Wednesday 13 November 2019

Last chance to see Waterloo creation

Diorama to return to Germany after five-years

Bill Browne

Time is running out for the public to see a stunning recreation of one of the most pivotal military engagements in European history, which has been on display at the Prince August Toy Soldier Factory in Kilnamartyra for the last five years.

Measuring 26 x 13 feet the impressive diorama, the largest model battle scene in the world, depicts the famous Battle of Waterloo using more than 15,000 hand cast and painted 25mm figures cast from the factory's own moulds, representing the much larger numbers of soldiers that fought in the battle.

The stunning battlefield recreation, which took German Andre Rudolph more than eight-years to create and normally resides in his home town of Cologne, is so large that a special building had to be built on the site to accommodate it. 

However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to and end and visitors now only have until the end of November to visit the model before it is dismantled and shipped back to Germany.

MD of the Toy Soldier Factory, Lars Edman, said the incredible setting of the 1815 battle and all of the stories told by the thousands of Waterloo survivors and veterans inspired André, a long time customer of the Toy Factory, to recreate the historic event. 

"The figures were cast from our moulds, so in many ways it is fitting that they came back here. When you consider that each of the soldiers cost around €10, it gives you some idea of how much it has cost André to put it together. This was a real labour of love for him and we were honoured to be in a position to bring it to Cork," said Lars. 

Over the course of eight years André painstakingly researched and recreated the diorama showing the centre of the battlefield including the stone walled farmhouse, La Haye Sainte, that served as a defensive bastion for the British Allied forces, which consisted of Dutch, Belgium and German allies as well as English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish troops. 

The specially constructed room at the toy factor is also packed with information on the event and how it ties with Ireland, as there was a surprising percentage of Irish present. These included the Duke himself, who was born in Dublin, to three of his top generals, all the way to a sizeable percentage of his British regiments where up to 40% consisted of Irish recruits. 

Admission to the exhibit is €3 per person (children 10 or younger go free) and it is open every day from 10am to 5pm.  For more information visit