The dictionay defines the word hobby as; an enjoyable activity, an activity engaged in for pleasure and relaxation during spare time, pastime, leisure pursuit. That being the case, I have taken my hobby one step further. The challenge of a lifetime, putting 25 years of model painting experience to the test. It sounded easy, if you said it quickly. The task I set myself was to hand paint more than 31, 000 infantry with a supporting cast of calvary, artillery, wagons, everything necessery to complete on of the worlds largest battlefield dioramas. The subject chosen was Gettysburg.
Three days of fighting started to form in my mind. How big was it going to be? What would it look like? Where would it be displayed? How long would it take?
Painting started on the artillery on March 16, 2000. If I could find a major sponsor and paint full time I thought I could complete it in 3 years. Paining by myself without a sponsor I gave a realistic timeframe of 5 years. As it turned out I finished the last piece on February 8th, 2005 with a grand total of 31, 412 infantry, 912 horses, 242 artillery, 60 wagons, 9 buildings, tents, barrels, camp fires, boxes, brick walls and fencing. The diorama would be layed out on ten tables, one table 8 feet wide and sixteen feet long took care of the first day of fighting. Three tables eight feet wide and ten feet long would show the second day and then the crown jewel, Pickets Charge - six eight foot by ten foot tables making up the centre piece. The model now was fifty four feet long and covered eigth hundred and forty eight square feet in the shape of a huge H. I had done it.
The display itself is a fantastic piece of art and it took the combined talend of three people to complete what we wanted to show. Neil Olyott came on board a few months after painting started. His talent was used to make chagneds to over 10, 000 soldiers and horses creating pieces unique to this model. Mark Aylee gave his talent in building, by designing the tables and landscapes. Little round top is a testimonial to his building skill. For the three of us this has been a learning experience made by trial and error. What we built is a complete model dioram of museum quality, it needs to be see to be believed.
Contact the Medicine Hat Miniature Model Association (MHMMA) @
582 Ross Glen Dr. S.E.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
Canada, T1B 3R7
Site built and maintained by Stephan Grondin
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