking about a good way to show them off. The only correct way I knew was to put them with a car of the period and as I’d already seen a model of a 1931 Model B Ford, I reckoned that would do nicely.
As it was coming up to christmas I got one as a present (surprise, shock, horror) The model is by Academy and though its a bit crude in its detail it was more than good enough for my needs.
The model was built more or less out of the box except for a few minor alterations and painted in mid royal blue and black, a pretty typical scheme of the time, I painted the interior grey and added the shotgun, and spare mags to the rear seat. I then started to lay the various parts out to see how it looked. Clyde would be sitting on the running board and Bonnie would stand next to him, and it looked alright but sitting on a wood base it looked a bit sparse.
I then thought of a third figure standing a little way to one side holding and old camera ready to take a picture of them, this seemed to be right because apparently they never missed the chance of a photo. When all the figures had been completed (the third one was another just knocked together) they were all painted and allowed to dry. When all the models were ready to handle again I laid them out and when they looked alright I cut a piece of MDF board 12 x 10 inches, the models were set on the board to check the look of it and I noticed a triangle area at the back that needed something!
I then raised this area with a piece of 20mm Styrofoam and when whole base was covered with polyfilla, I scratch built a petrol pump from various tube and scrap card and added it to the base, at last it was finished and good fun it was too.
Scratch built Kubelwagen made to 1/16 scale from 20,30, and 4Oth card and various strip and rod, scaled up from Italeri kit, wheels from 1/25 truck model with new centres made from card rod and wheel bolts.
Five fiqures made from Verlinden and Dragon models and two purchased from trucks and tracks show, last two unknown make both dressed in overcoats, all equipment and accessories from Verlinden.
28mm Anti-tankgun scratch built using mainly parts from the “bits box”, wheels from old resin castings, carraige from 20,30 and 4oth card and various strip and rod. Trailer again from card and strip.
Horse for towing gun from old Frontline model with all reins and fittings from 5 and 10th card, food stores and fuel cans from Verlinden.
Wall section made from card and covered in polyfilla, gate pillars from cake stands and gates and wall railings from 1/16 rod and 1/8 x 20th strip, water pump scratchbuilt. Plywood baseboard 20 inches x 12 covered in polyfilla
Parts approx 950. Time approx 140 hrs. ApriI/June 98