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"Waterloo Remodelled" Topic

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Captain Siborne09 Sep 2021 5:04 a.m. PST

Dear Forum Members,

I've had several questions about when the Waterloo diorama will be on display. For those who would like to buy tickets for the special lectures and private tours at the UK's National Army Museum (NAM) in London between 20-23 October, please go to the following link:


The NAM is also open for normal visitors. The NAM's opening times are 10am-5.30pm and the diorama will be on display from Wednesday to Saturday. During this time anyone can purchase a ticket to view the exhibition and tour the whole of the museum.

This year, the exhibition will focus on Hougoumont, La Haie Sainte, Papelotte, Plancenoit and La Belle Alliance with about 20,000 figures on display. Next year will focus on the French cavalry charges onto the Allied squares. A series of annual exhibitions will follow joining up the whole battle to about the size of a tennis court.

This is a global effort with contributions from UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia and will be a fitting tribute to one of the great events in history. Needless to say, much kudos is due to TMP and its forum members many of whom have made significant contributions. Hope you can make it!

Bernard180909 Sep 2021 7:17 a.m. PST

Waterloo? Waterloo???
Je ne connais pas!
Une nouvelle marque de bière?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2021 7:19 a.m. PST

Non, mon ami – une chanson d'un groupe suédois

YouTube link

Lambert09 Sep 2021 9:01 a.m. PST

Tickets purchased. I've been lucky enough to see the model for real, and it's stunning. Photos can't fully do it justice. Can't wait to see it again!

BillyNM09 Sep 2021 9:34 a.m. PST

Included in the price of an entry ticket to the NAM? Since when did you have to pay for the NAM? Even when I visited post refurbishment, which IMO* has ruined it as a museum, admission was free.

*I also overheard several foreign visitors outside expressing their disappointment on what was supposed to be a 'National' Army Musueum.

ConnaughtRanger09 Sep 2021 11:08 a.m. PST

The refurbishment ruined a great museum. It's now designed for 5 year olds and has precious little to do with the Army.

laretenue09 Sep 2021 11:27 a.m. PST

Agreed. The makeover was an absolute travesty. For my purposes as a professional in tourism with specific military-history interests, the NAM is now next to useless. It used to be one of my favourite places. Incidentally, the mannequin of Pte Clay (3rd Foot Guards), which used to be one of a series of convincing life-size figures in the Road to Waterloo gallery, now graces the Guards Museum near Buckingham Palace. Its curator pulled it out of a skip. All the others must have been lost. I suppose we are lucky that the Siborne model was saved.

If you're in London and want to see a proper army museum, you need to take the train to Paris.

dibble09 Sep 2021 11:41 a.m. PST

Yup! I agree. I do believe that I slated the place in a thread on this site after visiting when it reopened.

TMP link

BillyNM09 Sep 2021 12:59 p.m. PST

Laretenue – FYI the 95th Rifle mannequin from the NAM is now in the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum in Winchester.
The Siborne model is almost the only reason to go the NAM now.

Gazzola09 Sep 2021 2:32 p.m. PST

How sad! But not unexpected these days. Not far from where I live is a priory. When we first moved to the area it was an old medieval priory that to reach it you had to trek through dense woodlands, overgrown pathways and across wild, natural looking fields. It was a pleasure to visit priory and also to walk around the priory grounds. It was like a step into the past and you were walking in the steps of our ancestors. Now it has been built over and it is basically a priory within a modern looking museum. The 'new' look might preserve it more but it is not the same. It is just another museum now.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2021 6:08 p.m. PST

I can name several museums here in the States that have just been literally ruined.
When they started making it more about "art" then "history" was the beginning.
Then enter PC and there are now sections in certain museums with such topics as "The Black experience"-- even though the museum has nothing to do with "the black experience."

Russ Dunaway

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2021 10:00 p.m. PST

Also the museum building and it's architecture became the focus and more important then the displays inside.

Russ Dunaway

42flanker10 Sep 2021 1:32 a.m. PST

"An ace caff with quite a nice museum attached…"

Infamous campaign for the V&A from the 1980s

BillyNM10 Sep 2021 8:03 a.m. PST

42flanker is correct the café is very good and the toilet facilities are truly 21st century – and the museum would be nice if it was just an appendage to a café but not as a NAM. When I last went there was a live art (paintng IIRC) exhibition / demo (not of anything military) and a very large childrens play area (ball pits, etc.) bigger than some of the display rooms many of which seemed designed for temporary displays – presumably so they can be hired out to make some money..

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Sep 2021 9:58 a.m. PST

That is certainty why I always visit a museum-- to enjoy the Cafe and toilets???

Russ Dunaway

42flanker11 Sep 2021 4:00 a.m. PST

Make use of the cafe and enjoy the toilets, surely?

Lambert11 Sep 2021 5:32 a.m. PST

I haven't visited the NAM since before its refurbishment, so can't comment on that, the cafe, or the toilets. What I do know is that Captain Siborne's diorama is magnificent, and if you've enjoyed seeing the 19th century version I'm sure you'll love this one, whatever you think of the NAM or its facilities

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2021 8:01 a.m. PST

I well remember the earlier discussion about the shortcomings of the reopened NAM, especially as I kicked it off!

The topic though is indeed intended to promote the exhibition there next month. All in a good cause and many a TMPer has contributed. (I have spent a few hours today painting Prussian artillery train horses….mind numbingly boring, but what is actually needed)

laretenue11 Sep 2021 2:03 p.m. PST

You're right to call us to order, Deadhead.

My opinion of the NAM today apart, I cannot wait to see these new Waterloo models. Its a shame their stay there is to be so short.

Delort11 Sep 2021 3:17 p.m. PST

But to get back to the topic… I have seen some of the models and many photos of all of them; if you get the chance, go and see them! The scope of the project and the sheer number of figures is stunning…

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2021 3:46 p.m. PST

CAPT Siborne, any plans for 2023? Only partly tongue-in-cheek. I was going back next year, but it's more likely to be 2023- if airfares/hotel costs are more reasonable.

As for the makeover, I'm not impressed with it. The museum in 1996 was amazing, though a bit crowded (even in the end of January snow storm, was which when I there). All the artefacts were well described by the placards next to them and the reading room was a treasure house. It was completely worth the train trip from Cambridge and trudge through the snow from the tube station. I spent the whole day there.

October 2019- a great museum to spark the interest of kids up to 10. Displays misleadingly labelled (no, TPR Tom Brown never saved the King's guidon of the IX Dragoons, because it was never carried in battle- but you'd get that impression reading the notes above the guidon), no mention of booking time in the reading room on the site (though there were two very helpful ladies in the research annexe), and I was out after a couple of hours. Only just worth the bus ride- the Extinction Rebellion/Brexit/Anti-Brexit demonstration, which stopped the buses back to Bloomsbury, was more interesting.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2021 3:47 p.m. PST

My contribution is miniscule, but Mrs Deadhead and I are going down to London for this (plus a few days later, as we are down there, we are off to see WHU face up to Ronaldo…US readers ignore this. You call it soccer, we call it the meaning of life).

There is no harm at all in such threads drifting off at a tangent. That is what any conversation does naturally. My opening comment a couple of years ago was that the new NAM was better than I had feared. Say no more…

I do hope many will take the chance to see this exhibit.

Prince of Essling11 Sep 2021 3:48 p.m. PST

Oh well – after reading all about the "Mickey Mouse" effects at the revitalised NAM I will now cancel my planned visit. Shame it used to be such a great place to go. Wonder if the Leeds Royal Armoury (with the Siborne model of the British heavy cavalry charge at Waterloo) is worth a visit nowadays?

Captain Siborne11 Sep 2021 11:18 p.m. PST

Thank you to those who have brought this back on track, which is to let everyone know about the Waterloo project.

To the question, will it happen in 2023? – yes, this year features Hougoumont, la Haie Sainte, Papelotte, Plancenoit and La Belle Alliance (although there will also be a live build of Mont St Jean Farmhouse). Next year in 2022 we will feature the main French cavalry attacks onto the Allied squares. 2023 will feature the action east of la Haie Sainte.

May I also come to the defence of the present management of the NAM. Your criticisms have some justification but they are levelled at an earlier period. Two years ago, a new CEO was appointed to bring the NAM back to doing what it was set up for: namely to celebrate and explain the history and traditions of the British Army. The new CEO is a former soldier with a distinguished operational career and a deep understanding of military history. He shares many of your sentiments and deserves our support.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2021 11:56 p.m. PST

CAPT Siborne, about the same time of the year (October)? I'm interested enough to organise the travel dates to suit (haven't got a fixed itinerary as yet, for obvious reasons). Also I hope you're right about the new director. A smart director can keep it interesting for the kids and also restore the relevant "historicity".

Essling, Leeds is still worth visiting. They also do a good coffee and meals. We got there fairly late and close to closing, as we visited the Marston Moor site and memorial on the way from Manchester. I didn't see the diorama, but the rest of the museum was very well done. The display of weapons and armour below is just a taste.


Prince of Essling12 Sep 2021 3:29 a.m. PST

Thanks captain Siborne – in the light of your co9mments, I will put NAM back onto my visit list – also probably October!

Also my thanks to Dal Gavan re the Leeds Armoury – will programme a visit for next year (hopefully no new Covid restrictions will pop up…).. Note on Siborne and the models at link

Also Seb Palmer's blog has some good pictures of the smaller model: link

42flanker12 Sep 2021 5:04 a.m. PST

Royal Armouries Leeds certainly balances use of space and display of artefacts very well.

Captain Siborne12 Sep 2021 10:28 a.m. PST

Glad to have offered some reassurance! Dal Gavin, may I let you know in due course? I need to have a planning meeting with the NAM people to agree a date for next year and thereafter.

42flanker13 Sep 2021 3:58 a.m. PST

I am a little confused. Are there two dioramas under discussion here, or just the one having been refurbished?

Ah, I think I have my answer. It helps to read the links sometimes.

"Tennis court." Astonishing

Gazzola15 Sep 2021 8:59 a.m. PST

A series of 'annual exhibitions'? I would rather wait until they can exhibit the whole lot in one go. Now that would really be something to see. It would also be good if it could be exhibited around the country so everyone can have a chance of seeing it.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2021 2:23 p.m. PST

Give the poor chap a break.

'er indoors and me are booked to go down for the exclusive viewing, a lecture and a drinks reception (first time she has had an excuse to dress up in 18 months basically) and that is just to see the FIBU bits (LHS, Hgmt, Papelotte and Plancenoit) over a two hours period.

Waterloo Uncovered, James and his dad have all the work to do, transporting this already massive display, setting it up, monitoring for a whole week, then the whole thing in reverse.

Shifting it around the country might not be too easy. The final thing should be the size of a tennis court I gather (and even for the tiny field of Waterloo that means some compression in 1/72)

It was suggested to me that a virtual tour of what is now available might be an idea. That is beyond my skills, I can paint Prussian artillery train (anyone can, they are so dull) but anything audiovisual or IT forget it

Gazzola16 Sep 2021 5:14 a.m. PST


I was putting out the possibility of seeing the whole thing, rather than parts of it, as impressive as they might be. And not everyone can spare the time or whatever to go travelling up or down or across the country to see parts of a model, which might be considered by some as not worth the bother.

Personally, I'd love to see the whole thing or parts of the model on display. I'm sure I would be impressed by what is on show but at the same time I would still be disappointed that I was unable to view the whole set up, which must be something really incredible to view.

In terms of people moving it, setting it up, taking it down etc, costs or payment for this, I imagine should be incorporated into the any fees charged for viewing? And why are only two people doing all this work, setting up etc? Shouldn't the various venues offer help and transport or whatever?

Other than seeing the real whole model set up, then I guess a video or digital version of it would be welcome. Like books, I prefer the real thing and not the techy version but I would love to see it anyway. Some of the images already shown are really impressive.

I want the showing of this incredible achievement and as many people as possible having the opportunity of seeing it.

Lambert16 Sep 2021 9:17 a.m. PST


The reason only parts of the diorama are going on display is because it isn't finished yet. There are many sections of landscape still to build and many thousands of figures still to paint.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 10:14 a.m. PST

Surely with the Prussians you could just spray then in grey primer and leave it at that?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2021 12:00 p.m. PST

You are not far wrong. Why do you think I have ended up doing Prussians?

All the glamorous units are done. Even then, I have been very selfish and opted largely for cavalry. If artillery, I have done HA. I am not daft. 1/72 is still new to me after years in 28mm.

The middle of three sons today still pronounced "You have made really good job of these, but they are so dull compared with the French or DoW's Allied Army".

The grey primer idea would not work for the horses alas and they are what took the time.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 1:51 a.m. PST

What does he still need done then? Thousands of Prussian Landwehr and Reservists?

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2021 5:37 p.m. PST

Essling, thanks for the links- we shouldn't have spent so much time at Marston Moor. I'll be going back (missus' groans notwithstanding) and I'll look for the diorama. Enjoy the Armouries, and the couple of quid to do a bit of target practice with a crossbow (top floor) is well worth it, mate.

Siborne, just post here and I'll keep looking, as I'm a bit shy of posting my email publicly (and can't post my work email). I am going back, as long as the post-COVID costs of flying up, and hotels, aren't really insane. If I could still paint reasonably well I'd like to help out, but old injuries don't heal, they just wait until you're old enough so that you can't ignore them.


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