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Ulf Lundberg
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Go Modelling 2015 Vienna. Part four: The models of the museum.

March 10, 2015 · in Show Reports · · 14 Comments

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.

14 responses

  1. Naturally, this is a different level of modelling to kits. It's scale engineering, and the detailing on view reinforces the sense of dedication in the examples shown, by respective craftsman.


  2. That is really stunning modelling, displayed ! Thank you for sharing all these great pictures, Ulf. 🙂

  3. I concur wholeheartedly with the above two comments. That about covers it.

  4. Ulf, all I can say is that there is an awful lot of very talented people who have created stunning builds there.
    Thanks for posting.

  5. And the photography is great! Nothing to worry about there.

  6. Ulf, was Viribus their only battleship? Unfortunateley sunk? I think she's the one in that stock film footage that shows her going over sideways, with the crew scrambling along the sides?
    Amazing workmanship, and a glimpse into a world now gone a long time. Fin de sieckle(sp), and a great tragedy on so many levels.

    • The Habsburg Empire actually had a pretty impressive navy, that was headed by the four Dreadnought ships / Battleships of the Tegetthoff class. They were the first Dreadnoughts to be fitted with triple turrets for their main armament.

      The Szent Istvan was sunk by torpedoes fired from italian MAS torpedo boats on the 10. June 1918.

      The Viribus Unitus was sunk by a mine, transported by two italian divers on a manned torpedo. It happened in the harbour of Pola on the 31.October 1918, one day after the Kaiser had handed the ship over to the newly created Republic of Yougoslavia.
      This sinking is the filmclip you are talking about.

  7. Ulf,
    These are gorgeous. Way above my pay grade.

  8. Ulf
    thanks for the recent posts, the museum tour is very impressive. I especially enjoyed the exceptional 1:25 battlewagon, what fantastic detail!

  9. Beautiful stuff. The incompetent morons of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in collaboration with that drooling moron Kaiser Wilhelm II, were terh creartors of World War I.

    20 years ago, trying to finance a movie, me and my partners ended up dealing with the Duke of Hapsburg, grandson of the last Emperor. It was an education. I kept telling my partners that someone who could trace his ancestry back to Charlemagne, and whose family had always ended up on top of whatever they were doing for the previous 1,200 years was nobody to not take seriously even if he didn't have an empire backing him up. A delightful guy, when we had dinner with him aboard his personal 727 at LAX, I was glad it wasn't at my house where I would have counted the silverware before letting him leave.

  10. Images 11-20 are the most stunning model I have ever seen.

  11. Ulf, I'd heard that the Austrians invited the Hapsburg heir back recently, and that nothing of consequence transpired. Except for being photogenic, making children, and opening supermarkets, royalty is passe. IMHO.
    Peasantboy Hackett, pining for the bogs

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