Vietnam veteran paints military history with ‘small’ hobby

Local News

A Vietnam veteran is creating something small ,,, to pay tribute to military heroes in a big way.

74-year-old Oliver Williams of Davenport paints military miniatures. Most of the highly detailed figures, many of which were made in England, were cast from metal in the 1960s and 1970s.  

Oliver Williams took on a new hobby 57 years ago when he started collecting lead military figures and then painting them. When he was in his teens looking for something to do, he found a magazine article that piqued his interest.  

“I saw an article, I think it was in the Parade magazine that used to come out in the paper,” he said. “I just got interested in them and started painting them.”  

Painting the figures requires focus and research. Williams says painting them helps keep his mind off of other things.

“It’s a good diversion, when I get distracted by all the things that are going on.”  

His longtime interest is reflected in the figures.  

“I’ve always been interested in military history,” he said. “I’m interested in the uniforms. A lot of them are military personalities.”  

Williams says it takes a lot of work and fine-tuning to finish the figures once he acquires them.

“They come in bare metal like this and they have to primered with paint.,” he said. “They’re lead figures and most of them were made in the 60s and 70s. They’re not so prevalent now. And after that you just start painting.”

Each figure takes weeks to complete.  

“There’s a lot of detail that you have to put into them,” Williams said. “And you have to research the uniforms.”  

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