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...