"Taking Aachen"
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

Vehicles and Gun

With the amount of work that had to be done on the diorama, I was more than happy to use AFV models that required little additional detailing. Because no major work was necessary on any of the kits beyond the Opel Blitz, I did not shoot any in-progress photos. (And I didn't happen to get many good separate shots of them in the completed diorama this time around....)

M4 Sherman

The Sherman is excellent Tamiya's M4. I used this photo from After the Battle issue on Aachen as guidance, even to the point of omitting the towing hitch on the rear plate. I did employ Eduard's Sherman M4A3 photoetch set to fine tune the accuracy of the kit, and added brass wire from which backpacks were slung.

From all the pictures I could find that were taken during the actual battle, there weren't any discernible markings on the Sherman tanks of the 745th Tank Battalion attached to the 1st Infantry Division.

Pak 43

This is Italeri's anti-tank gun, which is more accurately detailed than Tamiya's version. Nothing special was done with this kit, and it sports a standard camouflage scheme. I'd intended to replace the shields and other parts with Eduard photoetch, but ran out of time (the diorama was completed just hours before the Twin Cities Nordic Con show). With all of the other detail put into the diorama, I don't think the lack of the Eduard pieces made much difference.

Opel Blitz

This again is Italeri's kit, which I'd built years ago for a Falaise Gap diorama that was stillborn. It's as challenged to "deconstruct" a kit to create a burned-out wreck as it is to build a pristine vehicle. I made a newly charred flatbed frame from plastic and brass strips. The fenders and roof of the cab were softened over a flame and bent. Wiring was added to the engine and burned seat in the cab. One aspect that makes this kit attractive for this type of demolition is that the tires are separate rubber pieces, rather than plastic molded onto the wheels. Simply leaving the tires off makes it very to create the realistic aftereffects of a vehicle fire.

The kit was sprayed flat black, then given oversprays of several shades of rust before a final drybrushing of burnt metal was applied.

DKW NZ350 Motorcycle

Almost lost amid the rubble, the abandoned motorcycle laying against the curb in front of the bakery is a late addition to the diorama. It was just released by Tamiya and I thought another substantial piece of German equipment was called for in the project. This is a fine little kit that just took a couple hours to build and paint. The only addition was wiring for the brakes and clutch.

"Taking Aachen"
The Battle for Aachen
Evolution of the Diorama
The City
Vehicles and Gun
The Figures


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter