La Belle Alliance – MDF from Commission Figurines

The component parts of the La Belle Alliance model laid out

The Commission Figurines 6mm (1/300 scale) model of La Belle Alliance is a model of what was used as a French field hospital at the Battle of Waterloo. Later it was the meeting place of Wellington and Blucher following the rout of the French at that battle.

I am looking to record the build of this model, step-be-step(ish) as there are no instructions included with the model. This may assist those building and if it has, please leave a comment (preferably nice).

Dry fitting the various pieces, in this case, the long front wall and the first end piece

The model consists of 12 parts of laser cut 2mm thick MDF. The first image is of all the pieces laid out for pre-construction inspection. There are what appears to be 5 additional pierces there however these are the cuts from the model’s base. Laying the items out does make it easier to identify where each piece should go.

I was unsure of which glue to use as I had not worked with MDF before, leastwise not in construction, I have used a lot of MDF bases previously.

Asking around and researching/reading about glues, the two glues identified were any PVA (white glue) or Super Glue. The only PVA I have managed to find here is Elmer’s Glue-All multifunction glue. In Australia I would look to Selleys Aquadhere. Elmer’s I use when basing figures, however that glue was not the best previously when used for anything else and it has a 20 to 35 minute drying time. I would then need to clamp the pieces, and I have no means to do that currently. I opted to use Super Glue. The first task however was to dry fit the pieces to ensure that they were being placed in the correct place. I started with the long front wall.

The end and interior wall are added along with the back wall – again, this is just a dry fit – view is front wall however.

This wall can be seen in any modern photograph of Bistro La Belle Alliance taken from the main road. The kitchen annex on the right of this photo is also clear from the road (see image below).

The rest of the main walls were then fitted as well … no glue at this point in time.

According to J.B. Romberg who published an account of the locations around Brussels in 1820, “originally La Belle Alliance consisted of three houses, one of which was a tavern, that now bears the name, and two adjacent houses.

Some time before the Battle of Waterloo, the publican of the tavern died, and his widow married the occupier of Trimotion, the farm-house opposite; but losing him in a short time afterwards, she consoled herself by taking for her third husband a peasant who lived a house close by (now known as Decoster’s house); but here again death interrupted her happiness, when she once more embraced the married state it was to marry the new landlord tavern; from which time it obtained the title it now bears.” Reference: Environs of Brussels: La Belle Alliance.

By Author: William Mudford, engravers and artists: George Cruikshank, James Rouse, artist: C. C. Hamilton – The Battle of Waterloo: An Historical Account of the Campaign in the Netherlands London: Henry Colburn, 1817.

There were many engravings and sketches of La Belle Alliance taken around the time of the Battle of Waterloo or in the years that followed which gives an impression of how the building looked in the early 1800s.

The image to the right, from C. C. Hamilton is one such artist (and the keen of eye will notice from the image there and the completed model at the bottom of this, that I managed to increase the height of the kitchen chimney). Oh well, I really don’t feel like correcting that small error … but I will discombobulate the first wargamer I have a game with who says, “that chimney’s too tall”.

After dry fitting, next the gluing

Next step, glue can be added, once the dry fitting has been performed and the location of the walls determined.

A few drops of Super Glue on the surfaces to be joined and the building started to come together.

There were some slight gaps here and there and as I have no real means of clamping things, finger pressure was applied for around 60 seconds or so to try and close them. Those little gaps I will try and take care of when I get around to painting, perhaps a scraping of Woodland Scenics Scenic Paste will do the trick.

Walls and Annex are glued, time for the roof

The main building and annex roof can now be added. The annex is straightforward. A few touches of Super Glue on the meeting surfaces to join to the walls, hold in place for 20 seconds, job done.

The main roof was then glued. This only goes on one way and a dry fit is worth the effort as one half of the roof slips under the other half, and both halves slip under the end and internal supporting walls. Dry fitting before gluing is also a good idea here as you can more easily see where to put the drops of glue.

Once the roof is in place and stuck, the kitchen chimney can be added, and now we have a nice building to toss onto the table for our 100 days battles – or any other Napoleonic or Seven Years War battle for that matter.

The finished building displayed on expensive rotating tool below. I will cover my painting efforts of this building in a future post. In the meantime, I am just happy to look at my handiwork, well mine and Commission Figurines work 🙂


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MDF Figures – New for Thomo

MDF Romans – fat fingers for size comparison

These have been around for a few years and have been seen at various shows around the UK. I have not seen them however except for the odd mention in the wargame press. I have been thinking of an American  Civil War project and decided that it would be in 6mm, given the lack of space I have here for wargaming in.

My preferred 6mm ACW figures would have been either Heroics and Ros, Rapier, Adler or Baccus 6mm. However H&R have had their figures off catalogue for some time now (expect for the WW2 and Modern Infantry) for a number of reasons and due to the plague, Baccus have been controlling the amount of customers they can service by having their online shipping cart, online for brief periods, and the periods away from my payday.

Enter Commission Figurines. I had heard them mentioned before and then one of the guys at the Virtual Wargames Club mentioned that he had seen some at a show so, as they make both MDF figures and buildings, and as I am always looking for a building or two, I thought I would try them out. Catalogue downloaded, read (about 3 minutes), reread, and then an order was typed up and emailed off. A reply came back with confirmation of supply, and a price. I confirmed I wanted to go ahead, PayPal invoice arrives and then after a few days (I guess while Walt “lasered” some bits of MDF) a package was dispatched to the Philippines. Fast forward about 6 weeks and a card from PhilPost was left at my gate, so I duly trundled off in trike to the Post Office to collect a light weight box with the following contents:

 

Quantity Code Description Price
1 6ENMix 6mm Entrenchments – Mixed £3.50
1 6WAT1  La Belle Alliance £3.50
1 6WAT2  La Haye Saint £5.00
1 6Fence  6mm Rail Fence Pack £4.00
1 BR1 Girder Bridge £10.00
1 6House  6mm House Pack £5.00
1 Infantry in Kepi, Blanket Roll, Marching £2.00
1 Infantry in Kepi, Firing Line (16 command figures, 56 infantrymen) £2.00
1 Cavalry in Kepi (12 strips of 3 figs) £2.00
1 Dismounted Cavalry (36 troopers firing line, 2 horse holders & 6 horses) £2.00
1 Artillery in Kepi (3 Rifled guns & 3 Smoothbore guns, 4 crews, 2 x 6 horse limbers, 2 officers) £2.00
1 Generals (6 poses in hat, same 6 poses in kepi) @ £2.00
1 Roman Allies/Auxiliaries £2.00
1 Heavy (Thracian) Cavalry £2.00
Total £47.00

I was very happy with the service, the speed of delivery given the current position of the of the world and the international movement of mail, goods and parcels.

Firstly the buildings. They are simply lovely and will look the business when assembled, painted and placed on the tabletop. The only really challenging part, well, really two challenging parts:

  1. I have not worked with MDF before so am considering glues and construction techniques
  2. There were no assembly instructions with the buildings. With La Belle Alliance and La Haye Sainte, not problem, but more of a challenge with the 6mm house pack

The figures themselves are nicely produced as well, and reminiscent of very small flats that were first used in wargames. I will need to learn a new painting technique for these but hey, a change is a good as a holiday. I am champing at the bit to start working of them (both buildings and figures) but am resisting starting while I think my way through the process, try some dry fits and work out glues (superglue, PVA, hot glue gun, etc).

Photos of some of the received items below.


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Plastic Basing Material

When I was in Singapore I found a plastic sheet in 1m, 2mm, and 3mm thickness. It sliced easily with a carton cutter knife, resisted warping (although not totally as it seems from recent experience) an holds glue and paint quite well.

I have not been able to find it anywhere else until a week ago when I took a Saturday afternoon out at the mall. It was the first outing since the start of quarantine here in Manila, so first time out in 3.5 months. While out I stopped into the National Bookstore in Glorietta Mall for some stationery. Enjoying some loiter time (there were only about 8 people in the queue behind me waiting to get in so I figured I could browse for 10 minutes at least.

I came across this PVC board shown above. BLoody brilliant stuff and cheap as chips. As I can now find this in Manila, there must be similar in other locations. Great stuff!

Painting Lessons

With the recent entrapment due to COVID-19, I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos in the evening, after all, there is only so much Netflixing one can do.

Many of the videos were dealing with painting, both air brushing (a skill I am yet to develop) and brush painting (where I used to think I was somewhat of a dab hand). Now I am still a wargames painter at heart and mediocre modeller at best and many of the videos discussed blending and shading and turning out masterful figures, especially in the vein of Games Workshop. There were several, however, that covered some of the most basic of techniques.

For example, I knew that regular paints from Vallejo and Army Painter would require thinning before air brushing but it had not occurred to me that thinned paint came off the brush easier and provided better coverage, especially over large flat aircraft like 1/300 aircraft and their flight stands.

With Easter coming up and a four day break here where the biggest decision will be whether to spend it in bed or on the lounge, I have a hankering to actually get of my rather expansive butt and try some airbrushing. As for my other painting, more to be published here in the not too distant future when I think I will have the Winter War air wargame set finished!

In the meantime, I did find this YouTube painting tutorial from Owen very helpful, even painting wargame figures and 1/300 scale aircraft:

Sea Bases

Magnet attached to Base

Making the Sea Bases is a fairly straightforward, although slightly messy process. To be totally honest, I stole the method from the GHQ website but adapted what was there for the bases under the vessels. I also used Vallejo or Citadel paints for colouring the bases then varnished with Vallejo or Army Painter varnishes.

The method, starting from scratch. I found some brilliant board in Art Friend, Singapore, that I have not found elsewhere . It is, I am sure, a plastic of some sort but behaves in many respects like a cardboard. If you are reading this Doug, I seem t recall showing you a piece in Canberra one or two lifetimes ago 🙂 

Anyway, the process should work well with MDF or other materials as well although I am not sure I would try with cardboard (does anyone base on cardboard anymore?).

Magnetic strip is added under the base for those times transporting. The Navwar metal ships are probably robust enough to handle some bouncing around during transport but Fujimi plastics, and I guess GHQ Micronauts are a little more fragile with more parts that can break off.

Flex Paste spread across base, ships pressed in

The next step is to spread some of the flex paste across the base. This is kind a hit and miss at the start until you get used to working with it but I reckon a depth of approximately 1mm is good. I then wait a couple of minutes for it to start to dry a little. 

Next step is to lightly tap a finger across the top. This will add the wave shapes to the surface. the surface can be shaped as well to make a more regular wave pattern or wakes for the vessels (remembering the Kelvin angle of 19 degrees from centre line).

The ship can then be pressed into the surface, perhaps even sliding it forward a little to add a little dimension to the wake on the bow.  

If not able to get Woodland Scenics Flex Paste, which is great for this and some other modelling tasks, maybe the same can be achieved with something like Polyfilla, although I have not tried that. This jar of Flex Pastes has lasted me about 5 years so far and has not dried out greatly yet.

Ship on base. The paste is usually enough to hold it in place

Taking a closer look to the image to the right and below and you can see the rippled surface.

At this point, I leave the vessel embedded in the base overnight to let the Flex Paste dry properly and cure. I have not had any warping on the bases of any of the ships I have based this way.

I guess it would be possible to paint after a couple of hours.

I should add as well that when doing this, it is useful to have a damp rag handy to wipe finger on as the Flex Paste will build up there. I have not had any problems either just using a naked finger and/or a coffee stirrer to do these bases. 

A better close up of the surface prior to painting

For painting the bases, firstly I undercoat the base and the ship in water undercoat suits the painting style I am using. For recent vessels this has been grey. I then use four colours in the following order:

  1. Dark blue
  2. Light or fluorescent green
  3. Light blue
  4. White

The process is to first paint the base in dark blue as a foundation coat. Next the green is thinned down, to almost invisible – say 1:5 or 1:6. The base is then washed in the green. When that dries, a dry brush of light blue followed by a light dry brush of white.

Paint the ship, then using white again, run it down the side of the vessel, letting it thin as you drag it down to make the wake on the side of the ship. When dry, the sea can be varnished, other in satin of gloss varnish, depending on what you prefer. The vessel can also be varnished, in matt or satin. Voila, you have a ship that looks like it is at sea.

The final result – in this case, satin varnish on the sea surface

The AMX 13 Light Tank – Images of War – Review

The AMX-13 light tank is a French designed and built light tank with a production run from 1952 to 1987. In the French Army it was referred to as the Char 13t-75 Modèle 51. It was named after its initial weight of 13 tonnes and was a tough and reliable air-portable chassis. It was exported to more than 25 other nations. The AMX-13 was fitted with an oscillating turret built by GIAT Industries with revolver type magazines, which were also used on the Austrian SK-105 Kürassier. There are over a hundred variants including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft systems, APCs, and ATGM versions.

The turret was to the back of the vehicle, with the engine the full length of the vehicle, driver on the other side. Total crew of three. The gun was aimed by rotating the elevating the turret to the target.

Guy Gibeau, Peter Lau, and M. P. Robinson have out together a complete pictorial history of the AMX-13 which is released as:

The AMX 13 Light Tank – A Complete History
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 237
ISBN: 9781526701671
Published: 12th December 2018

The book covers the origins of the AMX-13 and its design and funding then looks at the various builds and marks as well as the export and second hand sales versions of the vehicle (for example, Peter Lau covers the Singapore Army’s AMX-13 that were acquired from Switzerland (150); India (150); and Israel (40).

The AMX -13 is currently deployed by:

  • Argentina: 58 AMX-13/105,24 AMX-VCI, 24 AMX F3 155mm and 2 AMX-13 PDP armoured bridge-layers
  • Ecuador: 108 AMX-13/105s
  • Indonesia: From the total of 275 only 120+ AMX-13/105 are still in service as 2018. Scheduled for replacement by the PT Pindad Harimau jointly developed by Indonesia and Turkey.
  • Morocco: 120 AMX-13/75s and 4 AMX-13 CD armoured recovery vehicles;[2] 5 operational.
  • Peru: 108 tanks; 30 AMX-13/75s and 78 AMX-13/105s
  • Venezuela: 67 AMX-13s; 36 AMX-13/75s and 31 AMX-13/90s

AMX-13 former operators:

  • Algeria: 44 AMX-13/75s
  • Austria: 72 AMX-13/75s and 3 AMX-13 CD armoured recovery vehicles
  • Belgium: 555 AMX-13s
  • Cambodia: 20 AMX-13/75s
  • Côte d’Ivoire: 5 AMX-13/75s
  • Djibouti: 60 AMX-13/90s
  • Dominican Republic: 15 AMX-13/75s
  • Egypt: 20 AMX-13/75s
  • France: 4,300 (of all types)
  • Guatemala: 8 AMX-13/75s
  • India: 164 AMX-13/75s
  • Israel: 400 AMX-13/75s
  • Lebanon: 75 tanks; 42 AMX-13/75s, 13 AMX-13/90s and 22 AMX-13/105s
  • Nepal: 56 AMX-13/75s
  • Netherlands: 131 AMX-13/105s, as AMX-13 PRLTTK (Pantserrups Lichte Tank) and 34 AMX-13 PRB (Pantserrups Berging) armoured recovery vehicles
  • Singapore: 340 second-hand AMX-13/75s
  • South Vietnam: 4 AMX-13 CD armoured recovery vehicles
  • Switzerland: 200 AMX-13/75s
  • Tunisia: 30 AMX-13/75s

The versatility of the tank is apparent from its multiple combat roles, being used as light tank, reconnaissance vehicle, self-propelled artillery platform, ATGM platform among others.

The book contains the following chapters:

  1. Origin
  2. Design, Funding and Production
  3. AMX13 Mle 51 Production Series
  4. Rebuilds and Upgrades
  5. The AMX13 Enters Service
  6. The AMX13 FL-11 and AMX-US
  7. The AMX13 Mle 58
  8. Division 1959
  9. The AMX13 SS-11
  10. The AMX13 C90
  11. The Division 1967
  12. Derivatives of the AMX 13
  13. The AMX13 as an Export Success
  14. Modernising the AMX13
  15. The AMX13 Mle 51 as a Combat Vehicle

The vehicle saw combat in the following wars:

  • Suez Crisis
  • Algerian War
  • Sand War
  • 1958 Lebanon crisis
  • Vietnam War
  • Cambodian Civil War
  • Dominican Civil War
  • Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
  • Six-Day War
  • Western Sahara War
  • Lebanese Civil War
  • Guatemalan Civil War

There were 7,700 vehicles built of which 3,400 were exported.

As we have come to expect with then Images at War series, there are a plethora of photographs of the vehicle at various times and in various roles.

I have always liked the lines of the modern French AFVs, the AMX30; the Leclerc; but the AMX13 is one of my all-time favourite vehicles. This is a recommended work for modern tank modellers and enthusiasts, military historians with an interest in modern AFVs and wargamers wanting background and weapon information on AFVs of the recent past – the last half of the 20th Century.

Available from Pen and Sword Books – the link is:

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-AMX-13-Light-Tank-Paperback/p/13645

Fujimi/Navwar 1/3000 Naval Vessels – Ready for Paint

I have been working a little on two of the Fujimi ships as well as the equivalent Navwar vessels, getting them ready for paint in between bouts of coughing, sneezing, sleeping and putting up with a nose running like Usain Bolt. The Fujimi vessels came from Hobby Link Japan. The metal vessels are Navwar. The vessels are the carrier Shōkaku and the battleship Yamato. They have been attached to bases and the start of a sea surface added. I will get around to painting later this week or early next week.

Fujimi 1/3000 Naval Vessels

A friend here (hi Servillano) put me on to Fujimi’s 1/3000 ships. Now, having a sizeable collection of Navwar 1/3000 vessels plus some from War Times Journal, I was curious to see how Fujimi’s efforts stacked up. Now up front I will admit the GHQ’s 1/2400 vessels are the crème de la crème of model  vessels around this scale however Navwar provide, in my opinion, a better value for money being considerably less expensive than GHQ.

Fujimi adds another dimension. For a coupe of thousand Yen, I could pick up the 5th Carrier Division consisting of the carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku as well as 6 destroyers. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

I will of course display both again after painting but clearly the plastic from Fujimi has greater detail. It also has  deck decals to add later 😁

Lastly, I also picked up a second box that contained a Yamoto. Unassembled, the Navwar and the Fujjimi Yamoto’s, side by side:

The vessels are from Fujimi but I picked up mine from Hobby Link Japan.

January 2018 Summary – Work in Progress

The soon to be Polish Army circa 1975

It has been a mixed month. A longer than planned enforced stay in Australia waiting for the alignment of the juggernauts that are the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Australia Post, to return a new passport to me has meant that I have only spent a few days working on my hobbies. So, what have I achieved this month so far?

Last year I had ordered some Poles to provide an opponent for my Cold War Commander Danes, so started work on those in January, getting them ready for some paint (that is the army off to the right there).

Of course, feeling bored, I was glancing through an Heroics and Ros catalogue and decided that I should upgrade the armour in both armies so an order went off to Heroics and Ros for 12 Leopard 1 tanks for the Danes and 12 T-72M tanks for the Poles. I’m a wargamer, I plead guilty to being addicted to buying more figures. I expect the reinforcements to arrive any week now.

The Type 74

I also ordered some more ships early in January while sitting in Oz at mum’s waiting for the passport to arrive. In the fleet order are some World War 1 Russian vessels, a Soviet modern fleet and XXXXXX <– OK,  so I can’t remember the third fleet.

I also have the JGSDF type 74 tank (1/72 scale model) sitting on my work bench. I have started to work on that as well.

Lastly, in January, I managed to finish reading a few books and had them up for review here. So, not a bad effort overall. February target is less beer, lose weight, more hobby!

Now This is a Challenge – JGSDF Type 74 Tank

Type 74 Japanese tank … I think

Well I am fairly sure it is a Type 74. I picked it up from the bargain bin at Specialty Models. The water damaged kits are in there at bargain prices. A Type 74 will go nicely with my modern tank collection thinks I. No instructions says the helpful sales lady. How hard can it be I wonder and anyway, the price is really cheap. Purchased.

Of course sitting here now looking at the bits I can see this will be a challenge. I believe it is a Trumpeter kit and judging from the printing on the sprues, the item number is 07218.

Anyone got the instructions for that they can scan and send to me? Please? No? 😦

Update 25 January 2018: I received a message this morning from Milos in Slovakia who happens to have a Type 74 in the cupboard waiting to build. A little while later I received a scanned copy of the build instructions. Oh the power of the Internet!

And a big thank you Milos.