Torhaus Dolitz, or the Gatehouse to Dolitz Manor now is a quiet part of a suburb of Leipzig. In 1813, it saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Battle of Leipzig, in fact I wrote about the engagements around Markleeburg and Dolitz in WSS 67. I knew the gatehouse was the site of a collection of some 100,000 painted tin figures but it had been closed every time I’d been there (due to a Medieval fair being held in the manor house grounds). This year, however, the gatehouse was open… I’d waited three years for this!
It was quite an amazing feeling entering this historic gatehouse which saw so much action on that fateful day back in 1813, the walls still have the Polish cannonballs embedded in them. Many an Austrian and Pole died here. Inside the Zinnfiguren Museum there was some 50 odd display cases with tens to hundreds of figures per case, each painted extremely well. In fact these rival some of the best I’ve seen in 28mms.
The figures themselves are tin soldier ‘flats’, that is almost two dimensional. I’d estimate that they were 30mm tall, so almost compatible with the popular 28’s. Most of these date back to the 1960’s, which makes them even more impressive. My pictures don’t do them justice. The entire exhibition covered from pre history to the Napoleonic period, focussing on the battle for Leipzig in 1813.
There were three huge battle panorama scenes, one of Leipzig 1813, one of Kolin 1757 and one of the siege of Vienna 1683 along with several ‘smaller’ engagements (such as the one pictured above which is Wachau, the largest cavalry engagement in history).
Grunwald 1410 (above) was another of the ‘smaller’ scenes, Agincourt was also included. The detail was amazing with several smaller scenes.
The final picture is the battle of Leipzig, another very large display showing the battle to the south of the town. If you have opportunity to be in Leipzig, do check out the Zinnfiguren Museum. It’ll be worth the trip, a Napoleonic battlefield and a toy solder museum in one!