As mentioned in the narrative of the 1/35-scale model that was the centerpiece of my first diorama project (see the blog entries under “Re-modeling 1.0”), nowadays the modeler has a lot more options, when it comes to portraying less common vehicle variants. Such is the case with the endeavor that is currently under construction. The photo above indicates how the aftermarket resin kit, on the left, would transform the original styrene kit.
To convert the large Steyr Type 1500A sedan into Type 2000A cargo truck involved retaining just the engine hood. It was replaced by elements of the cargo compartment frame, the compartment itself, equipment lockers, and the addition of second tires to the rear axle.
Once the modified truck was assembled, I further customized it. The results are seen in the next two photographs.
Something I hadn’t discovered until after I had purchased the styrene kit on eBay was that it had been discontinued. That was no big deal, except when it came to the grille work of the hood and radiator. These parts were no longer available. My solution was to buy a package of metal repair pieces for household screens. I was able to “distort” these so their pattern closely resembled the real thing.
Another modification I made is visible on the right hand side of the front bumper (the side closest in the photo.) Too Much Information Warning! By the time the D-Day invasion took place, the Allies possessed overwhelming air power. The bulk of the Luftwaffe’s strength had been committed to the war against the Soviet Union, making it impossible to adequately defend France, too.
German vehicle and troop movements after June 6, 1944 were subject to cannon and rocket attacks by roving flights of fighter bombers (“Jagdbomber” in German; colloquially “Jabo.”). One action undertaken in hopes of escaping destruction from the skies was to install seats on vehicles’ front passenger side bumpers. A soldier posted on the makeshift seat was charged with being on the lookout for enemy planes; catching sight of these, the Jabo lookout was to shout a warning to the driver. On the verges of countryside roads in Normandy the Germans prepared emergency lanes, into which attacked vehicles could drive, seeking safety.
I made a pair of further modifications to the vehicle’s cargo area. I installed passenger benches on both sides of the compartment. Also, it was necessary to cut out a section of the tailgate, so that, when it was let down, access was gained to a towing hook.
A word about the paint scheme: In most instances there was no standard camouflage for German vehicles. By 1943 vehicles left the factories painted in a sandy yellow shade. Over painted colors – usually green and brown – were applied by troops in the field, whose patterns were left to the soldiers’ artistry. Other important aspects of modeling vehicles is for them to feature dents, dirt and dust. No vehicle in a diorama should look as though it is factory-fresh! To this end, I mixed a dust color from different shades of acrylic powders, thinned with solvent.
I’d be delighted to receive your observations regarding, or questions about, this phase of the project. Thanks!