As the photo above shows, my second diorama, “Ein Volk Steht Auf,” has reached completion. I enjoyed conceptualizing the scene, gathering, assembling and painting the items needed to bring it into life, and how the layout evolved, even as I worked on it. I hope you find the end result interesting, too. As with my first diorama, I decided to construct mini-scenarios within the over all design; I’ll describe these next.
Remember I said that the Volksstrum was armed with a hodge-podge of weapons from both World Wars? One of the men in the background here is instructing the other in the operation of an MG 08/15, a machine gun in the Great War. The man in the foreground is puzzling over how to insert the magazine into the modern MP-44 that he’d been issued.
One of the Volksstrum troops had the misfortune of being accused of cowardice. Tried and found guilty by a kangaroo court, immediately after the verdict was pronounced he was hung. A placard around his neck proclaimed the reason for his execution, likely to deter other German men from considering the avoidance of their duty.
The final vignette illustrates the distribution of Panzerfausts. This simple, highly effective single-shot antitank weapon had directions concerning its use printed on the warhead. This was done in the belief that anyone picking up a Panzerfaust on the battlefield could effectively operate it.
As ever, it you’d like to comment on my modeling work, I would be happy to hear what you have to say.
As my latest diorama is moving toward its completion, I’m attending to various details that are intended to add to its verisimilitude (i.e., the appearance of being real or true).
The first thing I worked on was “dirtying up” the Steyr 1500A truck that’s an important element in the scene. Given that the diorama is set in the late winter of 1944/45, the ground is, to a high degree, muddy. To simulate this, I applied watered-down white glue to the wheels, undercarriage, running boards, and lower edges of the doors. On these surfaces I then liberally sprinkled a mixture of earth blend modeling turf.
I let the white glue dry thoroughly, after which I sprayed the modified parts of the vehicle with Dull Cote, which ought to keep the modeling turf from flaking off.
Next I wanted to give the diorama scenery a late winter appearance. I applied a liberal amount of watered down white glue all over the base. Then I sprinkled modeling “snow” to the wet areas. I took care not to put down too much snow, as I didn’t want to totally obscure all the hard work I had put into the landscape; anyway, a late winter scene wouldn’t be completely covered in the white stuff.
Before putting down the fake snow I thought about how it would look on different surfaces. As you can see, it only covers parts of the barn roof. To illustrate that the hapless Volkssturm man whose cowardice led to his being hung had been there a while, I dusted his cap and shoulders with snow.
As work on this project progresses, I have found myself thinking about further modifications that I’d like to make to the diorama, so stay tuned. Of course, I’d welcome your comments or questions regarding it.
As a longtime railroad buff, I looked forward to seeing the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co & Museum, in Portland. Toward the end of the 19th Century, the Pine Tree State boasted five “narrow gauge” railroads, whose name came from the fact that the span of their rails was but two feet.
Some 200 miles of narrow gauge railroad lines operated in Maine from the 1870s until the 1940s. Transporting passengers and freight alike, those in Maine were the smallest narrow gauge common carrier railroads in the United States. They performed an important function, connecting the less populated rural areas with the larger cities. Thus, they played an important role in the economic development of the state’s interior.
Founded in 1992, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, whose mission is to educate the public and preserve historic equipment related to Maine’s two-foot gauge railways. Over 55,000 visitors come to the museum annually.
The MNGRC&M boasts an impressive collection of rolling stock, although not all of it is operational. There are steam locomotives, passenger coaches (open and enclosed), combine cars, cabooses, box cars, a snow plow, a line inspection car (constructed from a pair of co-joined Model Ts, and a rail bus. As is usually the case with organizations that preserve the technology of the past, virtually all of the museum’s workers are volunteers. Keeping locomotives and cars that are over a century old in working order is a labor of love – and it entails a heck of a lot of hard, dirty work.
The day we rode the rails was rather chilly and damp, but we thoroughly enjoyed the ride we took on the train!