Some of my Small Scale AFVs

Occasionally I am guilty of dabbling in smaller scales (than 1:35); some time ago I was moved to tackle a range of 1:76 kits with the aim of, well, trying to get the best from what was available, especially those kits I’d cut my teeth on as a kid, when half the time they were purchased and built as they had considerable play-value. One could use them alongside the fortifications, buildings, scenic stuff and the many figures sets one could then buy back in the 60s. So, my efforts were really a tribute to Airfix, Fujimi, Nitto and Matchbox; I tackled these around 15 or so years ago, I think.

I haven’t displayed them here before but as I was forced to utilise them for the recent Abingdon model show (I had to fill a table’s worth due to my mate being on leave), I thought I’d document them before I returned them to storage. Here’s the first tranche:

I always category this as a Kursk-type action but really it could be any Soviet attack on the Eastern Front; kits are Matchbox and the 50mm Pak came from an excellent white metal firm called, I think, MMS, long defunct, sadly. I gave the figures (Airfix) the wrong colour greatcoats regrettably.

To Normandy 1944 now:

This is the A30 Challenger; a resin kit from Gramodels. Modified cow from the old Merit range.

A Cromwell from Airfix; Frenchman and wheel barrow from, I think, the Dapol range, so probably Airfix at some stage.

The enemy in Normandy:

I had hopes that this could represent the 17th SS Pz Gren Div but I now understand they had StuG IVs not IIIs; the road sign isn’t all it should be either. Figures are the Airfix US Paras.

And now for a bit of a scrap in the Bocage:

Pak is from Airfix, as are the figures (less the dead - which may have been from SHQ Miniatures); barn is also Airfix from their “Waterloo” set. Cart from the model railway fraternity but I can’t quite remember which firm - laser cut wood.

On to 1945 and the Victory Parade in Berlin 1945:

This is the Matchbox Comet which comes in the markings of the CO of whatever regiment it was (I forget); they were all re-painted in Brunswick Green (which must have been somewhat tiresome for the soldiers concerned). This vehicle is also shown in the colour spread of the ancient Profile Publications booklet on the Comet.

Somewhat out of sequence historically is a Neubaufahrzeug, modelled as on trials with a regimental commander hosting a General. I’m pretty sure I got the colours of the standard wrong, and the central stripe should be black and the rest pink, not as I’ve shown it. I think the model was an ancient Skytrex one in metal, but I just can’t quite remember:

I was pleasantly surprised at how well they went down at the Abingdon show; lots more interest than I thought. I’ll try and post some more soon.

Anyway, over to you guys…(!)


Very well done on all of them. I wonder if the French had copied the Brits that poor cow might have survived.


The poor cow!

They are all very nice little dioramas with some lovely ground work, details, and figures. I personally enjoy when models convey action and tell a story as these do. If you wanted to make them even more educational for shows, you could create a standing placard for each one, explaining the scene. Do not list the faults, just the historic context, story, and perhaps models involved.

Of all elements in all the dioramas, the cow most draws my attention because cows and similar herbivores are usually gentle providers and innocent. Millions of animals died as helpless slaves to men in World War II. I find that tragic.


More dead enemy soldiers than you can shake a stick at and you’re worried about the cow??!!


That’s a waste of fine brisket and ribeye! :cowboy_hat_face:

:beer: :cowboy_hat_face:


Very nice work! I especially like the matted-down grass treatment. Thank you for sharing these. :hammer_and_wrench:


"Don't Have a Cow, Man!"

—mike :grin:


Very impressive collection Brian, you must have an equally impressive display system (??)…because each one deserves displaying :beers:


Those are some great looking dio’s, that first one is my favorite, love the tracks through the grass!


Some great little dioramas there!
I’m considering making some smaller scale dios to be able to create some larger groupings and more interesting terrain and buildings. Need to work through the back log of 1/35 first though :joy:

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Doug, I do take your point. For my 1:35 models I always add a brass label identifying what the vehicle is. I was tempted to add similar to these, but of course any such affixed label would get in the way of the figures, scenic stuff etc, so I decided to leave any such labelling off. Any freestanding placard/info card also, I’ve found, gets in the way of any display (normally in UK, shows utilise a 6’ long table) as space is limited; that’s not to say I ram everything in, the Feng shui effect is important. So, for me, a “No” to labels I feel, though as I say, I take your point.

What I do indeed do, is engage constantly with the punters passing by or gazing at my efforts; that way, I end up explaining (probably too much to some poor hapless soul) and subsequently, if relevant, identify what is what.

Thanks for your interest and comments. I to, abhor animal cruelty and the often dire straits such beasts find themselves in.

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To all: thanks for the interest and the comments. Tranche 2 later today I hope.

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Second tranche Folks!

A rare foray – for me – into WW1. This is I think the only 1:72 model I’ve done as opposed to 1:76. It’s the Emhar kit with Caesar figures. I’d always liked the sturdy, boxy shape of the A7V; I recall browsing through the then hard to get Armour Profiles back when I was a fifteen-year-old, and remember my delight when coming across the colour spread of the A7V in the centre pages. This depicted “Elfride” and I was pleased to find some decals for this particular vehicle from Milicast; I think they’re long out of production now. The Profile Publication showed it in a mud splattered sort of field grey shade and I can’t remember what colour I ended up using, but went with that scheme. The trashed buildings came from the Matchbox 1:76 series. I modified all the figures to wear respirators as my original plan was to use some material to depict a gas attack, ie a sort of swirling mist effect. Cotton wool didn’t work and would have probably been difficult to colour. I never did achieve it; I should perhaps re-visit it – as it would look quite sinister. Perhaps some of the tat that comes around with Hallowe’en might throw something up. We’ll see. The Caesar figures, to my mind, were excellent, and very well detailed.

Now, some might find this of interest: some time ago I came across what is quite a well-known picture now, of a destroyed Panzer-Lehr Division Panther in a Normandy village:

I found it first in the After the Battle publication, Panzers in Normandy – Then & Now.

The real encounter took place in the village of Lingèvres on, or around 11 June 1944. I had discovered that the Airfix Panther – which I had – was flawed in that the suspension, and overall height, reflected that of a destroyed version; for more accurate Panthers (in pursuit of my “Getting the best from…” the then available kits in 1:76) I’d have to locate the Matchbox one. Anyway, if the Airfix measurements were predicated on a destroyed one, then why not capitalize on that and display it akin to the Lingèvres picture?

I decided I couldn’t build decent enough replicas of the trashed buildings in the background so went with a ready-made Airfix building, and added a side extension from something form the Matchbox series. I added considerable detail to the Panther, a war memorial from the model railway fraternity, ditto the railings, rubble, glass, and that really was that. I decided that in this scale I would not try and replicate Zimmerit; I have seen it done, and done quite well in this scale, but it was a step too far for me. The effect sometimes looks just a bit lumpy to me. The Frenchmen bemoaning his losses to the British senior officer came from a Dapol set I believe; I’m not sure what figures I utilised for the 2 x officers – possible Milicast.

Is it me, or does an awful lot of modern plastic packagaing possess the contours of German bunkers? OK; probably just me then. I can’t quite remember what the contained article was but it came encased in all sorts of that crumbly type of plastic foam, which I thought I might be able to do something with.

It was a little tricky in that when cut it seemed to almost disintegrate but eventually, I wrestled something into the shapes I wanted. I must confess here and now that my bunker design does not conform to any Organization Todt Regelbau plan whatsoever; I just wanted the effect of a massive concrete structure encountered in some gloomy wood somewhere during the advance through NW Europe. I added a sort of side structure with a firing aperture (closed) covering the bunker’s entrance. I wanted the whole base to look as if it’d had the crap shot out of it and depicted some fallen branches from the trees, and the camouflage netting blown back.

The assaulting British infantry have prevailed; the dead German near the entrance is somewhat morbid evidence of just that, as are the smoke stains above the entrance. As it happens, an intrepid Army Photographer has been following the battle and is getting the victors to pose for a decent picture. They are, obviously, holding up a captured flag.

Meanwhile as the SNCO photographer sorts it all out, his driver goes to gaze at the corpse. A farm cart, press-ganged into use by the Germans, is under one of the trees.

Enjoy - I hope(!)


Those are fantastic!
Lots to inspire and get the creative juices going.


Once again, these are wonderful dioramas with some really well done buildings, composition, and models. I especially like the building and monument in Diorama 2 and the bunker in Diorama 3. I have never attempted anything similar.

Your dioramas also inspire hope because they are within reach. Some of the dioramas presented in these forums are so complex and large, a modeler of my modest skill cannot hope to build (and store!) anything similar. Skill only comes with practice. These are small enough to build up in a reasonable amount of time, store in a reasonable space, and thus gain some experience.

They are also very good inspiration for the upcoming Great Ones campaign. A big diorama would take too much time but a small, well composed diorama seems within reach.


Doug, thanks again for your very (favourable) lucid and insightful comments; if they inspire, then that’s great!

I do work hard at getting the composition right; I suppose mostly I always work to less is more, (as in 1:35) but on other occasions it’s a question of reflecting action, but that’s still not always easy. In selecting suitable figures I use the great “Plastic Soldier Review” site, which is very useful.

Whilst in 1:35 I can set a model in context, and admittedly, put over some sort of story, in the smaller scale it’s considerably easier. For example, on an 8" square-sized base in 1:35, I can probably display, quite comfortably, an armoured car or an APC; in 1:76 on the same base I can show a fight!


The final piece of my Small Scale stuff, then it’s back to steady jogging:

Two German half-tracks in the same role. The venerable Airfix Sd Kfz 7 tractor and the 88mm. The other is the Matchbox SdKfz 11 with a Skytrex 105mm howitzer. The bases aren’t brilliant and at the time I built them I hadn’t quite realised that the linear composition doesn’t help. However, these were built a long time ago:

I’ve just noticed that the canopy on this one seems to have sprung loose; I imagine after such a long time in storage the glue has dried out/crumbled - a bit like me; time for some repairs.

Also 2 x missiles from the far distant past; both Airfix kits – the SAM 2 and the Bloodhound. You will probably note how unrealistic the grass effect is, which is why, nowadays, no matter what the scale I always colour any vegetation, grass etc:

Last but not least, my rendition of the Kommandobefehl being enacted:

Essentially, this was an edict by the German High Command whereby any enemy saboteurs (think SOE Agents) or small commando-type raids were to be dealt with by any captured personnel being handed over immediately to the SD. Thereafter they were murdered. Being slightly pedantic, this was murder, not an execution (the latter meaning a death sentence after a judicial process; I only mention this as the word I feel, is often misused, anyway I’m straying into the fraught world of grammar – already done to death elsewhere!). The German High Command knew that this was an illegal order – by any stretch – and copies of the order were to be destroyed; this is one reason why Jodl went to the gallows. There’s a fair bit more to it than that, but a little Googling will throw up the whole ghastly raison d’ être* – as the Germans saw it, if you’re interested. Of course, we, the Allies didn’t know about this; those hapless members of the raiding team involved in Operation Frankton (think Cockleshell Heroes) did not know that if caught, they would die. Ditto the members of Operation Freshman, a raid on the Norwegian heavy-water development plants; the latter were murdered in a particularly brutal fashion.

The model shows members of the SAS caught in the post D Day operations in France, and a Commando officer. They are about to be despatched by an SD SNCO. Two Waffen SS soldiers (probably “borrowed” – as is the truck – from a nearby SS replacement Battalion) are there in order to ensure security, and two members of the Gestapo are there observing as the paperwork will require reconciliation:

The kits are Airfix (truck) and the Citroen was resin – but sadly I cannot recall which manufacturer. Figures are converted Airfix and Matchbox.

This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I thought it needed doing; strangely, whilst constructing it, it did seem truly grim.

For the record, it was discussed on this site a couple of years ago, but I can’t quite remember where(!)

Well, that’s it folks; I don’t envisage adding to my small scale efforts anytime soon, but I might be tempted by 1:72 aircraft, which reminds me, back to my Spitfire build.


I’m not sure about any system whatsoever Tim; sadly, I’ve nowhere else to store my completed models other than a garden shed, and the predations of damp, then heat (summer) then more damp, have all taken their toll, such as lifted canopies, and decals.

None of these have seen the light of day for something like 3-5 years; it was only the imperative of displaying as a singleton at the recent Abingdon show that made me dig them out. If only I’d built more 1:35! That said, as I think I referred to, they seemed to generate enough interest, so Braille scale is obviously alive and well.

Anyway, thanks for the interest and support.


Within this last group of dioramas, the one depicting the culminating event of Operation Frankton is very compelling. The Kommandobefehl would make an excellent subject for debate in a history class. The others are also fun to look at.