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German 88mm flak Railcar Diorama

By Moustafa Assad

(Click on thumbnails for fullsize image)

Trains have always fascinated me, and when I saw the new DML series I just had to get them. However, I was not sure what to do with them. Should I incorporate them into a big diorama or should I not? Then I saw a new Polish book about German Armored Trains, covering the late war versions. I was fortunate enough to see some pictures about designs that were more or less categorized as field modifications. One of these pictures resembles a very small section of a Train that was obviously used to accompany other armored trains. It had a Flatbed being pulled by an Artillery wagen, and on top of that Flatbed a huge 88mm Flak sits ready to fire.


An image immediately came to my mind, so further research was conducted, and I found out very soon that no two Flatbed/88mm Flak configurations looked alike. Some of them had sand bags, while others had armored barrels fitted with sand for extra protection, and others had nothing at all. I wanted to show all the detals on my 88, so I chose the simple configuration.

Artilleriewagen

I built the DML Artilleriewagen straight from the box. The kit itself is and excellent model. Itís only draw back is that it lacks a detailed interior. If I had some photos, I would have scratch built one. It is strange that no after market company has introduced an interior yet. The Turret resembles the Ausf N and has the very nice 75mm gun. I was not happy about the fit of the Turret ring however. It does not have a good fit and I couldnít do anything about it. The wheels, on the other hand, are first class. They are a pleasure to build. Make sure you clean up all the attachments of the turret rear basket, since you wonít be using it. You will have, at the end, an extra turret basket for you to use later on.

Also ,you should pay attention when you fit the upper hull to the lower. On my kit, I needed very little putty to join and seal the joints. A friend of mine had a nightmare doing so. DML forgot to add the needed hydraulic tubes, that should be attached to the other carts. They could have added some vinyl tubings for that matter, so do it yourself.

The Flatbed

The Flatbed is another gem. The wheels are simply too good to be true. Their fit is excellent and once painted they are convincing, so make sure not to accidentally glue them. Otherwise, your Flatbed will be stiff. I liked the upper top of the kit too. DML provides two large pieces, that you should connect to form the base of the flatbed. The two pieces have wooden texture, so I tried to put some on real wood instead. When my work was done, I discovered that the DML kit pieces are much better than mine. I then decided to use the kit parts after all. One difficult aspect is the corner joints on the kits itself, so use very strong glue otherwise you will have big trouble.

The 88mm Flak Gun

This old Tamiya kit is still very good after some 20 years after itís first release. I did not want to use any P.E sets for it, despite the many good sets available. I did not use any simply because I did not have any. So I had to work with what I had in my hands.

I built it straight from the box, and I made sure to remove the two folding arms that were not used when the gun was loaded on the train wagon. I did not use any of the Tamiya crew, because - unlike the Gun itself, they show molding defects and were not appropriate according to our current standards.

The gun shield on the 88 seems a bit thick, so I thinned it down a bit. Make sure to avoid ruining the details on it. I also added some wiring and drilled the two fuzing aparatus on the lower left on the gun pedestal.

Figures

I did not want my 88 to be in an action shot, so I chose two VP figures. One is a tank officer, sitting reading his map, and the other eating. I painted them in late war cammo clothing and gave them some medals to look like veterans. I wanted everything to be casual. I added many VP accessories like food canteens, jerry cans, first aid boxes, food baskets, chains, and nettings. I used VP items because that is what I had. If I had others, I would have used them as well, but getting kits in Lebanon is hard. Let alone getting PE and resin sets..!

Painting

I painted the Artillery wagen in the German Grey that was used on Rail Wagons. I applied some streaks of dull white to form camouflage. I applied German crosses from the DML decal set. The Flatbed received the most work. I started with the under-carriage, painting it with Tamiya Black over all. Then, when it dried, I sprayed it with a mixture of 80% black and 20% copper, thus giving it a rusty look. When things dried, I re-applied some thin coats of Black. I turned to the wooden surfaces next, spraying them with Dark Brown and giving them a very light coat of Deck Tan. When the Tan was about to dry, I resprayed the Red Brown -- moving my air-brush sideways to keep the traces of the Deck Tan.

The 88mm was painted in German Grey and it was given several coats of lighter shades to show dust and weather effects.

When all was done, I sprayed all the kits in the excellent Revell Gloss. Once the Gloss dried, I applied the decals (water transfers). After these dried too, I applied generous coats of Revell Matt. I got rid of this finish using -Gloss/Matt. This got rid of the nasty silvering syndrome we all face with decals.

All in all, I enjoyed building this diorama. The DML kits are my favorites and they are highly recommended. I cannot wait to build another Flatbed with a Tiger I and some nice Transport Tracks.

Thanks to Mr. Samer Kassis & Elite Models for the photography.

Items Used:

DML #6069 German Railway Flatbed
DML #6073 Artilleriewagen Tamiya 88mm Flak gun
Verlinden #984 German Tankers at Rest (modified)

Moustafa Assad
P.O.Box 716
Sidon
LEBANON





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