Getting a Ride
Inspiration for this World War II scene came from the 1977 Richard Attenborough's picture "A Bridge Too Far". However, unlike the movie, which tells the story of operation Market Garden in the Low Countries, I chose to place my scene in D-Day Normandy.
In the invasion's early hours, more than 1,000 transports dropped paratroopers from the Airborne Divisions to secure the flanks and establish control over the crucial objects inside the enemy territory. Naturally for such a large-scale airborne operation, many paratroopers were scattered across the countryside away from their designated drop zones, and were left to their own devices in the battle about to uncover. Throughout the night and into the day the airborne troops gathered and organized themselves and went on to accomplish their missions.
General Matthew B. Ridgway of the US 82nd Airborne Division wrote about that morning: "No lights showed on the land, but in the pale glow of a rising moon, I could clearly see each farm and field below. And I remember thinking how peaceful the land looked, each house and hedgerow, path and little stream bathed in the silver of the moonlight. And I felt that if it were not for the noise of the engines we could hear the farm dogs baying, and the sound of the barnyard roosters crowing..."
In my little diorama I tried to capture that very last moment of peace before the battle.
The vehicle is Tamiyas Kubelwagen. It has been superdetailed using the photoetched set from Eduard plus a few other details from Tamiya and Verlinden.
The human figures came from Hornet. I have converted the poses of two of them to match the scene.
I used scale trees produced by Verlinden. Hedgerow-style foliage is of home production, consisting of a wirework covered with dried leave pieces randomly glued onto the wire.
The base is scratch-built using my ordinary technique. Materials used were Celluclay, Static Grass, sawdust, plaster of Paris, styrene sheet and whatever else I found available in my workshop.
I'm pleased with the finished scene: with limited means it succeedsssfully captures the tension of the moment. Will the paratrooper succeed in "getting a ride"? I'm not sure: you tell me...