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Fall Maneuvers - medium tank Charioteer, 1956 - 1965

Diorama (1:35) built by Thomas Hufnagel

Diorama Fall Maneuvers
After 1945, Great Britain began to modernize the tanks that had been leftover from war production. The "Cromwell" was still available in large numbers, was maneuverable but under armed (75 mm cannon L /39,5). It was now turned into the Charioteer. Unto the relatively new undercarriage an angular turret was placed. New armament was added, the 83,4 mm (L/70) cannon that was also used in the Centurion.

The thickness of the armor in the turret was 30 mm in front and 20 mm on the sides and in the back. In order to carry more ammunition the crew was reduced from 5 men to 3 or 4 men. With a crew of 3, 50 rounds of ammunition could be carried. The 12 cylinder Rolls-Royce engine (water- cooled) with 27 liter cylinder capacity could deliver 650 PS. With an operational weight of 30 tons it reached a top speed of 56 km/h. For 100 km travel it required 200 liters of petrol and had a range of 250 km. The British army used only a few of these vehicles after 1954 in the anti tank role. After a few years they were replaced by the Centurion.

The Austrian Army received 56 medium Charioteers from the British during 1956. The vehicles were used by Panzer battalion 4 in Graz and were replaced in 1965 by American M 47's. The diorama shows a Charioteer of PzB. 4 (2.Company, 1.Platoon, tank # 4) returning to the barracks after fall maneuvers from the training area. In the diorama set on a regular road we can only see one tank guided by three MP soldiers. The jeep was used by all branches of the Army as a command and communication vehicle. In this case the soldiers use it to oversee the tank column's movements. The driver of a VW bug that just happened to drive on the road has to wait until the superior monsters have passed.
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The vehicles

The Charioteer conversion set from Accurate Armour (C050) was the basis of the conversion. The Tamiya Cromwell Mk. IV or the Centaur C.S. Mk. IV can be used as a basis for this conversion. For the Austrian version I had to add a few parts such as the rear view mirror for the driver. The markings for the Austrian tank had to be put together from a view different decal sheets. The tie downs and tool straps in the conversion kit were replaced by Aber. The two tow cables were home made from wire stock. The Tamiya Jeep was built from the box and only a few photo etch parts were added.

After painting, I added the typical MP signs used during this period. The VW by CMK had little changed except for the wheels and their position. Since the kit wheels were a little primitive I made my own street tires by making an original and casting the other three. The attachment to the chassis was also changed. The chassis sat a little too high off the ground and I simply shortened it.


Individual figures were converted from various manufacturers' stock figures. They were fitted for the vehicles and the scene. Hands and heads are from Hornet and Verlinden. The driver of the VW was put together from many figures. The female passenger is from "Plus Model" (Civilian figures #157) and was converted from a standing figure to a sitting figure.


Both military vehicles were painted with acrylics after they had a primer coat applied. Vehicles of the Austrian Army are painted RAL 7013 (Tamiya XF 62 and XF 51 mixed in a ratio of 4:1 or Revell 46). The tactical markings I took from a sheet called Heeres Spezial Vacu: D-01, the national markings came from a IPMS Austria decal sheet: "Austrian Air Force" 1:72 and the turret number "214" was done with black rub on decals and then hand painted white.

The model was then washed with thinned oil colors and after a modest weathering process the dirt and mud was added. A mixture of color pigments, enamel paint, static grass, small roots and dirt was applied with a brush, a tooth pick and a tooth brush to the tank. The boot imprints on the turret and the surface of the tank were made with foot stamps from Calibre. The jeep was weathered with the same methods as the tank. The muddy pap on the tires was spread with a cotton swab. The tires were then given a treatment with "Mig black smoke".

The VW bug received a civilian paint job and was not dirtied up. Choosing a color for the civilian was the same as for the tank, as at no point in time all colors were used. I decided on a blue gray scheme (Gunze H 56 semi-gloss). The figures were painted with enamels and oil paint.
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Fall Maneuvers - medium tank Charioteer, 1956 - 1965

  Diorama built by Thomas Hufnagel, photos taken by Wolfram Bradac  
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Diorama Charioteer 1956-65 Diorama Charioteer 1956-65 Diorama Charioteer 1956-65 Diorama Charioteer 1956-65
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Diorama Charioteer 1956-65   Diorama Charioteer 1956-65   Diorama Charioteer 1956-65   Diorama Charioteer 1956-65
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Diorama Charioteer 1956-65   Diorama Charioteer 1956-65   Diorama Charioteer 1956-65   Diorama Charioteer 1956-65
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(click the images to enlarge)
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The diorama

I started with 50 x 45 cm wooden base and built up the basic ground formations with different sized pieces of Styrofoam. After I contoured the landscape with a sharp hobby knife, I then made a frame that bordered the road. I then filled any gaps on the frame with filler and poured thin plaster over it to finish it up. The rest of the landscaping was worked towards the road. Into the still wet and soft groundwork I pushed little rocks and dirt and a few small roots. The brush and grass on the embankment I made myself. I used foam foliage, various powders as well as kitchen herbs.

The tree with the autumn foliage is a tiny, young tree covered with lichen, and birch pollen. In order to make the tree a bit less sparse I added more lichen branches. I then added leaves individually with superglue. Since the leaves appeared to light I toned them down a bit with reddish brown paint applied with the airbrush. The meadow was made from grass-Vlies into which I worked strands of hemp rope. I added another wooden base which was added to bottom of the diorama and painted it with satin varnish.
  meet the modeler      

Thomas Hufnagel

  My name is Thomas Hufnagel and I was born in Vienna in 1968. I am a tool and die maker and currently work as a foreman in tool making company. At this time my model building centers on the vehicles and equipment of the Austrian army (Bundesheer). I contracted the modeling virus at an early age. I bought my first Airfix kit in a small toy and paper goods store.

I built what I could afford and what interested me. Slowly I drifted over to 1/35 scale. During 1989, while going through training as a driver for the army my interest in the vehicles of the Austrian army was aroused. Since there weren't any injection molded kits of these vehicles available, I gained experience with vacu-form and resin kits. Then I produced my own conversions and scratch builds.

I always incorporated them into a diorama, choosing themes that reflected actual service related occurrences ...
  Thomas Hufnagel  
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This page:  GALLERY: Fall Maneuvers - medium tank Charioteer, 1956-1965 (1:35) - built by Thomas Hufnagel
was last modified on: Aug 15, 2006
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Translation into English by Werner Stocker (Ft. Myers, FL USA).

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