Master Gettysburg dioramist Dennis Morris has set up a new website with photos of some of his very nice HO scale dioramas of the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Filled with vignettes, battlefield descriptions, and troop movements, his website is sure to be of interest, especially as he expands it and adds more photos and text.
Dennis is a New York-based hobbyist who has been slowly expanding his Gettysburg diorama since its modest beginning in 2005. Some of his excellent photos grace my Brothers Divided wargaming scenario book, which is now on sale from Marek/Janci Design.
Check out what he has in place already!
New York hobbyist Dennis Morris has just completed another section of his massive diorama of the Battle of Gettysburg. Here is a view of the Union defenses on Little Round Top, looking toward embattled Devil’s Den.
A vintage photograph of the Gettysburg Battlefield Diorama in the old Dobbin House on Steinwehr Avenue in Gettysburg.
Background post: The long gone Dobbin House diorama at Gettysburg
A Charge! reader sent me some interesting information on the Gettysburg Diorama that used to be located in the historic Dobbin House in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The diorama was constructed by a York, PA, man, Curvin Heiss and his son. Heiss hard carved the molds and then cast the figures. He and his son Curvin Jr. then hand painted the 54mm Civil War figures.
Courtesy of Don Wiles, Carlisle’s Michael J, and the good folks at militaryhistoryonline.com, I present a few photographs of the old Civil War diorama that once graced the Dobbin House on the south side of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Pictured is a scene of Pickett’s Charge as Rebels slam into the Union II Corps line. Figures are 54mm from various makers.
The diorama was in its heyday during the 1960s when it was a relatively popular attraction. Curvin Heiss was the building’s owner during that time frame, and it housed a museum and gift shop. I remember riding by the Dobbin House during my first visit to Gettysburg in 1968, seeing the large banner hanging from the second story advertising the diorama, and wishing we had the time to stop and see it (we were on a tight schedule, but my Dad bought me a nice box of 54mm Britains “Eyes Right” ACW figures so I could play toy soldiers on the ride to Hershey).
The prosperous rural town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is surrounded by swirling fighting between the Blue and the Gray in this impressive photograph of the Artillery Ridge Campground’s Battle of Gettysburg diorama.
Many years ago, I read an article in Civil War Times Illustrated about a Civil War diorama that had been constructed by a western Michigan man using 20,000+ hand-painted HO scale plastic Civil War toy soldiers (Airfix, Revell, Itali, and several other brands). The huge diorama portrayed the entire Battle of Gettysburg in scale, and was then on display in a shopping mall near Kalamazoo, Michigan. The owner’s dream was to eventually sell the diorama to someone who would relocate it to a permanent place in or near Gettysburg. That dream later became reality when the massive diorama was shipped to Artillery Ridge Campground on Taneytown Road in Gettysburg, where has been available ever since for public view for a modest fee.
Terrain maker and gamer Randy Miller was kind enough to send me a link to several dozen photographs of this diorama that he snapped while visiting Gettysburg during the 145th Anniversary celebrations last July. Here are a few more photos, as well as a hotlink to his photo gallery.
For the last couple of years that the old Cyclorama building was in use at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the lobby was graced by a large and quite impressive Civil War diorama of Pickett’s Charge. Constructed and painted by a local hobbyist in Gettysburg, the collection is no longer on public display. However, Larry Reber of Gettysburg Soldiers took a few photos to memorialize this now defunct diorama. Here are some of Larry’s photos.
A model passenger train sits at the Gettysburg Depot in this photograph by Larry Reber from GettysburgSoldiers.com of the Union Drummer Boy’s HO scale diorama of the town of Gettysburg on June 30, 1863. The actual last train from Gettysburg that afternoon carried several government officials to safety, as well as those citizens who wished to leave the area to avoid having to stay in their homes during the impending combat. Many of Gettysburg’s residents had already fled, although more than a thousand are estimated to have been present during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1-4.
Background post: Civil War diorama: Gettysburg on June 30, 1863
As mentioned in the previous post, this classic diorama dates from the early 1960s from the Charley Weaver Museum and is still be best 3D rendition of Gettysburg as it may have looked during the Civil War. However, the diorama is rife with factual errors, including the above scene. The train station was not painted a reddish color; see my previous post on the model diorama of the 1863 Gettysburg train station. The model uses a stock locomotive; it is not of the same make and model as what the actual railroad used in 1863, and it is painted in the livery of the Baltimore & Ohio RR instead of the Gettysburg Railroad. Still, for all of its faults, the diorama is well worth a look the next time you are in Gettysburg. Stop by the Union Drummer Boy on Baltimore Street.
My friend Larry Reber of GettysburgSoldiers.com was kind enough to send me a series of recent photographs he took of the old diorama of downtown Gettysburg as depicted on June 30, 1863, as Brig. Gen. John Buford leads his cavalry into the town square. They are headed west of town to the ridges near Marsh Creek, where videttes and patrols will keep an eye out for Confederates advancing from the west. Additional troopers will fan out north of town, watching for Ewell’s Corps coming down from Carlisle.
The diorama originally was part of the old Charley Weaver Museum on Cemetery Hill, which went under new ownership after “Weaver” died (his real name was Cliff Arquette). The diorama is now in the Union Drummer Boy relics shop on Baltimore Street. Over the next few days, I will post nearly two dozen shots of this interesting diorama. While not exactly historically accurate, it does give a good useful representation of the Gettysburg that John Buford would have seen.
Miniaturist Dennis Morris has taken a series of photographs of his excellent Gettysburg HO scale diorama and made them available as art prints. They are for sale at American Historical Art in downtown Gettysburg (34 York Street, just east of the town square), as well as over the Internet directly from Dennis. They cover the southern portion of the second day’s fighting at Gettysburg and depict the miniatures in action, set against a photographic background of the actual battlefield. Some of these are really nice. Fans of the Irish Brigade will want to have a look at Dennis’s work, as well as South Carolinians who follow Kershaw’s Palmetto brigade.
South Carolinia Confederates from Kershaw’s Brigade approach the Rose Farm at the Battle of Gettysburg in this photo of an outstanding privately-owned Civil War diorama. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Fellow www.militaryhistoryon-line.com message board poster Dennis Morris may have the very best Civil War diorama I have ever heard of. He sent me a few photographs with permission to reproduce them in my upcoming Brother Against Brother ACW scenario book, Brothers Divided.
Here are a few more photos – note the detail and quality of this layout! Huzzah Dennis, huzzah! Watch for the new scenario book to see photographs of several ACW layouts from the masters. And, if you have a Civil War diorama you have made, please inform me and I will consider adding yours!