Since he was a child, artist Andy Belsey has been fascinated by all things miniature. After years this led him towards his passion for miniature historical models. Belsey now spends his days making architectural models, however is was one model in particular that gathered worldwide attention.
Belsey has been researching and blogging about the construction of these models since 2013. With many years of knowledge, he has spent 18 months transforming his knowledge on the subject into a book. One particular piece of work that has earned him great acclaim, is his incredibly detailed look at World War I trench warfare. In miniature style of course, and now, he’s working on transforming his knowledge in all things miniature and history in his next book Modelling WWI Trench Warfare, published by Crowood Press.
His book features detailed research on how the French, Germans, and British created their trenches and bunkers. With his knowledge Belsey can transform these information into realistic models.
Belsey has also been working in collaborating with another well-known model maker and celebrated figure painter Mike Butler. Working together, Butler and Belsey have been mailing models back and forth across the world to each other for over a year to enhance Belsey's work by bringing stunning realism to the faces of his soldiers.
“In 2017, I was just beginning to construct French and German trench models, too. I now have 10 section models and each of them explain different aspects of trench warfare. They have gained public attention because people find them helpful to visually explain trenches, bringing them to life in color. I had to do a lot of research to make the models and each chapter of my book starts with their historical background before moving on to explaining how I made them.”
Belsey and Butler often took inspiration from very close at home as they sometimes incorporate family into the models, which have featured Belsey's grandfather and brother as gunners and Butler's great uncle sitting down for a shave in a shell hole. The one model pays homage to Belsey's family history. His British frontline dugout includes reduced copies of his grandfather’s World War I letters on the desk.
And you would be surprised to see just how real these miniature figures may appear. Each model is filled with rich detail which took skill. Belsey's work is not only intricate but educational as it clearly shows just what went into this specific type of warfare.