News / Arts & Entertainment

Army of Tiny Soldiers Replicates Battle of Waterloo

One Man Creates Army of Tiny Soldiers to Replicate Battle of Waterlooi
X
June Soh
July 21, 2014 10:28 PM
Next year marks the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, when French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by an international force led by England and Prussia. Just in time for the observance, a retired U.S. military officer is recreating the battlefield - in miniature, with a quarter-million tiny hand-painted soldiers. VOA’s June Soh got a preview. Carol Pearson narrates.
June Soh

Next year marks the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, when French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by an international force led by England and Prussia. Just in time for the observance, a retired U.S. military officer is recreating the battlefield - in miniature, with a quarter-million tiny hand-painted soldiers.

“Each soldier is approximately six millimeters high or one quarter of an inch,” said Steve St. Clair, who has been painstakingly painting those tiny figures for 20 years.

So far he has 250,000 of them.

”Actually it is one of the most decisive battles in military history. It ended the Napoleonic era, number one. Number two, it had units from so many different countries in so many different uniforms.  I thought that will be very interesting to paint,” he said.

St. Clair grew up in a military family and served in the Army for 25 years.  He says painting figures is a way to balance his life.

“One of my specialties was anti-terrorism, which was a very stressful job. And when I come home, this was a way to relax because you can literally turn your mind off and just paint the figures,” he said.

The soldiers are recreated in precise historical detail, down to the colors of ornaments on their uniforms.

”I am painting the plumes on the top of the helmets of the soldiers from grenadier companies. They would have red plumes,” St. Clair said.

“Painting the figures actually is one step of rather long process. First of all, quite a bit of time is spent on research knowing what the units wore. The most complicated figures are Scottish highlanders with their plaid kilts.”  

The Waterloo pieces are stored in a chest of drawers in his basement. St. Clair said, so far, he has put 20,000 man hours of work in the collection.

“Compulsive maybe but not obsessive. There is a bit of difference," he said. "Obsessive means I have to paint every day and do this exclusion of other things. I have a lot of different hobbies.”

An estimated 200,000 soldiers fought at the Battle of Waterloo. St. Clair painted the extras so he could stage multiple battle poses.

The figures laid out on this model terrain represent about four percent of his entire collection. St. Clair says he would need an area about 190 square meters to put everything on display.

“There are no other collections in the world of a quarter-million figures. By the end of this year all of the extra should be done,” he said.

St. Clair wants to donate his creation to a museum but so far has no takers. But he hopes his tiny troops will find a home and can be on display for the bicentennial celebration of the Battle of Waterloo next year.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”