Welcome to the Free Time Hobbies Workbench. Here you can find great builds and techniques from around the web. We highlight different model builders to show you cool models and how you can do it yourself!
WITTMAN, THE UKRAINE, AND THE BATTLE OF KURSK
Today we are taking a closer look at an IPMS award-winning diorama by Yevgen Sklyar from Precise Modeling. They build hyper-realistic models for collectors and museums around the world.
According to Mr. Sklyar, this diorama shows German tank ace Michael Wittman’s Tiger stopped at a Ukrainian village during a large scale withdraw from the Eastern front.
Included in the diorama is a half-track with a 3.7 cm flak and a scratch-built hut.
The scene takes place in the fall of 1943 following the well-known tank battle at Kursk. The battle of Kursk involved more than 6,000 tanks, 2 million troops and 4,000 aircraft. It proved the end of Germany’s offensive capabilities against the Soviet Union.
Michael Wittman is considered to have been Germany’s top tank ace with a record of 130 tanks destroyed. Michael Wittman and his crew would be killed in August of 1944 by either Canadian or British fire.
TRUTH IS IN THE DETAILS
Yevgen Skylar turned to his own family history for inspiration in this build. The diorama is a close replication of his grandmother’s actual home in the village of Kischentsy.
The longer you study this diorama, the more details reveal themselves. The judicious sprinkling of fallen leaves and outer jackets worn by the men reinforce the fall time frame. The vegetables hanging in the attic to dry add to this.
Wittman’s tank is being resupplied with ammunition following the great tank battle as mechanics tweak something in the engine compartment.
Every part of this diorama acts to tell the viewer a story. It’s visually well-balanced and interesting.
Mr. Skylar modified a Tamiya Tiger tank to replicate Wittman’s, but if all that scratch work sounds intimidating to you Dragon Models has produced one of Wittman’s tanks as a kit.
If you want to build realistic structures as shown in the diorama, I’ve had success using Plaster of Paris poured into balsa wood frames. They are easy to sand down to size and allow for lots of convincing detailing.
Finally, note that the models appear to have a realistic weight. Just setting your model on a diorama might make it look like its floating. Make sure to incorporate ruts into the base if you are displaying a tank on soft ground. It will help convince the viewer’s eye that you have a heavy metal vehicle instead of a plastic toy.
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