Go Modelling 2015 Vienna. Part four: The models of the museum.
The Museum of Military History in Vienna (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien, HGM) is a Must See for anybody interested in military history or modelling. Weapons, armour, uniforms, vehicles, banners, flags, models and monumental battle paintings, it's all there.
Vienna, of course, was the capital of the Habsburg empire, one of the major players in the ever changing drama of wars and alliances in Europe up until WW1. Austria was usually in conflict with the french, for example during the War of the Spanish Succession and Napoleonic wars. On the other side of their empire they struggled with the Ottomans who twice laid siege to Vienna. As if that weren't enough, there was also an uprising militant Preussia and Russia to deal with….
As you know, the Austro-Hungarian empire was also a head actor in the complicated series of events that led to the outbreak of WW1. A war that in turn ended with the defeat of that empire and its splitting up into some previously unheard of nations like Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Those countries were later occupied by Germany and the Soviets (in the case of Czechoslovakia) and subsequently split up after the downfall of the Soviet Union.
Man, what a mess european history is!…..
Being a ship modeller, I was of course very eager to see the models of the ships of the Austro-hungarian fleet of WW1. They lived up to all my expectations.
There was a beautiful model of the ship of the line HMS Royal Oak of 1674. There was no information about the model itself, but it looked very much like the shipyard models built for the british Admiralty.
Some other very fine models were also to be seen, as well as two classic maritime paintings. One of the Battle of Lissa and one of the Austro-hungarian navy, steaming out of Pola, led by the battleship Viribus Unitus.
The most impressive however, was the cut through model of the Viribus Unitus in 1:25. Like nothing else, it gives you an idea of the complexity of a battleship and of the class society that produced it. Compare the officers mess and the captains stern gallery to the living quarters of the rest of the crew.
I have visited the naval museums of almost all the major maritime powers of the world, but as of yet, I haven't seen the like of this model.
Photographing in museums is always tricky, so I hope you'll excuse me for the sometimes less than perfect pictures.
19 additional images. Click to enlarge.