In December 2015, Warlord Games announced they were running a diorama competition (details here) with a theme of 'hostile environment'. It could be on any subject, so long as the diorama has products available from their web store. So that opened it up to ancients, historicals as well as sci-fi.
I am a sucker for competitions. They challenge me to go outside of my comfort zone and try new things. I have not done a diorama before so was keen to try something different and attempt to tell a story, as after all that is what a diorama should do. Now I have been told on a number of occasions (thank you all for pointing this out) that this is more of a display board and not a diorama as I have intentionally left the bases on the miniatures. Well I am no scale modeller and as soon as the competition ends everything will go back to the various armies for tabletop play so I will say if you want to call it a display board if that makes you more comfortable then go right ahead.
When Warlord announced the competition I wanted to use whatever I had lying around so I scratched through all my bits and bobs and came up with some left over fences and a base about the right size. I have been painting winter Russian and German armies, so having winter on my brain it was easy to grab some troops to start the story. I was also gifted the Warlord Games resin StuH 42 with some home made anti-mine paste so was able to use that as the centrepiece. Finally I had reviewed the Gaz truck awhile back and it just seems to fit, so in it went as well.
As I painted each part it is fair to say the story evolved rather than was planned in any great detail. The original concept was for the Germans to be withdrawing however this is not how is turned out. In fact there was some crazy ideas floating around my head which in reality were never really an option as I either lacked the skill or products to carry them off.
So I could tell you the story of my finished product as the author but I think that defeats the purpose of a diorama. Look at the pictures and let it tell you the story.
I have learned a lot doing this project. I really enjoyed painting the StuH 42 and working on making the ground as realistic as I could. I have no ambitions of actually winning anything as it is my first attempt and I know there are guys entering with enormous talent but winning is not the point. Being involved is everything for me, I challenged myself and am happy with what I achieved.