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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A New Period – American Civil War

I have had an abiding interest in the American Civil War (ACW) since my very first wargame which I lost to friend Jeffrey. It was a USA vs CSA battle in Airfix 1/76 plastic with the Airfix Cowboy set used to provide cavalry. Masonite table surface, hills from plasticine so the game also had that plasticine smell about it. I can’t remember which side I was playing but I do recall it was a loss for me. Rules were the Don Featherstone ones present in War Games and for the record, I won the second game as the Ancient Britons taking on the might of Rome, again using Airfix plastic figures – the charge of the Roman chariots was something to behold.

I had a large collection of 15mm American Civil War figures, where the Union was painted and I left them in Singapore with friend Anthony. I am still hankering for an ACW set however. I have toyed with the Baccus 6mm ACW boxed set, containing lots of figures (well over 800) for £82.50 for those of us overseas, more if you live in the UK or Europe. Also included are bases, flags and Polemos rules. I also considered Heroics and Ros as well as Rapier Miniatures (Rapier still appear to be off the air at the moment but the link is to their Facebook page where there should be updates when everything returns to normal).

However, much as I like Baccus figures (and H&R and Rapier for that matter as well), what has caught my eye is Commission Figurines. Their website is a single page only but it links to their catalogue.

Why do I like Commission Figurines so much for my future ACW project? I think the thought of trying these figures appealing, especially as they are wood (or more correctly, MDF). Apart from the novelty of MDF wargame figures, they are considerably less expensive than the current metal ranges with 88 ACW infantry costing about £2.00. It would be possible to build two reasonable forces for about £20.00. Very tempting.

I guess I could also argue that as they are wooden, I am not being affected by something new, bright and shiny  😉

Yes, one more for the list of projects so I think tonight I will plan a post Pandemic purchase of these.


#6mm #acw #wargames

I Hate You Little Wars TV – 1st Manassas (Bull Run)

There I was, happily minding my own business, preparing some World War 2 1/285 scale aircraft for painting, planning then to move on to my 6mm Anglo-Saxons, and then perhaps off to something nautical, perhaps 1/1200 scale galleys or modern vessels when Little Wars TV presents First Manassas. They show the battlefield, then discuss the tactics and Gen. McDowell’s performance. Just have a look at this.

Now I am getting an almost uncontrollable itch to paint 6mm American Civil War figures. Of course, to do that, I would need to purchase some 6mm American Civil War figures as I do not have any in the lead pile. English Civil War, Ancients, Napoleonics, World War 2 and Cold War figures in stock aplenty but no American Civil War figures. I have several sets of rules on the bookshelf, lots of reference works but no figures.

I hate you Little Wars TV. I must resist!

ACW Countback

Sunday I finished putting the last of the American Civil War figures on wooden bases ready for decoration and later varnishing. I also had to do a quick paint job on five flags (which I am totally unhappy with and will get around to changing later … really). When all that was completed and the varnish was dry on my observation tower (see yesterday’s post here) I thought “exactly how many figures do I have”.

I laid them all out.

The Union ACW figures laid out including markers. A mix of Minifigs, Essex, Lancashire and Old Glory 15s.
The Union ACW figures laid out including markers. A mix of Minifigs, Essex, Lancashire and Old Glory 15s.

It looks a lot.I guess it is. A count of the figures tells me that I have:

  • 188 stands of infantry
  • 28 stands of cavalry
  • 23 dismounted cavalry
  • 7 stands of horse-holders
  • 14 artillery pieces
  • 10 limbers
  • 14 general and aide stands
  • 2 ammunition wagons
  • 1 ambulance
  • 4 advancing colonels (one mounted)
  • 8 low on ammunition markers
  • 16 disordered markers
  • and one signal tower

Now all I have to do is decorate the bases for all these (and attach some flags to the standard bearers.

First of the ACW Finished

My test piece, a signal tower, for the Union 15mm ACW army I’m putting together is finished. I tested the basing on it today. The bases were covered in sand and some small rocks. Then just using ordinary acrylics from Art Friend here in Singapore the bases were covered in a sloppy mix of dark brown, then dry brushed with a red brown, then a yellow brown and finally an off-white (each dry brush layer was applied a little more lightly.

Glade green and yellow grass was then applied with the lot finished off by the addition of some meadow flowers. Done!

The sandy bases with the first brown wash applied to half the base
The sandy bases with the first brown wash applied to half the base
A red brown dry brush is applied across the base
A red brown dry brush is applied across the base
A yellow brown dry brush is then applied a little more lightly
A yellow brown dry brush is then applied a little more lightly
and lastly an off-white dry-brush is very lightly applied across the top of the base texture.
and lastly an off-white dry-brush is very lightly applied across the top of the base texture.
Yellow grass and a green static grass are now applied in clumps. Lastly some meadow flowers (from the Army Builder range) are added. These give a great touch but only a clump or two should be used here and there. Too much and it looks like a hippie festival battle.
Yellow grass and a green static grass are now applied in clumps. Lastly some meadow flowers (from the Army Builder range) are added. These give a great touch but only a clump or two should be used here and there. Too much and it looks like a hippie festival battle.
Further around the base
Further around the base

2013-02-23 16.16.25

2013-02-23 16.16.36

Last Night’s Game

2012-12-06 22.09.37The Union forces (er, unbased) march on to attack the Rebs.

Anthony and I played a little regimental Fire and Fury last night in the process of trying to learn the rules.

This also meant that no work was done on the Koreans. More on them tonight I hope and perhaps over the weekend – especially as I am travelling next week – Jakarta first then back to Oz. I would like to finish the Koreans before I go so that I only have the Hungarians to finish before Cancon 2013.

In the meantime, Friday night so that means … Fish and Chips.

New Toys

2012-10-17 21.30.26Jessica called me to the front desk today. When I arrived she handed me a box. It was from the nice folks at Miniature Lanka and should contain the rest of my Union ACW forces in 15mm. This should be another couple of regiments of infantry, a lot of figures for command stands, an ambulance, 10 or so artillery pieces and crew as well as a supply wagon or two and a brace of limbers.

Also in the box will be some 15mm Ancient Greeks. For the life of me I cannot remember buying these little buggers let alone giving them to Priyantha to paint but apparently I did. Looking forward to unpacking the box but I fear I do not have time tonight so you’ll need to wait until tomorrow night to see what was in there.

WIP – 15mm American Civil War – Union

DSC01450Most of the 15mm ACW figures are painted and just waiting basing. I had originally started basing on 30mm frontage bases when we decided that we would follow Fire and Fury basing – that is, a 1-inch wide base as the standard. This resulted in my “unbasing” some figures and rebasing on the 1-inch size.

When using a 30mm square base, I was basing 4 infantry figures per base. However, as we are changing to the 1-inch base, I will only be sticking three figures to the infantry bases. This will also give about a 25% increase in the number of bases available.

The photo to the left is a view of the basing material and the first batch of cavalry being based. I got my bases from Litko Game Accessories. LItko offers a plywood base as well as adhesive magnetic tape pre-cut to the base size. Mind you, it does take a while to stick the magnetic material to the bottom of the base, but the fit between the wooden base and the magnetic material is great.

The figures shown above were unbased to start with. I also had some 15mm cavalry already based which I needed to unbase and rebase. The picture below shows the figures based so far.

DSC01453