Profile Photo

  • 283 articles
  • 39,518 karma
  • 203 friends

“I’m telling you, Rudi, there’s something not right about that cam.."!

I like dioramas that tell a story, catch an important snapshot of time, or freeze the possibilities of our futures in one fleeting moment.

I started this build as something of an answer to a challenge to build some armour, and that grew into this little narrative as I got to know 'my crew'. So here's my first tank (thanks, @michel-verschuere) and I'm hoping to carry on (some of) their story to the Eastern front in Belarus in '44.

The Work in Progress is available on prescription by a trusted doctor, or here at

The crew are a fictional outfit of PzAbt 501 and here we meet them still a day or two out of Kasserine Pass. Thanks to David Thomas for conceiving of the KP Group Build, it's been a blast. Sorry, I just cannot let a pun go. No Tigers actually fought at the battle, but our crew here would have been the exception had they not had to stop for extensive repairs, for obvious reasons.

Which brings us to the title, "I'm telling you, Rudi, there's something not right about that cam..." which captures the exact moment an 'insurgent' local and his camel decide to try to do their own small something about the Nazi occupation. Chris (the pointer) has just shared his suspicion with Rudi as the canister blows. Fate spared our crew here but merely delayed their fates for darker days.

Recurring themes and patterns are a running interest of mine, and here we see several. War between two nations to own a third, suicide as a weapon, brotherhood, the darkest of humour to see off the horrors of war (as well as our regular horrors), and perhaps others. As Jeff Bailey would say, your mileage may differ.

Vincent, the only Nazi of the group, is seen staring at the Arabic graffiti (it's as well he doesn't know) as some little idea buried deep in the back of his mind just for a moment threatens to surface.

People who know me know my photography sucks, so I took photos from different angles/backgrounds and lighting (in my head the dio takes place at dusk) to try and mitigate my lack of skill. The 'blast' only works in dimmer light and it's my first attempt at this effect.

Thanks for looking, and happy iModeling.

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

52 responses

  1. Nice work on that dio, my friend...I like everything about it.

  2. Thanks, Craig. Like you, I have always hated painting figures but my modeling tastes are going that way whether I like it or not.

    Hope you are well, my friend.

  3. It’s a somewhat different diorama concept David. As if mixing tigers with camels isn’t odd enough, you manage to blow up the least likely of the two. Don’t know if it’s SAFE for you, but should Animal Aid find this Dio and you might get some harassment from their associates.
    Good work, I like it

  4. Pedro, my wife had a few words about it, too. Thanks for the kind words, I'm off now to scare a few neighbourhood kids and boil a few bunnies.

  5. That Camel is remarkably calm considering it's bum is on fire ,mind you they're not the cleverest of dessert bound mammals , great work all round Dave.I can imagine those two Nazi's on the tank camping it up in there hot pants with one saying to the other " Hey Gunther , baggsie I get ze hunky dude vis ze turban but I don't fancy yours much Harr harr harr ...Oh Knackers zee camel has ein hot bum unt not in ein gut vay !"

    • Neil, I looked long and hard into the ballistics of this as the dio is really defined in the millisecond the 'bomb' detonates and right before the 'explosion' takes. Apparently the lag of the explosion (clearly light travels faster than sound) would mean you'd 'see' all this in the dio if you could really 'freeze' time which is what I wanted to capture.

      NOW, as for your interesting take on the camp crew, that's another matter. I could refer you to 'the doctor is in' thread if you want to talk about it...

      ...but it may be above my pay grade.

      Thanks for the post, keep rockin' Neil.

      • Dave I love seeing your work and this is no exception, the time and effort you have clearly put in is amazing, but I do love making fun of camp Nazi's,we should laugh at them ,it's what they deserve ...right?

        • By the way I did get that it was a freeze frame image and it works very well

        • You are right, Neil. One of my favourite ever comedies is Mel Brooks' 'the Producers' - If you haven't seen it do yourself a favour. One song is almost too funny to watch, 'To be or not to be (Hitler Rap)'

          I'd post a link but someone would be offended. If your thing is laughing at the absurdity of the Nazis, this is gold.

          • |You got it Dave,"Don't be stoopid, be a smarty, come and join the Nazi party" brilliant. Hans and Gunther off your tank would love it.
            If you haven't seen it check out Mitchell and webb ,"Nazi's are bad" , I love the bit where he realises that they are the baddies.

  6. David my hat is doffed sir. You talented @#!( ?

  7. Rudi and company,[ and the camel ] are having a bad day. You got multiple talents, your figures came out great.

  8. Anthony, talent is no substitute for being lucky and too crazy to know when to quit.

  9. Remarkable work all around--diorama details, figures, building, and that incredible tank! After 300+ posts in the WIP thread, I thought I'd seen all there was to see, or say all there was to say, but presto you have something up your sleeve (or up a camel's hind leg) yet to share with us.

    The artwork is amazing in itself. But the beauty of it is that the process played precisely the role that SM modeling is meant to play, and then some: existential and relational musings, and guys who touch a common interest getting to know and appreciate each other more.

    David, I am terribly grateful for your contribution to the Kasserine Pass GB. It's been a fun journey!

    • David, the thanks is yours for starting such a great Group Build. It really took me out of the dreaded comfort zone, learned a few tricks, and I think we all had a bit of fun. We've touched on the issue of the road less travelled and this has certainly been a bit of a winding road to (almost) Kasserine.

      Next up is the 'Higher Call' dio - back to aircraft, but another story with the worthiest of narratives.

  10. P.S. I'm thinking the camel is going to be just fine...

  11. Dave ,what scale is this and where did you get the Camel and Arab ? I had a real job tracking down a part set of ancient Airfix figures and paid way more than they were worth.

  12. Would this be the original source of all car bombs we see today? Never saw anything like it. Never thought a Tiger would be a Camel´s trophy...

  13. I think you may be right, David. Given the ballistics, the saddle, and the 'partial detonation' he might make it. Although I tend to think the guys will be having steak for a few days. Every (viscera spattered) cloud has a silver lining.

  14. You pulled it off rather nicely ! "Freeze frame" was a song from the early 1980's if memory serves me... the J Geils Band.

    The album was called ironically "Freeze Frame- Flamethrower".

    Your build has both...

    Besides that fabulous Tiger, I really like how you captured the instant with the flame and the container rupturing... at a few certain angles in your pictures, it looks like someone has been feeding burritos to the Camel and was playing with a lighter... just kidding with you David. You have mastered fire rather convincingly. The crew and figure painting has turned out exceptional too. Much better than I ever have done.

    Camel steaks anyone ? Welcome to the "Dark Side" of Armor building. Your first attempt turned out great.

    Well done sir. I'll be missing the postings on the "Road to Damascus" however.

    • Louis, one door closes, and another kit opens. Somehow I think we'll find somewhere to wander the digital ether, righting wrongs and getting stuff off our chests (mmm, sounds like a couple of superhero strippers).

      J.Geils band, that's from the days of before. Mullets, Ronnie Raygun, Maggie Snatcher, 'the best of times and the worst of times'.

      In terms of the camel, some of those shots are meant to emphasise the absurd, and I could trust you to pick up on that. I spent a bit of time researching explosions (waiting for a knock on the door from MI6).

      Anyhow, great to hear from you partner, happy trails.

  15. Neil, it's all in 1/35 and the figures (apart from the two cats) were culled from a DAK tank crew and this set...

    I only used the camel, if you want the British figures drop me a message with your address and I'll send them up.

  16. I just love this because it summarises the madness of war. If something can be done - someone will always be lunatic (or brave) enough to give it a go. You'll know more but I believe in the late 70s/early 80s The Mujahideen in Afghanistan used camels in a similar way due to the lack of cars (which were too important a commodity to blow up in some places) - I don't think they were riding them at the time.

    There is a plenty of discussion here about the subject of your absolutely mind-blowing diorama - which I also guess is how you'd like it, David. The fact that you have chosen a 'snapshot' that captures literally 'the nanosecond' is quite unique. And when you said (all along) that it was 'all about the ungulate' I had visions of the tank crew in a stand off - perhaps blasting the poor stubborn animal in panic to get it out of the way. This seems much more sinister, and certainly more thought provoking.

    What I'd like to come back to though, is the quality of the build. I know it is secondary to you in some ways, but it could easily be missed in all of the twists in the WIP thread, and all of the 'shock and awe' in the diorama's narrative (it must be great to be a polymath!). The tank is sensational - other tankers have said so, but your attention to all of the small things (in both tank and diorama to be fair) really makes it stand out for me. The dilapidated building is wonderful - even down to the expertly drawn graffiti (another great twist and detail). The base looks real. And your love-hate relationship with figure painting is nothing short of astonishing in what it has produced. These gents have really made the piece burst into life. At the very moment that a camel-riding martyr does his thing, a Nazi is reading some graffiti on a wall populated by cats! 'Vibrant' doesn't cover it! I know something special has come to Pass (I know you like puns) when a 'build' stays open on my laptop most of the day, and when I keep going back to it and scrolling through the photos - and this one did that. A great piece of art is supposed to take the eye on a journey around it - this achieves that, visually and thematically!

    Congratulations DLS, the reveal was everything the WIP promised to be and so much more - you said it was about conversion - and I reckon nothing you do with plastic and your imagination will ever be the same again! How lucky we all are to witness it!

    • @yellow10

      Panzerabwehrhunde. The Germans have a word for absolutely everything. In this case the Russians used to train dogs to go hunting Panzers in WW2, A practice that certain Arabic organisations still used into the 21st century.

      Your words are far too kind, Paul. But really nice to hear and made my day a lot brighter.

  17. That camel definitely has "the hump" now, more British humour. An excellent diorama capturing the exact moment as you planned.

  18. Nice job David! Excellent work all around. No doubt are a sick, sick puppy!

    🙂 I like that!

  19. David, what can I say that hasn't already been said? Fantastic, my friend!

    " ... Germans drove over dung for ‘good luck." They should've stuck to driving over camels, not their dung. What is wonderful are the many new tiddly-bits of trivia that can be found here. This is one wee factoid I'd never heard - not that I imagine that I've heard almost all factoids, mind you!

    Your figures are superb and like Paul wrote, the tank and its' "riders" look great, with great detail. I especially like the anti-Nazi graffiti! Masterfully done, Sir! I also really like the way you lit the explosion creating a still-frame in time.

    Louis, only you could think up a situation involving camels, burritos, & a lighter! I practically fell off my chair laughing!

    Again ... David, this was not just a great diorama but a good story, too!

  20. How cool is this... Nice work David.

  21. Yeah - if I were to attempt to wax eloquent, I'd just be piling on - so just consider this piling on! Love it!

  22. Greg, you wax eloquent all you want; I'll stick to my legs and bikini line. Glad you liked the build. Next up is the B17 and 109 - both wheels up and in flight, just how you like 'em. On the bench now.

  23. David, that project must’ve been a blast!

    It turned out well, and as others have mentioned, it does capture the essence of the turmoil of war. Good job.

  24. And another pun...I'm beginning to feel like the Sid James of iModeler - 'Carry on Up the Kasserine Pass'

    Thanks @wiley2770

    • Another hard night at the bench for DLS - that dio plaster can be tricky...

  25. Oh, very funny, Paul. Don't you have a model to build...

    • I was basking in the warm glow of being 'between builds', I said hello to the children (almost remembered their names) and had dinner with the wife, but then the postman dropped a book on Sailor Malan on the mat and I am getting a little twitchy...

      • Ah, the GOOD Adolf. So, is this a hint as to the nature of the next build? Not sure how you follow a project like 'Rommel's Taxi' but Malan is a very good start.

        • Life is going to become simpler but busier. For RAF100 I have 4 builds to deliver. The first two will be a couple of Dunkirk planes in order to ask the question ‘where was the RAF?’ Hopefully the ‘good Adolf’ will find us an answer. It was also time for a break from the third Reich!

          • Very much look forward to that, Paul. When you think of the thousands of sorties the RAF flew around Dunkirk and trying to hold a front, THAT question is a very delicate issue. Hope you post at least some of those builds as WiP threads.

  26. Camels roasting on an open fire? David you have exceeded in combining all sorts of elements into this diorama. Not sure if you're a madman or a genius or maybe a combination of both. Either way fantastic work, interesting build threat combining modeling techniques, genealogy, biblical studies and a plethora of puns I like it.

  27. Tom, the build thread was a journey, wasn't it? Thanks for your contributions and see you over at the 'Higher Call' build.

  28. Well that’s impressive, David. The explosion looks so real. Great diorama.

  29. Thanks, John. My first I've trying one of these 'explosions' and it turned out ok. I think next time, though it'd be better with a more powerful LED to show up in the daylight a bit more. Thanks for the kind comment!

  30. AWESOME diorama. A story unfolded from the first poofteenth of a second, like the Big Bang.
    Interesting build log tale, with all sorts of interesting characters.

    Though I have never worked on a tank, I have worked on Cat dozers for a few years. Seeing those rollers brought back some memories. Pulled many of then apart to replace grease seals etc. They are very heavy to lift onto the steel workbench. The larger ones require a hoist to lift them. Even each a track-plate is heavy enough.

    The guy welding the roller wheel reminded me of applying hardfacing welds. It's a shocker having to do that in the field, when everything is wet and muddy. I always seemed to get zapped, at least once, when inserting a new electrodes.

    Once, I was checking for roller leaks under the dozer. Not much room under there. You have to cruel on your stomach to get under. The boss, who sent me in, forgot I was under the dozer. He climbed into the dozer and started it up. I was not too cocerned until he engaged one track to turn the dozer around. I am sure I broke the speed record for cruelling out of there. My boss was apologetic after I told him off.

    Woops. Got carried away on your wonderful Article.
    Well done on the diorama, David. It's a high bench mark to aim for. . . just how I like it.

Leave a Reply