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The Swift Second Wave

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This is a diorama that I completed that was inspired by the book, “The Third World War, August 1985” by Sir John Hackett. The book, which was written in the 1980’s, outlines a full-blown Soviet incursion into Western Europe. Interestingly enough, the book even features black and white photos depicting the conflict, which thankfully never occurred. One of the photos features a shot of Soviet forces landing in “shattered Denmark” for a flank attack on the Northern Sector of NATO. I decided to build a diorama based on this photo and it would feature armor and foot units from the Soviet Naval Infantry advancing through the port section of Copenhagen on 08.05.1985, the start date of the conflict.

I started off using a base of MDF particle board which was treated with Krylon Sandable Primer. The board was sanded and buffed accordingly. The base was then painted with Testors Acrylic paint and was ready to have the terrain added. I made the earth out of actual garden dirt which was applied to the base. The dirt was then treated with a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water which was injected into the substance with a syringe. This will cause the dirt to harden and congeal and make it ready for the addition of vegetation, figures and the vehicle. The grass was from Woodland Scenics which was added to the dirt after holes were drilled into it with my Makita power drill. The grass was secured with white glue. Hudson and Allen leaves were added as well, to the base, and these items were also secured with white glue. Trash, vehicle parts and junk were placed on to the terrain to give the scene the “back alley” look of the dock district.

The brick wall was a resin aftermarket piece. It was primed and then painted beige with Testors Enamels. Following this, it was weathered heavily with pastels, oil washes and MIG pigments to really bring it to life. I wanted to add some tagging to the wall to give it an urban look so I found some European graffiti photos on the internet and painted these by hand using Testors and Vallejo paints. The brick and mortar sections were also hand painted with Vallejo paints. The wall was secured to the base with metal rod and Gorilla Glue.

The infantry figures were from the Dragon Models 1/35th Scale Soviet Naval Infantry set which came out in the 1990’s. The uniforms were painted with Vallejo and Testors paint and were treated with various washes of Raw Umber, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna. The uniforms seemed to be fairly indicative of SNI elements in the 70’s and 80’s so they were basically left as is.

The vehicle is a PT-76 and I used the Trumpeter 1/35th scale offering which actually comes with decals for an SNI variant. Construction of the vehicle was very straight forward and it went together very well. The vehicle was primed with Testors Enamel Primer to give it a sturdy undercoat for the washes and pigments to follow. The vehicle was painted with Testors Russian Armor Green and then post-shaded with a variant of this color that had been lightened with Testors Chromate Yellow. Following this, all the vents and panel lines were shaded with Tamiya Smoke applied with my airbrush. Various pin washes were applied as well, along with scratches and chipping. The white ID bands were called out for in the instructions so I decided to keep those as I figured they would probably have been applied for a chaotic amphibious landing in a combat zone, especially with hoards of SU-25’s and MI-24’s overhead. Finally, MIG and CMK pigments were applied to the PT-76 to make it look weathered due to urban combat following the beach landing.

The PT-76 and the SNI foot units were then added to the base. The figures were secured into the base with metal rod and the PT-76 was glued down with a diluted mixture of water and white glue as well. Once everything was on the base, the entire diorama was flat coated with Testors Dullcote, thinned with Metalizer Thinner.

All in all, this was a very fun project and a chance to depict a modern hypothetical scenario based on Sir John Hackett’s book, “The Third World War, August 1985”.
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About the Author

About Ian (SaxonTheShiba)
FROM: , UNITED STATES

I have been modeling for about forty years and enjoy building 1/32 scale and 1/48th scale aircraft as well as an occasional piece of 1/35th scale armor. I love building modern USN/USMC subjects as well as RAF/RCAF/RAAF/FAA prop driven and jet subjects.


Comments

Ian; nice job with the models and scene. Plenty of "What if" subjects out there for WW2, e.g., Panzer/Luftwaffe'46, etc., so why not Cold War? I remember that book. I was more interested in the airwar chapter, recalling a shot-up F-15 landing and the pilot irritated that he'd downed a Dutch F-16 operating 'beyond the missile belt'.
MAR 19, 2014 - 04:02 AM
Thanks for looking and commenting Frederick. The air war chapters were good indeed in that book. Especially liked the photo of the dual "FOXBAT" shootdown.
MAR 19, 2014 - 06:02 AM