Sunday, 29 March 2015

PTS 73 + Anzacs + Turks + Gallipoli WW100

Somewhere over the rainbow.
Edition #73 of Painting Table Saturday and it was the final week of painting 54mm Anzacs & Turks for (sculptured by the Perry twins) for the Gallipoli diorama that will feature in The Great War Exhibition, opening in the old Dominion Museum building in Wellington, the week before Anzac Day.

I completed the new Anzac miniatures, the last of my Turks and some Anzac hats that will no doubt be scattered across the battlefield. I had some help but more about that later.

School visit.
During the week I also had an opportunity to take the Anzacs and Turks (that I finished last weekend) into Tamahere Model Country School to show Ella and Rylee's classes. Ella is in the senior syndicate and Rylee is a junior. It was interesting to see the different responses to the miniatures from the children. The dead Anzac miniatures had more of an impact on Ella's classmates. Rylee's class had children who knew of relations (great, great aunts and uncles) who came back from the war.

I also let the children hand around an Anzac miniature. One reloading without a bayonet, just to be safe. They could feel the weight of the miniature and I believe it was a good thing to let them know that they were holding a piece of history, that once installed will be 'untouchable'. If I wasn't teaching guitar that day I may have visited more classrooms.

Making sure Maori are represented among the Anzacs.
Part of the fun in painting the Anzacs was being able to have a variety of skin tones and hair colours to represent the different ethnic groups that made up the allied forces. Anzac soldiers came from a vast array of cultural backgrounds. For example, the Ceylon Planter’s Rifle Corps, a group of around 200 Ceylonese men, part of the 1st ANZAC Corps. Bugler HW Byrde was an Australian in this Corps and these men became known as General Birdwood’s bodyguard. 

As a kiwi, I wanted to paint some Maori who took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, later serving (with Pacific islanders) on the Western Front as part of the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion. I also painted a redhead soldier in honour of my good friend Lewis, founder of the Tamahere Officers Club.

It was a week of last times. Last time cleaning. Last time spraying. Last time ringing around and making sure painters were on track. This brings me to the thanks and blessings. 

Firstly, thanks to Sir Peter Jackson, Andrew Taylor (Weta) and the historian Christopher Pugsley for making this a truly kiwi project. Roly Hermans for helping get the news out to people through the NZ Wargaming forum and his work on the website, Mustering The Troops.

Rhys Jones (the 'Armchair General'), wargamer and former Chief of the New Zealand Defence Forces, deserves a medal for leading this project. Without his mustering of the painters, we wouldn't have been painting at all. My humble thanks go out to him for giving me the role of coordinator for the Waikato region. It has had it's challenges and has been thoroughly rewarding.

Tamahere Officers Club.
The Tamahere Officers Club, in particular the volunteer painters Lewis Morgan and Dave Hunter have my thanks and beers. Also, Bobby Grindrod from the Cambridge Wargaming Club, who knocked out 50 miniatures in record time. Timothy Lind of Tronhammer was another prodigious painter. Lastly, Phillip Porter, a scholar and a gentleman, from the Hamilton Immortals Miniature Wargaming Club. Phil coordinated half a dozen painters with calm assurance.

Jade, Ella and Rylee, my beloved daughters came to the party and helped dad paint his soldiers. My beloved wife also gave her support and kindly didn't mention the small fortune spent on new paints!

My eternal gratitude goes to Heather, Kim and Lisa at the Tamahere Model Country School office. Or as they are now known, the Tamahere branch of Weta operations. Boxes of miniature troops have been dropped off and sent forth under their watchful eyes. God bless them.

The last spray.

Blu Tak Hat Rack.

Last of the charging Turks.

Anzac detail, including stubble, teeth and tongue.

The Gallipoli campaign is said to have played an important part in our national identity. As I write this, the Kiwis are battling the Aussies in the Cricket World Cup. We came out first to bat and didn't do as well as we hoped. Now the Australians are in to bat. Against anyone else, this would just be another game of cricket. However, this is the final and this is Australia. Would our rivalry be as fierce if not for the Anzacs? I very much doubt it!

Go the Black Caps!
God bless you and have a great week!


  1. Fantastic work on the troops! Unfortunately the cricket is not going our way. Next time!

    1. Alas, we were beaten. There were flashes of brilliance but the Aussies were outstanding. Next time!

  2. Great work Darcy & team.
    Especially like that last crouching Kiwi.
    Unfortunately bogged down with day job & another project so wasn't able too.