Well that was a rather sorrowful weekend of painting! As many readers of this blog know, film maker Sir Peter Jackson has commissioned a huge Battle of Chunuk Bair diorama for the World War One centenary. Ex chief of the New Zealand Defence Force Rhys Jones is co-ordinating the logistics, and wargamers from around New Zealand have volunteered their time to paint up the 4000 54mm scale figures required. The wonderful Perry Twins have been sculpting all the models required, and very fine they are too (as I would expect given all the Napoleonics I keep buying from them!).
The New Zealanders at Gallipoli had supply problems and were known as "The Scarecrow Army", often dressed and dying in non-uniform gear such as shirts sent from home by their mothers. I've tried to reflect this lack of uniformity in the twenty casualties I've painted here (note the blue isn't actually as blue as it looks with the photo exposure - it's actually a shadow grey). As I painted them and they gradually became more realistic, the thoughts of mothers vainly trying to protect their young sons on the other side of the world made the whole mess seem even more tragic.
This is only one casualty pose of many sculpted and sobering to realise New Zealand suffered 400 times this many casualties in the entire Gallipoli campaign, and even worse in later World War One battles. The impact of so many dead and wounded must have been overwhelming for society to try and fathom and respond to.
An interesting historical aside is that my own profession of clinical psychology came into being largely because of World War One and World War Two, and the associated need to assess and rehabilitate so many people. See the first page of the first volume of the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 1945. Part of the research programme was also to try and better understand human nature and work out ways to stop such catastrophic acts of violence as World Wars occurring again. Thank goodness large wars between developed states have generally not happened since, part of long term trend of decreasing violence examined by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker in his exhaustively comprehensive book on the subject "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined". A recommended read.
Next up on the painting desk are some Turkish casualties and a few officers, which will also be carefully done.
For more on this diorama project, see the official Mustering the Troops blog.
This news video about the project is also very good.