Displaying your miniatures in a police museum might seem an odd venue, but that is what happened to me recently when I was asked to take part in a police hobbies exhibition at the New Zealand Police Museum.
While I do actually have quite a large collection of police badges and miniature police vehicles (maybe the subject of another posting sometime, if anyone is interested), the event was intended to also show off other hobbies enjoyed by police staff. So I was asked to exhibit my model soldiers.
I decided my display would be based on the adage that “few is more”. Rather than ladening down a table with huge amounts of figures, I would put out only a few units to give give a taster of several different periods. This also helped with transport and setting up, as I only had a very limited time.
But I wish I had pulled that tablecloth straight!
The main part of my display featured my New Zealand Wars collection, made up of the wonderful 28mm Empress Miniatures figures.
This was quite an appropriate period for the police setting, as the history of the New Zealand Police is inextricably entwined with those wars. The particular part of the wars that my miniatures portray is a decade or two earlier than when the Armed Constabulary (forerunners of our modern police) came on the scene. But it was a talking point for the audience, nevertheless.
I also displayed one of my 18th century battalions of Minden figures, painted as a British regiment from the movie Barry Lyndon. This showed how impressive a large unit of figures could look.
In the background I set up one of my painting resources (in this case Mollo and McGregor’s Uniforms of the Seven Years War 1756-63). Many of the audience were very interested to see how detailed the research for our hobby could be … and laughed when I told them that I had painted my models to faithfully replicate the inaccuracies from the movie!
The final exhibit was my entire American Civil War collection. This is a period I’ve half-started, as you can see, but never really got anywhere with. But those colourful zouaves certainly were show-stoppers at the display. These, and the Confederates facing them, were all Redoubt figures. Again, a colourful book in the background added interest.
Overall, it was great to be able to show off my figures to an audience who were more interested in them than most. It was a evening function for the Friends of the Police Museum organisation, so everyone there had a natural inclination towards history anyway.
Oh, and one other thing. Browsing through the Police Museum itself, I came across a picture of my much younger self. What a creepy 1980s police-issue moustache, aye?!