Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Agincourt Diorama at Leeds Armouries

So obviously, whilst at the Royal Armouries on Sunday I took the opportunity to view the new installation of the Agincourt diorama; produced by model maker David Marshall and the Perry twins.  The presentation is very nicely done with the model itself being about the size of a Snooker Table

Nice environs too 
The fringe of the table is covered with a narrative of the battle, and details of the nobility involved.  A great feature here being that the images of the characters are pictures of the painted models themselves; given they are shown some 8-10 times original size, they display amazing detail.

A 28mm model blown up 800%
 The model features many thousands of painted miniatures, well lit under three large panes of glass:

Whilst the massed impression is fantastic, it is worth looking for the periscopes placed around the model - both on top and along the sides - which allow you to get a soldiers-eye view of the field.

Here from the English right 
However, these were a challenge for my camera to get a decent photograph from.  Much easier to get shots from above.

French Knights approach the English centre
The quality of painting is certainly good enough for wargame standard, and the en-masse effect is ultimately impressive.  The terrain is also very good, though with a little of the model railway about some of it.  I liked the simple touches for authenticity, such as the coppiced woodland, the ploughed field, and the thousands of footprints obliterating it behind the initial French advance.

French infantry await their moment
Some of the models are apparently mass castings in resin, but they are not that obvious, fringed by individual miniatures, and all painted to the same standards.

You get a real sense of the press 
Having read many accounts of the battle, I personally feel it is a good representation of the field, naturally it is somewhat scaled down, but you can't be so surprised by that.  In essence the effect is what you'd want it to be and the little details are enough to keep you exploring for some time.

Contrastingly, a little further around the display you'll find the Siborne model of Waterloo, part of Waterloo anyway.  Some 170 years separate the two dioramas, but their aims are the same, with each trying to represent the field of battle as accurately as it can.  Siborne's model is far larger, covering at least twice the space at a smaller 18-20mm figure scale.  Again it manages the sense of scale well, even if the individual models are not as attractive:

British Cavalry clash with French foot
 The details of the terrain are perhaps most interesting here, I noted the depth of the sunken road and sand pit at the La Haye Sainte, far more pronounced than most wargames tables could reflect - how often is their physical impact on the battle forgotten as a result I wonder?

The same too can be said of the rolling hills the British used for cover; Siborne's model really gives a sense of the value of the English defensive line.  Alas the main detraction from the Siborne display is the lighting, which makes viewing the model frustrating, and photography of anything other than small details nigh on impossible.

Still, two displays well worth a trip for any gamer or military history buff.


  1. Excellent I know the Waterloo model well and look forward to seeing A next time I have a trip down.

  2. I've been following the construction of the Agincourt build online for the past year or so. It looks fantastic! I'll definitely be going to see it if I ever visit the UK :)

  3. Amazing pictures and figures!