"Closely Watched Train - BP 44"
The BP 44 armoured train came into existence by modernization of BP 42 type in 1944. It differed from the previous one by its reinforced weaponry which represented four 100 mm howitzers in rotary turrets and two armoured pursuit cars fitted by Pz IV medium tank turret with 75 mm canon which replaced pusher cars at the beginning respectively at the end of the train.
These trains were used in battles in Poland, East Prussia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Italy and The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Two trains remained in Bohemia after the German surrender and after being repaired they became the part of the weaponry of the Czechoslovak army, where they served until the middle of fifties.
The BP 44 train was double-sided. There was an armoured BR 57 locomotive in the middle with one tender in the rear and another one in the front. Towards both sides an artillery car, a command car, an artillery and anticraft car, a tank carrier car ( mostly with light tank Pz Kpfw 38) and an armoured pursuit car with Pz IV tank turret followed. Every BP 44 train had two Panhard 38 (f) scout cars as reconnaissance vehicles. They were usable on the roads as well as, after removal of the rubber tires, on the tracks.
Instead of this standard there were of course different variants of sets of wagons. This model represents only a half of a typical BP 44 train, completed in addition by a pusher car and an armoured scout car.
As I wanted to make such a pile of plaster alive I inserted the train in the countryside and with the help of other models and figures I tried to render a stop of that colossus before fight starts again. All is of course fictitious and it could have happened somewhere in The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia at the end of World War II.
The footing of the diorama is a wooden support plate of 140 x 40 cm with a glass housing. Polyurethane assembling foam and acrylate putty served to make the terrain. The railroad ties were poured of resin, steel rails have been offered by railway's modeller shops, where I also bought material for making grass, leaves, semi-product of a paved road, telegraph poles and wayside shrine. Bunker LO model 3, type A180 comes from Samek Models company. The rest was done on a self-help basis with the priceless advice by my friend, a railway modeller. The panoramic backdrop on the back of a glass housing reached some spatial impression.
For manufacturing the train I used a French MACH 2 - Armageddon kit, scale 1:72. As there is a short run whose quality isn't in several aspects on a demanded level, I didn't use neither plastic railroad ties, rails, wheels, figures of soldiers , nor hand rail, railing or running boards which I replaced by parts of wire. On some carriages I opened either door or top and intimated the part of the interior. I fitted all wagons by steel wheels and made a screw coupling and an airbrake hose-pipe to be connected. The decals comes partly from the kit, partly of my own make. I had to adjust the advanced pusher car from the previous HO scale for a demanded size. Parts for tank construction weren't very successful as well, so that they were replaced by Pz Kpfw 38(t) Ausf C by UM company. The armoured scout car in front of the train is a kit Aufkl Pz Wg P 204(f) Drezyna Pancerna by RPM.
Models of the following producers have been located in front of the train: Revell (Sd.Kfz. 9 Famo, Sd.Kfz.164 Nashorn), MAC Distribution (Opel Blitz, Einheits-Diesel Kfz. 68 Radiocar), Attack Hobby Kits (Phänomen Granit 25H Ambulance, Tatra T-57 K), Hasegawa (Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf. D, VW Kübelwagen + BMW Side Car), Roden (Opel Maultier Sd.Kfz.3) a ACE (Sd.Kfz. 10 Typ D7).
The offer of Preiser company solved the problem with figures. I made all 83 figures of some few sets in positions I needed. According to my wife's wish I arranged still a figure of a dog by Noch company.
The diorama I have been building in my leisure with some few breaks for nearly over a year doesn't set the aim of a precise rendering of a concrete reality that time. It's the only result of my fantasy and taste to make models I favour just for pleasure. I hope some of you will enjoy it as well.