1⁄35Winter Line Italy 1944
Diorama Winter Line Italy 1944Krupp’s 88mm FLAK 37, which combined the Flak 41 gun barrel with the Flak 37 carriage was the final version of this battlefield terror. This was primarily due to technical problems which resulted in only thirteen being produced. As the Second World War was winding down the emergence of so many innovative German weapons was truly remarkable. One can only imagine how powerful the forces of the Wehrmacht might have become had they not been smashed upon the rocks of Hitler’s lust for power and real estate.
Towards the later months of 1944, running through the windswept, rocky crags of the Apennine Mountains, several defensive lines were established by defending German forces which comprised the Winter Line. So well were these designed that some still had not been breached by the end of the conflict. The close quarters combat of these engagements was the inspiration for this diorama. At times, due to the limited amount of flat terrain forces tended to co-mingle. And especially after dark, there were numerous times when Allied and Axis forces passed each other literally at arm’s length.
In this scene, an American tanker, evidently cutoff, or more likely out scavenging for ‘vino’, has been intruded upon by a very dangerous adversary…….the dreaded ‘eighty-eight’ as they were commonly referred to. His quandary, whether to reveal himself and fire upon the enemy, or quietly sneaky out the back way? I would guess he chose the latter but who knows? For this build I chose Dragon kit no. 6287 88mm FLAK 37 along with the fantastic Hobby Fan FLAK Set #3 kit no. HF571. The US Tanker is from Verlinden kit no. 1971 No Glory.
The BuildThe kit construction is very tedious on this gun; very close attention must be paid to every step and diagram. As there are three different versions offered of the build the directions can be very challenging even though they are color coded. The two carriages were each a challenge and with the main gun more or less a smooth build. The numerous carriage pieces are very delicate and removing sprue stubs should be done with extreme care. For the gun barrel there are actually four different options, with optional metal or plastic parts. I chose the single piece aluminum option.
PaintingThe painting and weathering of the FLAK 37 started with a layer Tamiya Fine Primer followed up by a shading coat of Tamiya Flat Black XF-1 followed up by Tamiya Red Brown XF-64. Tamiya Desert Yellow XF-59 was used as the base coat with camo provided by Tamiya Red Brown XF-64. But, before either of those were applied I decided to try something new. I wanted to show a very scale-true type of weathering and chipping and so forth. I used to use Sea Salt which was scattered over a water-misted surface of the model which looked great but produced the side effect of a ‘sweating’ model. This time I used Tamiya Clear XF-22 air brushed onto small areas onto which I sprinkled Woodland Scenic’s Small Ballast. I applied the base coat and camo layers over this material and ‘picked’ off the tiny bits of rock with a rubber mold tool.
Next the entire model was airbrushed with Tamiya Clear XF-22 and the decals were applied with the aid of Microsol and Microset. The entire model was then given four washes of Rembrant Raw Umber Oil paint and underside of the model was airbrushed with Tamiya XF-52 Flat Earth. The entire works was then airbrushed with Model Master Flat.
FiguresThe figures received the same base coating and shading aside from a wash of Rembrant Raw Umber Oil paint were completely done with Vallejo Acrylics in the ‘eye-dropper’-style bottles. The base coat for the German Zeltbahn was Vallejo Khaki 988 with camo areas composed of Vallejo Mahogany Sand 846 and Vallejo US Tan Earth 874. The Zeltbahn, or German shelter quarter, is an item of basic military equipment that was produced in the millions and was an innovative military garment inspiring many variants across the world. The base uniform was Vallejo German Uniform 920 with no highlighting. The boots, belts, and gloves were painted with Rembrant Lamp Black Oil paint. The faces of all the figures were first basecoated with Vallejo Brown Sand 876 and subsequently highlighted with Vallejo Light Sand 928. The US Tanker was similarly painted with Vallejo Dark Gray 994 shirt and Vallejo Tan Yellow 912 overalls.
As for the base, the building ruin was scratch built from plaster with wood stock for flooring. The evergreen made from a stained wooden dowel and Rustoleum Dark Green Enamel painted plastic ferns from the Floral Department. The base itself was made of standard styrofoam coated with Winsor Newton Modelling Paste and covered with some resin molded boulders and assorted small rocks. The road sign was scratch built with use of Verlinden No. 20 German Road Signs Russia.
Overall, the effect of the server crew on the 88mm FLAK 37 is a very effective and action-packed scene and I was very pleased with the results. The kits were really a pleasure to build and the improvisation of scratch building was great fun.
Copyright ©2020 by Rob Liles. Images 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 AeroScale, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2010-03-06 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 28793