I just read the post on the official blog for the project detailing the opening of the diorama today in Wellington. Wow. It is even more visually stunning than I when I last saw it – when it was 99% complete but in a room that resembled a construction site with no lighting in place and you were practically tripping over buckets of flock, paint, spackle and of course, hundreds of miniatures. I am incredibly proud of all the effort that went into this. New Zealand wargamers, painters and modellers can be justifiably proud.
Given the incredibly short time frame – mid December 2014 to now – I think it is nothing short of a miracle that this was done. Sir Peter Jackson copped a lot of flak on modelling and wargame sites around the world and even here in New Zealand. People saw a rich guy getting plebs to do his painting for him. I hope that they have seen that while Sir Peter could have got all the models painted in Sri Lanka or some place – and probably to a much more uniform standard, they would not have been painted with the love and dedication that was put into it by the New Zealand gaming community who did get involved. Every miniature that came back – even the ones that were not painted that well and had to be redone – were done by dedicated people who wanted to be involved. The way I look at it those redo’s just got some extra love. I have only met Sir Peter in passing at Weta and the museum when I was volunteering there and I never got the opportunity to personally thank him for coming up with the idea in the first place and then fronting the wedge to pay for it.
This project brought a lot of people together and I imagine more than a few old acquaintances were rekindled and new friendships made. On a personal note I met up with Roy Martin at Weta on the first weekend we volunteered there. It took a day for us to realise that we once worked in the same office for eight years (it was a while since we had seen each other) and more amazingly, neither of us knew we were wargamers with basically the same hobby interests.
While my father was a WWII veteran, I couldn’t but think of him while I was working on this WWI project. Reality is that when the 100th Anniversary of WWII rolls around and the great battles fought by New Zealand in that conflict are commemorated I will either be dead or past being able to paint or participate in anything like this so I dedicated my time and effort on this to his memory. It was kind of nice that the Prime Minister noticed the photo I had of Dad in my painting box when he and the Governor General had their visit after they opened the War memorial garden outside the museum.
These photos are from my poor eight year old 2mp phone camera. Compare these work in progress shots with how the diorama looks now. One of the Turkish platoons that I inserted into the diorama. It was, as Roly said on the official blog, tough work. Bent over, trying not to step on anything you shouldn’t – not easy on middle-aged backs. Then you had to poke a hole with an awl through the terrain – and bear in mind this could support the weight of overweight wargamers – and then position the figure.
These are a few photos from Mustering The Troops Blog – please go there and see more.
The Turkish wave cresting and crashing on the New Zealand line. Stunning photo and a dramatic moment in the battle.
You can get right up and see into these trenches. Not only are Turks attacking from here, additional trenches are full of men firing at the New Zealanders on the Apex.
I particularly like this vignette. I have to say that. Two of the officers were my work as was the furniture and the dugout cover. The canvas cover was still wet when I last saw it. It was literally the very last thing I did on the project before I had to pack away the paints and head back to the Woolshed. Also a big thanks to Alan and Michael Perry and Co, who were great company and a pleasure to work with. I really enjoyed the lunches and the chats – getting a beer out of the lads was good as well. I owe you one next time you are in New Zealand.