Civil War dioramas

Most of you know that I love miniature soldiers – whether it be hand-painted wargaming armies, 54mm collector figures, or 54mm toy plastic army men. I was in Gettysburg over the weekend with my two sons and my grandson, and we had a chance to visit a few of the tourist traps, including the Civil War Wax Museum. The little guy enjoyed himself immensely, especially in the “battle room”!

Gettysburg has had a long history with dioramas in some of these museums. Years ago, what is now the Dobbin House restaurant had a nice 54mm layout of the Battle of Gettysburg. Today, a different HO diorama, a much larger one, is a popular attraction at Artillery Ridge Campground. Smaller dioramas dot the town, including one depicting downtown Gettysburg on June 30, 1863 as the Federal cavalry of John Buford arrives on the town square.

Pickett’s Charge was the subject of a very nice 25mm diorama that graced the Cyclorama building for a couple of years, and what used to the the Charley Weaver (Cliff Arquette) museum on Cemetery Hill still has the master craftman’s figurines on display.

What is your favorite Civil War diorama on public display? I’m told the one at the Prairie Grove battlefield is really good (it used some of the figures from the filming of Jeff Leighton’s classic Gettysburg in Miniature film). Are there others? I know I liked the dioramas at the tourist trap near Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. I’ve never been to the HO scale diorama near the Antietam National Battlefield at the Clara Bee- is it worth seeing?

Categories: Civil War dioramas, Civil War toys | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Civil War dioramas

  1. Scott,

    The one near Antietam is “Clara B’s” and I’ve not been there either.

    I’ve been told it features more than one Matthew Brady/Alexander Gardner figure photographing the ongoing fight.

    If you ever go, give John Hoptak and I a heads-up and we’ll join you.


  2. Roger

    I have a book titled, ” Great Battles of History-Gettysburg” copyright 1966. Anyway, it is completely illustrated with the diorama which used to be at the Dobbin House in Gettysburg. I remember contacting the Dobbin House when I was about 12 wondering if it was still together . That would have been around ’78, which I did recieve a reply from a woman who told me she turned it into a B&B. Many of the smaller dioramas at the Artillery Ridge Campground are actually from the Dobbin House display.

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