A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 29 December 2016

What a Day, What a Day!


Well, it being holiday season, and since I was allowed out for the day by the nursing staff, I took a mad turn and drove over the hills to visit that noted gentleman collector and bloggist, General Picton - a fellow I had met several times professionally between 1808 and 1815, and whose wound at Waterloo was, rather famously, somewhat worse than my own.

Fantastic. The good general is steadily building a 20mm scale diorama of Waterloo - a project which has travelled the world with him for many years. I had marvelled at his blog posts, but the experience of being in a room (well, several rooms) with his creation (well, part of it) is really something else again.

He had laid out, he estimated, rather less than one quarter of what exists at present - simply set it out on tables so that I could have a look. I also spent a fabulous hour or so being shown through some of the boxes that didn't make it onto the tables - lots of gasping over figures I've heard of but never seen, much admiring clever conversion work and gorgeous paintwork, and a great deal of head-scratching, trying to identify rare and ancient castings from the history of the hobby.

Since the winter days are short and the Scottish countryside is a little wild I could only stay for a few hours, but it was an unforgettable day out - I left with some concern over the amount of work the general would have to commit to tidying up after my tour of inspection. I can only thank him and his family for their hospitality, and for the opportunity to see and - let's get the words right here! - just to stand near his burgeoning masterpiece. I find the world of the dioramist very attractive, but the approach is very different from what I do myself, and I found my day fascinating.

Thank you, sir - terrific fun, and greatly appreciated!

My photos do little justice to the models - best to study General Picton's
own blog - but they give an idea - here's another view of the scratch-built
La Haye Sainte

You want French artillery? - no problem - this is just the limbers, wagons
and caissons, of course - the guns themselves are elsewhere






Just some of the boxes that the collection lives in - I might never have come
home again if I could have hidden in one of the boxes...


15 comments:

  1. Wow! This IS a project on a grand scale! Thanks for sharing the fruits and discoveries of your day out. You really ought to get out more often.

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    1. I agree - there is obviously more to the world than simply going to the dry cleaners or Tesco, so I shall work up a list of things to see. All the best for the New Year, Jon.

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  2. Of all the possible sight-seeing trips, Foy, you picked-'un. Outstanding.

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    1. I confess that it was an hour after I read this that I realised what you'd said - very good - this is why i never made it as a Sun reader. Good New Year to you, Matt!

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    2. I sincerely apologise, Foy. Back in my student days we considered Kelvin McKenzie to be just about the most evil man who ever lived. I am aghast to find myself descending to such depths. I hope you will forgive me one day.

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    3. My pleasure - I think K McKenzie probably not quite the most evil man who ever lived, but he's certainly on the shortlist.

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  3. Replies
    1. The artificial horizon has not been the same since, I can tell you!

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  4. Looks fun - which hills did you drive over to get there?

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    1. First of all the Pentlands, then over Clydesdale into the Lowther Hills. Pretty quiet up there - dark and gloomy too, yesterday. Had the same feeling as when I was diverted over the moors from Gifford to Longformacus in a downpour a few weeks ago - I kept thinking, "if I have an accident up here, it might be a day or so before someone notices..."

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  5. Wow!

    The closest I can come to imagining it is to remember a few years back, OK March 2001,on the way to Cold Wars, I detoured through the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to make a prearranged visit to the Toy Soldier Museum, a private collection of toy soldiers, uniforms etc housed in a 2 story building bigger than any house I've ever lived in, choc-a-block full of dioramas and showcases, figures old and new, thousan's of 'em to coin a phrase. The only 20's were props from a James Bond movie but I was at the height of my 54mm madness so it was a little piece of dream land.

    May 2017 be a good year for you and yours.

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    1. Thank you Ross - all the best to your team as well!

      I've said it before, but placing me next to a good diorama automatically renders me 10 years old on the spot. All I can do is whisper, "Wow". Latest previous experience of this was on the top floor of the Ingolstadt museum 3 years ago, but it works every time.

      Something philosophically tricky about the differences between diorama and wargames collections - sometimes I see (sometimes I actually attempt) little dioramic features in a a wargames unit, and - with the possible exception of tasteful command groups - it often doesn't work. The idea of having realistic casualties attached to a unit to denote attrition is attractive, but the reality of dragging a cluster of dead bodies around the field behind the unit is less pleasing, to me at least. My unadorned red tiddlywinks score zero out of 10 for scenic enhancement, but at least they are not comedic during the game - it's all in the personal taste, I guess.

      Not sure what that ramble was about! - I guess I am saying that I regard dioramas and game pieces as distinct and different, and the ones I saw on Thursday were a splendid example of the dioramic style.

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  6. That is simply bloody marvellous. A toy soldier heaven, The gentleman is to be congratulated in the warmest possible turns. I can sense the ire of my dearly beloved focussing on me as some of my little tin men are resting on the dining room table, she will view this as unwarranted territorial expansion. I will show her your photographs and whisper gently, "see how things could be..........." Thanks for all of your postings. I hope that you and your family have a good and peaceful year. I have just been asked to move my copy of C Duffys Siege Warfare from the kitchen in case we have a visitor ????? They might find it interesting. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm.

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    1. Chris - thanks for your good wishes - all the best to you. If you have time, and can be bothered, email me at the address in my Blogger profile for a bit of a blether. I promise not to hassle you...

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  7. I've never saw such a big unit of HAT's Guard Grenadiers a Cheval. Impressing!

    cheers
    Uwe

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