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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The one more project continues – the megalomania strikes!

I mentioned that there was one more project being planned. Doug and I had decided on the American Revolution (or in his case, the American War of Independence), The plan was to purchase a few packets of plastic figures, paint them up and have them ready for battle overChristmas 2015. We decided to each buy a set or two of figures and swap the British and the Americans. We had decided on 2 boxes of Infantry, half a box of artillery and a handful of Indians each. 40mm frontage, rules to be decided!

Doug ordered some Highlanders, Indians, cavalry and the mixed grenadiers and light infantry. He also ordered the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse Revolutionary War from IMEX and some Italeri British Light Cavalry

He was then going to package the americans and half the Indians and send them on so I could get painting – oh, and  half the artillery.

He noted that

As far as I can tell, we will end up with:

British
16 cavalry (+ 1 wounded)
88 usuable british infantry (+ spares) + 4 mounted
16 british grenadiers
16 light company skirmishers
4 guns + 24 figures
42 usable scots figures
24(48) indian figures

American
84 usable militia + 4 mounted
24(48) indians
4 guns + 24 figures

Doug also suggested that I may need a box of French.

I must admit, that I may have misinterpreted his original email because when I ordered some British Infantry to do a paint conversion to French. I also ordered 2 boxes of American War Of Independence – American Infantry from Italeri, an American Revolution War Of The Patriots Set from IMEX and two boxes of IMEX British Redcoats

I would have ordered IMEX Americans instead of Italeri but they were out of stock.

A calculation was made by Doug last night and his email noted:

“You do realise just how many infantry you are going to have? rough count, each box is 50 and the set around 100, so with the ones here, 100, you will have another 100 in the boxed set, another 100 from your two Italeri boxes, and with the Brits painted up as French – you could have up to 150 of those!”

All up, then we will have (approximately):

Redbox Highlanders – 50
Indians – 50
Dragoons – 32
Grenadiers & Lights – 32
16 artillery & crew
Americans – 300
British – 300

So if 50 Brits were used as French … that would be approximately:

American
25 Indians
16 Light Dragoons
50 French Infantry
8 artillery pieces
300 ‘Patriots’

roughly 375 foot

British
25 Indians
16 Light Dragoons
50 Highlanders
32 Grenadiers & Lights
8 artillery
250 Line Infantry

roughly 357 foot

Megalomania indeed!

Yet one more project

OK, Christmas, the odd beer or ten too many, a late night and a brilliant idea. All these items conspired to have Doug and myself decide that we were going to leap into a new period, a new project, in a scale that was at least new(ish) to me and in a medium that apart from World War 2 and the odd aircraft model, neither of us work in.

The image to the right is a pretty good hint.

So, Doug has sent an order off for some appropriate plastic figures in 1.72 scale, and I am in the process of doing the same thing As we hae been buying some sets, there is a period of figure swapping going to occur.

The plan is to shape up for the battle next Christmas, over the aforementioned odd beer or 10 too many!

Just what I needed, another project in the year that I decided to paint the fleets of Jutland!

Still, it is a good book, especially if you have an interest in that period.

French-Indian War – Battle Two at the Gun Bar

It started back on August 3rd, 2013, with the Battle of St Roll No Ones. That was the battle that I rolled so many ones and coupled with the following battle, had us wondering about dice Feng Shui as when we played the third game, Anthony was on the other side of the table. By now, two wins in Rank and File and from what was the poor Feng Shui side of the table now has me wondering if the Feng Shui is period specific.

2013-09-14 15.50.36We met for an engagement at Dresden’s Ford.

The French (that’d be moi) had stolen a march on the British and advanced to the village on the ford. Indeed, the skill of the French engineers and the efforts of the troops ensured the road across the ford and the cross roads were suitably protected with earthworks. The was designed to ensure the the British left a holding force in from of the earthworks and attacked, most likely, on their right flank

The French were ready for an attack on either flank but had le Blue regiment stationed there waiting for the British to come. They came.

The view of the battle from the British side can be seen in General Gage it is with some trepidation … 

2013-09-14 18.36.26 I fear the British powder was wet as they barely caused a French casualty all day. They advance, the French shot, the British routed. Overall it was a simple battle. Those foolhardy enough to advance on the earthworks were repulsed with heavy casualties.

Those attempting to work the flanks were repulsed with heavy casualties as well. The French Cause was aided somewhat by the British inability to roll a 6 (or a 5 or a 4 come to think of it when those were needed).

The photo above is from the Montgolfier brothers recent invention and show the final position of most of the forces.

Lessons and Comments

When attacking hard cover, I think the attackers probably need around 2.5 to 1 odds.

We need to have a look at the interaction between cavalry and squares – namely, how many elements in the square can fire on the cavalry and when it comes time to melee, how many cavalry elements and how many infantry elements get to fight?

Lastly, an about face. 1/4 move to about face and 3/4 move or  … ?

Battle of Malplaquet

Battle_of_Malplaquet,_1709Just when I was settling into decisions for next years projects it occurred to me that today, 11 September 2013 is the 304th anniversary of the Pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Malplaquet fought between England, Austria, Prussia and the Low Countries on one side and France and Bavaria on the other. It was a battle that was famous for the commanders, John Churchill of the English (the Duke of Marlborough) and Prince Eugene of Savoy on the one side and Claude de Villars and Louis Boufflers on the other. Overall there were 86,000 in the armies of the Grand Alliance with 100 guns and and 75,000 and 80 guns on Bourbon side.

The Army of the Grand Alliance found itself at Malplaquet near the modern Belgian/French border. In the morning of 11 September 1709 at 9.00am the Austrians attacked with the support of Prussian and Danish troops. These were commanded by Count Albrecht Konrad Finck von Finckenstein. They pushed back the French left wing into the forest behind them. On the French right wing the Dutch under the command of the Prince of Orange, John William Friso, attacked to distract the French and prevent them from coming to Villars’ aid.

Later a decisive final attack was made on the weakened French centre by British infantry under the command of the Earl of Orkney. This attack occupied the the French redans. Allied cavalry was then able to advance through this line and engage the French cavalry behind. By this stage, de Villars was off the field having been wounded earlier so Boufflers was in command. Boufflers was leading the Maison du Roi and six times drive the Allied cavalry back before finally deciding the battle was lost and surrendering the field.

The victory for the Grand Alliance had come at some cost however with 21,000 casualties from within the alliance compared to 11,000 casualties on the French and Bavarian side.

Now I am torn again between the War of Spanish Succession and the Great Northern War. Of course, I could just do this as Imagi-nations. Oh yes, and I am still planning something with the Thirty Years War.

Rank and File – Hacking for the Great Northern War and War of Spanish Succession

Victory after the Battle of Narva
Victory after the Battle of Narva

Well, that’s a long title!

Truth is, after one game of Rank and File, I felt really comfortable with them as a rules system for the Seven Years War (7YW). After a week of pondering them, I find I am feeling really comfortable with them as a rules system for the American Civil War. I can also see me using them for the Great Pacific War (if I can ever find those bloody figures). I’m not sure about them for the Napoleonic Wars yet.

However, if did odcurr to me that if they work well enough for the Seven Years War, they should work well enough for the earlier ways – namely the War of Spanish Succession (WSS – Marlburian Wars to the English) and the Great Northern War (GNW – Stora nordiska kriget to the Swedes; Северная война to the Russians). During this period there were a couple of innovations in Europe and a little anachronism in Northern Europe.

Duke of Marlborough signing Despatch from Blenheim, Bavaria in 1704
Duke of Marlborough signing Despatch from Blenheim, Bavaria in 1704

Artillery was more effective as I understand later in the 18th century but apart from the pikes and the possibility of the odd plug bayonet what really separated the warfare of 1700 to 1721 from that of 1740 onwards?

Now I am researching some more and looking at modifying Rank and File to suit one of my sorely underplayed and modelled favourite periods of history.