French Imperial Guardsman, Waterloo 1815
This figure represents a Grenadier guardsman as he would have appeared in Napoleon's final battle.
The Guard played a major part in the climax of the Battle of Waterloo. It was thrown into the fray at the last minute to salvage a victory for Napoleon. Completely outnumbered, it faced terrible fire from the British lines, and began to retreat. For the first (and only) time in its history the Middle Guard retreated without orders. At the sight of this, Napoleon's army lost all hope of victory. The Middle Guard broke completely but the Old Guard (and some of the Young Guard) battalions held their formation and secured the retreat of the remainder of the French Army before being almost annihilated by British and Prussian artillery fire and cavalry charges.
15th The King's Hussars Cavalryman, Waterloo 1815
Part of the Light dragoons of the British army, this regiment was formed in 1759 and served throughout this period including Seven Year's war, the Peninsular war/Waterloo, Anglo-Afghan war, the Boer war and the First World War (as both a mobile mounted force and as dismounted infantry) up until it's amalgamation with he 19th Royal Hussars into the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922.
57th Virginia Infantryman, Gettysburg 1863
This Confederate represents the battle hardened and weary men that found themselves literally at the crossroads of the American Civil War in Pennsylvania, July 1863.
The Virginians led by Gen. Lewis Armistead (who faced off against his great friend Gen. Win Hancock) were part of the courageous but ultimately doomed Pickett charge to take Cemetery Ridge that became known as "the high water mark" of Confederate success during the war.They fought for another 2 years including at Cold Harbor and Petersburg until the surrender at Appomattax Courthouse on April 9th 1865.
24th Regiment of Foot, Rorke's Drift 1879
Yet another dio based on a great classic movie starring a young Michael Caine, this one is of course "Zulu" about the defence of Rorke's Drift during the Anglo-Zulu wars of the 1870s.
Have given the diorama a real farmyard look as it was in the film and set it post-battle with a weary Lance-corporal anticipating yet another wave of attackers. Some handy driftwood at the local beach was perfect for the fence with a bit of leftover coffee providing the stain on that and the sandbags.
4th Australian Light Horse Sgt, Gallipoli 1915
This diorama was a labour of love because after completing 5 or 6, this was the first one i got to do with an ANZAC flavour. Took me ages to track down the figure but it's perfect for an early war setting as so many Light Horse ditched their mounts and fought on the Gallipoli peninsular in heavy & costly encounters at The Nek, Lone Pine etc.
A lot of these troopers then went on to serve with the Anzac Mounted Division in the Sinai & Palestine campaigns until the wars end.
German Trench Raider Sturmtruppen, France 1917
As the stalemate of trench warfare dragged on into 1916, both sides developed and recruited men for medium to large assault squads designed to sap enemy morale and capture both prisoners & intelligence.
Armed with medieval style clubs & knives as well as modern flamethrowers, grenades and the revolutionary MP 18 submachine gun, the raids proved only moderately successful and were often as brutal as they were quick.
Platoon Sgt Barnes 1st Cavalry Div, Vietnam 1967
This is S/Sgt Barnes from "Platoon", one of my "top 5" war movies and for this dio i've put him in a semi jungle setting similar to the village scene in the movie and beefed him up with a flak vest, holding a captured NVA Czechoslovakian-made WWII era radio.
The fence is a sushi mat, the plants are made from pet store fish tank supplies and the stream is made with Woodland Scenics EZ-Water.
RNZIR Infantryman, Nui Dat Vietnam 1969
This dio shows a New Zealand rifleman relaxing at dusk in the ANZAC base of Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province. Unlike the Americans, Kiwi and Aussie soldiers very rarely wore helmets in this theatre preferring instead the jungle hat and the two armies used a mixture of British and American equipment.
Both Victor & Whiskey infantry companies operated search and destroy missions from here and it also was home to 161 Battery RNZA as well as 4 Troop NZSAS.
RNZAF Crewman, S.E.Asia 1970's/1980's
The RNZAF operated throughout S.E. Asia during the post-war and cold war periods, predominately flying transports carrying freight & troops to operations such as Malaya, Korea and Vietnam.
The figure here is an Iroquois Huey crewman from 3 Squadron who worked alongside NZ artillery, infantry and NZSAS in Vietnam and Kiwi pilots also flew with their US & Australian counterparts in Sioux choppers and USMC A-4 Skyhawks in the latter stages of the war.
2 Para Sergeant, Falklands 1982
Originally was going to make this a NZ SAS soldier training in Waiouru, a pretty bleak and dismal place in the centre of the north island of New Zealand but the base reminded me of an iconic picture taken during the Falklands conflict of a Royal Marine "yomping" across country with a Union Jack attached to his Bergen and armed with his ever-reliable L1A1 SLR so hey presto...oh and i added a 'tache to him as every Para NCO has a mustache!
RNZE Sapper, Iraq 2005
A Kiwi sapper on patrol in Basra pauses and keeps a low key eye out for trouble as the troop completes work on a nearby bridge project.
From 2003 British forces conducted Operation Telic in southern Iraq, the largest deployment of troops since World War II, culminating with the final withdrawl of mostly Royal Navy personnel in 2011.
3rd Division commanded over a composite force made up of diverse nationalities such as Norwegian,Italian, Danish, Lithuanian, Czech and New Zealanders, who would also follow the British into Afghanistan.
U.S.Navy F/A-18 Hornet Pilot, 154 Black Knight Squadron
This modern day pilot is part of a Strike Fighter squadron and I have him posed in full gear as he would be about to launch from a Carrier.
His unit, VF-154 was established post WWII flying Hellcats and has been involved in all major US conflicts from Korea through Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Operation Freedom and take their nickname from their assigned planes in the 1950's the F-8 Cruader which were configured for night operations, hence "The Black Knights".
US Special Forces Trooper, Afghanistan 2010
This figure represents a member of a joint CIA-Special Forces squad carrying out a mission in southern Afghanistan, a continuation of operations that began in Vietnam and continued through to Panama, Somalia & Iraq etc right up to the present day.
As expected he his heavily equipped and well armed with primarily the M4 assault rifle with grenade launcher, M500 shotgun but also has at his disposal pistol, knife and grenades.
This is my tribute to ANZAC Day, April 25th, a day on which New Zealand and Australia remember those who landed on a small Turkish cove and endured the hardships of not only that campaign but all the sacfices made during the First World War and then all wars and conflicts that followed.
It represents cenotaph that have a place in not only the cities around the country but also and sometimes most poignantly the small towns where sisters,brothers, uncles, fathers etc are recorded for their service and for some the ultimate sacrifice.