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Walter Hendriksma - Part Two

Presentation of Diorama's built and painted by Walter Hendriksma from the Netherlands

With comments from Walter Hendriksma.

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Diorama 10 - "16th Panzer division and Red Cross bunker complex, German Easternfront, Spring 1944"

16th Panzer division and Red Cross bunker complex. This diorama shows the ESCI Sturmgeschütz and Sturmhowitzer III after I added scratch built luggage racks and the usual mess these mobile guns used to carry around. The ESCI models are great fun, and you can build two versions: the long barrel gun, which was used as anti-tank gun and has a hand painted ambush scheme to conceal the tank in the thick undergrowth where they waited for enemy tanks. The short barrel howitzers were Panzer Gray as a rule, to save paint or because it wasn’t considered necessary to re-paint them in yellow as they served in the rear of the front. Both tanks are from the late 16th panzer division, formed in France in the spring of 1943 after the early 16th PD was utterly destroyed at Stalingrad. You can tell the difference because the unit’s marking - a yellow Y - is painted on a black shield with a yellow outline as a sign of mourning for their fallen comrades at Stalingrad. In late 1943 16th PD returned to the Eastern Front where they saw heavy action until the end of the war. I thought it to be an act of kindness and mercy to depict them on holiday in Russia at a Red Cross bunker complex, even though war is never fun, judging by the size of the injection needle one of the nurses is about to use, one the soldier having second thoughts. The Phanomen Granit 27 ambulance is a JV Model resin kit, donated by Lancier hobby shop in Gouda for the benefit of my pleasure of building this kit, thanks again! The figures are from Preiser and ESCI, except for the nurses, who are of unknown origin as I got them from a boy in my neighbourhood when I was six years old.

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Diorama 11 - "The Russian T34/85"

This excellent kit is the Russian T34.85 by Revell, one of the first readily available T34’s on the market. The Matchbox T34 I had built in 1993 and at that time I had missed out on the last Esci kits of this famous Russian tank. Which to me was a great shame, because I desperately wanted to build this tank, so that I could use the Esci Russian soldiers in a diorama, especially the Cossack and his horse. The reason for that is I had the honour to meet a real Cossack in the town of Leiden, while playing tour guide for one of our American friends. The guy was 93 years old and had fought in WWII in one of the famous Red Army Cossacks regiments. When he learned that my friend Jennifer had just served five years in Korea he took out the Vodka and started telling stories. He had lots of pictures from his days as a Cossack and better yet; he had his entire uniform, including the sword that was still as sharp as a razor. I don’t think I’ve ever been so drunk so early in the afternoon, but it had been fun. Especially when he proposed marriage to my friend Jen (who was 23 years old at that time) quite seriously, because he claimed that his father had lived up to the age of 134, which meant he still had some good years left to him. The next day Jen honourably declined his gracious offer; he was heartbroken. Now you know why I had to have a diorama with a Cossack in it.

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Diorama 12 - "A German Vacation Resort"

This is a diorama with the Revell Panzer IV, built at about the same time I made the T34. At that time, I had just bought my Aztec airbrush and I was so proud of its paint job, that I didn’t dare to do any washing or weathering of these tanks out of fear of messing it up. One shouldn’t fear showing one’s mistakes, and quite honestly; some things are wrong with this diorama. First of all, I couldn’t decide between summer markings and winter markings? I decided on winter markings and the light tan colour you see should have had a white weathering of paint over it. Should have…but then I decided on a summer diorama as I had no Germans in winter uniforms at that time, oh well. To make things worse, I had planned on a road with nicely arranged pebbles at each side or the road. When my wife saw the finished product, she burst out in laughter and said: “Honey, it looks like a vacation resort; it’s German Disneyland!” Wives are the most destructive critics in the world to a man’s ego, most of all when they are speaking the truth. This diorama has since that day been known as the German Vacation Resort; thanks Hylda!

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