From the battlefield to the hospital ship, attendees get a unique look at the battle of Gallipoli with the Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibit at the Te Papa museum. The exhibit is a collaboration between the museum and Weta Workshop to honor the World War I centenary.

The innovative and one-of-a-kind exhibition depicts the stories of eight New Zealanders who experienced the Gallipoli battle firsthand. These eight historical people were chosen based on their especially detailed and moving diaries and letters. In order to curate a truly extraordinary exhibit, the artists at Weta created giant sculptures—2.4 times human size—to depict a poignant moment in each of these individual’s lives.

Sculptures depicting (L to R) Lieutenant Colonel Percival Fenwick, Sister Lottie (Charlotte) Le Gallais and Private Jack Dunn

According to Te Papa, “The giant sculptures took a staggering 24,000 hours to create, and countless hours were spent researching their rich histories.”

A video on Weta Workshop’s website details the sculpture process, beginning with 3-D-printed representations of digital scans of people reenacting the events. A nationwide casting call produced eight models who greatly resembled their historical counterparts.

Once printed, the 3-D representations were sculpted for a more lifelike effect, and no detail was spared: pores, scars, wrinkles and fingernails were meticulously rendered. The sculptures were then treated to a silicone matrix molding process, and finally, silicone to represent human skin was poured into the mold. The near lifelike sculptures moved to the paint and hair rooms, where they took on a truly human appearance.

In addition to the sculptures, the artists at Weta used cutting-edge technology to create 3-D maps and projections, miniatures, models, dioramas and interactive experiences to bring the exhibit to life.

For more on the exhibit, check out Te Papa’s detailed, interactive glimpse and Weta Workshop’s gorgeous photos from the project.

The Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War exhibit opened April 18, 2015 and runs through 2018 at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand.