Scale models and wartime dioramas present a unique and visually arresting image of history. Stories retold range from epic battles to heroic events, while modellers take great care to accurately recreate even the most brief moment in our history. Here we take a look at the work of a master – military historian and artist Sheperd Paine.
Born in Berlin and raised in New England, Shep – as he is known – served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army before heading to the University of Chicago. He has since specialised in military history, working as a freelance artist, sculptor and writer. The pictures above offer a brief glimpse of his impressive portfolio, which includes a scratchbuilt recreation of the death of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Shep’s keen knowledge of his subject and attention to detail – both in terms of historical accuracy and masterful recreation of the scene – have made him one of the best known military miniaturists in the world. His work eagerly sought by presigious collectors such as Malcolm Forbes and Andrew Wyeth, Shep has elevated model making from a train-and-plane hobby to a three dimensional depiction of history.
The secret to Shep’s success is down to a deep understanding ofthe conflicts he seeks to recreate, from the Napoleanic era to World War Two. There are numerous great modellers in the fields of armour, aircraft, ships, military figures and scratchbuilt scenes. But Shep has excelled in all of them, making him a rare commodity within the world of scale models.
Along the way, he has become an inspiration to thousands, while turning plastic kits and everyday items into masterful dioramas steeped in historical legitimacy for museums and prestigious private collections.
Shep’s most notable work includes a three dimensional representation of Rembrandt’s Night Watch, as well as Hamlet and the ghost of his father. Click here to discover more, including Shep’s new book, which is available now. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to also check out Promodeller, a fantastic resource featuring mainly scale aircraft, with a great members’ area and how-to videos from one of Britain’s top model makers.
All pictures above are the property of Sheperd Paine, published with permission.