Last 54mm Perry Anzacs for Peter Jackson’s WW1 exhibition

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I’ve been busy painting some of the 4000 figures that’ll populate a massive Gallipoli diorama in the forthcoming Great War Exhibition in Wellington. Construction of the diorama is being done by Weta Workshop, and the project is led by Peter Jackson.

Here are some pics of the last few New Zealanders of the 58 Perry Miniatures figures I was given to paint.



Firstly, the Maori Contingent. I love these wonderful 54mm figures, especially the guy wielding his reversed rifle like a taiaha. They’re my favourite figures of the whole project so far.



Secondly, some resting/reserve men, including a couple of very tired looking Auckland Mounted Rifles, recognisable by their brown leather bandoliers.



Finally, some infantry desperately digging a trench. I really like the bearded guy at the front left, and am pleased with how his blonde hair came out.

I’ve loved painting these 54mm figures, and think I might even find it hard going back to 28mm again! I found they painted very easily, and really came up well with the dry-brushing and wash technique I like to use.

And of course the Perrys’ sculpture and animation are absolutely exquisite. In fact, most of their figures are, in my view, much better than the life-size war memorial statues you see around the country.

Overall, this has been a fantastic project. Besides the honour of painting these commemorative figures that will likely well out-live me, I have found it humbling to read the stories of the real Anzacs and Turks, of whom I knew very little about before this project. Brave, brave men on both sides.

Muster the Troops capture

My other job for this project has been to develop and run the ‘Mustering The Troops’ blog to support the 100+ painters around the country over the last two months.  From the feedback I’ve had, this has been very much appreciated by the team.

The ‘Mustering The Troops’ blog will also form the historical record of the project – maybe in a further one hundred years, some historian will be looking at it for the bicentenary!

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24 thoughts on “Last 54mm Perry Anzacs for Peter Jackson’s WW1 exhibition

    1. I’m sure you’re going to be impressed with the final diorama. We were gob-smacked at seeing just the terrain only half-done and with no soldiers on it yet!

  1. Good on you Roly. The blog is great and so is your painting. This morning I dropped off the last of the 80 figures painted in the Wairarapa. I am really pleased with our painters here have delivered 🙂


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Terrific work all around. The Maoris are excellent but I especially like the resting Auckland Mounted Rifles. The one in the foreground with his head bowed looks like of is saying a final prayer before jumping off, very moving. Well done for your contributions to this amazing project.

  3. Lovely work …especially the Maori figures !!!!
    My son Michael and my wife Lynley have been very kind to me .
    They have painted up most if not all the little menschen men for the two 1/72nd scale dioramas I am doing … Gallipoli- the heights above ANZAC cove [ Turkic =Ari -Burnu] and a generic western Front scenario … to save me having a melt -down.

    Now for the fun -part ,,, creating the polystyrene hills of Gallipoli and the trenches of the western front .

    I no longer require any figures other than DEAD or DYING or Wounded figures … bring out your DEAD… Nick the Greek wants them … !!!!

    My thanks to Rob Appleton of Lower Hutt for giving me [Gratis , FREE..!!!…not many people like him around these days ] – two EMHAR cannon & crew after reading about my herculean task on this blog , or maybe John Mothers blog [wargaming info .org].

    If you have any spare WW1 or WW2 DEAD or dying figures – please contact me .
    (09)2799239 [Answerphone available].

  4. Very sensitive comment from Mike Peterson .
    How many lives were lost !!!!
    My son has been busy compiling the history of her Grandfather who fought in Gallipoli and in one of the Somme Battles before been returned to NZ – wounded seriously .
    It is amazing how much information is on the net -to help trace ancestors who fought in WW 1 .

    Again guys if anybody living in Auckland [Manukau city ] has some spare time – you are most welcome to come and help -out with the terra -forming .

    Thanks for the hard -work you are putting in to your blogs … Roly .
    Must go to sleep now it is 0225 hrs [2.30 am] – have worked much of yesterday.. to catch up … now if I had six others to help out …!!!
    […email is below if you wish to help out…]
    About 1,400 men painted so far … !!!!

    Keep up the good work guys … I wish to go down to Wellington asap to see your hard work displayed .

    You are honouring your fellow -countrymen through your efforts .

    Nick Papadopoulos.
    (09)2799239[Answerphone available].

  5. Sorry -I meant my wife … has been busy compiling info on her grandfather -even so my Son mike is very interested in this .
    He will be giving a talk about WW 1 at the Papatoetoe Library on 21st April .

    Nick Pap -etc.

  6. Hi again Roly…
    Dioramas are progressing slowly.
    If any of your followers have any of the following that they do not require…
    new or old … any state or condition…
    I would appreciate it if they contact me…

    All are 1/72nd [or 1/76th] or 25 -28 mm … scale …

    * 1 x EMHAR [or any other brand ] plastic or even CARDBOARD.. WW 1 German heavy -tank Sturmpanzerwagen A7V .

    * 1 x French 75 mm WW 1 quick -firing gun plus crew [1 or two sets ].

    * 1 or 2 sets of WW 1 Early war French troops with KEPIS , or preferably …
    French Legionnaires from the 19th or 20th century .

    These figures aren’t essential but would lend a nice touch !!!!

    Thank you Roly… carry on the hard yards of doing tribute to our WW 1 warriors !!!!

    Nick Papadopoulos.

  7. In case anybody in Auckland ,or passing though Auckland wishes to go to the exhibition where my dioramas will be…

    Here are the details…

    Lest we forget …

    EXHIBITION 20th APRIL – 9 MAY 2015 at Youthline .
    Youthline [former Papatoetoe Fire Station]
    145 St George Street , [Old] Papatoetoe .
    Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM .
    Saturday 10 AM to 2 PM [closed ANZAC weekend ].
    [[ 3 of my dioramas will be at the Papatoetoe RSA -for ANZAC day .]]

    For further details contact :
    Papatoetoe Historical Society Inc.
    Secretary : Ms Jenny Clark.
    Phone : (09) 266 0194.
    Cell phone : 027 716 9693 .
    Email :

    Must go now … much more to do.
    If you live in Auckland with a little time on your hands … come and help …!!!!
    Contact me …

    Nick Papadopoulos.

  8. These models look really impressive! It’s going to be a fabulous diorama when it’s finished. A lot the people I talk to in historical circles are talking about it.

    1. That’s interesting to hear that it is being discussed. It’ll be interesting to see what the reviews are like when it is done. Hopefully we’ve got it right …

  9. Good on you Roly… there is certainly a place for experience… I have grey hair too … but I don’t think anyone is going to base a figurine on me… you have done well… !!!

    The little Papatoetoe Dioramas are coming along .
    The diorama boxes are being painted – the miniatures [1/72nd] are up to about 1,000 now almost completely detailed . After the bases have been painted they will be finished .

    I just want to get on with painting the backgrounds and forming the polystyrene trenches and hillocks .

    They put me on the Maori TV news today . Then the reporter who interviewed me ,his wife and son came to help paint more miniatures .
    About 100 kiwis for the ANZAC Bay heights were done .

    Will touch these up and then start on the Aussies .

    The local newspaper Manukau Courier ran a front page article about the dioramas . So far three responses . One Man donated a box of soldiers ,
    and a young lady who described herself as an experienced figure painter offered help with painting .

    Still keen for more help though. If you live in Manukau city or Auckland wide-
    If you can paint really small stuff -or – ESPECIALLY – build hills or trenches with polystyrene please give me a call or an email .

    Thank you.


    Nick Papadopoulos.
    (09)2799239[Answerphone available].

    1. It looks like you’re getting some excellent coverage, so that’s terrific. It’s nice that some people have offered you help, too. Good luck with the project.

  10. HI again Roly /Arteis …


    A man came to my house yesterday [Leigh Friend – and offered me some more little men – he also offered me some 100 year old London News magazines […amazing photos & illustrations…] to show – then return …!!!!

    Have you seen yesterday’s The New Zealand Herald Roly…check out page A20 … the article :- ‘Haka made Turks tremble .’
    This article describes how Maoris did indeed fight face to face with the Turks – on -CHUNUK BAIR … !!!

    I was sadly disappointed to read on one of your blogs the comment made by one of your contributors -about the volunteer painter who made one of the aggressive looking fighting stance figures as a – Maori – calling this volunteer painter a – TWIT – well this article in the NZ Herald shows who the real “twit ” is … !!! The Maori had volunteered not only through the – ‘Maori contingent’ -but also as individuals through provincial battalions – the article proves this .
    Your contributor should be asked to apologize … and the figure SHOULD be RESTORED to depict a Maori WARRIOR … !!!!
    The Maori took part in the attack on Chunuk Bair itself … chanting the Haka before doing so …!!! The Turks were terrified of the …”Yam -yams ” … the cannibals of Aotearoa !!!!
    When we went to Gallipoli in 2008 – we were banned from doing the …’Haka’ I wonder …why … to close to the truth ,eh … !!!

    please ask your contributor to apologize … and again please ask Sir Peter Jackson if some of the attacking figures that depict provincial soldiers can be re-painted to be Maori . there were Maori attackers on Chunuk Bair as both members of the Maori contingent and individual Maori in provincial battalions !!!

    As for the dioramas I am doing – almost 95 % of the figures are now painted –
    a small number by comparison as – Maori – both as a dedicated group and as individuals within – provincial battalions [ 2,227 Maori served in the Maori contingent … not sure how many individuals volunteered within provincial battalions … does anybody have a figure for this …???]

    If you see anybody within Weta Workshop … Roly tell them we are valiantly trying to be on time …too …I pulled an all nighter last night – 0600 hrs …up again at 0900 hrs …!!!

    The Gallipoli base and cabinet mural is now complete with – air -dry clay – sand -bags !!!! Western front is sadly still in the process . But will work all day & night again….

    S.O.S. …
    Keep up the good work -Roly – and again thank you.

    Nick Papadopoulos.
    (09)2799239[Answerphone available]

      1. Hi arteis /Roly … the dioramas were …thankfully completed on time .
        I was still ‘populating’ them during the first week of the exhibition .
        A young Chinese man [Justin Joe] who told me that he was painting some of
        sir peter’s 54mm’s visited the exhibition and helped me to put quite a few men in the cabinets. He sent on some photos to you . Did you get them …???

        I will send you some more photos in time with the cabinets much more full .
        Going down to see your hard work in Wellington on the week -end of 29th May .


        Nick Papadopoulos.
        (09)2799239[answer[hone available].

          1. Hi arteis , I would like to send the photos from Justin to you -how can I do that ? When I have some photos of the more populated cabinets done – I can send those too.

            In the meantime I look forward to going down to Wellington on 29th May.
            Send me an email to my email just below and I can forward Justin’s photos to you. Please be aware that the Western Front diorama was not complete at that point.
            My son Michael commented that my trenches looked more like walls – but had I constructed the usual form of trenches with firing steps etc. -there would only have been room for one trench on each side.
            Nick Papadopoulos.
            (09)2799239[Answerphone available].

    1. Hi Nick … A late answer to your comment of 16 April, just to clarify that the person calling someone a ‘twit’ was me, and the person who was being called a ‘twit’ was also me!

      In other words, I was calling myself a twit for forgetting that the Maori Contingent at the particular moment in time that the diorama portrays weren’t fighting hand-to-hand – they were moving off Rhododendron Ridge to the left towards The Farm.

      That’s not saying they didn’t fight – it is just that this particular moment is when they they were moving under fire, not charging or fighting. One of the features of this diorama is that every figure’s pose has been specially designed to match their particular actions at that specific moment in time.

      There were some Maori with other units, so there are a few included fighting in the trenches etc. But the miniature Maori Contingent itself is made up only of figures moving under fire, not in fighting poses.

  11. My apologies Roly – I should have known that there was a reason.
    Nick Papadopoulos.

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