Saturday, June 20, 2020

From Curt: The Close of the Quarantine Challenge - 2mm Terrain and Units for Waterloo


Hi All!


Well, here we are at the end the Quarantine Challenge and I must say, 'How did it go by so quickly?!' Geez, it just seemed like yesterday that we had started off in the first few days of spring - wow, the time just zipped by. 

First, I have to apologise for my somewhat on-again-off-again participation during the QC. The warmer weather has made its typical gravitational pull on my hobby time, but that being said, I did manage to get a few things done during this past few weeks to present to you as my last hurrah.

Last summer I began a 2mm Napoleonic project using 3D designs sourced from Forward March Studios. During that initial burst of productivity I managed to create two decent sized forces, one for the French and another depicting the Anglo/Portuguese of the Peninsula.

As June 18th marked the anniversary of Waterloo I thought it would be fun to revisit this project and add a few more units and terrain specific to that campaign.

After snooping around, I picked up a batch of building sets from Brigade Models which depict several locations that are iconic to that battlefield. So what we have here is the chateau of Hougoumont, the walled farm of La Haie Sainte, the church at Plancenoit and the inn of La Belle Alliance. Everything except La Belle Alliance has been based on 4" MDF squares as I wanted each base to act as a 'sector' for gaming purposes.

For Hougoumont and La Haie Sainte I wanted to include their formal gardens and orchards as they played an important role in the battle. For the garden walls I used thin plastic sheeting and for the hedges I glued down trimmed figure packing foam (the stuff you find in blister packaging) which I thinly coated with Liquitex before painting.

La Haie Sainte with its attached Orchard
La Haie Sainte with French columns and a square nearby.
Hougoumont being attacked by a French battalion in line.
The village of Plancenoit became a critical battle within a battle. I have the first base done depicting the village churchyard. Historically the possession of the churchyard seesawed between the Prussians and French throughout the late afternoon - a real charnel house. I plan to add another two bases to better reflect the entire footprint of the village.


Plancenoit's churchyard mocked up with some extra buildings and plasticard bits.

Plancenoit's churchyard with two French columns approaching.
Finally, the inn La Belle Alliance. Napoleon used the inn as his headquarters the morning before the battle and it was nearby to this location that Blucher, the commander of the Prussian forces, met up with Wellington in the evening of the 18th upon their victory over the French.

La Belle Alliance with a penny to give a sense of scale.
And, dug up from the photo archives, here I am at  La Belle Alliance er, Le Caillou when we visited the battlefield in 2008.


For La Haie Sainte's formal orchard, and for the odd individual tree here and there, I decided to create my own from bits found around the hobby desk. After a bit of experimenting, I used the same packing foam I used for the hedges and trimmed them into roundish shapes using small topiary scissors. 



I then pierced the foam with 1/2" brad nails dipped in hot glue to serve as the tree trunks. Once they were set up I coated the foam in Liquitex and then painted them up using craft paints. 



There you go, fast and easy microscale trees.




I also added a few more units to my British force, battalions in line, column and square.


Here's a unit of British infantry in column. It's interesting that the Brits had their colour party positioned in the center of their formation as opposed to the French, who had their's leading from the front.


Here is a side-by-side comparison of two differing column formations. See how the French formation is more compact due to the three-rank doctrine? Neat. To me this is one of the highlights of doing this in 2mm as one can convey, basically in 1:1 scale, the wide variety of formations that were used by the various powers. Pretty cool, eh!?


The same goes for the line formations. In this scale we can see the British two-rank doctrine creates a formation that is substantially longer than an equivalent sized French unit. You can see that unit discipline and firepower is the focus here.


Here is a British battalion drawn up in square formation.


And finally, you may have noticed the smoke markers that I've used in some of the previous photos. I've discovered that in large games we often need a visual reminder of what units have fired from those who've not, so I had these MDF markers made up by Byron over at Northern Lights Terrain based on some sketches I bodged together. 



The markers are simply three irregular shaped layers of MDF glued together to give the impression of gun smoke. I find that they're easier (and less messy) to use than pillow ticking. 


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There you have it! Thanks for sticking it out to the end. These were a lot of fun to work on and I'm looking forward to using these when we can all get back together to game in-person. 

To close, I want to thank all our participants for treating us with lots of wonderful models to keep us enthused while we were being isolated and keeping safe. I hope I see you all in a few months when we get ready for Challenge XI.

Remember, be excellent to each other.

Curt

24 comments:

  1. Wow,that's really impressive, like a map come to life! Each of the building complexes are really clear and your tree solution is spot on!
    Best Iain

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  2. A truly splendiferous offering to end with - stylish and brilliantly delivered. I like the smoke marker solution - although my 2mm project has different aims from yours, it's pretty inspirational for me, so I'll continue to steal your ideas, if that's okay?
    I might also use your idea of painting the headgear of each unit the same base colour as the jacket - it certainly aids clarity. All mine have black "shakos", and that obscures the distinctions somewhat.
    Till we meet (virtually) in November, Curt, keep up the exciting work!
    Many thanks.

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    1. Please, Noel, steal away. That's what this is all about.

      Yes, I tried being 'more historical' by painting the shakos, but from the players' perspective it just turns them into black strips and squares. IMO, keeping them to their national colours just seems to work best in this scale.

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  3. Awesome work, Curt. The micro scale buildings and terrain look superb.

    See you in the winter challenge!

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    1. Thanks Stuart! Look forward to seeing you in a few seasons.

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  4. A splendid entry to close the Quarantine Challenge with Curt. those MDF smoke markers are quite a nifty idea.

    I guess I'll have to post my final batch of Judge Dredd figures on my own blog as this event is now over...

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    1. Thank Ms P! Let me know and I can open up the blog for you to do your last Dredd hurrah.

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  5. Awesome stuff Curt. Love the BUAs and the comparison of the two nations formations is wonderful.

    Like you, my progress fell off once Spring kicked into gear. But it was great to follow everyone else’s progress.

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    1. Thanks Pete, much appreciated. Yeah, even though I didn't participate as much as I wanted, I loved seeing what others were working on.

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  6. Things of beauty Curt! Things of beauty!!

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  7. Jeeze Boss! That's so flabberghastingly gorgeous and all in 2mm scale at that?! No worries on the on and off attendance, I have been guilty of that myself and was just about ready to throw in the towell (not remembering when the QC was going to officially end. Thanks for hosting us yet again and enjoy the nice weather. We will see each other soon enough again!

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    1. Many thanks Sander. It's always a pleasure to have you with us. I look forward to meeting up again in a few months.

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  8. Curt, these are amazing! What's more, it reminds me that I have these very same buildings and a sizeable 2mm force stacked away somewhere in my pile of shame. If only I could summon up the courage to start painting them up.... Thanks for organizing the challenge, I am ashamed that I did not manage more than a couple of posts but the encouragement and support of the other participants have been amazing and I shall certainly try to be in time for joining the "proper" challenge at the end of the year! Thanks a lot, and tot ziens!

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    1. Delighted you like them Martijn. I hope my efforts can provide some impetus for you to get yours done - I'd love to see your work. Also, I'm very happy you enjoyed the QC and hope that you'll join us for Challenge XI this winter.

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    2. (Psst... I think the foto of you sporting a very dashing cap ands scarf was actually taken at Le Caillou, Napoleon's headquarters? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone ;-))

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    3. I know, thanks, I've been informed by the Twitteratti of my gaff. Corrected!

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  9. Your 2mm stuff is top notch Curt! A very big well done! And a very big thank you for organizing and handling superbly the Quarantine Challenge. Thanks to motivational people like you it is possible to keep our hobby moving forward through thick and thin.
    Hurrah for you, Sir!

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    1. Thanks Mike! I'm delighted you joined us for this little spring diversion. Your work was very inspirational (in fact it prompted me to get this 2mm stuff done up). I hope you can join us for the winter Painting Challenge.

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  10. Fantastic work Curt, very creative, quite impressive. Well done.

    And thanks to all for the support through the Challenge!

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    1. Thanks so much Greg. I loved seeing all your 30K work and especially the additions to your 10mm Franco-Prussian War project.

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  11. I have to say 2mm makes a lot of periods quite accessible. Were these resin or PLA?

    Thanks very much for running the Challenge during this interesting year! See you in six months!

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  12. Wow. Something must be wrong with my email, because I didn't get any notifications of entries or of the close of the Quarantine Challenge. This is a pity, because I finally got my arse into gear and produced something! Bloody Windows 10!

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