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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