• move
Tim Martin shares with us a new concept of his - "Diodramas" -, stories told by photographing finished scale models in various settings:

"To mark the 73rd anniversary of the Battle of Kursk here are some more images of the northern salient. As previously introduced (Diorama or Bust/ Feature, Alternative Reality/Diorama forum) I’m trying to make dioramas look as real as possible, so as an experiment these images have gone monochromatic to mimic original photography, with one exception.

I’m also trying to tell a story in sequential images - this group illustrates sPzJgAbt 654’s first combat experience on Day 1 (5th July) using Porsche’s new untried Ferdinands against the Russian defence lines north and east of Ponyri town. Despite efforts by German engineers, PzKp(Fkl) 313’s Borgward demolition vehicles and other supporting units to clear paths of mines, the lumbering giants blundered into one undetected minefield after another and those that got through found themselves in lethal zones surrounded by concealed batteries of anti-tank guns and roving Soviet tank-killers teams, armed with a range of anti-tank infantry weapons including “sticky-bombs” and Molotov cocktails. Without infantry support or on-board machine guns, surviving crew members were on their own.

By the end of this first day about half of the battalion’s 44 Ferdinands were damaged, disabled or destroyed."

  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move

About the Author

About Tim Martin (Dioramartin)

Celebrating 50th year of scale model building (1966, Ford Mustang in Boston, Mass.) & the glue hasn't got to me yyyyet. Born & lived in England until 1987, since then in beautiful Sydney Australia.


Tim, those are excellent. Great placement and posing.
JUL 12, 2016 - 06:48 PM
very cool! good job recreating the vast "Russian steppe;"
JUL 12, 2016 - 07:48 PM
Outstanding as always! I really enjoy the dynamic nature of these scenes. —mike
JUL 12, 2016 - 11:02 PM
JUL 12, 2016 - 11:19 PM
Threw me completely. When I looked at the first photo I was wondering how come I'd not seen it before as I quite often look through the Bundesarchiv when I'm collecting pics to store for reference as it's an interesting photo. It was only when I looked at the second one I realised that they were models! Fantastic photography and an original concept. Also gave me an idea for the Soviet anti tank team in the stash that I bought just because it was cheap and OOP. It has been sitting in there for about five years waiting for a project . I'm terrible for that as I imagine as are others judging by their stashes.
JUL 13, 2016 - 06:21 AM
The dramatical losses mentioned seem rather high given that 45 Ferdinands were lost during the entire Kursk operation; apparently, only 19 were total losses and the rest seem to have been abandoned during the subsequent withdrawal. There is some data posted in this thread: LINK
JUL 13, 2016 - 03:13 PM
Thanks to all, glad you liked the storyboard. In response; Kevin – yeah was tempted but had to make these shots first. But after all the work I put into correcting the ancient Italeri kit, I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger on it, and the Dragon version’s too nice. That just leaves the 1/76th scale Fujimi you can see in H06 on the left. Hammer anyone? Karl –you’re too too kind, & I’ll look forward to seeing how you develop the a/t team idea. I was pretty lazy just using the oob Tamiya Soviet a/t rifle team figures – maybe you could put more of those weapons in the hands of other comrades for variety? They certainly tried them against most German AFV’s at Kursk (with varying degrees of success…& failure!) so you’ve got a big choice of target for a dio. (Ijozic) – Aha I was guessing there’d be statistics query, happy to oblige. First rule of Research: Go Back To The Source(s). I refer to “The Combat History of schwere Panzerjager Abt. 654” by K.Munch (J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing 2002), in which participant’s personal war diaries and daily combat reports/returns are quoted. These are the only truly reliable sources, never intended for public or propaganda purposes. 654 had 45 Ferdies (44 running on 5th July ’43), 14 in each of three companies plus 3 command vehicles. So here they are in their own words (describing the 5th July attack): (p. 68) Karl-Heinz Danisch – 1st Coy – “Some of our own mines were overlooked, which cost the company six Ferdinande. As a result (we) went into action with just eight vehicles”. (p.396) Friedrich Luders – 2nd Coy commander – “At 03.40 we rolled out….A few Pz III’s and (Borgwards) flew into the air. Five Ferdinande also ran onto mines..a complete goat screw! (?!). (Later that morning) I had to change vehicles four times- the Russians worked us over with flame-throwers…11 vehicles have been disabled.” (Not sure if Luders actually saw flame-throwers or assumed it from the burn-outs, but I have seen accounts of Molotov cocktails.) So far that’s 17 out of action from 28 starters by sundown. I can’t find first-hand accounts of the 3rd Coy but let’s average the likely loss at 8 out of their 14. I also can’t find the quote now but it’s probable at least one of the three Command vehicles was stopped by a/t fire. That makes a total of about 25 out of 44 unable to proceed at the end of Day 1 – which is roughly what I said in my commentary. Confusion sets in with tank “loss” stats because they either do – or don’t - allow for repaired vehicles going back into the line. For example possibly up to half of the above damaged Ferdies had their track/wheel damage repaired overnight and advanced sometime the next day. A few had simply broken down with mechanical problems & awaited spares. As for the final tally at Kursk…which depends on what exact date you accept the battles ended in the north, that’s still up for debate...I give you the acting Battalion Commander (Haupt. Henning, p.65) report dated 30th July: “The battalion’s (Abt. 654) ability to be committed is limited, because there are only 19 Ferdinande on hand” – out of 44. Abt. 653 had the other 45 Ferdies and I haven’t researched their equivalent losses but I think they were of a similar order, so your stat about 45 (out of the grand total of 89 or 90) lost is possibly about right. Although “19 total losses” is a bit meaningless – are not abandoned vehicles total losses too? If you mean destroyed…well the Germans scuttled/destroyed the ones they had to abandon too…so if you mean destruction by direct enemy action, perhaps you mean the number of different wrecks seemingly on the battlefield that the Russkies took photos of? Whatever, the guy in your link back in 2004 was trying to analyse those and the soviet after-battle propaganda, a long time ago now.
JUL 13, 2016 - 06:11 PM
Hi, well-done. Very clever stuff that succeeds in what it tries to achieve. Hope we see more. Kip.
JUL 16, 2016 - 01:51 PM
Thanks Kip – it’s hard to really tell how many are interested in this, apart from those like you kind enough to comment. The hit-numbers might be encouraging but who knows how many don’t like them? I’m waiting/hoping to see signs of people emulating and/or topping my stuff, that’s how we all improve. I was slightly surprised the Porsche feature got into this forum rather than Dios where the previous ones went, but it’s a somewhat wider audience so no complaints. This is actually Ep 2 of 8 I’ve got ready so far, so in a couple of weeks I’ll see if the Eds will put up Ep 1, & then the rest to follow in order gradually over the next few months if my luck holds. As a teaser I’ll put up a couple of photos I took over the weekend into this forum (title: Incoming – tracer fire?), I had an experimental breakthrough with the pyrotechnics – maybe. Cheers, Tim
JUL 18, 2016 - 05:00 PM
Photographing models realistically is only the tip of the ice berg. There are guys who add a full range of special effects to include facial expressions using Photoshop. There's at least one who does full blown graphic novels with dialogue. You're just scratching the surface here.
JUL 22, 2016 - 01:53 PM