Heinkel He 162A
Part Two - The Diorama
Heinkel He 162A
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For a number of years I have been planning a diorama that incorporates two
He.162A-2 Salamanders and a train. The idea was inspired by a black and white
period photograph of an He.162 sitting on a flatbed train with its wings, engine
nacelle, and tail removed. My project was delayed repeatedly because I could not
find photographs or drawings of what the area underneath the engine nacelle
looked like. However, a visit to the National Aviation Museum of Canada (Ottawa,
Ontario) gave me what I was looking for - an He.162 without wings and engine,
and a staff member at the museum who was kind enough to allow me behind the
barriers to take some close-up photographs. With this information in hand I was
ready to start the project. Below is a description of the various parts
incorporated into my diorama.
A wooden cutting board was used as the base for the diorama.
Celluclay, a papier mâché product available in craft stores, was used to make
the basic ground cover. The celluclay powder was mixed into a paste with water
and white glue and then spread thinly over the cutting board. Note that the
cutting board had previously been treated with clear lacquer to prevent warping
while the celluclay dried. While the celluclay was still wet I added fine sand
and dull green static grass to simulate areas of dirt and grass. These areas
were painted appropriately once the celluclay had dried thoroughly. Clear gloss
epoxy resin was poured onto areas of the ground that I wanted to appear wet and
muddy, particularly around the base of the trees and the Flak-88 gun.
I searched local hobby shops for an "O Scale" (1/48) train car and pieces of
track that could be used in the diorama. I eventually purchased a cheap boxcar
and then modified it into a flatbed. The modifications were purely cosmetic. I
removed the plastic box and added various pieces of stock styrene to the
platform to give the train a more robust and realistic appearance. I also made a
wooden deck using thin strips of basswood to replace the plastic deck that came
with the train. The posts sticking out of the wooden deck were made from styrene
rod and the rings at the tops of the posts were made from wire. The train was
painted dark gray and weathered with gray and brown chalk pastels as well as SnJ
aluminum buffing powder.
My intention with the train was not to produce an authentic WWII replica,
although this would have made an interesting project had I wanted to spend more
time on it. Instead, I opted for what Sheperd Paine (in his book on dioramas)
calls "creative gizmology" to create a diorama prop that complements the model
of interest. Thus, the train is not entirely correct for the era but it gives
the right impression, at least in my eyes.
He 162 on Train
DML's 1/48 He.162A-2 Salamander was used for the partially assembled aircraft
on the train. I deleted the wings, engine nacelle, and tail using published
references and my photographs from the National Aviation Museum of Canada as
The photographs from the aviation museum provided me with details of the upper
deck of the fuselage where the engine sits.
These details were scratch built using sheet styrene, plastic rod, spare bits
and pieces, and wire.
Apart from these modifications the model was constructed and painted much as I
have described for my intact He.162 (see Heinkel He.162-A2, Part 1)
This is Bandai's 1/48 Flak-88 gun assembled straight out of the box.
There is a surprising amount of detail in the kit, including a
trailer used to transport the gun. Parts of the trailer equipment can be seen at
the base of the trees. I painted the gun and trailer equipment RLM02 and then
weathered them with chalk pastels.
Trees and Figures
The trees were made from scratch using balsa wood for the trunks
and tiny pieces of dried flowers for the branches and foliage. The trunk was
whittled into a point at the top, sanded smooth, and then brush painted with
shades of gray. Individual stems of minute dried flowers purchased at a garden
shop were then inserted and glued into the trunk.
Once a tree was complete its branches and foliage were sprayed
dark green with small patches of rusty brown to simulate dead needles. The
fallen tree was sprayed more heavily with the rusty brown paint rather than
There are three figures in the diorama. The two "black men"
around the train are from Preisler (below), whereas the figure in shorts next to
the Flak-88 gun is from Verlinden (see flak gun image).
Click the thumbnails below to view
Most of the photographs were taken outdoors with a natural backdrop using a
SONY digital camera.
Go to Heinkel He 162 - Part One
Model, Images and
Article Copyright © 2002 by Ian
Page Created 24 July 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007
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