1/48 WW2 Aircraft Diorama Figures and AC

If you like 1/48 WW2 aircraft and want to start your first diorama project, where to start in the jungle of items available? Will you find what you are searching for in injected plastic? Is there another option other than buying expensive resin figures, vehicles and accessories? I will try to give you some answers to those questions - even if this should only be considered as a starting point as the number of references available is immense!

The feature will be separated into two articles, each one offering different possibilities in terms of choice and cost. In this first article, I will go through what is available in injected plastic:

Chapter 1 - Figures and Accessories already available in mainstream kits.

Chapter 2 - Figures set kits available from mainstream manufacturers.

Chapter 3 - Vehicles and accessories kits available from mainstream manufacturers.

1 - Figures and Accessories already available in mainstream kits.
Why buy additional figures and accessories if there are some already provided in kits? Good point, but sadly you won't find much in them other than seated pilots! The only mainstream manufacturer to include diorama figures in their kits on a regular basis is Revell-Monogram. You can find some in their B-24, B-26, B-29, Devastator, Ju 52, Me 410 kits for example (picture 1). There's even a Tractor in the B-24 kit (picture 2) and two Atomic Bombs in the B-29 kit. The paratroopers in the Ju 52 kit (picture 3) are a nice addition but you can't do much damage to the enemy with only four of them!?

What can you expect from other manufacturers? The answer is almost nothing! Tamiya, like many, only provides pilots to place in the cockpit, that's almost all! Ok, sometimes a Kettenrad or a a US Tractor is included in a kit but these are limited editions and you have to pay for that extra stuff! That's why I will talk about them in Chapter 3. The only other figures I found in Tamiya kits are Japanese pilots and ground crew in the "old" A6M Zero kits. In picture 4 you can see them, together with a pilot found in a Fine Mold D4Y "Judy" kit. In Hasegawa and limited run kits you won't find anything! No figures, no accessories!

Yes, I found an Umbrella (picture 5) in a Fujimi Bf109G kit (nice for an North African diorama) and Revell's Ba-349 Natter comes with a launching platform (picture 6). But to sum up, with what is provided in the kits, and with a lot of luck, you can only make a small diorama with one or two figures but don't expect to be able to tell a story or to depict a busy airfield! For that you will have to spend some extra money!
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About the Author

About Jean-Luc Formery (TedMamere)

I'm mainly interested in WW2 aircraft and I build them in 1/48 scale.


Hi Rowan and Jean-Luc really nice. I like the article. One comment though: I can't agree on the eduard figures. Mine are far inferior to the Dragon and ICM figures. Most have severe sink marks and the plastic material is "rubber like". Even the Preisers are better, though the material is similar. best wishes Steffen
FEB 22, 2006 - 12:43 AM
Hi Steffen! Thanks for your comments! You are right about the quality of the Eduard figures, they do have sink marks. This has been pointed out by Rowan (Merlin) in his review of the kit. Fortunately, they are almost all in the back of the figures an easy to fill. I still think they look as good as the Dragon ones and better than the Preiser ones "anatomically" speaking. The best, in my opinion, beeing ICM's RAF and Luftwaffe sets... the sculptor of these figures was a real artist! Jean-Luc
FEB 22, 2006 - 01:09 PM
Thanks for the interesting article Jean-Luc I think you are right regarding the anatomy, but I like the Preiser ideas and poses (eating soldier, canvas chair e.g.). A pity there is only two chairs in it. I also rate the ICM very high and I'm glad there will be two new boxes this year (one German and one Soviet WW2) see their catalogue at http://www.icm.com.ua/Catalogue_RUS_2006.zip I'm also hoping for this to appear: cheers Steffen
FEB 22, 2006 - 01:41 PM
Another hint I'm not sure if I overread it or if you missed it. Some Dragon kits also had figures in it. Ba 349A Natter with 2 ground crew and a table (and a nice Walther rocket engine) Me 262 (with the big nose gun, version escapes me now as I do not have it) has some (?) figures in it and a ladder. 1 1/2 figures are in the Revell re-boxing. I also believe the Bomber Version had one or two crew members .... (also do not have it) I will look for the Natter later and make some pictures ... cheers Steffen
FEB 22, 2006 - 02:08 PM
Hi Steffen The best ICM figures are really superb aren't they! I'm also really looking forward to their new Aircraft releases - a Lagg 3 at last !) - and their Bf 109F has been a long time coming... exciting stuff! All the best Rowan
FEB 22, 2006 - 02:11 PM
Thanks for a great review, Jean-Luc! I will try to write one later this year regarding figures and accessories in 1/72. Everyone that has good info in this regard are welcome to contact me. Cheers!
FEB 22, 2006 - 02:41 PM
Hi all! Björn that's the way to go! Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet) I can't do reviews for 1/72 or modern subjects as I don't have any kits in that scale or era... so someone else has to jump in for these! If you plan to do a features about 1/72 stuff (there are more available than in 1/48) you can start a thread to discuss this with Armorama members. I did so a few month ago and was pointed to many kits I didn't knew! This helped me a lot for the feature. Steffen, thanks for all the infos! I hope the Soviet set won't be the one they already placed as bonus in some kits! Not that it's a bad one but a NEW one would be better! Of course I don't have all the kits with additional bonus figures and accessories. The feature was meant as a starting point for beginners wanting to do aircraft dioramas... like me at the moment! So I would be interested in every info about figures and accessories available in mainstream kits. Maybe one day I could update the feature... Thanks for your interest! Jean-Luc
FEB 22, 2006 - 08:23 PM