44 - "Kanonenvoegel" Down

"Kanonenvogel" down

A Ju87–G is brought down by Soviet AA on the Eastern Front, March 1945

a diorama by Bjørn Jacobsen

Equipped with a 37mm canon under each wings, the aging airframe of the Ju 87 Stuka found new life as an anti-tank aircraft on the Eastern Front in 1943

The “new” Stuka with cannons in under-wing gun pods and with armour piercing Tungsten carbide ammunition was a deadly weapon to even the heaviest armoured Soviet tanks (see page 02 and 08 at this website)

The new design was called the G-model and quickly got the name Kanonenvogel (the CanonBird)

The downside of the new design was that the guns weighed more than 800 kg in total and the weight of the guns, the extra armour and the increased drag made the G model slow (260-270 km/h) and with less manoeuvrability than the other Stuka models - which already was slow and ungainly.

Especially in turns, it was almost impossible to prevent the Ju87G from wobbling from side to side.

Furthermore, the Kanonenvogel had to attack the tanks from a very low level, exposing itselves to heavy ground fire.

The diorama is from a situation at the eastern front in the late winter in 1945

The winter camouflaged Kanonenvogel had attacked columns of Russian tanks and was on its way back to base when it was hit by anti-aircraft shells and the pilot had to make a forced landing in Soviet territory.

He put the plane down on a narrow dirt road, but the terrain was so rough that the starboard main wheel and canon were badly bent before the plane come to a stop.

Unfortunately, the gunner was killed by the AA-shells and the pilot was injured during the landing

Soon after the crash, Soviet soldiers arrived at the site and the pilot was taken prisoner.

Fortunately, he later managed to escape and made it back to German lines - to continue flying the Kanonenvogel against the Soviet tanks.

So partly, the story had a happy ending, even if the situation looked grim when the diorama was made.

The pictures (above) of the Ju87-G in the air

were made by first photographing the model in the wanted position and then paste the picture of the plane to the chosen background picture. To help me doing this I used a photo editing program.

Building the diorama:

The Kanonenvogel

The Ju87-G used in the diorama is the same plane you will find at page 02 “Junkers Ju87G Kanonenvogel “on this website.

The building of the aircraft and the painting in winter camouflage colours can be seen at page 02 and I will therefore not repeat it here.

The damages on the plane are another matter and need to be attended to

The damages were in the engine department, the propeller, the port wing, the aft cockpit area and the starboard landing wheel and canon pod.

The wing 

The wing was cut open and ribs (by styrene) placed in the opening together with part of the exposed wing tank made by thin metal sheets.

Thin metal sheets (taken from a tube of bacon cheese) were glued to the opening to make the twisted metal skin of the wing.

Then everything was painted.

The engine

The engine was damaged during the crash.

I removed the whole engine department from the model, and glued the visible part of the engine so it could be seen beneath the cowling when everything was glued back on the model - a little twisted and bent.

The propeller

The propeller blades was made of wood and splintered during the crash.

The blades were reinforced with metal strips on the leading edge under the fabric wrap and sometimes the whole length would remain, dangling out from the broken area. I have tried to do exactly that with the blades of this model.

The aft cockpit

The aft cockpit where the gunner was seated was badly damaged, the hood was partly blown away and the fuselage penetrated by shrapnel.

Obviously this would unfortunately kill the gunner who later was dragged out of the cockpit by the Soviet soldiers and put on the ground beside the aircraft.

The damage to the cockpit, hood and fuselage was made as realistic as possible.

The main undercarriage

The main undercarriage and wheel on the starboard side was bent and damaged when hitting rocks during the landing.

This was also the case with the gun pod which was partly ripped off, but was still hanging under the wing.

The Soldiers

The Soviet soldiers are in 1:35 scale from Zvezda, ICM and MiniArt. The German crew are from PJ Production.

The Soviet soldiers have worn faded and dirty uniforms.

The basic colour was Khaki, but I also added yellow, hemp and several brown colours to make them more authentic.

Not one of the uniforms are the same colour.

I positioned the soldiers in different ways;

Two soldiersw on the wings, looking into the cockpit, one was on his way up on the wing, one was getting the first aid material out of the first aid hatch, one was kneeling beside the dead gunner and four was watching the pilot.

The pilot was not badly hurt (although he pretended to be) and later managed to escape from the soldiers and found his way back to the German lines.

The Base

The base is a 75x50cm (30x20in) plywood plate which I covered

with paper Marche and sculpted a dirt road on which the Ju87-G landed.

Some stones from my back yard went into the paper Mache

After the paper Mache dried, I painted the landscape and the road with acryl colours and collected some twigs and moss to make the leafless forest which surrounded the dirt road.

In hindsight I see that the colour of the trees should have been more grey/green/black. But that’s too late now.

I also put in two bomb (or artillery) craters for good measure – there was after all a terrible was raging all around the crash site.

I first painted the snow white (acryl). It was probably not necessary, but I also sprinkled some artificial snow over the snow-covered area.

Last, I added some “Realistic Water” to the road to make it look muddy and wet.

I also made a couple of smaller plywood plated covered with paper Mache and some moss and twigs.

This I would need when photographing the Ju87 from different sides.

When everything was put in place,

the Ju87-G Crash-Landing-Diorama

looks like this:

I hope you enjoyed this website!

Thank you for visiting!


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments




Bjørn Jacobsen

March 2016

Time machine...