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Dan Tisoncik's amazing 1/35 scale dioramas - where figures do the driving

Free online extra
By Mark Hembree
FineScale Modeler's October 2008 issue features a portfolio of master modeler Dan Tisoncik's expressive dioramas. Exclusive to our Web site, here is more of Dan's amazing work.
Dan Tisoncik at his workbench: No rush to straighten up before a visit from FSM - in fact, he's so organized his modeling buddies rib him about it.
A French Renault Char D2 was an opportunity for Dan to finish this ADV resin kit with a flamboyant camouflage scheme. The crew figures are from DES. Unless otherwise noted, Dan's models are 1/35 scale.
Dan had few kind words for this MB Models Soviet 203mm howitzer, recalling how he sculpted more than built it from resin parts. The figure, like most Dan builds, is a composite - in this case, a Warrior body gets a Hornet head. "The key is the face," he says.
Dan detailed the daylights out of Model Victoria's Fiat-Ansaldo L6/40 light tank and interior, giving the engine, turret, and lower fighting compartments a rigorous workout, opening hatches and access panels to show off all the stuff, and adding wire and photoetched-metal hand grabs and brackets. The hoist frame is a Precision Models add-on attended by Model Victoria figures.
Dan surrounded Cromwell's Soviet T-28 medium with a mix of scratchbuilt and converted figures in a combat vignette entitled "Kill the Beast."
New Dragon and Trumpeter kits of the "Dicker Max" have created quite a buzz, but Dan beat the rush when he built On Track Models' resin kit of the German 105mm self-propelled gun, displaying it in a nightmarish recovery scenario after having "fallen down the steppes" in Russia sometime in 1941-42. Scratchbuilt and photoetched-metal details fill the vehicle interior and adorn the hull. The figures are compilations of parts from Warriors, Verlinden, Jaguar and Hornet.
Building New Connection Models' FlaK SMK 18 Type 2 was a special pleasure for Dan, who was delighted by how the kit seemed to fall together straight out of the box. He assigned Jaguar's Luftwaffe officer to the German anti-aircraft gun.
Dan tells the tale of Germany's 1943 defeat by the Soviets in the Battle of Kursk with Verlinden's 150mm howitzer, scratchbuilt figures, and artful groundwork. Dan said he was surprised by the occasional negative reaction to this stark scene, maintaining his only intent was to truthfully model an important event in history.
An Alpine figure (with a different head) strikes a jaunty pose beside a Polish TKD. Dan took RPM's kit and "modified the heck out of it," he says, adding photoetched-metal and scratchbuilt details to the interior, exterior, and 47mm gun.
Dan painted a Royal Models figure according to instructions, gave it a Hornet head, and posed it on the Ziegfried Line. He says, "The painting of the face leads the way. You have some latitude in painting the uniforms and accessories, but people know faces." In his usual manner, Dan builds the groundwork and chooses the figure without worrying about the head, which he selects and paints separately.
Mounting a DML PaK on a scratchbuilt wheelbarrow helped Dan depict the Wehrmacht's grim march to defeat. The figure is from the VLS Platoon series.

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