I would like to show you a diorama I did in May 2019. It’s nothing extraordinary, just a 105 howitzer in the area around Belgium/Germany late 1944.
The crew fires their last round of the ammunition, then they’re out of stock.
The diorama have no official name, but we can call it “The last round” or something like that.
I wanted to try making snow for the first time, not much snow, just to get that cold feeling for the viewers.
I wanted to build an artillery gun because they are not so common in dioramas. Two more things I tested was to make this type of trees and the sandbags from Greenstuff. I really like the sandbags, I am not able to make them out of clay so for me they are a gift!
There are two things I would have done differently if I build this today.
- The Dragon figures. They are not the best, especially the one who holds the ammunition to the left…not very realistic.
- I would have added ammunition boxes.
Unfortunately I had non of them and I was to bring the diorama to a contest before I could get boxes. I am sorry for that. The dio was awarded a bronze medal.
Well it was great fun to build it, and as usual I learned a lot. As snow I used bicarbonate. Today almost 2 years later the snow is actually still white.
Okey enough talk, here is the build in pictures:
More pictures in next post.
Looks great overall. Good job. I agree about the guy holding the round at the left rear of the gun though. He is holding it awkwardly. The round weighs about 44 pound, it would be hard to hold out at that angle for very long. Also, the guy at the breech is a little confusing. Is he loading a round? If not, he is not correctly placed as the gun ejects the empty shell casing automatically. It isn’t pulled out after firing. It still looks great overall, and I only notice the positioning of the figures and how the gun operates since I was an artilleryman. Most wouldn’t even see the issues I see.
I tend to agree with the observations noted above.
And I also agree… overall outstanding work. I like it a lot!
Hey guys, thanks a lot! I think we can leave those figures to the past ha ha;)
you did a real nice job on your diorama, but you need to do one or two small things:
dig in the spades at the end of the two trails or the gun will go backwards all over the crew.
most WWII guns still used the level protractor placed ontop the breech. Usually unpainted there. The level works similar to the modern sights in that you center the bubble on the level. I’ve also noticed that the WWII issued 155 howitzers had a bare metal area on top the breech too.
the guy shoving the round in the breech with his fist usually wore a black leather glove. Always a fist as the breech block will cut your fingers off. The base of the round will rub your knuckles very raw if not cut them open. So paint his right hand black.
Not real sure I’d have enjoyed crewing on a 105 in the dead of winter! Of course you can warm your hands up on the barrel; I guess!
@diowork; what did you use for the mossy material for the tree branches? I’ve used Asparagus Fern because it’s available in quantity at florist shops, but I’m totally satisfied with it.
I also like to make atillery dios and so obviously I am gonna like this one!
Damn, not sure how I missed this initially.
Great topic Erik, and not often covered so its nice to see one built here. Lovely job and its good to see the process of the build shown here like you have done with your great 1/72 marvels.
The foliage looks very nice … I take it most of it is all real and just dried out ?
Thanks a lot guys!
@Biggles50 i used real moss, 99% of the plants, trees etc is dried real things.
If I had build this one today I would had the support from you guys, thanks to that all issues that you told me would be solved before the final result.
Now this diorama belongs to history. (2 years since I build it).
Actually I have thoughts about doing version 2.0, the aftermath, the scene is the same place 24 hours later. A heavy snowfall has lasted during the night, the snow cover the ground, the gun, the empty shelves and the dead bodies of 3 fallen American soldiers. A German patrol of 3-4 men are inspecting the former American position.
I’ve been (very) slowly gathering bits and pieces together to do a three gun battery of M102’s with the 101st Airborne in the Ashau Valley or maybe a little east of there. Kinda hung up on the Conex Containers and needing one more M102. Rest will just fall together. The issue with the Conex Containers is that I’d swear the ones we saw were 16 feet deep nad maybe 12 feet deep too. Twenty feet just seems way too big to me. There will be two mortar pits and a few bunkers here and there, but not too many. There are also quite a few small pieces I need, but they’ll come easy.
Yo! I forgot to link to the YouTube video:)
Great work…I saw your video on youtube
Very nice job on this diorama. The shelter is a real nice touch and actually appears to be constructed to Army standard.
I’ve seen this statement made almost verbatim in other threads involving the 155 and 8 inch projos as well. It’s really not that hard. You can actually one hand a 105. As mentioned, it is only 44 ponds after all. We also have to remember that a static diorama shows a moment frozen in time. He could be swinging it upward, although I really don’t find how he’s holding it to be that awkward. That’s probably why with the new Army Combat Fitness Test 13B’s are in the “Black” Level - the highest level among three needed to pass the test. For instance, to max the deadlift they have to do three consecutive dead lifts of 340 pounds - still doable at 58 by the way.
As for the loader, Gary is correct that you shove the projo in with your fist. I remember posting the same thing in the old forum. But you DO NOT wear gloves. They can catch in the breech, which slows down the crews performance quite a bit. Not a good thing. Even in cold weather the case will keep your hand warm, guaranteed.
It’s been many moons since I fired that old piece so my memory is a little fuzzy on the case extraction, but I know that with the same ammo on the one oh deuce, we grab those casings on the way out. Letting them hit the ground costs you a beer. Flipping them over the trail and making them stand upright earns you a beer. So, yes, you can grab them from the breech. On the one oh deuce the AG actually rides the breech lever back when the gun is fired so that he can actuate the lever as the gun is still going back into battery, so it’s not automatic.
And that “level protractor” these days is called the gunner’s quadrant or by some the quadrant level. Either term will get you the proper tool handed to you.
I only shot 105’s in the states, so things were somewhat different and of course tamed down. On the other hand, it’s not like I was far removed from 105’s. Seemed like they were everywhere I went 75% of the time. Why? The 105 has certain advantages over the bigger stuff (especially the M102). That was mostly high angle fire. A very important thing when your on mountain tops. The glove was what we were taught at Sill, and saw the glove in use a lot in RVN. Of course I never used a glove in my case. The quote you made about the spent case was something I’d heard several times, but never put it all together. I was around the M102 several times, but never paid a lot of attention to them. They just looked odd at the time, but now think they had a better setup. The older gun was more of a pain to do an azmuth shift than the newer on. Even the 155 was easier to my eyes as your shifting the piece on wheels with the smaller bore. The M102 was the best for that. Still the 155 operated off the jack stand under the carriage center, so it really wasn’t all that bad. One guy could lift it and shift it with the gunner looking thru the scope to let you know when you were there (normally done with two guys).
With each of them; you get adjusted to the situation and move on. Glad you spoke of the breech opening. That was the key to a successful zone sweep. I saw an AG out of Ft. Bragg that would open the breech on a 155 with fire in it (maybe the 40" mark). Best I ever saw, but he also went deaf.
fitness tests??? I shot a 6 round zone sweep for the 3rd of the 327th (101st Airborne) once. I kind of got very wobbly long about the 45th round (98lb. a round), and a new guy finished out the next nine rounds. Shooting a 300 round H&I was a piece of cake cause you never hurried, and if you did they’d have you shoot them over again. I often load the entire night, but sometimes took the AG’s place when his shoulder started hurting him. The Gunner would usually have me take his place when he had to visit the four holer. Was always glad that I never got stuck in the ammo section! Those guys worked hard, but slept all night.