I had the pleasure of visiting Ian last week to check out his latest creation. The photos just about do it justice - seen 'in the flesh' it is an astonishing diorama. It represents hundreds of hours of work and close examination of the various buildings shows Ian to be a master of his craft.
In Ian's own words:
Somewhere in England….Let’s call it Westhamptonshire. Although my harbour diorama and my pre-war English landscape were never meant to be linked up, I wanted to see how they might look together. With some tweaking around the edges and the application of a packet of Bushes, Olive Green, they were married together seamlessly…well, almost. The result is as you see, photographed and Photo-Shopped by the masterly Jeff Stevenson. This is work in progress. Both models could go on expanding forever and there’s always the need for tweaking and tiny applications of paint, scattering of flock, or adjustment of buildings.
The harbour, Westport, is a smaller version of Porthampton. The left-hand, or western side is the naval base and incorporates the new Brigade Models of Chatham. The sailors on parade are 2mm Irregular Miniatures. There are various makes of warship, including Ensign and Mountford. The central piece, with the three dry-docks, is backed by the town’s commercial centre (Brigade Models apartment blocks converted into a sort of Oxford Street and Picadilly Circus, with tall Langton buildings and Brigade terraced houses.) Six-wheeler buses from the 1930s by Jeff.
The English rural landscape forms the right-hand, or eastern section. The city runs into the small town with the gasometers and market-square, most of the buildings being by Brigade. There’s a small fairground in one of the fields outside the town (the roundabout is a Brigade market-house and the small stalls are inverted rhinestones). Slightly east of that is a small farm with hayricks (another Brigade market-house, more rhinestones and a small building by Jeff Stevenson, all covered in golden flock or paint). South-east of the town there’s an Elizabethan country house, converted from a French inn from Rod Langton, and slightly to the east of that is a half-timbered Georgian inn, complete with roadside inn-sign. Dominating the eastern half of the models is the Langton castle, and below that there’s a small village based on my native Turville in Buckinghamshire (The Vicar of Dibley and Went the Day Well? were filmed there, inter alia.)
The fishing village lies on the south coast between chalk cliffs.
Thanks go to Jeff for his photography and to the model-makers who provided the raw materials, particularly to Rod Langton of Langton Miniatures, Tony Francis of Brigade Models, Les and Alan Hodder of Wirral Miniature Ships, Ian Kay of Irregular Miniatures, Dave Love and Matthew Tarrant of Mountford (now MT), and Kelvin Holmes and Terry Holtham for their superb quayside designs. Apologies to anyone I’ve omitted. - Ian M.
(Footnote: There are a few more photos left to process, including the fishing village. These will follow in due course.)
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