Above: My first armor diorama. The M-21 81mm Mortar Carrier is Tamiya or Monogram - I am not sure which.
The knocked out King Tiger is Tamiya. The buildings are Verlinden. A "boulangerie" (bakery) is at the left, and a garage to
the right. Taking a break after the Bulge, this half track crew is relaxing in the foreground and souvenir hunting on the
Above: A close up of the King Tiger. The King Tiger, also known to the Allies as Royal Tiger or Tiger II,
combined the thick armor and hitting power (the 88mm) of the Tiger I with the sloped armor advantages of the Panther.
Only 492 were built, and they first saw action in Normandy in mid July, 1944. In this scene, one GI has found a helmet. Note
the debris on the tank, typical of tanks in street battles. Designed for "open" battlefields, this King Tiger was
imprudently brought into street combat, no doubt accelerating its demise. Urban combat is not a safe place for large, cumbersome
armored vehicles, especially without a considerable amount of supporting infantry. Tanks, especially with all hatches closed
for battle, are essentially blind outside of small viewing ports. They are easy prey for concealed anti tank guns and infantry
Above: A close up of the M-21. Part of the crew relaxes outside the vehicle, while another is inside on the
radio. The mortar can be seen protruding just forward of the radioman. This vehicle was named Ruby II, after a gorgeous cat
I had at the time. The track and wheel assembly were molded as one piece (which makes me think the model was Monogram), and
bending the track to simulate slack proved difficult. Had I more experience at the time, I would have rebuilt the entire assembly.
Live and learn.
Above: The rear of the King Tiger, showing the large exhausts typical of the larger German tanks. Skirt armor
has fallen off the left side, and a tow cable now hangs uselessly on the derelict Panzer. Inside the wall to the left, a German
propaganda poster now plays to a silent audience. The wooden sign in front of the doorway warns weary GI's of possible booby
traps in the courtyard.