IWM, London - First World War Galleries.

final-installation-military-figuresIWM, London. Final installation of a military figure we produced, wearing a German Stormtrooper uniform.



To mark the Centenary of the First World War, IWM, London (part of the Imperial War Museum), have recently unveiled a new permanent First World War gallery which houses the richest and most comprehensive collection of artifacts from the Great War period. Many previously unseen photographs, art and film plus 1,300 objects are showcased, including weapons, diaries, letters, uniforms and souvenirs.

Presenting these collections required enormous thought and skill. Remarkably, some of the soldiers' uniforms and equipment from a variety of armies had survived, although unsurprisingly in a fragmented assortment of sizes and states of repair. Piecing the displays together required a comprehensive level of expertise, thus, Gems Studio and sister company proportion>london were appointed as manufacturer of over 20 military figures, along with many other display items.

From the very outset of the commission our team understood  that the poses, sizing and stability of the mannequins would be paramount to the success of this project. Whilst various items were gradually collated from around the world, copious specification meetings and fit sessions took place with close attention being paid to original reference images. Being faced with incomplete uniform sizes, we had the predicament of displaying the surviving uniforms, with the knowledge that they wouldn’t necessarily have come from a single / same sized person! The difference in sizes, meant that each figure needed very precise measurements, in order that they would fit the individual uniform items but still look aesthetically correct. In addition, the museum conservation criteria demanded a mount period of 25 years without causing stress or damage to the uniforms. The weight of armaments and the location of the museum (situated directly above London tube lines) required that each figure be fitted with an internal metal structure, to provide essential support and stability.

Gems Studio’s Technical Manager; Sam Hoye comments, ‘I am very proud of the outcome of this commission. Our job is to follow complex briefs and envisage what our clients want, often, even before they do. This is what marks us out from other companies. We are able to think outside the box and are not afraid to experiment with ideas. It also helps that we have access to a vast library of mannequin moulds, shapes of which date back to the 1880s’.

We are honoured to have collaborated with the IWM on the historic showcase of such a memorable and definitive period. For more information about the galleries, please visit the Imperial War Museum website  http://www.iwm.org.uk

For more details or an informal consultation: call Ashley Backhouse

on  020 7017 1952  or e-mail info@gems-studio.com

Gems Studio

telephone: +44 (0)20 7749 1304