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135
Who's On Top Now?

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It's one man's opinion, but I think that the old Tasca (now Asuka) Shermans and Stalingrad's resin figures are the pinnacle of today's modeling for those of us who lack Jerry Rutman's skills at re-purposing figures. So I was very happy to combine a Tasca/Asuka Firefly with two existing Tamiya Universal Carriers (much improved with Resicast conversions) with the Stalingrad set of German POWs.

Then at the 11th hour, Bronco released a set of British paras and their bicycle. Seemed like a perfect combination.

The build started out with the MiniArt "Normandy crossroads" kit that includes the two buildings and a country crossroads base. The vehicles as stated are the Firefly (a superb kit) that was intended to have Friul tracks. But Friul failed me when I found that you have to build them from tiny components, and (worse) they have to be assembled with straight and curved sections. Part of the reason for AM tracks is to avoid having to think that hard.

I then switched to Bronco styrene tracks and they were worse: something in the paint I used caused the track pins to weaken enough that each time I tried to pull on the tracks, they came apart. I was so discouraged, I put the kit away for months. Then I went back to the kit's rubber band tracks, and said "Screw it!"

The Universal Carriers are the hoary old Tamiya ones. I was so impressed, though, by the series of them built by our own Al McNeilly that I built two of them myself, one using the Resicast 3" mortar and a second with the deep wading panels set. Both were supplemented by the stowage sets that comes with weighted-down suspensions to reflect all the weight in those bundles and boxes. Various D-Day shipping stencils from Archer add to the fun, and Archer stars. The crews are from the Riich Universal Carrier (the Tamiya figures best used to stretched sprue).

The other British figures are various resin and styrene choices, with the Bronco paras standing guard. These figures are superb, among the best in styrene I've seen. I added some leaves to their net helmet covers, but otherwise built them OOB.

And then there was the bike.

The Bronco kit comes with a lovely bicycle for the paras and a figure riding it (well, sitting on it but with legs extended resting). The spokes can either be styrene (clunky) or PE. The problem with the PE is it's very delicate. I ended up botching their attachment (the tires need to be thinned out more internally), so I "wrecked" the bike and show it abandoned by the side of the road. The one riding the bike is now resting against the short wall as the Master Race marches off into captivity.

Finally, those POWs.

Their poses are all highly individualistic, and the detailing on the uniforms and accessories is excellent. They're really dressed more for Spring 1945, but I know it can get chilly and wet in Normandy in June, so I decided to use them anyway. The location could be outside Caen right after the landings or maybe part of Operation Goodwood. Again, pretty much OOB except for a pair of specs on one and some wild hair added to another (thanks, Jerry, for that technique).

The detailing for the buildings is my usual mixture of resin accessories (the bathtub), pre-printed wallpaper (thanks, Military Miniatures Warehouse), various crates and chairs, plus some J's Work ration and medical supplies boxes. The glass is from 1" microscope slide specimen covers, and it is the most-realistic method I know for recreating shattered or broken glass. The rain barrel has layer-upon-layer of resin "water," topped off with CA glue (it's clear AND glossy). The Firefly stowage is Value Gear.

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About the Author

About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.


Comments

Bill Once again an excellent diorama. Normally dioramas' in this size are hard to get "right", but you really nailed it. Everything looks great and the amount of details are staggering. Very well done sir. Jacob PS: You must be either a building machine, or you have a herd of locked up slaves to do the job for you
FEB 02, 2016 - 09:46 PM
Of course it's a beautiful dio , ..... he's from N.J. Bill , excellent work , so much to see and all beautifully rendered . The eye takes it all in on first glance , then you notice all the details one after another , sweet !!!
FEB 02, 2016 - 09:55 PM
J O B W E L L D O N E ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
FEB 03, 2016 - 02:14 AM
Thank you ALL (blushing). There's nothing, I mean NOTHING (short of things we can't discuss here in a family environment) that beats praise from one's brother and sister modelers. I HAVE been on a bit of a tear recently, but the purchase of a light box and some photo lamps with cool bulbs allowed me to get the photos right.
FEB 03, 2016 - 04:47 AM
Did you get an optivisor yet or are you still too young for that? J
FEB 03, 2016 - 06:06 AM
No optivisor yet, but 3.0 and 4.0 reading glasses.
FEB 03, 2016 - 09:10 AM
Excellent build and lots of details to pore over! From the desolate and almost lonely abandoned Tiger scene, to this one with lots of activity, really shows a fine level of skill. Thanks for sharing your fine work, Bill.
FEB 03, 2016 - 01:54 PM
Thank you, Jack, for your kind words.
FEB 04, 2016 - 05:22 AM
Superb!
FEB 11, 2016 - 02:39 AM
Thank you so much, it was fun building it (except for the Firefly tracks).
FEB 19, 2016 - 10:50 AM
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