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Villers-Bocage Diorama

June 14 2016 at 1:39 PM
Dan Taylor  (Login Dan-Taylor)
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from IP address 79.68.192.15

Afternoon All
Clearly a little synchronicity going on at the moment with Elliott's build!

We live in a fortunate age where we can build our models based on the research of giants of our age. Thanks to the likes of Doyle, Dyer, Jentz et al I can set about identifying a particular Tiger, specify when it was built, which features it should have, and then take the pleasurable step of building the beast, confident that it bears a good chance of looking right.

So here’s a project I’m doing for the Sharpshooters Museum. The theme is the fighting in Villers-Bocage on 13th June 1944. Where Elliott is representing the morning fighting on Point 213 with his current Firefly project, I’ve opted for the afternoon battle, close to the Mairie (town hall). This centres around an ambush position that a troop from B Squadron, 4 CLY took up in the lower half of the town’s high street. The troop was led by Lieutenant ‘Bill’ Cotton, who had been with the Regiment since before the war and had worked his way up through the ranks - a veritable desert veteran.

The troop, after trying to skirt round to the south of the town had ended up near the Mairie, and Cotton had arranged the troop so that it could engage anything coming down the high street. Up against the wall on the Eastern side of the square (the direction from which the Germans would come) was the troop’s Sherman Firefly, commanded by Sgt Bob Bramall. In front of the Mairie were two Cromwells commanded by Sgt Len Grant and Cpl George Horne, whilst Cotton’s own 95mm Howitzer armed Cromwell CS was parked in the yard of a garage on the corner of the street running parallel to the high street. Alongside the troop was a small contingent of infantrymen from 1/7 Queen’s Regiment which included a 6-pdr anti-tank gun. During the afternoon they fought off repeated attacks by the Germans, knocking out two Tiger tanks and one Panzer IV without loss. They are likely to have been involved in damaging two further Tigers.

As the fighting died down, Cotton and Bramall set about preventing the recovery of the German tanks before the anticipated British withdrawal. They stuffed petrol-soaked blankets into the turrets of the German tanks, then set them on fire. It is this moment that the diorama will depict – as Cotton stands on top of Tiger 113 with his umbrella up (it was raining) and Bramall pouring petrol onto a blanket.

Their task was temporarily thwarted by the French pompiers (fire brigade), who turned out, intending to put out the flames before any housing caught light. They were dissuaded from this task.

Fortunately, Cotton had his camera with him to record the scene and this is the picture he took:
[linked image]
(Pictures included for discussion purposes only) Credit - Richard Cotton

By happy coincidence, when the German war photographers arrived they took further shots of the same scene. These were taken by Kreigsberichter Zwirner on around 17th June:
[linked image]
Bundesarchiv image 494/3376-08A

[linked image]
Bundesarchiv image 494/3376-07A
The mess made of the town was due to the RAF, not the Sharpshooters - we tried to leave it in reasonably good order.

The diorama will show the whole square including the front face of the town hall, the buildings on the southern side of the high street, the Firefly, two Cromwells, the 6-pdr, Tiger 113 and the Panzer Lehr Pz IV. I’ll do a sketch when things have moved on a bit. It will be built in 1/72 scale.

The item currently being built is Tiger 113, commanded by Oscha Heinrich Ernst. I decided to see what I could do with the Revell Tiger I, described as ‘late production’. It is fairly clear that the kit was created as a much earlier production model and that they added the parts to make it resemble a late production variant. Well, most of them. From the detail visible in the photographs above, it can be established that 113 was built in April 1944 and so there are some additional modifications needed to make it right. I’ll list the changes made from the front, working towards the back:
[linked image]
1. The guide horns on either side of the hull plate are the earlier, vertical type. I recarved them to show the angled shape cut out from the steel.
2. Many of s.SS Pz 101 Tigers had a section of spare track mounted on a bar on their front plate. As I bought two Tigers for the project I had some spare track to mount on the front. I’ll be contacting OKB to make up the shortfall (and perhaps make an early Tiger for another project).
3. Zimmerit was simulated by scoring the relevant surfaces with a scribe, painting the surface with MEK and then rescribing. It looks subtle at the moment but a couple of oil washes will soon bring it out. Notice that I gouged patches for the unit markings and that I didn't bother with the portion of the bow plate that will be covered by the track.
[linked image]
4. On the glacis plate I modified the over-large headlamp and added a cable conduit.
5. The machine gun mounting lacks its collar, so I carved one, and thinned away the plastic to make the shape better.
6. The right hand forward mud guard was missing from the tank and, as the kit provides it as an entire plate, I had to fabricate the rear section which is part of the hull - where the missing, larger forward section is thin plate and has been torn away.
7. The forward section of track guard on the left hand side appears distorted in the pictures and so I removed the panel and replaced it with some wine bottle foil, distorting it to represent the pictures.
8. A turret ring was added and the tools moved slightly to accommodate it. This was made from 30-thou square strip which makes it slightly narrow but more surgery would have been required if I had used thicker strip. Once dry, the strip was reduced in height.
9. The rear idler in the kit is the larger 700mm type where it should have been the later 600mm type. I pinched one from a Fujimi 1/76 Tiger, adding some material to bring it up to scale. There is no wastage as I have reduced the Revell one so that it can be a 1/76 version. Whilst on the subject, the Revell kit also comes with a very nice set of rubber rimmed wheels which I have thinned down in order to convert the Fujimi model to a mid-production version.
10. The exhaust protecting shrouds are made of thin plate and so they don’t look right if left as they were. I hacked them about a bit to make them look a little more real.
[linked image]
11. Working up to the turret, the main gun should have the smaller muzzle brake and the forward section of the gun looks a little bulky. Fortunately, the Dragon Jagdpanther has a spare which, despite depicting the L71 version of the main armament looks much closer to the final Tiger I's piece. I trimmed it to length and replaced the relevant portion of the gun.
12. The sight should be the monocular variety and so I filled the extra hole in the mantlet.
13. The turret roof should be the thicker 40mm version and so I fitted the kit part slightly proud of its intended location. This didn’t have quite the effect I was after and so I added a weld strip round the edge using very thin plastic rod, washed in MEK and then scribed to look more like a weld bead.
14. Another addition was the close defence weapon on the rear of the turret roof (shown in green). This is a disk punched out with a punch’n’die, with its edge angled and an oval scribed into the top to represent the opening.
15. The lip around the loader’s hatch was removed and the loader’s hatch sanded down to represent it sitting lower in the roof armour.
16. Retaining strips were added to the top of the spare track sections from plastic strip.
17. Lips were added to the turret bins to add a little interest to their shape.

There are probably a few other things I have done but forgotten about as I have not had to add too much plastic or filler to help it stand out. One thing I could certainly have done but chose not to was replace the three steel hawsers, which are over scale thickness. Given the scope of the model this, and the grills over the engine deck seemed more trouble than they are worth.

Hope you enjoyed this trawl through the mysteries of the Tiger.

All the best

Dan

www.dantaylormodelworks.com

 
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AuthorReply
Joerg Fiedler
(Login Joefi)
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87.161.15.201

Great projekt,

June 14 2016, 1:57 PM 

wasnt aware of the first pic (of course the other tows are well known). I am a bit surpised that you didnt use any PE parts.

Bye
Jörg


 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: Great projekt,

June 14 2016, 3:37 PM 

Hello Jörg
Thanks for your message. There are benefits to being part of the Sharpshooters museum - and studying the battle for twenty years. I've other photographs you won't have seen either! If you are interested in the battle, there is a new book out - it's French language, but is very thorough and the pictures speak for themselves. It is called 'Villers-Bocage, Autopsie d'une bataille' written by Yann Joualt and Frederic Deprun. I strongly recommend it and not just because Yann is a good friend.

I decided to forgo an excess of PE on the project - as it is going to depict a large area (400mm x 350mm) I figured that worrying about really fine detail that would be difficult to see would just distract from getting it finished. I'm pretty certain that nobody will worry once it is done.

All the best

Dan

 
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paul bishop
(Login paul_bish)
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86.161.158.85

epic build

June 14 2016, 3:05 PM 

and epically detailed description

Will this be part of your planned HUGE diorama or part of the supporting cast?

 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: epic build

June 14 2016, 3:27 PM 

Hi Paul
Thanks for that. |Can't see why someone else needs to puzzle things out if I've done it already.

This is a testing piece to trial the look of the entire town dio. The fact that the museum needs a decent diorama too is by the by. This one will be about 400mm x 350mm.

All the best

Dan

 
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paul bishop
(Login paul_bish)
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86.161.158.85

Im sure

June 14 2016, 4:32 PM 

it will be a good stage in the process.nI must make some time to come visit...

 
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Neil Craig
(Login Neilie)
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99.251.109.188

Ambitious Build!

June 14 2016, 3:30 PM 

Hi Dan....wow, this is an ambitious build and one I very much look forward to seeing completed. The work is great so far so you have set the bar quite high for yourself.

Cheers,

Neil

 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: Ambitious Build!

June 14 2016, 3:39 PM 

Hi Neil
Thank for the comment. The subject is so close to my heart that it doesn't feel like work! A lot of the scenics are quite well advanced and so I should be able to create a mock up fairly soon.

All the best

Dan

 
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Jaymes Crowther
(Login JimJam6981)
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46.65.185.158

Bus man's holiday..

June 14 2016, 6:39 PM 

Hi Dan,
I am rather excited by the posting of this subject, It was only this morning I had your book off the shelf. What Firefly kit are you using? I found a couple of photo's of T-148532 after the battle which I was intending to build. Are you planning on doing the square where Cotton's Cromwell was parked with the other two cromwells and the Firefly you've mentioned? The architecture modelling will also be somewhat of a challenge. The Tiger has come along nicely as you've done some proper model making rather than slap some etch on... Looking forward to seeing this progress, it appears you have so many options.

Kind regards

Jaymes

 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: Bus man's holiday..

June 15 2016, 2:01 AM 

Hello Jaymes
There must be something about the time of year that brings the subject up.

I'm using an older, broken Dragon Sherman Vc from which I am currently missing the mantlet. Shouldn't be to hard to fix. And yes, I'm doing the whole square. The facade of the Mairie is done and the shop on the western face is well under way. I'm going to cheat and do some etch window frames & shutters.

Thanks for kind message

Dan


    
This message has been edited by Dan-Taylor from IP address 79.68.192.15 on Jun 15, 2016 2:08 AM


 
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Dan Rosecrans
(Login dprosecrans)
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99.112.180.58

This is.........

June 14 2016, 7:07 PM 

going to be a huge task, but a very interesting one.
Great piece of history being put into 3D. Nice start
with the Tiger.......Dan

 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: This is.........

June 15 2016, 2:02 AM 

Thanks very much Dan, glad you like it. I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out myself.

All the best
Dan

 
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David Clark
(Login DavidJClark)
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114.198.95.199

Great start

June 15 2016, 12:58 AM 

Dan

I will be looking forward to seeing this project progress.

The modifications to the Tiger are very interesting and, as you say, replicating a specific tank in miniature is very achievable - and probably compulsory for some modellers wink.gif

The zimmerit effect looks to have worked well. I will be interested to see how it turns out after a coat of paint (several coats including washes!).

Cheers

David

 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: Great start

June 15 2016, 2:05 AM 

Hello David
Good to hear from you and thanks for the comments. I'm intending doing the Pz IV before the painting stage. I'll crack on over the summer as I'd like to have it in the museum over the winter.

All the best

Dan

 
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Elliott Winthrop
(Login elliott.winthrop)
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222.152.15.28

Great Tiger option Dan

June 15 2016, 1:07 AM 

good to see a KO'ed VB vehicle from the other side!
Have you done 212 already?
Cheers Elliott


    
This message has been edited by elliott.winthrop from IP address 222.152.15.28 on Jun 15, 2016 1:08 AM


 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: Great Tiger option Dan

June 15 2016, 2:07 AM 

Hello Elliott
Thanks for commenting. It does sort of balance things out a bit. 212 is a little far up the high street to fit in this diorama - I tend to be a bit literal on scale. Five tanks and an anti-tank gun should sate most appetites.

All the best

Dan

 
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Riku Savela
(Login rikusavela)
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88.148.189.109

Zimmerit

June 15 2016, 6:20 AM 

Hi Dan

I was just wondering, what is this "MEK" you used to make the zimmerit? I'm interested as I've seen some other builders scribe zimmerit to the plastic as well. I use thin layer of putty to create zimmerit in my vehicles but I would like to try this method as well.

Also, it's always nice to see a zimmerited tiger in this scale


Riku

 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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79.68.192.15

Re: Zimmerit

June 15 2016, 10:39 AM 

Hello Riku
Apologies for a technical answer, it is Methyl Ethyl Ketone. Essentially, if is a pretty good formula for liquid poly glue which they use to strip paint from aircraft. It flows quite nicely and softens the plastic surface just right. With some kits, I have applied a sheet of 5-thou plasticard (0.7mm) before doing the scribing technique to give the right amount of bulk.

It's funny how different materials work for different people - I cannot get on with putty. It will stick to my tools and to my hands but not to an armature. Then it will flake off because I'v not mixed it right. Honestly, the stuff can be hormonal!

Hope your experiment goes well.

All the best and thanks for posting

Dan

 
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Peter van Kempen
(Login P.vanKempen)
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62.194.175.41

Great job,ill follow with interest.Which guns killed the tigers?

June 15 2016, 2:55 PM 


 
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Dan Taylor
(Login Dan-Taylor)
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Re: Great job,ill follow with interest.Which guns killed the tigers?

June 15 2016, 4:18 PM 

Hi Peter
Thanks for that.

The precise action is a matter of some conjecture but a consensus has arisen over most of the salient points:

The first German tank down the high street was the Panzer IV, turret no. 6, of the Stabs Kompanie (battalion HQ). It's arrival was quicker than anticipated and so the Firefly missed it and the Cromwells missed their chance to fire. Cpl Horne then dashed out onto the high street and put a shot into the back of the panzer which ground to a halt.

After missing the Panzer IV, Sgt Bramall (commanding the Firefly) bore sighted at a sign in the shop window across the street. All he had to do was fire as the next enemy tank covered the sign. The first Tiger to try to rush the junction was turret number 111, commanded by Ostuf. Hannes Philipsen. Bramall fired as it crossed the sign, probably killing the driver and perhaps the co driver and the Tiger rolled on down the street until it crashed into the wall of a furniture shop further down. The turret crew managed to escape and Philipsen remounted later in the day in turret number 104, the Tiger of the Kompanie's second in command. He was killed in that Tiger on the 16th June.

Forewarned of the ambush position, Oscha. Ernst in Tiger 113 tried to bully his way into the square. Some combination of 17-pdr from the Firefly, the 6-pdr anti-tank gun and a PIAT brought the Tiger to a halt next to the Panzer IV.

In addition to these, at least four other Tigers were knocked out during the afternoon attack (these were numbers 122, 123 and 124) - and perhaps a further two were badly damaged, but recovered. Add to this the losses to 2.Kompanie in the morning (nos 212 and perhaps 231), and two further Panzer IV and the popular picture of the battle is clearly in doubt.

Hope that was interesting.

All the best
Dan


 
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