Expressive figures lend a unique character to any diorama. I believe they play an essential role in conveying the narrative. Let me explain how I am utilizing the kits shown above to illustrate my project’s backstory.
Remember that the scenario takes place in Germany, in late winter 1945. A squad of Volksstrum militia has been transported to some hamlet, with orders to slow the advancing enemy. A hodgepodge of weapons and equipment, some of which dates from the First World War, has been issued to the aged “soldiers.” This was typical of the Volksstrum. The Third Reich was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find troops in the first place, and to arm them, in the second.
Here are three Volksstrum that I have finished. The only “uniform” many of them had was an armband sewn onto the cuff of their left coat sleeves. (The center figure’s armband is pretty easy to see.) The man on the left, dressed in civilian clothes, is handling a Panzerfaust. All manner of German units carried this single-shot antitank rocket, in the final years of the conflict. Anyone that came across a Panzerfaust could quickly make use of it: instructions were printed right on its warhead. The tube carrying the warhead displayed a helpful warning about the jet of flame that shot out when it was triggered!
The middle man will be posed to take a rocket that’s being handed to him. Notice the pins projecting from his boots? I’ll glue these into holes drilled in the diorama base to help keep the fellow in place, should it ever get bumped around. The last man illustrates the paradox of being in the Volksstrum: he holds a modern MP-44 automatic rifle, but a World War I-era Stalhelm sits atop his head.
I’ll say more about figures for my diorama in a future post. Let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding this, or any other topic relating to my modeling projects. Thanks!