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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Greeks and another Diversion

Back in May 2019 in Moving Right Along – Wargaming Tasks – 2019 update!, back before the plague, I noted that I had received

Heroics and Ros 6mm Greeks for yet another Ancient project. I am still waiting on the delivery from Rapier Miniatures, but I fear these are the first order to the Philippines to go astray as it has been over 6 months now Update (May 1st) – I just received an email from Stefan at Rapier (not bad, about one hour after posting this) to note that the parcel was sent but they will send again. Brilliant service guys – thank you.

The Rapier Greeks duly arrived and the original parcel was received back at Rapier in the UK a few days after a replacement order was sent to me. Ah the vagaries of PhilPost. I digress however.

Last year I had also read a fair bit of Greek history, both land battles and naval, and had decided, with all those 6mm Greeks, along with a couple of fleet packs of Navwar’s 1/1200 ancient ships and a copy of GMT’s Galley, to refight the Peloponnesian War, both on land and sea, as a project.

Reading Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece – A Guide to Their History, Topography and Archaeology – Book Review along with Great Battles of the Classical Greek World – Review and it occurred to me that I would have the figures available and the information to pretty much refight all the Greek vs Greek battles of the classical world in 6mm on a 2 foot square board (yes, wargamer’s megalomania at its best).

Enter the plague! Several months of listless inactivity followed by a home move out of Metro Manila to a province and I had achieved absolutely nothing. In my defense, there was a good deal of work pressure at the same time as quarantine lockdowns and what-not (yes, I know, an excuse not a reason).

Tonight, sitting in the new residence (temporary for about 6 months while the final Thomo’s Hole is being constructed) and it occurred to me that to get rolling on this project, I could use my Commands and Colors (C&C) set. I have all six expansions from the Ancient C&C, although I had not placed the Spartan expansion figure stickers on the blocks for that yet. I started that tonight.

I now have a project, doable in short order — refighting the classical Greek world using C&C. I have the blocks, I have the reference material and best of all, I don’t need much space or to paint anything. When I get up to the Peloponnesian War I will probably consider breaking out War Galley as well. However, for the time being, it’s lock shields and advance!

Modern Spearhead and Shako

I’ve been quiet for a while but then this Tweet from @Thewargamesroom

set my mind to thinking, especially when Keith noted that he played the game on a 3’x2′ table.

As I am space challenged currently, and as Keith noted that it worked well at that alternative scale, I thought should have a look for these rules and see if I could get some modern gaming in with myself.

The Spearhead and Modern Spearhead rules were written by Arty Conliffe. I searched for Modern Spearhead and found only one place that had them on their catalogue, however, On Matters Military, sold out in July 2020.

I then thought to give Amazon a try and searched for publications from Arty Conliffe. I came across this gem!

Wow! Just WOW!

I think I will go home tonight and carefully place my copy of Shako (and Shako II for that matter) in the vault and leave it there.

What other old rulesets have you run across that are currently for sale at ridiculous prices?

6mm Polybian Romans for DBA — 275 BCE-105BCE

The Roam Army for DBA

These also have been complete for a few years, having been completed when I was living in Singapore.  As with the Numidians, I thought it was a good idea to show these off as well. I did in fact finish painting this army in March 2014 in Singapore.

The DBA interpretation of the Roman Army from this time assumes that the Camillan reforms to the Roman Army changed around the time of Rome’s battles with Pyrrhus of Epirus and the army appeared as described by Polybius. The army remained in this form until the reforms of Gaius Marius.

While there are significant differences between the organisation of the Marian Army as compared with the Polybian Romans, when I get around to finishing the Singapore project I started in 2012, which essentially was to put together a Punic Wars set, I will be able to use  items from the other armies to produce a Marian Roman army from the Polybian troops then coupled with the previously mentioned Numidians, re-fight some battles from the Jugurthine War (112–106 BCE).

In addition, I have a bag full of pike men here as well, so when the plague passes, a small order to Baccus6mm could see an Epirot army built as well.


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6mm Numidian/Moors for DBA — 215 BCE-696 CE

A Numidian DBA Army

These have been complete for a few years now but I thought that as I was showing off new 6mm armies, I should show off a few older ones as well. Today, it is the turn of the Numidians.

The Numidians/Moors are recorded from the time of the Punic Wars to just after the Heraclian Dynasty in the East and the start of the Twenty Years’ Anarchy in Byzantium.

The Numidians were renowned as the best light cavalry in the period around the Punic Wars and are one of the easiest armies to paint, consisting of a plain tunic of unbleached material, a plain hide shield (undecorated as near as I can find), flesh and hair. Job done, a true four colour paint job!

A Later Moorish force

The Numidians and Moors rode ponies, generally without bridles or saddles controlling their ponies with their knees. They were usually light troops and performed excellent service for both the Carthaginians and the Romans.

These make a great army for a campaign set as they were both allies and enemies to the Carthaginians as well as to the Romans. If I grab a few more I can even manage the civil war between Jugurtha and Adherbal in 112 BCE.

The figures are from Baccus 6mm Miniatures. I finished painting these back in 2011 when living in Singapore (goodness, has it been that long?). They are part of a set known in Thomo’s Hole as the Singapore Project. The army was constructed for the previous version of the DBA rules as are the rest of that set. DBA Version 3 was released in 2014.


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Well that was the week that was — the next week!

So, we are now at the week after the week that was. The condo building has three more days quarantine to serve then should have its quarantine restrictions eased. The mega city that is Metro Manila has another week to go before the government decides on whether to ease, tighten, or leave the restrictions as they are. Some of the cities in Metro Manila are performing better in comparison to others but will the government set tighter restrictions for some cities over the others?

After watching Kesari last week I have avoided rushing off and building a Sikh force for the Pehawar project … just!

I was able to work back in the office from Tuesday which was great. I am slowly cleaning my stuff out of the office in preparation for my exit from SOFGEN at the end of next week. Four more work days, then I think I will take a couple of weeks with my feet up, then full on looking for more work … if you know anyone who wants an old fat project manager, CIO, country head or similar, I am available!

The rules and the Army blocked up for the “press shot” 🙂

On the wargaming front, I completed the Anglo-Saxon DBA Army this time last week with the varnishing. Last Monday night I took the press shots of them (on the left and see 6mm Anglo-Saxons for DBA — 701-1016 CE). They are now waiting for me to get off my fat backside and paint up an opponent.

As for the middle eastern village buildings I was working on,  let me note that I have actually managed to do nothing at all on it this week.

It still looks exactly the same as the photograph below – in fact, it hasn’t moved at all on my painting/office table area thingy.

Plan is that today, I WILL finish these buildings. Some roofs, some windows darkened, a little sepia (maybe) wash and a dry brush and they will be finished.

I will then clean up the coffee table and my painting desk so I can do a couple of things. One is prepare the 2mm army for paint. Second is to sort books that arrived in the last nine months in a read/unread stack. Then I want to lay out some board games for a few solo games. Lastly I will need some space for a new laptop. My old one (now 5 years old) is giving me problems with the power supply – but it is probably a good time to get a new one.

So, a week when not so much has happened but hopefully ready to springboard into my last week at SOFGEN, then a couple of weeks of relaxation. Of course, the prospect of spending quality time by a pool with a hollowed out pineapple, a rum based drink in it and a fruit salad hanging off the side with an umbrella to reduce evaporation, well, in the middle of a pandemic, that may be hard to arrange but we will have a little period of relaxing.

Right then, where are my brushes?


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6mm Anglo-Saxons for DBA — 701-1016 CE

The DBA Anglo-Saxons with one option fully laid out.

I finally finished these over the last couple of days, the Anglo-Saxons for DBA as part of the Bloodaxe Project. The post that took the original idea and then set it all in motion is the Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures needed and Dark Age Campaign Set – the Figures ordered. Noticing how long ago it was I purchased the figures, it has been a year to get one of the six armies complete. If I keep at the same rate, I will have it all finished by Christmas 2026.

The rules and the Army blocked up for the “press shot” 🙂

These troops represent the Anglo-Saxons from about 701 CE onward, about the time the Anglo-Saxons adopted shield wall tactics in battle until the time of Knut.

The army as painted covers the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria as well as some minor states.

These kingdoms were the ones that bore brunt of the Viking invasions and later struggle for control of England.

For those looking for the inspiration for this period, there are many books, both fiction and non-fiction around the period as well as coverage with fictional and semi-fictional TV series coming to mind. The Last Kingdom, set in the time of Alfred’s England and the Vikings, set just a little earlier are two that come to mind.

In wargame terms and for the DBA wargame rules, the army is III/24b Anglo-Saxon Army 701-1016 AD. The army as painted can also be used (morphed) into the Anglo-Saxons of 617 to 700 CE, when the infantry behaved more like warbands.


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Well that was the week that was!

Well, that was the week that was. Monday was a normal day, well as normal as it can be under General Community Quarantine. Tuesday morning, however, things got interesting. There was a note on the wall of the condo elevator as I was walking to the office.  I didn’t read it until getting to the office. It noted that there was an active Covid-19 case identified in the condo. Letting my Admin Manager, know, I was instructed to:

  1. Go home
  2. Get a test to ensure I was negative, and
  3. That the office would be closed until after my test then a deep clean would be organised (I did wonder why the wait)

The specimen was collected when a doctor dropped around to the apartment and shoved a swab the length of my umbrella up each of my nostrils. Technically it does not hurt but my goodness don’t the tears half fall?

Result came back today, SARS-Cov-2 viral RNA NOT DETECTED.

Great, life can return to near normal and I can exit the Condo from time to time.

I still managed to work from home, uncomfortable as it was, finishing up a few things before my enforced retirement at the end of the month. I also worked on finishing up some wargaming things that had been hanging around. I also managed to catch a few movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix.

One that I really enjoyed was Kesari, a movie made in 2019 (IMDB Reference) which is based on the real story of the Battle of Saragarhi in which an force of 21 Sikhs fought against 10,000 Pathans in 1897.

The background story is based around Havildar Ishar Singh disobeying orders from his English officer and saving a Pathan woman from the local mullah and men. This was on the North-West Frontier in Tirah, about 20 miles from Chat, 40 miles from Peshawar. After that, Havilday Singh was sent to the outpost and then the Pathans decided to get restless.

Wikipedia notes about the battle:

The Battle of Saragarhi was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September, 1897 between the British Raj and Afghan tribesmen. On 12 September 1897, estimated 12,000 – 24,000 Orakzai and Afridi tribesmen were seen near Gogra, at Samana Suk and round Saragarhi, cutting off Fort Gulistan from Fort Lockhart. The Afghans attacked the outpost of Saragarhi where thousands of Afghans swarmed and surrounded the fort, preparing to assault it. The soldiers in the fort, who were all Sikhs and led by Havildar Ishar Singh, chose to fight to the death, in what is considered by some military historians as one of history’s greatest last stands. The post was recaptured two days later by another British Indian contingent.

Well, according to the movie, 21 Sikhs and a Pathan cook.

The movie was brilliant, although without English dubbing. Still the subtitles were adequate for following the plot lines and once the Pathans attacked, it was not difficult to work out what was being yelled.

Best of all, the area the filming was in allowed me to get an idea of land form and colours on the North-West Frontier and therefore for my Peshawar project.

Over the rest of the week I worked on finishing the Anglo-Saxon 6mm DBA Army as well as the Middle Eastern Peshawar buildings (building progress photographed to the left).

The DBA Anglo-Saxons had the edges of the flags painted to remove the white edge and blend the flags in.

The Anglo-Saxons were then varnished with a spray matt varnish. The varnish is Liquitex Professional Matt Varnish an seems to have worked well. The army is shown on the right with the varnish drying.

The Liquitex Matt Varnish was the only spray varnish I could get from the local paint store. For gloss or satin, all I have are varnishes that require brushing on – perfect for ships, less so multiple figures on a base.

What’s next? Well tonight it is time for the Virtual Wargames Club (and tomorrow at 14:30 local time). After which, I will take some “press release” photos of the Anglo-Saxons, finish the Middle East village and then clean my painting table/office, as well as the  coffee table just over there to the right. I want to lay out a board game or two and have a play. In addition, I will also be looking for a new job more seriously as well as brushing up my COBOL skills and maybe learning ELM.

In the meantime, let me leave you with a little more of my movie recommendation (and in case you are wondering, in true Bollywood style, they did manage to weave two songs into the movie!

Next Project – Aircraft or Land Ironclads?

Japanese late World War 2 fighters from Heroics and Ros

Or, 1/300 scale vs 2mm size. I finished the Anglo-Saxons during the week and had decided that I would like to do something non-historical. I have a lot of Aeronefs in the lead-pile and felt that working on the long stalled Peshawar project would be a good idea. Much time was spent (OK, the length of time for a nice cup of tea) pondering which of the Aeronef forces to paint. I also looked at the Land Forces. I don’t have any Land Ironclads here but I do have the makings of roughly 6 battalions of infantry plus supporting elements from the six imagi-nations in the set.

Fast forward to last Wednesday and as I walked into the office, I was handed two cards from the Post Office. There were parcels to collect. I then spend the rest of the afternoon, in between teleconferences, pondering which of the items I had ordered in January and February were waiting for me.

American late World War 2 bombers and fighter support from Scotia

Were they:

  • Aircraft and Buildings from Heroics and Ros
  • Aircraft and Buildings from Scotia
  • Book from Pen and Sword
  • A book from the Naval Institute Press
  • Rules (Bag the Hun in particular) from Too Fat Lardies
  • one or two other items I have forgotten

I went to the Post Office on Thursday and picked up the parcels. Aircraft and buildings from both Heroics and Ros, and Scotia. Damn. Now the usual indecision cut in … new toys or ones from the lead pile. Bright, shiny, glittering new toys, or old, dusty figures I have stored for several years?

Now I need decide what to paint next. The 2mm figures are my American ground forces for the Peshawar project but the aircraft are, if nothing else, impressive with the size of the B-29 (there are three of them) and the Shinden, which looks like it is flying backwards!

Decisions, decision, decisions!