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The Last Panther in Pomerania

by Rhodes Williams


The use of figurines is in my opinion important in displaying an AFV and essential for almost all diorama work. They add a sense of the organic to what is otherwise very ridged. The figurines in "The Last Panther in Pomerania" are really quite a mixed bag-ranging from resin Warrior's and Coree offerings to injection plastic Dragon and Tamiya figurines. The poor waxed Russian fellows are all from the Tamiya (No.207) " Russian Army Assault Infantry". All were heavily modified, obviously, the most obvious being the removal of the Tamiya heads and replacing them with Hornet. To achieve the appropriate positioning required some dipping into the parts box, lots of putty and a set of Verlinden Productions (No. 57) "WWII German Soldier's Gear" containing photo-etch belts and buckles.

The IR toting kampfgruppe is mostly Dragon figurines from a variety of their more recently released sets. A word here about Dragon figurines, if I may. They rock. They are the best thing in injection plastic, leaving Tamiya in the dust, and the newer releases rivaling even resin.

Grenadiers from Kampfgruppe Kausch clean up the ambushed Russians. A single Russian comrade raises his arms in surrender with a single wound to his right leg. Note how the lower portion of his great coat is wet. This was achieved by dabbing on semi-glosscote. The dead Russian lower left has a neck wound gushing blood. All the dead Russians are modified Tamiya "Russian Infantry" figurines with Hornet heads. The upturned wheelburrow is a Warriors item. Note most of the gear spilled across the roadway is of German origin, including the jerrycan with a potato masher wired to it.
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Details are very crisp and clean, the weapons are the best in both plastic and resin, and although I replaced all with Hornet heads, the releases since the completion of this diorama, "Survivors, Panzer Crew" and "Grenadiers, Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, HJ Division" are so well done I would not even consider replacing the heads. Whew!

There are only two members of the Kampfgruppe who are resin, can you tell which? The grenadier in the fur cap, with wounded left arm is from Warriors, whilst the cowardly Obersturmfuhrer is from the same but with a different head.

The use of figurines is very central to the telling of the story here. The viewer has come on the scene moments after the action as several members of the IR toting kampfgruppe pick their way through the unit of Russians they have caught unprepared. Dead Russians litter the roadway. The line of escape is expressed by the two dead on the height above the road whilst a grenadier with a sniper's rifle sites up on another Russian who has slipped up the hillside and into the heavy wood. A last Russian has ended up in the riverbed after having fired his panzerfaust into the portside radiator cell causing a fire. These are all elements which lend themselves to the story as a whole.

The construction and painting of figurines is by far my favorite aspect of diorama building and I get a lot of satisfaction from the life they bring to the scene.

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