1⁄35Sherman - Spring 45, Europe
the sceneThis is my rendition of Dragon's Sherman M4A3 76(w) "Battle of the Bulge". However, I choose not to do a "Battle of the Bulge" scene, but something in the Spring of '45. The scene depicts an M4 rolling up a hill after German soldiers, who got caught by surprise when "Steel City" (more on that name later) burst over the hill. As you can see there are no German soldiers to be found. But, through the dropped and abandoned items you can see the trail of their retreat.
One man lost a shoe and canteen, a second tried to load his rifle and in his panic decided to drop it and run, a third threw down his helmet as he distanced himself from the coming tank, another soldier lost his glasses. As the others hustled down the trail, the last man set his Panzerfaust to fire, drew a bead on the Sherman, but in a moment of clarity realized how terrible the last 6 years had been and hoped if he put down the weapon he might see his wife and kids again.
The instant of diorama is when the tank finally gets a clear shot on the running Germans and the commander has to decide if he should drop the hammer on them or if he has seen enough death.
the ideaAs promised here is an explanation of the tank's name "Steel City". "Steel City" is the nickname of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (which is in the north east of the United States and yes it is my home town). During WWII Pittsburgh was one of the most important cities in Roosevelt's "Arsenal of Democracy". The steel mills located here produced more steel than Germany and Japan combined. Also, the steel companies located here helped the Russians modernize their steel plants. My great uncle was a metallurgist for Jones and Laughlin Steel during the war. The mill where he worked was on the south side of Pittsburgh, the site is occupied by a movie theater and a Cheese Cake Factory now. He told me about witnessing test firing of the Bazooka against the steel his plant made. I was young when he told me that and he died before I started to model, I would have loved to ask him about 1000 questions.
the parts usedThe various accessories on the ground and tank are from a bunch of companies. There is some stuff by Verlinden, Tamiya, Aber, Plus Models, Royal Model, Dragon and a few random pieces from the spares box. I used Model Kasten tracks on the tank, which where labor intensive, but I think the end justified the means. I have used Fruilmodel tracks in the past, but am going to stick with Model Kasten. They are less expensive and I think they look much better. The figures are Verlinden torsos, Dragon Gen2 (these Gen2 figures are really nice) arms and Hornet heads (which are by far the best heads I've ever seen). My figure painting skills need improvement. They kind of have a GI Joe quality too them, I dodged the driver's eyes in the pictures so he wouldn't look so stoned!
I cannot remember where I ordered the trees from, but I didn't use the "leaves" that came with them, but got dried flowers from a local craft store for the leaves. The flowery bushes are from the same store, just dyed a different color. The ground cover is something I pulled out of my back yard and I was happy to see when it dried it kept its color. The bulk of the leaves I bought years ago and I don't remember the company. There are Plus Model maple, oak and linden leaves mixed in as well. Plus Model makes some great stuff and you should all go buy stuff from them so they stay in business and I can keep getting stuff from them for a long time!