The Figures- Japanese.The Japanese forces present in the immediate vicinity of the T junction included a Taisho 3 ‘Woodpecker’ heavy machine-gun, its trench was located on the left shoulder of the T junction. RPM’s 1/35 Woodpecker was the perfect kit to use to construct the gun (read a review of the kit here). A few metres to the right, a second trench contained a LMG manned by two gunners. To replicate the gunners, I have used figures from Airfix’s Japanese Infantry ‘multipose’ set. With a bit of converting and interchanging of the recommended parts, the figures can be modelled in all sorts of action poses. I used Milliput as modelling putty to fill the gaps, while Magic Sculpt performed better in the role of re-sculpting parts. From the accounts, the Japanese appeared thin, dirty and ill-equipped, but still a formidable opponent behind two machine-guns. As Starcey advanced along the track, he fired short bursts at the shadows moving behind the guns, forcing the Japanese to keep their heads low, therefore denying them of an accurate beading on him. The figures were painted using Humbrol and Tamiya enamels. The Japanese uniforms were a khaki sand/ jungle green. In the later war years, the colour of the Japanese uniforms differed greatly in shade because of wartime shortages. Often, factories had to rely on local suppliers, accepting whatever qualities and colours of material available. The paint was mixed to the right quantities by eye, so that no two uniforms were exactly the same colour.
The Arisaka 6.5mm Rifle.I decided to do some major improvements to an Arisaka rifle which is supplied in the Japanese ‘multipose’ kit. Using plasticard for the strap and extremely thin copper wire for the buckles, I documented the improvement in a series of diagrams (images 44-49)
The Figures- Australians.Only two Australians got anywhere close to the machine-guns, Starcevich, and his best mate Snow Porter who was scouting and wounded when the guns opened up. It is understood that Porter hid in the undergrowth until Starcevich passed and knocked out the first post. When Starcevich’s Bren gun ran out of ammunition, Porter crawled out and miraculously helped Starcey reload, before passing out. Starcevich then emerged from cover and resumed his assault on the second LMG post, killing both occupants. The figure I used to represent Starcevich provided me with some difficulties. As the main feature of the diorama, I wanted this figure to be of a higher standard of quality than what Airfix could provide. The answer came when Dragon released its 1:35 British 8th Army set. Parts from this kit provided me with the basis for some conversions. Starting with the legs, I shaved off the British style socks and also the short pockets. I then used Magic Sculpt to alter the shorts into long trousers, complete with American style gaiters. A 1:35 Ultracast head was used instead of the provided kit head.
The Diorama- Groundwork.After doing many plans and sketches, the ground was first built up using packaging foam and cork board inside a picture frame border. A layer of wall filler (tinted with acrylic brown) was put down, shaping the basic landforms while going along. While the filler was still wet; sand, dirt, stones and sawdust were sprinkled over the top and lightly pushed into the sludge. When dry, an airbrushing of enamel brown was applied, followed by a slight green misting to look mossy. At this early stage, I fitted a palm tree to the base to see how it would fit and look later on. This particular palm tree was made from a long bamboo skewer as a trunk, covered in glued tissue paper and string. Peppercorns were used to replicate coconuts. The aluminium foil method was used to make the fronds for this tree, but as you will see, I decided to remove this palm tree and make another one using natural ficus benjamina leaves. The wooden fortifications were made from twigs, bamboo skewers and balsa wood, glued into place and adding more filler where needed. In Starcevich’s account he says that it had rained all night prior to the action, therefore, everything had to look wet, muddy and humid. The thick bladed kunai grass was made from REAL grass picked fresh from the lawn. Once picked, it was left to dry out for a few days before being glued to the diorama. Once glued, it received an airbrushing of enamel green paint. A final spray of hairspray was added to hold the grass in place on the diorama. No preservatives were used at all. You may be able to spot a green snake hiding amongst the kunai. Other grasses were made from rope hemp, dolls hair (from a craft shop) and natural garden twine. To add variety to the groundwork, weeds, mosses and ferns and were added to the groundcover after being preserved with a 1:15 glycerine/water mixture (see images 19-22). Some of the broad leaved plants on the diorama were made from aluminium foil. The techniques used to make some of the ferns and small palm trees can be seen in these two feature articles
Copyright ©2020 by Chas Young. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2008-10-06 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 29171