A Hell of a Way To Die

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The scene: Figures
I used the 2nd Division USMC Tarawa 1943 (DML kit # 6272) in Dragon’s Gen 2 line of figures which need no introduction at this stage. Much talked about and they do live up to their reputation in my opinion. Some have said they have too many parts for a single figure and there will be gaps when joining the parts. As these are the only Gen 2 figures I’ve built so far, I believe they are excellent and the quality easily makes up for the part count. Cementing both pieces to be fixed and pressing them together allows a little soft plastic to nicely fill any resulting gaps. A touch of Mr. Surfacer should take care of the rest. The two-piece heads were replaced with hornet heads (#HUH) and the figures were then painted with Humbrol enamels.
The Scene: Base and Groundwork
The base was a simple construction using a photo frame for the bottom and building up the sides with 2mm balsa sheet. The inside was filled with expanded polystyrene and this was also used to create the ground profile. As palm trees were so predominant in reference photographs, I made some of these by rolling wool around some base-wood pins. They were then covered with napkins dampened with diluted white-glue.

As so many of the Shermans fell into craters, or fuel dumps busted by the naval bombing, I also added some 200 litre barrels. I made one from stiff foil by embossing it on a plastic version and then squeezed it to simulate a damaged barrel. These items were then fixed to the base and the final surface was made using wall-spackle. Fine sand was sprinkled on top to give texture and also some spackle powder as the sand was not fine enough for scale. The Sherman and the figures were placed on the base at this time to make sure there was a positive fit. Lastly, an ammo box was fixed in for the laying Marine to lean on. All details were painted with Humbrol enamels and oil paints and the sand painted with pastels diluted with Humbrol enamel thinner.

To finish off the scene, a palm branch was made from stiff foil leaves with a sprue piece as the main branch. Each leaf had a smaller branch made from solder wire that was inserted in pre-drilled holes in the sprue. This allowed for easy positioning of each leaf to the base later. A thrown tarp was also fashioned from some napkin dampened with diluted white glue and the scene was complete.
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About the Author

About Frank Glackin (Plasticbattle)


Once again ... thanks very much guys. All your fine comments are very much appreciated. Im glad you like it. Cheers.
AUG 19, 2007 - 12:15 AM
it was really a minor nitpick frank. and like everybody said, the dio really is amazing. i guess i only noticed because i come from the philippines and, coconuts being our top export, we’re quite intimately familiar with it…LOL!
AUG 20, 2007 - 03:20 PM
Nice work, Frank. I'd like more info on using thin plastic for the tie downs on the pioneer tools. I hate PE, maybe this will work for me. Again, really nice work on this one. Patrick
AUG 20, 2007 - 03:37 PM
Frank I have seen many piece of yours and your attention to detail and colours always impress me - lovely piece from an Artist's eye view because I do not know tanks or marine's info so know nothing say nothing Ian
AUG 20, 2007 - 04:38 PM
Outstanding Frank. Pity you can't be a master modeller and a palm tree expert.
AUG 24, 2007 - 06:00 PM
Thanks to all you guys who took the time to post .. thanks a million for your very kind comments! They are very much appreciated. I must say its the sort of nit-pick I like and want. Little details like this are always great to get (just wish I had it earlier ) so dont ever apologise for offering suggestions. When building scenes from the pacific, and Asia, input from people like yourself Steelskin is always appreciated. Hi Patrick. The right piece of PE in the right place, is great, but PE is not always the perfect solution. I got the idea for the tie downs from an excellent Pacific sherman by Dinesh Ned. He used very thin plastic sheet. The image below is one I saved from his images on ML. I dont have any plastic so thin, but I use lead foil and have been very happy with it. Easy to work with, easy to shape and holds its shape well, and takes paint easily. The buckles are from Aber, whohave a full set with different buckles and are perfect to use with the foil. Belts painted If theres anything else that you need to know, just ask. Thanks Ian. Im quite lazy when coming to lot of details ... some guys really go to town with small details and add loads of them ... but I try to make the few that I use, stand out. Colour on the other hand, is something I love playing with. When finished, my models are usually quite vibrant .. maybe too vibrant .. but its what "comes naturally", nothing I set out to achieve. Working on it mate, working on it
AUG 25, 2007 - 04:27 AM
Beautiful work Frank, very nice indeed. Thanks for sharing. Bob
AUG 25, 2007 - 08:27 AM
wow i hope you dont mind copying some of your ideas .... ive been building for 2 years ,oh and i lived in the tropics and there were a couple of trees that match yours perfectly !!,palm trees come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.. thanks again
FEB 27, 2008 - 03:24 AM
Hi Frank, I came across your post on the soviet ww2 board and checked out your "hell of a way to die" article. Nice Sherman and I really enjoy the south pacifc vignettes...nice work! Charlie
MAR 23, 2008 - 03:05 AM
A Heck of a great diorama!
DEC 15, 2014 - 09:50 AM