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1 July 1944, Cecina, The story behind Tiger 221

I had a kit for a long time, given to me by my father. Itís a low quality Heller 1/72 Tiger tank. When I decided to realize a diorama with this tank I needed some figures for it. The figures are from Italeri, German Infantry (Panzergrenadier).
First of all I had to find some ideas for my story. While surfing the net I found exactly what I needed. The Tiger kit had itís own decals with the 221 identification number. Iíve found the true story of it, and Not Just the story, Iíve found also the pictures of the 221 shot after the capture. The story of this tiger is dramatic. I wonít tell the whole story because you can find it at The 752nd Tank Battalion in the Battle for Cecina. If you have time, read it. So the tiger is identified as a member of the sPzAbt 504, 2nd platoon of the 2nd company.

I knew what to do. It was summer in Italy near Cecina. I decided to make a ruin of two story house. The setting would be at an intersection of village roads and some foliage.
Building the scene
The base is a piece of mdf board framed with some plastic pieces which are used for electrical installation. All are from the garbage of one of my friends who has a furniture fabrics: costs 0. And the rest is made with plaster white glue, fine sand from the backyard, match sticks, some balsa wood, and static grass. The first floor of the ruin I made with two pieces of plaster and some patience while scratching. At the second floor I first combined wooden parts with match sticks and some balsa, and then I completed it with plaster in the spaces between the wooden pieces. Then I worked a little bit at the windows. It was enough to use some matchsticks and a plastic foil from an envelope for the windows. I fixed some small stones with super glue for the path from road to house and for the stone wall.

I fixed the sand and sawdust with water diluted white glue. As usual, using an old hair spray bottle to apply the mixture. For the debris I used a mixture of the remaining extra plaster and match sticks, and some big particles of sand. The trees are made using bath sponge and wood. I made the fence using some wooden parts of an old cigar box.

I applied a first coat of diluted white glue over all, because the plaster tends to Ďdrinkí all the enamel or acrylics if you use these as a first coat Then I used enamels and oils. The trees are painted separately.
The tank and the figures
The tiger was not a detailed kit, so I had to spend a lot of time with it. I wanted to add the zimmerit because the real 221 had it. The zimmerit is created by using an epoxy stick and modeling it with a dental instrument. I prefefred the epoxy which hardens in 24 hours, this gives me enough time for modeling. I had to make the zimmerit side by side and this procedure took 6 days. The mantlet had no gunner visor so I had to drill it myself. I followed the same procedure with the drilling of driverís visor too.

I wanted to make two of the figures shot down. I used the hot water and bending method for repositioning of the figures, followed by puttying and finishing. This procedure is really easy for the resin kits.

I used my favorite enamels (Humbrol) on the tank and figures. To stay true to the real story of 221, I had no choice, the tiger had to be Dunkelgelb and Camouflage (Humbrol 93 for base and 117 for disruptive pattern)
The final set
I applied static grass, added some bushes and long grass using the moss collected from backyard and bristles of an old paint brush. I used enamels and oils for weathering. When the weathering of the ruin, road and rest satisfied me I added the trees into their holes that I prepared before I finished weathering them. And weathering again by dry brushing with various shades of earth and foliage colors. I fixed the tank and the figures how I planned. Weathering and blending again using artistís pastel chalks for blending.

This was my first diorama in 1/72 scale. It was fun. At the beginning I was sorry about the undetailed tank, but with a little bit patience I think I made it! All the critics are welcome!
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About Alguhan Akşar (wampum)

Born in 1973, Istanbul.I'm married and I have two lovely sons. As a son of a modeller I've built many aircraft models when I was just a little kid. Then by my father's suggestions I've built some sailing ships in large scales. Later my favorites were 1/35 dioramas, mostly WW2 German till I met the ...