Above: A street battle in Aachen, Germany, late in 1944. In the first penetration into German territory,
the Allies got a taste of what real street fighting would be like with the Germans defending their own soil. In this not so
great photo, the whole model can be viewed. This model took forever to build - about 500-600 hours. The house to the right
is Verlinden, the Sherman is Italieri, the Sturmgeschuetz III (Sturmer or Stug for short) and VW Schwimmwagen are Tamiya.
The other building is plastic and the origin is unknown. The figures are Tamiya I believe. The statue is a pewter figurine.
Above: The background center of the Diorama. Two GI's take cover behind the knocked out Sturmer, while an
officer with a Thompson halts any further advance by his platoon. This Stug III has been "brewed up", a term for tanks that
catch fire. Note the black soot marks around the hatches and engine, as well as the engine covers buckled up from the heat
of the fire.
Above: A close up of the Sherman. The crew has added an intimidating skull on the front left
fender, a signal to the enemy that death is their destiny. Tanks attract all kinds of muck on the battlefield, quite evident
in this view. Note the extra armor plate on the side for the driver, and the extra "log" armor on the front and
sides - a clear indication that the Sherman was underarmored against most German tanks and anti tank guns. This deficiency
plagued Allied tankmen throughout the war.
Above: An overview of the center of the diorama, clearly showing the fire damage to the Stug. This is easy
to simulate with pastels or an air brush. I use pastels over a base coat from the air brush. Note that the engine fire has
consumed the rubber on the spare road wheels mounted on the rear deck. Note the diversity of the debris. Directly in front
of the barbed wire is a piece of tin roof from the house to the right. A common mistake some modelers make is to forget a
healthy amount of loose bricks in a street scene. Bricks are tedious and time consuming, but add a most realistic touch. As
in all my dioramas, every single object you see is glued in place. You can literally take any of my dioramas, turn them upside
down, and nothing will fall off.
Above: A closeup of the foreground center. Two GI's take cover and fire on a German, barely visible in the
doorway to the rear, throwing his arms back as he is hit . Barely visible as well is another German to the left of the house.
The statue was originally a Knight with a lance. I carved out some shell hits with a Dremel, broke off some pieces, and then
painted it dark green. I drybrushed it with lighter shades, weathered it with chalk, and voila!
Above: The inside of the ruined house, about 1/2 complete. The old style toilet is visible, as is the large
shell hole in the side of the house. The roof remains were scratchbuilt, as were the window frames and bathroom wall.
Above: A close up of the Volkswagen. Called a Schwimmwagen, which lierally means swimming
car, the body of the car is really a watertight hull and the car has a propeller for aquatic propulsion. It was able to cross
small streams and rivers with little effort - but only if the current was weak! Note the assorted debris, including the brass
shells in the center of the photo (made from jewelry parts). In the upper right hand corner, barely visible, is a green metal
lawn chair. Next to the chair is a door with a fancy metal decoration on it. Debris is not as easy as it looks - diversity
is the key to realism. Explosives are indiscriminate, blowing buildings and their contents into many different sizes
of debris over a wide area. Add to that blown up parts of streets and vehicles, and add to that the discarded "trash"
of war, and a great variety of debris is called for in a realistic street scene. The key is to do debris in many layers -
typically I do about 7 layers.
Left: The right side of the diorama. A GI takes cover behind a lampost as the Sherman turns into the square.
The log armor on the side of the Sherman is clearly visible. The Nazi flag was done on my printer, and the fraying is accomplished
by barely wetting the flag and then carefully ripping up the bottom with sandpaper. Print up a lot of flags, as this frayed
effect rarely works the first time tried. Never give up.
Above: Two Germans attempt to ambush the advancing Americans. The one on the ground clutches a Panzerfaust.
I had to add two inches to the base of the original diorama to accomodate these Germans. In the foreground is a metal lawn
Above: A close up of the infantry taking cover behind the burned hulk of the assault gun.