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From model to diorama: A day’s work at the German air ministry 1941

This article is part of a series:
  1. Work in Progress: The German Air Ministry 1941
  2. First reveal: The German Air Ministry 1941 in 1:35
  3.   From model to diorama: A day’s work at the German air ministry 1941

Some of you noticed the build report and first reveal of the German air ministry already.

Because a model is a model and a diorama something different, I opted for adding vehicles and figures in order to bring the building to life.

I opted for two vehicle kits to do the job, so in a way this is a sort of build review for these. The ICM Opel Admiral Saloon #35472 (left in the picture) and Masterbox’s #35113 [Mercedes] Type 170 which comes with some nice crew set (right in the picture).

ICM Opel Admiral Saloon:
A bit of history:
The first kit is ICM’ kit #35472 of the Opel Admiral Saloon. This 4-door passenger car had the same engine as the Opel Blitz and was at the time of its introduction the largest vehicle of its kind. Most Admirals purchased by private citizens in Germany were requisitioned during the war and saw extensive use as a staff car like the one depicted here.
The kit:
ICM really did it’s utmost best to introduce some very detailed soft-skinned vehicles into the modeling community. This kit is no exception and the molding is of the highest quality. You get a highly detailed engine, X-chassis and body for an aggressive price and are guaranteed of hours of pleasure watching the car take shape when building the kit. ICM also released an open top version of the Saloon (#35471) but here, I opted for the sedan version. There is absolutely no flash to speak of in this kit and ejection pin marks are well positioned so most are hidden from the eye once the model is finished.
The build (ongoing):
This kit really is a joy to build, but careful ordering of the sprues and parts is required given this car had a lot of chrome and lacquered areas that are best painted separately prior to assembly. The paintjob consisted in two layers of light grey primer (rattle can) and 4 layers of black gloss laquer paint on the body. I posed the car in its current shape in front of the Air ministry building so you get the idea how massive the building was (or how small the Opel Admiral for that matter) 🙂

Next steps:
I opted to have one of the rear doors open. Fortunately, ICM has forseen this option alas without hinges. I need to figure out attaching the opened rear door to the car next. The windows have not been added yet as they required a chrome lining. Finally, there are some decals to the kit.

Masterbox’ [Mercedes] Type 170 Tourenwagen:
A bit of history:
The second kit is in fact a Mercedes Type 170 although Masterbox does not use the name of the brand name, probably because of licensing issues. There is not much to say about this classic German car as it was widely used as staff car during WWII and has seen action in virtually every theater.
The kit:
Masterbox has capitalized on the mold by re-boxing, slicing and dicing this one, sometimes in various diorama-style kits so typical for this manufacturer. It is to my knowledge the best kit available for this vehicle and a joy to build. I do not know whether the mold is worn, but this kit does have some flash. It would not be fair not to mention the both the occasional flash and ejection pin marks in this kit, for other manufacturers do better and deserve an extra citation, notably ICM’s Opel Admiral reviewed here. The flash is nothing we modelers can’t deal with and the only nasty ejection marks were on the license plates as far as I can tell. The vehicle model is featured of a hyper-detailed engine and transmission and I could not find dimensional deviations with 1:35 drawings I had in a magazine. There are some very small parts in this kit, note the engine hood holder on the 50 EURcents coin…

Next steps:
I have assembled most of the vehicle and started to primer it. I plan to bring this Type 170 into the diorama as a plain German grey “Stabwagen” featured of a driver. The figures in the kit will be part of the dio but not in the usual way… You know me 😀

Well that’s about it! Stay tuned for more!

Happy modeling!


25 responses to From model to diorama: A day’s work at the German air ministry 1941

  1. That’s gonna be some nice piece of work, Michel…lookin’ forward to the end result.

  2. Maybe the figures will be Sgt. Shultz and Col. Klink?

  3. Concept still going strong 👍

  4. Wow! Amazing work! You must have plenty of room ar really BIG cabinet for models 🙂

  5. This is just amazing work, Michel. Enjoyable in every respect.

  6. What an amazing project.

  7. Coming along nicely. That really is an imposing piece of architecture! Those vehicles will really set it off.

  8. Now here’s an interesting thing. A certain Hermann Goering examining what looks suspiciously like your model, Michel.

    • Yes the guy next to him is Dr. Albert Speer. He was the architect of the Neue Reichskanzlei in the Voesstrasse. He also designed the Tempelhof airport building in Berlin for those who flew there before it closed in 2008. Speer had very good contacts to the dictatorship and later became the 3rd Reichs minister of armament, replacing Goering in that role. He oversaw the restructuring of the German war industry following the protracted war in the East. A lot of the standardization of equipment in the later war years bears his signature. Ever wondered why the late Tiger and Panther tanks had the same road wheels? Now you know!

      Speer was aquitted at Nuremberg and died a millionaire in London in 1981. It s a small world even if buildings are large, I guess…

      • It is indeed a small World. My dear old Dad guarded Speer on several occasions at the “Spandau Prison” when Dad was assigned to the “Berlin Brigade” with the 6th US Infantry during the 1950’s. Dad told me some stories about Adm. Doenitz, Hess, Speer and a few others………….

  9. Hello Michel,
    Great job so far. I can see the two SS guards already standing by the entrance.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  10. Maybe you’ve already seen this, but I’ll post it anyway.
    Look closely at 7:38.

  11. I wathed it, thanks Ulf! The narrator indeed talks about the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) but what they show is the change of guards at the main entrance of the Neue Reichskanzlei (NRK). I guess there was some confusion with all these new buildings erected in few years time. Here is a picture of the NRK. Maybe an idea for another model. But I have not yet found plans, so I don’t start it as too many unknowns…

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  12. This is fantastic Michel !!!! I can’t wait to see the next installment…………… This has to be HUGE !!! The vehicles are going to be a nice touch. Now if you could find a model of a 1939 G4 Mercedes like this one………………..

    or even one like this …………..

    just teasing with you. This is an amazing build. You my friend have some serious talent.

    I have had good results using Bare Metal Foil on automobile models. It comes in various shades such as “Chrome”, “Ultra Bright Chrome”, and “Matt Aluminum” to name a few. You might be able to replicate the chrome window frames you are needing using this material.

    • Yes that’s an excellent idea Louis, I am still puzzled how to do the chrome framing. I don’t want to mess it up at the last step… Amazing story about your dad at Spandau prison, must have been quite an experience for him to see these fallen dictators all together on bread and water instead of scotch and cigars… This Mercedes 770 is definitely a future project. I doubted about the G4 because it is actually a dreadfully looking car. I guess Nazis and good taste don’t always go together… 🙂

  13. Hey, Michel. Wundering how things are going with the wunderbuild? Missing your updates and hoping this means a big reveal is due?

  14. Dear Friends, there is no big reveal yet although both cars are 95% finished and painted.

    I’ve just been caught up in work on scale 1-1. I spent many week- and weekends outside my modeling den and therefore there is no advance on any front. That’s the way it is. The next steps involve finishing the chrome on car windows and then painting some figures for sub-dio 1 and 2!

  15. Yeah, after some time away because of work, I found some time to finish one of the vehicles today, the Mercedes 170 V.

    I added the door openers inside and out and applied the decals as you can see. The front mudflap got the Berlin symbol (a little bear’s silhouette), repeated on the rear starbord side as well. It looks great!

    The Opel is advancing too, I finished detail painting the windows and will add the doors portside next with all windows. As far as the air ministry is concerned, the main task remaining will consist in figure making and painting.

    I already started to think about the next job!

    Happy modeling!

  16. Fascinating work, Michel. I’ve missed your updates and glad you are back at the bench, sir.

  17. Thanks David! I wouldn’t want to miss this hobby for the world but I guess sometimes you need to postpone things a bit when other things pop up…

  18. This is progressing well but slow given most of the work is scratchbuilding!

    I have managed to install the front and back windows into the Opel. I was a bit stressed to do this as some dry fitting revealed the windows are actually curved a bit too much. The job was done with some white canopy glue my plane modeling friends here surely know!

    Other than the window fitting issue, this kit by ICM has very few flaws. I like their range of soft skinned vehicles that goes with many dios, including this one!

    Stay tuned!

  19. Today I finished the Opel all but for the decals.

    This has been a longer build. The hardest thing for me was really to lacquer the model in a way typical for those limo’s transporting Wehrmacht top brass through the streets of Berlin. I’m quite happy with the end result. Lesson learned for the Mercedes 770k-Tourenwagen which I will build next #35553 of ICM. Other than that, I’ve been very busy in scale 1-1 which meant my time at the bench was rather limited in recent months.

    I left one of the doors open as this vehicle will be part of one of the sub-dios to the Air Ministry.

    One of the issues was fitting the windows. Given I lacquered the body in one piece, these had to be retrofitted together with the doors. This was quite a job demanding utmost attention. The “hinge” for the left backseat door was made from a piece of PE. Given the dio is for static display later, this seems strong enough to me.

    I hope you enjoy! After decal fitting, I’ll write up a reveal on both this Opel Admiral and the Mercedes 170V staff car now ready.

    Happy modeling!

  20. Looking VERY good Michel. Really outstanding.

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