The diorama represented here depicts a scene repeated many times toward the end of 1944, the allies pushing relentlessly towards Germany's heartland with the once mighty Luftwaffe crumbling. Here we see the crews of a US M-16 half track and M4A3(76)W stopped to inspect a downed Focke Wulf 190.
Gun Motor Carriage - Tamiya 1/35th Kit No.35081
This kit can be made into a fine replica of the original vehicle straight from the box, but there are areas where extra detail can be added. The main area for attention is the rear suspension units, the drive and idler wheels are moulded as solid items but the real things feature square lightening holes around the rims. To detail these, firstly mark out the square sections to be removed around the rim and drill a hole in the centre of each section, then with a sharp X-Acto No.11 blade carefully remove the remaining plastic until all the holes have been added.
This is a fairly time consuming task and care should be taken not to remove too much of the plastic. Since building this kit an etched brass set for the M3 suspension has been released (isn’t it always the way) but at least by doing the job yourself you have that satisfaction. The track of the M-16 is very tight fitting on the real vehicle and the kit track needs to be shortened by two links and as a result the axles must be strengthened to prevent them bending inward under the extra strain. To do this, I replaced the kit axles with the metal axles found in any Tamiya motorised armour kit.
The kit jerrycans were replaced with after-market items with brackets from card and masking tape straps. The M2 machine gun barrels and cooling holes were drilled out, cross hairs were added to the gun sight and the exhaust pipe also drilled. The vehicle was airbrushed with Humbrol HP5 'Marine Corps Green' and was then glossed and the decals applied using the Micro Set/Sol system. When dry a final coat of matt varnish was applied before weathering. A black wash was first applied, then extensively drybrushed with Humbrol MC21 'French Artillery Green' and finally with various earth colours to simulate dirt and dust and to highlight the fine details. Personal gear was added finally, with ammo boxes and small items from the kit and the bedrolls and tarps from tissue soaked in white glue as was the camouflage netting, made from surgical gauze. The empty shell cases scattered around the inside of the vehicle are stretched sprue cut into small lengths.One thing to remember when attaching equipment to vehicles is reality. By this I mean, don’t just stick something to the side of a vehicle without any visable means of support, add straps or tiedowns. Too often these days we see vehicles vestoon with stuff that would fall off with slightest movement or simple defying gravity.
This is a combination of the Tamiya M4A3 Kit No.35122 and the Italeri M4A1(76)W Kit No.225.
Unfortunately it was not just a matter of taking the Italeri turret and plonking it on the Tamiya hull. The engineering of the two kits is completely different in how the turret attaches to the hull, the Tamiya turret sits flat on the hull while the italeri turret sits in a recess in the hull. This resulted in surgery to the bottom of the Italeri turret by removing the lower section designed to fit into the hull recess and adding fittings to make it fit the Tamiya hull.
The hull is detailed using an “on the mark” etched brass set for the headlight guards and other small fittings including all the tool tie downs. The front fenders were thinned considerably and the machine gun drilled out. Verlinden periscopes were added to the open hull and turret hatches with small fittings added to the turret exterior, the M2 Machine Gun detailed by replacing the mount with the brass item as well as other small details. The storage was added from Verlinden accessories and tissue soaked in white glue and the end extenders on the kit track cut off to represent standard tracks.
Finally the model was airbrushed using the same colours and weathering as for the M16 except for the markings which were Verlinden rub on stars. Of note are the turret stars overpainted in black, a common practice by crews to offer less of an aiming point for German gunners. The crew are again Verlinden figures with flesh in oils and uniforms painted using humbrol enamels.
Wulf FW190 Hasegawa 1/32nd Kit No.S10
The Fw 190 was one of the best fighters to emerge during World War 2. The model depicts an A8 variant in a not too glamorous pose
First the cockpit was detailed by adding throttle and flap levers, small switches, seat belts and buckles. The engine cylinder heads were reshaped and bolts and connecting rods added. All engine wiring was made from fuse wire and thin solder, the air intake between the cannons was added from sprue and the cannon barrels and engine exhausts drilled out. Detail was added to the inside of the open panels after first reducing them in thickness using an X-Acto blade to shave the excess plastic away. Internal detail was added using card with the dimpled effect obtained by a few twists of a drill bit. The panel fasteners were added from thin card with the recesses cut into the corresponding panels and the panel in the tail opened to reveal the wheel retraction mechanism made from card and thin wire. The battle damage was added after first reducing the plastic to almost paper thickness using a Dremal Tool to grind the plastic away from inside, care being taken not to melt through the surface. Once thinned the damage can be added using the point of your modelling knife to make the bullet holes and torn metal edges. Where the insides are exposed as on the wing tip and tail, add interior detail using plastic card and stretched sprue and finally bend the prop blades by careful heating and bending.
The camouflage was airbrushed using Humbrol Authentics -Dunkelgrau 74 (dark grey), Heligrau 76 (light grey) and mottled RLM Grau 02 (grey/green) for upper surfaces and Heligrau 76 (light grey) undersurfaces. The cowling was sprayed yellow and the white spiral painted on the spinner after careful masking. Finally, the blue 'Defence-of-the-Reich' band was added around the rear fuselage before the model was gloss varnished ready for decaling. The kit decals were applied using the Micro Set/Sol system and when dry a coat of matt varnish was sprayed overall. A light black wash was applied in and around the engine and the model was then dry-brushed with light greys and browns to show wear. Finally, silver paint represents paint chipping around the damaged areas, leading edges and cowling remembering that the control surfaces are fabric covered.
The figures and weapons are from Tamiya kit's 'US Combat Group (No.3580), US Infantry (No.3548) and US Weapons Set (No. 3621), plus two more Verlinden figures. The ‘local’ is a Belgo figure. The buildings, stone wall and graveyard headstones are Verlinden items with added detail from balsa to the main building, with the paddock gate also made from balsa. These were painted in humbrols enamels finished with black washes and drybrushing to bring out the details. The groundwork was added to a hardboard base using Plaster of Paris with powder colour mixed in to give depth and while still wet, the grasses, rocks and trees along with all track marks, footprints and marks left by the skidding aircraft plus the buildings etc. were added. After the groundwork had dried, various washes were applied and the foliage lightly sprayed to highlight the texture. Finally the aircraft, vehicle and figures were glued to the base.
Althought the kits are two different scales, they are close enough not to look too out of place when shown together.