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Dioramas
Do you love dioramas & vignettes? We sure do.
The Road to Singapore: Malaya 1941-42
ttwells
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New York, United States
Joined: June 03, 2006
KitMaker: 295 posts
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:22 AM UTC
Very interesting idea... I will keep tabs on this. I too was recently bitten by the PTO - but more of an IJA Manchuria 1945 theme.. yes, Russians vs. IJA!

Thanks for posting your inspiration.
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:28 AM UTC

Quoted Text

as if on que Andy Cairns is in the middle of producing a large group of Japanese tankers in resin sitting on and around a tank. You may want to check it out.
J



Thanks for the heads up Jerry. Is that on this site?
TanksForTheMemory
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:38 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Tim.
This will be very nice to follow. Gives me as a Dutchman a lot of finger itching wanna do an Indonesia Diorama. Timeline is the same.
Beginning of a dark period for the Colonial Power The Netherlands still were round that time. Bloody interesting...

All the best from Pathum Thani in Thailand,

Robert Jan



Yes Robert! As a theatre of war this has so much to offer. As you rightly say, the sun didn't just set on the British Empire... the Dutch, the French also lost territories. But I guess us Brits had further to fall!

Forgive my ignorance, but were the Dutch still fighting the Japanese at this point given that Holland had already been occupied by the Germans?
TanksForTheMemory
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:41 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Very interesting idea... I will keep tabs on this. I too was recently bitten by the PTO - but more of an IJA Manchuria 1945 theme.. yes, Russians vs. IJA!

Thanks for posting your inspiration.



Hi Ted.

Yes, the Japanese / Russian wars in Manchuria are also a fascinating subject. I have seen a fantastic dio by Douglas Lee covering the first clash. I imagine the second was a little different: Japanese tanks still much the same, Russian ones a lot bigger!
TanksForTheMemory
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:44 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Your idea is forming up nicely. Do you intend to ad a dead soldier to the gun, or depict it merely abandoned?



Erwin, too early to say.

The dead always need to be approached with sensitivity, but they are an important part of the story. I like to think that I handled the German casualty on my Italian dio with care. But we shall see.
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 10:45 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Welcome to the jungle Tim , nice scene and excellent subject matter .



Cheyenne, I enter with great care - and trepidation.

Needless to say, your own jungle adventures have been a great inspiration...
SpeedyJ
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Bangkok, Thailand / ไทย
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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 12:09 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Hi Tim.
This will be very nice to follow. Gives me as a Dutchman a lot of finger itching wanna do an Indonesia Diorama. Timeline is the same.
Beginning of a dark period for the Colonial Power The Netherlands still were round that time. Bloody interesting...

All the best from Pathum Thani in Thailand,

Robert Jan





Yes Robert! As a theatre of war this has so much to offer. As you rightly say, the sun didn't just set on the British Empire... the Dutch, the French also lost territories. But I guess us Brits had further to fall!

Forgive my ignorance, but were the Dutch still fighting the Japanese at this point given that Holland had already been occupied by the Germans?



From the beginning of WWII it was clear The Netherlands were in a complicated situation. One must understand that the Dutch Indies was an empire of its own. Navy and Army were better equipped than the little Dwarf Kingdom in Europe.
They had to fight the Japanese but had no chance. Date of surrender, I have to check.
After the surrender of the Japanese it only got worse for the Dutch. Uprising of the Indonesian people and a bloody conflict until 1949.

Robert Jan
Golikell
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Posted: Monday, January 20, 2020 - 12:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Erwin, too early to say.

The dead always need to be approached with sensitivity, but they are an important part of the story. I like to think that I handled the German casualty on my Italian dio with care. But we shall see.



You could alway cover the body up, leaving just the boots sticking from the blanket/tarp.
mikado
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Singapore / 新加坡
Joined: July 10, 2005
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Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 05:37 PM UTC

Quoted Text



I hope you won't mind if I bombard you with questions about trees, road surfaces and other mundane topics once I get to that part of the diorama. I have never been to Malaysia or Singapore (Japan is the nearest I have been) so my knowledge of the area is limited to what I can find on the internet.




Tim, not at all. I am born 30 years after WWII. Since then, Singapore and Malaysia have changed a lot. However, some of the road to the small village in Malaysia is still pretty much the same. Let me know what you want to know and I will try to find.


Quoted Text



Yes, there was bravery amongst the soldiers, sailors and airmen - but also amongst the civilians who were ultimately abandoned to their fate by a dying British Empire. There's no getting away from that.

Which is, I suppose, one of the reasons why this is worth exploring. Uncomfortable truths are often the most interesting!




From what we know here...The Commonwealth troops put up a brave and fierce fight...so did the Japanese, ... But Churchill had to focus on the WAR in Europe which is his own backyard, which make perfect sense when viewed objectively...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 12:06 PM UTC
I will be posting some details of the Ha-Go build in a short while. But it's slow progress...

In the meantime, I have been gathering a few figures, etc for this project.

It surprises me how few Imperial Japanese Army figures there are available on the market, especially given the fact that so many manufacturers come from Japan.

Of course, we all know that the Pacific is a neglected theatre for modellers. Then again, I suspect that there may also be some political sensitivities at work. Yet there may be a more mundane explanation: Google translate.

Whatever the case, I was very pleased to track down this pair: Warriors WW2 Japanese Infantry Set nos. 35437 and 35467




Long out of production, Warriors clearly produced some very nicely sculpted resin figures. They remind me a lot of Verlinden.

The poses on these are excellent - especially the two riflemen plodding towards the front. As a result I have already decided to turn the diorama around, with movement (and the direction of advance) going from right to left.

As we shall see, this also has the advantage of showing the Ha-Go's best side, because it allows me to show off the turret interior through the open side hatch. Here is work in progress:



I also picked up this amazing set: DEF Model 35024 Old Man and his Bull



Obviously they are intended for a Korean War setting, but I believe they would be suited to Malaya in the 40s.

As anyone who has seen my Italy 1944 diorama will know, I believe that, wherever possible, civilians should be represented in any portrayal of conflict. However, if any of our local members want to tell me that this old man (or his bull) are not right for the Malayan setting, then please feel free to let me know!

The set is sculpted by Douglas Lee. Now, until I went to Japan last summer I had never heard of Mr Lee - but then I bought this book in a Tokyo model shop:



The Master of Dioramas is no mean boast. This is a guy is an absolute genius. I thoroughly recommend the book to everyone. Although the text is (mostly) in Japanese, the images speak for themselves.

In fact, the original Old Man and his Bull are in one of the dioramas and there's also a terrific Manchurian Campaign project, complete with a Ha-Go clashing with the Russians at the start of the war.



Two other sets I have picked up are these:




Although I'm not sure that I will be using more than one (or possibly two) of these relatively static figures, they should provide some useful parts. The Tamiya set, for instance, has some beautifully sculpted helmets and swords. The faces are also very well done. I have read somewhere that they were actually based on some Tamiya executives...

Like many recent(ish) Tamiya figure sets, they are of very high quality indeed. Here is a shot of one of the figures I found on the internet (apologies for not being able to credit the modeller) which shows how well they can be painted up:



Finally, I have been looking for other Japanese equipment. Once again, it's hard to find, but if you keep looking you can find some extraordinary kits... like this one:



The level of detail in this kit of the iconic Japanese light MG is insane! Apart from the woeful sandbags...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 12:18 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Erwin, too early to say.

The dead always need to be approached with sensitivity, but they are an important part of the story. I like to think that I handled the German casualty on my Italian dio with care. But we shall see.



You could alway cover the body up, leaving just the boots sticking from the blanket/tarp.



Erwin, I might go for a captured Aussie being escorted to the rear (a little like the German with his hands up on my Italian dio). We will have to see...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 12:25 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text



I hope you won't mind if I bombard you with questions about trees, road surfaces and other mundane topics once I get to that part of the diorama. I have never been to Malaysia or Singapore (Japan is the nearest I have been) so my knowledge of the area is limited to what I can find on the internet.




Tim, not at all. I am born 30 years after WWII. Since then, Singapore and Malaysia have changed a lot. However, some of the road to the small village in Malaysia is still pretty much the same. Let me know what you want to know and I will try to find.


Quoted Text



Yes, there was bravery amongst the soldiers, sailors and airmen - but also amongst the civilians who were ultimately abandoned to their fate by a dying British Empire. There's no getting away from that.

Which is, I suppose, one of the reasons why this is worth exploring. Uncomfortable truths are often the most interesting!




From what we know here...The Commonwealth troops put up a brave and fierce fight...so did the Japanese, ... But Churchill had to focus on the WAR in Europe which is his own backyard, which make perfect sense when viewed objectively...



Thanks Mike. I cannot tell you how much help local know-how will be to a guy like me sitting in London.

Any idea what type of trees we can see in the images of the Muar river battle? And is the road compacted earth?

Colours are also important. If you can take any shots of a back road which looks like it has not changed much since the 40s that would be great...

When I was in Tuscany I took home a sample of earth and, weird as it may sound, that helped remind me what I was after for an Italian setting!
mikado
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Singapore / 新加坡
Joined: July 10, 2005
KitMaker: 328 posts
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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 06:04 PM UTC
Tim,

See if you can click the link below for some of the village road in Malaysia today...maybe some Malaysian in this forum can also contribute ?

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/malay-countryside-landscape-1221324832

TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 11:34 AM UTC
Mike, thanks for the link - a very inspiring Malaysian scene... I'm just sorry that it has taken me a while to post.

As I said above, the Fine Molds Ha-Go comes with almost nothing in the way of interior detail - unlike the Dragon kit. But with the turret hatches open there's actually quite a lot to see. This was a small tank and hence rather cramped - even for the one-man turret.



So I have been doing some research. I get the impression that if I had started this build even 5 years ago, there would have been very little to find on line. Fortunately, the last few years have seen at least two major Ha-Go restoration projects, including one that is now a runner and appeared at the 2019 Bovington Tanfest.

The main armament was the Type 94 37 mm tank gun. This had a shoulder mount very much like that in the British Matilda, which meant that elevation - and some limited traverse - could all be controlled by the commander resting the gun (suitably weighted and sprung) on his shoulder.

Sadly noone makes any sort of aftermarket kit for the gun, so using images that I found on the internet (including some of the Dragon sprues) I cobbled together an approximation from anything I could lay my hands on.

This is not 100% accurate - in fact it may not be even 75% accurate - but I am counting on the fact that most people looking inside my turret won't know that!




In fact, I have to admit that I rather enjoyed all of this - even if it has been quite time consuming. It's satisfying to start with a more or less empty space and fill it with detail from the spares box, metal rod and all sorts of odds and ends and create something which - at least to my eyes - looks like a gun!

Aside from the traverse handwheel and gears, the other most prominent features of the turret are the ammo racks and 3/4 rear MG mount.

The latter is still work in progress, but for the racks I started by acquiring some 37mm brass rounds for a German flak gun. These are actually a little too long compared with the Japanese, but they do fit.

There are three ready racks around the turret sides and these were made with a combination of thin plasticard, some brass rests from a German grenade box and home-made clips made from wrapping thin brass strip around the rounds themselves. The idea is to allow me to leave the shells out until after I have finished painting the interior.



[Question: what is the correct paint shade for IJA tank interiors? From what I have seen on preserved examples, it seems to be some sort of metallic finish...]

Here they are installed. As you can see gthe interior is certainly starting to look busy!





More to come soon...
Removed by original poster on 03/10/20 - 23:42:40 (GMT).
jphillips
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Arizona, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 12:33 PM UTC
Today, Singapore certainly punches above its weight militarily.
Removed by original poster on 03/11/20 - 01:04:02 (GMT).
cheyenne
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Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 09:18 PM UTC
Nice job on the interior Tim . Front quarter round hatch . I have more in a folder somewhere that I'll try and find .



You may also might want to check this site out , very valuable Japanese armor info , what type of tanks served where etc.
http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/
jrutman
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020 - 01:19 AM UTC
I must say,when I was building vacuform airplanes a few decades ago my favorite part was scratchbuilding the cockpits and wheel wells just like you are doing here on the turret guts. Great job ! Satisfying model building,isn't it ?
J
Bonaparte84
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Hessen, Germany
Joined: July 17, 2013
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Posted: Friday, March 13, 2020 - 05:08 AM UTC
Nice job so far! Don't know if you know this source and have it checked it out, but I highly recommend this short article on the exact engagement you want to depict:

http://overlord-wot.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-right-maur-ling.html?_sm_au_=iHVMSZVHZT052BMmQcLJjKQ1j7GJ1
TanksForTheMemory
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Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 11:58 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I must say,when I was building vacuform airplanes a few decades ago my favorite part was scratchbuilding the cockpits and wheel wells just like you are doing here on the turret guts. Great job ! Satisfying model building,isn't it ?
J



Yes, indeed, it is Jerry! And there's more on the way...
TanksForTheMemory
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 11:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice job on the interior Tim . Front quarter round hatch . I have more in a folder somewhere that I'll try and find .



You may also might want to check this site out , very valuable Japanese armor info , what type of tanks served where etc.
http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/



Thanks for that Cheyenne - lots of interesting facts and details.
TanksForTheMemory
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Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 12:02 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice job so far! Don't know if you know this source and have it checked it out, but I highly recommend this short article on the exact engagement you want to depict:

http://overlord-wot.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-right-maur-ling.html?_sm_au_=iHVMSZVHZT052BMmQcLJjKQ1j7GJ1



Thanks Nicolas.

That's a very interesting blog on the Muar River action. He seems to have had a detailed source to hand - I wish I could find it.

He adds details that I have not read elsewhere: for instance, the fact that the trees were felled after the attack was over, not before.
TanksForTheMemory
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Posted: Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 12:16 PM UTC
The more I look at the Muar River battle, the more inclined I am to make it the subject of this diorama.

My initial reluctance stemmed from the fact that I couldn't see how to fit the 2 pounder and the Ha-Go in the same scene without making the distance and perspective too contracted. Hence, I was contemplating a fictional scene later in the conflict where the Japanese tanks are seen passing a captured gun.

However, now I am starting to think that artistic licence should allow me to get away with it. From what I have read, it seems as if the Japanese tanks attacked in two or three waves with the anti-tank guns being moved up at least once to deal with the next threat.

So it is not without the bounds of possibility to have a 2 pounder sited quite close to one knocked out Ha-Go in order to fire at others beyond it.

I was also moved by this image which I had not seen before. This shows the second tank of the three in the pictures that I have already posted above.



Some pictures of dead soldiers can be pretty grim but here the two Japanese crewmen (at least I am assuming that's what they are - one appears to be wearing the tanker's helmet) almost look like they are sleeping...
Golikell
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Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2020 - 07:51 PM UTC
They are most certainly lying in a odd position, for being KIA, that is...