Tiny Painted Soldiers

Autumn is a great time to visit battlefields in Virginia–not too hot, but clear and mild weather with all the variety of hardwood trees changing colors which sets a pleasing frame to the carefully mowed fields and lonely field artillery. And since it’s not summer, there are no crowds, especially during the week days. I spent a few days this past week in October to visit several battlefields around Richmond, Virginia, and after walking along miles of paths and reading scores of historic markers and plaques, by Friday I was tired and ready to stay within the city limits.

IMG_0499 After breakfast with my wife at the hotel, we parted ways, and I drove down to the Virginia War Memorial. The memorial was built in 1956, but more recently a visitor’s center was added, and in the basement I marveled at an extensive collection of tiny painted soldiers, some of which were set up in dynamic dioramas.

IMG_0520These are just a portion of the 7,000 figure collection, all painted and donated by a single hobbyist. These figures are larger than the 32mm figures I usually paint, standing around 54mm high. Some were even larger.

toy soldier cabinet

These display cases are only half of what’s in the visitor’s center.

The detail on many of these figures are quite incredible. The patterns on the dresses of the figures below, for example, must have been painted by hand. And on figures smaller than your thumb!

toy soldiersI later spent the afternoon walking along the canal and riverbank of the James. It was a beautiful afternoon, and I enjoyed coming across a very vocal songbird before doubling back to check out the old Tredagar Iron Works.


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