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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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.

French-Indian War – Battle One at the Gun Bar

The French Battery and and battalion
The French Battery and and battalion

For a change from the Rapid Fire, Anthony suggested I read Rank and File on the bus up to the Gun Bar ((with one small change of letters this could become the Gin Bar)). I’m not sure that it was because he was bored with Rapid Fire but rather than he had received some new toys in the post and wanted to play with them.

The first part of the day was trying a burger from the barbecue as the search for the perfect burger continues (see the next post).

We then retired to the table where some terrain was laid out and Anthony’s French-Indian War figures were ready for battle.

Rules of Engagement were simple. Two roughly equal forces face off against each other across a valley. Let loose the dogs etc etc.

I deployed my cavalry and a battalion of infantry to product my right flank, positioned the battery with another battalion to protect it on the hill and split the remaining four battalions. Two were to hold my left flank and the remaining two to act as a strike-force up the centre. The centre was to be the main strike force as I could rapidly reinforce with another two battalions and support with the artillery.

The main strike force ready to advance and the right flank covered by the dragoons and another battalion
The main strike force ready to advance and the right flank covered by the dragoons and another battalion

It was a plan.

This was out first battle using Rank and File rules

The battle commenced. My left flank advanced and formed line waiting for an expected onslaught from the British. It came and my two battalions performed admirably, not only holding the flank but forcing the British back.

Meanwhile my artillery played on the British battalions and caused them some consternation.

On my right, my dragoons advanced on the river in company with a battalion of infantry to attempt to prevent the British crossing at that point.

My dragoons however ended up being roughly handled by the British and left the field.

Towards the end of the battle before things went pear-shaped on my right. Soon after this both the French and British right flanks crumbled. We called time at this point as both armies would have withdrawn from the field to lick their wounds. We really enjoyed the Rank and File rules and by the end of the battle we were playing bound after bound quite comfortably.

The advance up the road was initially successfully but ultimately failed
The advance up the road was initially successfully but ultimately failed