This is the British companion piece to my previous American airborne post. The inspiration here was once again A Bridge Too Far, especially the loading-up scenes on the tarmacs in England.
The models are made up of a somewhat ahistorical hodge podge. I used Heller’s version of the Horsa glider, which the kit says is in the configuration and livery of the craft used by Major Howard in the assault on Pegasus Bridge. Looking around online at other versions of the Horsa, I see that many use the skid structure under the center of the fuselage, but although the Heller kit contained those pieces, the instructions did not show them at all, so I followed orders and left the whole thing off. I also looked and looked but could not find a definitive original photo that showed a radio “washline” on the Horsa. However, quite a number of models I saw had one, so I put one on mine, too.
You will notice two jeeps in the scene, as well as a 75mm pack howitzer and a couple of little Welbike motor bikes. The jeep, cargo trailer and pack howitzer all came from Airfix’s Willys British Airborne Jeep kit. Remembering the scene in A Bridge Too Far in which Sean Connery’s General Urquhart unconvincingly describes glider-borne “jeeps armed with twin Vickers machine guns” that would speed to Arnhem to secure the bridge there, I built that option for my diorama. (Of course, having a Market Garden jeep with a Pegasus Bridge glider doesn’t make too much sense, but as you will have come to see if you’ve read a few of my diorama posts, historical accuracy is less of a priority for me than making something that “looks neat” — with all due respect and admiration to my friends out there who do enjoy getting it right!) The second jeep is borrowed from the Airfix 1/76 Buffalo kit. I painted the driver’s beret crimson and poof, it sort of fits.
The British paratroop figures come from several different places. Some are Italeri (well, ESCI, really, and yes, I’ve had them for a while). At least one (the head-bowed, arm-up, looking-at-his-watch-while-while-trudging-forward officer type) is from the old Airfix set. The Welbikes came with the Waterloo 1815 “British paratroopers with pack howitzer” kit. The officer with the clipboard talking to the pilot is actually from the Caesar Miniatures British Commandos set, but since he had a beret I thought I could get away with camouflaging his jacket and painting his beret crimson, just like the other jeep driver’s.
If you want to see another diorama that depicts a landing-zone scene, by all means check out “Gliders on Landing Zone ‘Z’, 17 September 1944”. It is easily one of the best dioramas I have seen on any topic, and far superior, frankly, in detail and accuracy, to mine here.