Happy New Year, and thank you for the advice and encouragement! I've done some research into the issues mentioned that would impact historical accuracy, and I've decided that I'm going to take a little more artistic liberty than I initially planned.
For the reversible winter combat suits, I'm going to keep them in to add visual diversity for the German troops, particularly because the end product will be seen an audience unfamiliar with the subject matter.
As for the civilians, I agree it is almost completely improbable that any would remain, and that most fled at the first whisper of a German advance. However, for the sake of narrative and incorporating an element of the war that stretches beyond the purely military, I've elected to continue with my plan for civilians.
For the build progress, I've been very much focused on the Sd. Ah. 52 ammo trailer. The Bronco model was fairly involved and had a few tricky components (though not nearly as much as a Dragon model).
Finding references for German trailers, particularly this one, was tough. What little I did find didn't lend much in the way of functional uses. I'm not entirely sure, but I'm curious if this wire and end piece are actually the electrical connector that would be hooked to the truck. I know with modern army trailers, we have the cable attachment to allow the trailer to slave electricity from the truck for brake lights, etc.
I primed it all with a spray can of Chaos Black that my friend showed me. He uses it for Warhammer, but I prefer it other primers I've used. It preserves all the details and dries within a minute or so.
For airbrushing, I'm pretty partial to Ammo by Mig. It sprays evenly and doesn't clog my airbrush. The first layer sprayed was Burnt Iron. Once that dried, I sprayed heavy chipping fluid over it. That took probably close to a half hour to completely dry.
Once the chipping fluid was dry, I airbrushed two thin layers of Dunkelgelb.
To get the chipping fluid to work, I wet a small brush and lightly scraped over areas that would wear like edges and handles. I was surprised how effortlessly the paint chipped. I have to say, I'm a believer in the chipping fluid now. It achieved results I could never dream of accomplishing with a brush or a sponge.
I'm sure some of you noticed that I'm a dingus and had the cargo box tongue attached to the wrong side. I realized that during a test fitting and felt incredibly dumb. Thankfully, an X-acto knife and superglue were able to remedy the blunder and painting could go on.
I used 502 Abteilung oils lightly to create small tonal variations but didn't want to do anything too crazy just yet. I'm waiting until I have a better idea of the terrain before I commit to final weathering.
Also, I experimented with Vallejo Environments Fuel Stains enamel. The entire bottle is very frothy and hard to see where the fluid actually is, so I got a little more than I wanted, but I'm okay with it.
I strapped in the jerrycans with the string included in the kit and painted it with Vallejo Pale Brown. There's an area where it's not quite as taut as I want, but I might place a helmet or something over it to hide it. We'll see. I added a chain which was also included in the kit.
Overall, I've enjoyed the trailer. It was a good build and made me realize I need to pay more attention when constructing. There's still a bit more I need to do with finishing, such as more oil washes, adding dirt and mud splatters and accumulations, and more storage cargo on top.
Now, however, the Sdkfz 7 is staring me down. My goal is to get it to a similar level of completion as the trailer before the end of the month. That way I can focus my efforts on the King Tiger and figures, which I know will demand a lot more time and effort.
I appreciate the feedback and welcome any advice or knowledge you all have. I definitely feel like I'm flying blind in the reference department for pretty much everything except the King Tiger.