Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Miniatures at the Military Academy


In my previous post I glossed over our tour through the West Point Museum.  We spent a couple hours inside, but as lunch time drew near and the beautiful sunny day beckoned, we cut indoor sightseeing short.

The museum is divided into seven galleries.  We managed to browse through four of them.  Specifically:

The West Point Gallery

The Small Weapons Gallery

The Large Weapons Gallery and

The History of Warfare Gallery

The sections we didn't see were:

The History of the US Army Gallery

The American Wars Gallery and

The Lucas Heritage Center

Maybe we'll check them out during some future trip back to New York.

Anyway, as a wargamer, what interested me the most were the dioramas. 

During my late childhood/early adolescence, I built models--military planes, ships and vehicles--but I got bored with having just sitting around collecting dust.  Once my brother gave me my first wargame, Kriegspiel for my 16th or 17th birthday, I gave up modelling altogether.

A year or two later, I got hooked on miniatures (not counting chucking pebbles at green army men, or Airfix figures when I was a kid).  So, while my painting skill hasn't improved over the years, it's easy for me to admire other people's figures, especially the musuem-quality work, found in--well--museums.

Even though I don't have my own models, or figures on display, I'm always fascinated by a diorama's blend of canvas art and miniatures.

The West Point Museum's History of Warfare Gallery has several dioramas, depicting key battles from the Roman Republic to World War II.  Each of these events highlighted a significant tactical and/or technical innovation.

On display are:



...the Battle of Crecy...




But the gallery isn't entirely devoted to land warfare.  Since one can find "Beat Navy" signs and and plaques all over the post, I guess it took an acception-to-policy for a ship model to be allowed into the museum. 

In this case it is HMS Vulture, the getaway vessel for Benedict Arnold.

As an American, I'd say the name "vulture" was appropriate. 
Overall, the History of Warfare Gallery is certainly worth a visit by any wargamer for inspiration, or looking to inspire others into our hobby.  Yes, the figures in each display do seem to be showing their age, but that should only motivate us to do better with our own miniatures. 


DeanM said...

I see you're enjoying your vacation. Seeing dioramas like that bring back fond memories when I was a kid. I recall seeing a big Civil War one at either the Smithsonian or in the base of the Statue of Liberty - a very long time ago. There both closed today though! :) Best, Dean

Ted Henkle said...

Thanks Dean! I've always liked dioramas too, even though I don't build models/static displays anymore. I like the dynamic aspect of wargaming.

Kevin Smyth said...

Very cool stuff Ted. I had hoped to get to Annapolis last summer when I was in Maryland, but unfortunately had to pick and choose. Hope your vacation is a lot of fun.

Ted Henkle said...

Thanks Kevin! We had a great time, especially visiting a couple of my siblings, who I don't get a chance to see very often. I'll have to check out Annapolis one of these days.