To build the explosion, I create a skeleton
of metal mesh.
I then drill holes in the top of the tank so I
can fasten the wires to the tank.
I then take pure cotton and put in the
metal mesh while I make sure that there
are a large cavity as possible inside
This is both for the light effect, but also
for hot air to escape.
And then it’s time for
First yellow, then a
little red and finally a
dash of black on the
And suddenly, the
whole turns into an
The lower tank frame
is screwed into the
diorama board and
the LED is tested.
The upper part of the
tank is loose so it can
easily be removed if I
have to arrange
something with LED
light, or if it gets too hot
I'd like to have some Russian soldiers in the diorama to literally give it some life.
Of course the soldiers use all their weapons against the Stuka when it passes over.
A few blasted tree trunks and a couple of dead soldiers are also included.
The diorama happened in the fall of 1944 and the trees have green- yellow autumn leaves.
Much of the leaves are however blown away by explosions nearby.
I attach leaves by spraying the trees with hairspray and then sprinkle some Woodland
Scenics "grass" over the trees. This adheres to the hairspray and gives an illusion of leaves.
Then I glued the tank tower on to the wires inside the cotton.
It will now look like it blasted away from the tank.
The text of the tower means "fatherland".
The tank is basically painted
green and then applied dents
and "weathered" with sand,
soil, dirt and rust as it probably
was in reality
I have installed two power
switches, one for the Stuka
and one for the tank.
The current to the electric
motor in the Stuka is 1.5V
from a couple AA batteries.
The LED is connected to 220V. I've put a dimmer on LED light so I can reduce the brightness
(and heat) if desired.
I fixed blocks of wood in each corner under the base so I can place the wires and batteries in
a safe manner.
I am planning a diorama where Hans Ulrich Rudel in his Stuka just has blown up a Russian tank. He flies so low that he is flying through the explosion and touches the top of a nearby tree. This is not a entirely unknown maneuver of a "Kanonenvoegel" on the Eastern Front. These
machines had to fly low. Each of the two aircraft cannons hold only six grenades and every
shot had to count. Rudel managed once to destroy six Russian tanks in one raid. It was not
unusual that he flew ten or fifteen raids per day.
His record was 17 destroyed Russian tanks in a day.
Sometimes the Stukas landed with scorched fuselages with a lot of splinters after flying
through exploding tanks. Just as often, they came home with branches stuck in the
undercarriage and wings. Such events were called "a pilot's birthday" by the German pilots.
I also want to have some Russian soldiers in the diorama. They will fire at the Stuka with
everything they have as the aircraft passes over them.
The first thing to do is find a suitable base
for the diorama. A plate from an old kitchen drawer (40 x 50cm) will do nicely. A little joint
compound helps me forming the landscape. A couple of brass tubes drilled down and glued
to the baseplate are good starting points for the trees. I also make a number of tank tracks in
the wet filler (it is always difficult to make these tracks later)
I will install an electric motor in the Stuka so the propeller can spin. I thought first to put the
electrical cables through the brass tube, but the rod that holds the plane is going in there, so I
have to place the wires up along the trunk. The wires go through the bottom of the base.
The next task is to make the brass tubes become trees.
The inside of an ordinary lamp cord is ideal for making a tree. By twisting the thin brass wires
and split them up into smaller "branches" can I make the tree exactly the way I want. It is
advisable to fasten the brass threads with CA glue when they are laid on the stem. The
brass tubes are bent slightly to make trees more realistic.
Finally, I use Elmer's Clear Glue, to which I have added sawdust, on the tree trunks. In this
way the trunks will be roughly like a real tree with bark.
Then, the trees need to be painted. The best way to add color to all the little brass threads
that make up the branches, is to use an airbrush.
Then there is the ground.
It should be part sand, soil and mud where tanks have run. I paint soil color directly on the
filler. In addition, I sprinkle a little sand to create a bit more "life" into the ground. Using
artificial grass from Woodland Scenics I create grass and bushes around the trees.
This is a battlefield, so I also make a couple carters after grenades or bombs, and place
some burnt and bent parts around to illustrate exploded vehicles.
For longer grass, I cut some of the bristles from a paintbrush and paste the "straws" on
It's time for the Stuka
To make the diorama as realistic as possible I will place an electric motor in the Stuka so
the propeller can run. I plan to attach the Stuka I to the treetop so it looks like it flies very low.
I have decided to make the diorama in 1:48 scale.
To find a model of the Stuka in 1:48 is not difficult. I chose to use the Hasegawa Ju78G-2.
It is not only the correct model, but it also has the correct decals to create a good replica
of Rudel's "Kanonenvoegel»
The first to be made is the cockpit, where both Hans Ulrich Rudel and his gunner are to be
placed.The cockpit is painted in a dark gray color (RLM 66)
The electric motor (from Airfix) is fitted in the
nose. It requires some changes in the kit to
adapt the engine, but finally it's glued on with
CA-glue. To attach the plane to the tree, I am
using a brass rod that fits into the brass tube
that has been used as a tree. Thus, I can
stick the plane into the top of the tree.
The brass rod is glued firmly to the inside of
the plane.The wires from the electric motor
are moved backwards and will become part
of the branches.
Having glued the wings and ailerons and put
together both cannons and wheels, the plane
begins to take shape..
A part the Stuka legacy is the infamous sirens
which was used during dive bombing.
The sirens were driven by propeller attached
to the wheels.
The G model, however, was no dive-bomber
and needed neither siren or air brakes.
The sirens had therefore to be removed.
After finished the wheels and cannons, the
model ready for priming.
After each layer of paint, I apply a coat of Johnson Future. This makes it easier to work with the different colors.
Before the camouflage is painted, I trace the all panel lines (preshading) with black paint. The aim is that these lines should be visible through the camouflage paint if it is not put on too thick.
Then camouflage is laid on with airbrush. The Stuka was painted with so-called splinter camouflage with dark green (RLM 70) and gray-green (RLM 71), while the underside was painted light blue (RLM 65). Wingtips and a band on the tail were painted yellow.
The yellow sections on the wings made it easier for the German anti-aircraft crews to recognize their own aircraft.
The next step is decals. To prevent silvering, I applied Future to the whole aircraft before decals. I use MicroSOL when I put the decals on and Micro Sol when decals are dry. Then a new coat of Future before the model is covered in a semi-gloss finish.
Now the plane ready for weathering, ie making the Stuka so tired, dusty, dirty and dented as it was in reality.
The antenna wire is an elastic strap attached with CA-glue
A diorama dedicated to the best combat pilot ever!
Many believe that Hans Ulrich Rudel was the best combat pilot - ever!
What few disagree on, however, is that no one will ever repeat his amazing achievements as a battlefield pilot.
You probably think I am talking about one of the great fighter pilots - but no. Hans Ulrich Rudel flew a slow dive-
bombing Junkers Ju87. A plane that normally either had to have escorts to avoid being shot down by enemy
fighters, or only operates safely in areas with own air supremacy.
It should not be possible to become Germany's most decorated soldier in WWII in the cockpit of a Stuka, but Rudel
became a living legend for the German soldiers on the Eastern Front. His courage and incredible performances
was simply unparalleled in the history of warfare.
Son of a clergyman in Silesia (now Poland), Hans Ulrich
was born in 1916 and received his baptism of fire as Stuka
pilot during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 41
American aircraft crews over Europe were sent home after
25 bombing raids.
Hans Ulrich Rudel conducted 2519 raids against the Red
Army, and he obtained results which seem completely
In attacks at low altitude, often with fierce anti-aircraft fire
against him, he flew the slow and cumbersome Ju87G
" "Kanonenvoegel" against huge Russian armored forces.
When the war ended he had destroyed at least 519
Russian tanks, equivalent to between 5 and 6 Russian
tank divisions. He sunk the battleship "Marat", a destroyer
and a cruiser (at Kronstadt outside Stalingrad). He sunk at least 70 landing craft (in the Black Sea by the Crimean
Peninsula). He bombed and shot to pieces between 800 and 1,000 vehicles and at least 150 artillery and
antiaircraft cannons. He bombed and destroyed a large number of bridges and numerous enemy positions and
shot down at least nine enemy fighters (in a Fw190).
He saved 12 comrades (6 Stuka crews) who were shot
down over Russian territory by landing next to the crashed
Stuka, take on board the crew and take off before Russian
When he tried to rescue a Stuka crew 50 km behind the
Russian front in March 1944, the Stuka was stuck in the
mud and unable to take off. All four had to run for their
lives, followed by Russian troops. They swam a 300m wide
icy river, was captured by the Russians, managed to
escape and with gunshot wound in the shoulder. Rudel, as
the only survivor of the crews arrived at the German lines,
more dead than alive. Two days later he was again in the
cockpit, fighting the Russian forces.
He was shot down a total of 32 times by Russian anti-aircraft guns and infantry weapons, but never by enemy
fighters. He never used his parashute. He was wounded five times. In February 1945, his Stuka his hit by a 40mm
Flak grenade and he suffered major damage to his right leg. He crashed and his gunner saved him from bleeding
to death. At the field hospital, they amputated the leg below the knee. Six weeks later, he was in the cockpit with a
bleeding stump, fighting the Russian Army.
Both Hitler and Rudel's CO's tried several times to ground
him, but with tremendous stubbornness and willpower, he
ignored all orders to take it easy and flew the Stuka till the
So fierce was Rudel's destruction of the Russian war
machine that Stalin personally offered a reward of 100,000
rubles for Rudel - dead or alive.
At the end of the war Rudel flew west and surrendered to
U.S. forces, which undoubtedly saved his life.
Hans Ulrich Rudel, was the most decorated German soldier
during WWII. After he received all possible awards and
medals, the German High Command had to inventing new
medals to reward his courage and achievements on the
battlefield. He was, for example, the only German soldier who received the Knight's Cross with oak leaves in gold,
swords and diamonds.
He ended his military career as a colonel in the Luftwaffe.
After the war, he went, as many other Nazi officers to Argentina. He died in Germany in 1982.
Junkers Ju 87G Kanonenvoegel
It was in February 1943 that the first Ju87G (Gustav) was delivered. .
The "Cannon Bird" was constructed for one singel purpose: To destroy enemy tanks, and it became an extremely effective weapon against the Russian armor
It was equipped with two 37mm Flak 18 guns (actually AA cannons). Each cannon had a magazine on six special armor-piercing tungsten grenades. The muzzle velocity was 850m/sek and one hit with a grenade was enough to destroy a tank. At 100m distance and at an angle of 60 degrees the grenades would penetrate 36mm armor steel. No Russian tanks were safe for the Kanonenvoegel
The downside was that the guns weighed more than 800 kg in total. The weight of the guns and the increased drag made the G model slow (260-270 km/h) and with less maneuverability than the other Stuka models, Especially in turns, it was almost impossible to prevent the plane wobbeling from side to side. Only the most experienced pilots managed to master the Cannon Bird.
The first day Hans Ulrich Rudel flew the G model with 37mm cannons against the Red Army, he destroyed between 10 and 12 Russian tanks.
The building of the diorama:
The Russian tank
I have choosen a KV-1 which was a heavy Russian tank at 44 tons and with a crew of 4-5.
The model I am building is from Tamyia (1/48)
The model is straightforward to put together, and that is good because I am going to blow it to
pieces. It will be hit armor-piercing shells in the tank's weak point: The engine compartment
behind the tower.
This is where Rudel always try to hit because the armor thickness is at its minimum here.
If possible, Rudel always attacked the tanks from the rear.
In the diorama, the tank ammunition explodes after been hit by the Stuka and the tower is
The inner hull of the model is made of metal, which is good because I want to mount a
3W 220VLED light inside the tank. This will impose as explosion light.
I could have chosen a low power LED, but I want a strong light as possible and I think that a
3W is what I need.
The LED lamp is connected directly to the 220V mains and even if the LED light is not
particularly hot, the circuits on the LED board produces heat. I therefore drill a series of holes
in the bottom of the tank’s metal case to obtain a better cooling.
The tower will be blown away, which means the hot air can escape more easily. However, it is
important that the LED light is not on for too long (preferably no more than a minute at a time).
The wires are led out through the bottom of the tank and through the diorama base. Just to be sure, I also drill a number of holes in the board under the tank to increase the air flow.
The Stuka in the treetop
It was easy to place the Stuka at the top of the tree.
The brass rod from the a/c went nicely into the
brass tube in the tree and a little glue sealed
everything in place.
The wires from the engine were connected to the
wires coming out of the tree and everything was
twisted like branches.
A few leafs was added to make it all look part of
And then the best of it all: Pressing the switch and
the Stuka was “flying”
I have given the Stuka some dents after scratches
after collision with trees.
It is important to remember that Stuka was a large
and robust machine that could take a lot of beating
without hitting the ground. It was almost 11m long,
had a 1.300hk engine and weighed 17 tons.
For the diorama to be as realistic and natural as possible it needs a background to the models.
I have therefore cut a cardboard plate and painted a war scenario that I think fits the diorama.
The battle takes place somewhere in the flat landscape of the Eastern Front in fall1944. Burning tanks, Stukas and explosions everywere.
I hope you enjoyed this website! Thank you for visiting!
Please do not hesitate to ask if you have questions