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1/48 WW2 Aircraft Diorama Figures and AC

If you like 1/48 WW2 aircraft and want to start your first diorama project, where to start in the jungle of items available? Will you find what you are searching for in injected plastic? Is there another option other than buying expensive resin figures, vehicles and accessories? I will try to give you some answers to those questions - even if this should only be considered as a starting point as the number of references available is immense!

The feature will be separated into two articles, each one offering different possibilities in terms of choice and cost. In this first article, I will go through what is available in injected plastic:

Chapter 1 - Figures and Accessories already available in mainstream kits.

Chapter 2 - Figures set kits available from mainstream manufacturers.

Chapter 3 - Vehicles and accessories kits available from mainstream manufacturers.

1 - Figures and Accessories already available in mainstream kits.
Why buy additional figures and accessories if there are some already provided in kits? Good point, but sadly you won't find much in them other than seated pilots! The only mainstream manufacturer to include diorama figures in their kits on a regular basis is Revell-Monogram. You can find some in their B-24, B-26, B-29, Devastator, Ju 52, Me 410 kits for example (picture 1). There's even a Tractor in the B-24 kit (picture 2) and two Atomic Bombs in the B-29 kit. The paratroopers in the Ju 52 kit (picture 3) are a nice addition but you can't do much damage to the enemy with only four of them!?

What can you expect from other manufacturers? The answer is almost nothing! Tamiya, like many, only provides pilots to place in the cockpit, that's almost all! Ok, sometimes a Kettenrad or a a US Tractor is included in a kit but these are limited editions and you have to pay for that extra stuff! That's why I will talk about them in Chapter 3. The only other figures I found in Tamiya kits are Japanese pilots and ground crew in the "old" A6M Zero kits. In picture 4 you can see them, together with a pilot found in a Fine Mold D4Y "Judy" kit. In Hasegawa and limited run kits you won't find anything! No figures, no accessories!

Yes, I found an Umbrella (picture 5) in a Fujimi Bf109G kit (nice for an North African diorama) and Revell's Ba-349 Natter comes with a launching platform (picture 6). But to sum up, with what is provided in the kits, and with a lot of luck, you can only make a small diorama with one or two figures but don't expect to be able to tell a story or to depict a busy airfield! For that you will have to spend some extra money!
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About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.