Incredible Scale Models Show the Intricacy of World War I Trench Warfare

British Trench in World War I Model by Andy Belsey

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Andy Belsey spends his days making architectural models, but it's the models he constructs in his free time that have garnered him worldwide attention. In particular, his incredibly detailed look at World War I trench warfare has earned him great acclaim. And now, he's putting all of his knowledge into his new book, Modelling WWI Trench Warfare, published by Crowood Press.

Belsey has been fascinated by miniatures since he was a child and this led him toward his passion for historical models. Since 2013, he has been researching and blogging about the construction of these models and has spent the past 18 months transforming what he knows into a book.

There is detailed research into how the French, Germans, and British created their trenches and bunkers, and how this knowledge can be transformed into realistic models. As of late, Belsey has also been collaborating with other well-known model makers, including celebrated figure painter Mike Butler. Butler, who is based in New Zealand, and Belsey, who lives in the UK, have been mailing models back and forth across the world for over a year. Working together, they've been able to enhance Belsey's work by bringing stunning realism to the faces of his soldiers.

Trench Warfare Scale Model by Andy Belsey

Since we last checked in on Belsey four years ago, he's been quite busy. “In 2017, I was just beginning to construct French and German trench models, too,” he tells My Modern Met. “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.”

Each model is filled with rich detail. One model actually 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. Belsey and Butler often 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.

Belsey's work is not only intricate but educational as it clearly shows just what went into this specific type of warfare.

Andy Belsey is known for his spectacular 1:32 scale models of World War I trench warfare.

Andy Belsey Posing with His WWI Trench Models

His detailed models of British, French, and German trenches have brought him acclaim.

Trench Warfare Scale Model by Andy Belsey

World War I Scale Models by Andy Belsey

He's even begun collaborating with renowned model painter Mike Butler to create even more realistic soldiers.

Historical Models Painted by Mike Butler

World War I Figure Painted by Mike Butler

He also incorporates personal touches, like his grandfather's war letters, into the models.

Detail of British WWI Trench Model

His new book shares his love for history and making these models.

World War I Scale Models by Andy Belsey

World War I Scale Models by Andy Belsey

His book, Modelling WWI Trench Warfare, is a great way to learn more about what goes into the creation of these models.

Models of WWI Trench Warfare

Trench Warfare Scale Model by Andy Belsey

World War I Scale Models by Andy Belsey

Models of WWI Trench Warfare

Andy Belsey: Website 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Andy Belsey.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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