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Mini Waterloo
By Reuters -

Figurines representing French Brigade of Lancers are seen on a 40-square-meter miniature model of the 1815 Waterloo battlefield, in Diest, Belgium, April 29, 2015. Photos: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Miniature cannons on the British side of the Battle of Waterloo are seen firing, with cotton wool being used to depict smoke. Waterloo enthusiast Willy Smout says he spent 40,000 hours and around 150,000 euros over the past 40 years, to recreate the battlefield as closely as possible.

Figurines representing the French army are seen on the model. Smout uses models bought online which he hand paints, creating the hills from plaster and the diorama from MDF.

Chemical engineer and Waterloo enthusiast Willy Smout, 56, adjusts figurines on the model. Smout first visited Waterloo at age 12. One of the battle scenes is located only a few miles from his home.

A figurine representing a French officer of the Tirailleurs. Some 3,000 model soldiers were used in scaled-down version of the battlefield of Smout, which depicts his interpretation of Waterloo at 1300 on Sunday June 18, 1815, when French army of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by British forces commanded by the Prussian army of the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard von Bluecher.

Smout points at a figurine representing French Emperor Napoleon (C on white horse). Smout was determined to finish the project in time for the bicentenary of the great battle.

Figurines representing Major General Lambert at the head of the Own Regiment of the British Army. Smout tried to recreate the exact topography of the location including the height of the hills surrounding the battlefield where some troops were hiding.

Research of Smout spanned six countries, including visits to libraries, army museums and barracks, as well as studies of paintings, drawings, photos and visits to the site.

Smout built his home so the diorama could fit in his cellar.

"When people come in and I open the door, reaction of everybody is the same, like your reaction: "Wow! We would not have expected it to be so big," Smout said.

Figurines representing the Prussian army. The final figurine Smout placed on the diorama was that of Doctor Bieske of the Prussian army.

A figurine representing French Emperor Napoleon (C on white horse). Having completed work of his life, next big wish of Smout would be to one day welcome descendants of Wellington and Napoleon to see the model.

Keeping the project largely between family members, Smout has started to share his work with neighbors and friends.

The Mont-Saint-Jean farm is seen near figurines representing soldiers of the British army. Smout has tickets to the bicentenary celebrations of the battle in June.