1⁄35Tiger, Tiger, Not Burning So Bright
Thinking about how I would build the kit, I recalled a photo of a wrecked Tiger in the streets of Caen that is likely from Michael Wittmann's unit, so I set about assembling the basics:
1.) Academy Tiger kit
2.) Interior from a shelf queen (Academy's Tiger I Early)
3.) ATAK Zimmerit
4.) Kaizen styrene tracks & metal track rods
5.) MiniArt Normandy street scene
6.) Various diorama accessories
The Kaizen tracks really impressed me, though I would have preferred them to have track rod knobs for BOTH sides of the tracks. They go together very well, and don't need a lot of clean up like most metal tracks.
The diorama accessories included cans of food, crates, a bathroom (complete with mirror & toilet with water tank), carpets, enamel street signs, interior furniture, and lace curtains. I added my own scratchbuilt details, including baseboards to hide the dicey fit of the floors & walls of the building interior.
And lots of rubble.
I used rubble on hand, and made my own shattered plaster by spreading plaster of Paris on a ceramic tile, then peeling it off when dry. The wood is bits and pieces of balsa and spruce from an RC airplane LHS. The broken glass is real: specimen covers for microscope slides come in 1" squares that are to-scale and easily shatter in a myriad of shapes.
Be careful, though, they are sharp as the devil and left me with some cuts and punctures that CA glue easily closed up (it was developed for the battlefield to help medics and doctors close up wounds without stitches, but it burns like the dickens when spread over a cut).
Given that a collapsing wall like the one in the original photo would create a lot of dirt and dust, I made liberal use of MIG powders, especially the "Rubble Dust" and "White Ashes" (for plaster dust).
Finally a brass bucket that was in the spares box completed the photo impression.
And you're not hallucinating about the Tiger having a very short barrel. The original in the photo had one, and I debated whether to follow history or modeling fashion. See, Tiger crews more often than not abandoned their tanks, usually when they ran out of gas or the tank's woefully over-matched transmission gave out. They would then drain the lubricant from the recuperator, fire a round and ruin the gun. I finally decided that accuracy would supersede aesthetics and I shortened the gun (including removing the breech in the interior and setting it back about an inch).