Monday 25 September 2017

Muckleborough Collection, Norfolk

My young brother Sam, posing beside Muckleburgh's T-34

A weekend or two back, my younger brother and I, along with our dad, had a short break away together, during which we visited the Cholmondeley Collection of toy soldiers, at Houghton Hall (aka The Soldier Museum), and The Muckleburgh Collection, both in Norfolk. This post is about our visit to the latter. 

On arrival, you're greeted by the V1 on its launchpad, pictured above, and a few other items, such as jet, and some artillery, including the impressive American 'Long Tom'. Once through the ticket office/shop area, there's a very cool 1/72 (or poss 1/76?) scale diorama of the Weybourne Barracks site, where the museum is situated, as it was in WWII. My dad looks it over below.

From there you go onwards through several rooms filled with weapons of all sorts, medals, unit insignia, and such like. One oddity is the life-size model of Wellington's horse, Copenhagen. There's also a small WWI trench warfare diorama, as pictured below.

Once you reach the 'main attraction' - the several rooms of vehicles and armour - it's time for the wargamer/modeller to get 'snap happy'. First hand reference of the real deal, such as is provided here, is wonderful. I find myself gradually getting more interested in the Allied matériel. Handy in this instance, as there's not that much German stuff at Muckleburgh.


Around about this time, I became like a vaporous feinting woman, of the Jane Austen period. I just came over all weak and woozy, and had to head for the cafeteria! In the corner of the café/restaurant, there's a lion )or was it tiger?) skin, a stuffed bear, and the firearms pictured below. Dad and Sam imagine firing this machine-gun...

After some grub and a drink, feeling suitably fortified, and recovered, more or less, from my ... well, whatever it was, we resumed our tour of the museum. There were loads of models in several rooms adjoining the café. I loved it! And was snapping away like a demented 'pap' at a Hollywood premiere.

Althought the museum is mostly about modern warfare, and armour, etc, there were some models (and even a few artefacts) depicting other eras. Above are two of the Napoleonic era models I saw on display: the popular closing of the gates at Hougoumont, and the even more ubiquitous scene involving Ewart's capture of the Eagle at Waterloo. 

The cabinet pictured below held four shelves of WWII armour and other vehicles (and a few sundries of post-war vintage. A cornucopia of small scale delights! It was fun to see how I have almost all the german vehicles represented, but hardly any of those of the other nations.

By and large single figures are not my bag. But something about Fritz, above, charmed me. I think it's the combo of pleasantly cartoonish proportions, and that winning smile. If anyone knows who made this fella, let me know! There were also two huge display cases chock-full of maritime models. Appropriate, given how close by the sea is.

After the many models, come more tanks and other vehicles. At this point the heavens opened. And drumming of the rain on the corrugated roofs was quite something! Numerous vehicles in these last rooms were ones I am either building currently, or will be building soon. So the opportunity to gather useful ref was fab.

The cramped inside of a Daimler Mk 1 armoured car.

'She caught the Katy, and left me a mule to ride...'

I've painted my 'Katy' in this sort of darker green shade.

I'm also making a Zvezda 88mm gun at home.

I definitely want to make one of these soon!

Have all the Shermans in the UK been renamed Fury!?

Having done the lot, it was time to peruse the chop. They had a very limited selection of models. But they did at least have some Trumpeter stuff, which is usually very good. So I bought the T-34/85 pictured below. I also bought the Andrew Roberts book on Churchill and Hitler (reduced from about a tenner to just £3.99... so why not?).

A kit to commemorate our visit.

I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this groovy little museum. I'll definitely be going again, at some future point, as we quite often take short breaks in Norfolk. And I'd certainly recommend a is it to any with interests in military history in general, and AFVs in particular. 

Apparently they have quite a few working vehicle, which they take out on occasion. They didn't do this on our visit, alas. But I still enjoyed myself immensely, as, I believe did Pops and Sam. Thanks fellows!

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