Note: This page was set up in early 2015 to recruit painters for the project. With the diorama now completed and open to the public, this page has been kept for the interest of those who wish to see how the project took place from the very start.


As part of the WW100 programme, New Zealand's centennial commemoration of the First World War, Sir Peter Jackson will create the Great War Exhibition in the old Dominion Museum building in Wellington. It will open the week before Anzac Day this year and remain open until November 2018.

The old Dominion Museum and National War Memorial, Wellington, NZ.

Within the Great War Exhibition Sir Peter will build a Gallipoli diorama involving 4000 figures sculptured by the Perry twins.

Alan and Michael Perry have been working with Peter for quite some time, and have been two of the main producers of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit figures for Games Workshop.  Their 'research' has brought them from the UK to New Zealand a number of times, during which they have mixed with the local wargaming communities, both over wargaming and pub tables.  Their acting portfolio has also been enhanced by a few cameo appearances in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.  Watch for them in The Battle of the Five Armies.

Over Christmas they have been sculpting the first of the Turkish and New Zealand figures for this project, while Aly Morrison, their co-visitor to New Zealand for the Hobbit series, has created the painting guides.  As each batch of figures is completed, they will send them over to New Zealand for painting.

The Perry twins and a 'friend' pack up the first consignment of 54mm ANZAC figures for sending to New Zealand.

Our task

This is where we come into the picture.  Rather than getting the figures painted commercially overseas, Peter was persuaded to give New Zealand wargamers the opportunity to contribute our skills to this venture.

Our task is to paint 4000 Turkish and New Zealand 54mm soldiers by the end of March.  This may sound difficult, but our goal is to find 100 good painters to do 40 figures each. That is easily achievable, but it does require your help, so please join us.

Some of the thousands of miniatures to be painted.

How it will work

As the 'Armchair General', my role is to distribute the figures to the regional and club coordinators.

For historical reasons we have grouped these into the recruiting regions from the First World War, namely Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago, and the forum pages are organised on those lines. These points of contact, the wargaming equivalent of the Commandants of the Training Depot, will further distribute the figures to the individual painters, and then collect and return them to me.

The figures will be arriving in batches of about 600 figures, and are in packs of ten identical figures. Normally there is a torso and one or two arms, so assembly is required.

Due to them arriving in batches, I will be distributing them in waves, rather than giving you all 40 at once.  How the "Commandants" distribute the figures will be up to their and your discretion; whether you get an intact pack for painting efficiency, or a variety of figures for interest.

For some of the painters in isolated areas where you are not part of a club, I will be sending you all 40 figures in one batch for postage efficiency. You will receive two packs each of Turks and New Zealanders.

The painting needs to be completed and all the figures back to me by the end of March, so that the diorama can be constructed in April. The cost of postage will be paid for by us, centrally.

As painters you will need to provide the paints and brushes.  The painting charts include the suggested colours to use. However, as we show in the painting guide page, there was a lot of variation in uniform shades, so it is possible to use other paint manufacturers. A guide to those alternatives is also included in the painting guide page.

Many local hobby shops are getting behind this project by providing subsidies on those paints that are needed for this task, as some of them would not be in the normal wargaming palate of colours. We will name these generous suppliers in the resources page, so that you can source things locally. If you identify a shop owner who might be interested, please let us know and we will approach them for help.

In conclusion ...

So far the take-up has been great and I'm glad to see that, like us, so many people see this as an amazing thing to be part of. This is also capturing world attention. We have had expressions of interest to participate from the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and Australia.  But at this stage we are limiting this project to war gamers in New Zealand.

The exhibition will be free to the public, so no-one will be making a profit from this. The government, the Wellington City Council and Sir Peter himself have contributed significantly to this project. At the end of the exhibition this diorama will remain on public display in a museum, so will be a lasting legacy from us all.

Please join us in this great opportunity. It is our chance to be part of something really important to New Zealand.

[Note: 11 Feb 2015 - registrations to be selected as painters have now closed].

Kind regards

Armchair General

Rhys Jones (aka Armchair General)


  1. This is beyond cool! What a splendid project!

  2. I have been asked three times, any significance for the 4000 miniatures?

  3. Wow! Where can we see more galleries of the diorama? Looks truly amazing.

  4. Congratulations to all concerned for achieving such an outstanding result on a very ambitious project. This diorama is a wonderful and poignant testament to the courage and determination of those who fought at Chunuk Bair.