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Heinkel He 162A
Part Two - The Diorama

by Ian Robertson


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.



Diorama Base

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.




Flatbed Train

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 guides.


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)


Flak-88 Gun

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 green.

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 larger images:





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 Robertson
Page Created 24 July 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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