WWII Diorama Collection Rescued

Sculpture Resurrection Bolsters Budding Art Career

Andres Flores in front of one of his WWII dioramas

Andres Flores is an art education major at Colorado State University. At just 19 he already has ten years under his belt creating his World War II dioramas–incredibly intricate miniature sculptures.

In 2012 Frank Ward, a collector of war miniature soldiers and dioramas saw one of Flores’ works at the County Fair.

11 months later the building that housed Ward’s collection caught fire. Much of the building was destroyed. The collection, which had been in the basement, suffered from both water and fire damage.

rescue scene wwii diorama

That same year, Flores was recognized during Military Appreciation Day at the state Capitol.

This is where the young artist and the collector crossed paths again.

Flores was hired by Frank Ward of Ward Construction in August of 2013 after a large fire had destroyed much of Ward’s WWII soldier collections the month before. Ward discovered Flores and his talent at the Larimer County Fair where the young artist was displaying his work. Since then, Flores has been reconstructing Ward’s war memorabilia what was ruined in the fire. He also builds original pieces of his own design and sells and trades them internationally, some dioramas selling for as much as $11,000.

Flores began the process of refurbishing several of the large scale WWII dioramas. Over the summer and into the fall of 2013 he repaired 25.
detail of wwii diorama building

This talented sculptor creates his dioramas not from kits. They are what collectors call “scratch-built” and they are highly sought after. Built at 1:30 scale, he builds buildings and furniture, and supplements the environments with natural materials such as dirt and tiny branches from trees.

wwii diorama

The detail in the work is incredible. There are working lights, pictures on the walls, and realistically bombed out buildings. For the Ward collection, Flores places Frank Ward’s metal soldiers and military vehicles into the scenes, bringing them to life. The result allows the viewer a way to feel what the experience must have been like for the real soldiers and civilians.

bombed out building wwii diorama

Out of the disaster of the fire grew a great friendship and mentorship. Andres Flores is pursuing his passion of building WWII dioramas, and Frank Ward’s collection is beautified and continues to grow.

Flores is an art education major and loves teaching, but he isn’t set on his ultimate career plans. He is well suited for work in theater or films as a sculptor. Perhaps a company such as Pixar could use an artist with his passion and skills!

Content and photos from Andres Flores and the following articles where you can read more about his fabulous dioramas: