I have now started to construct the terrain and have laid out the surprisingly numerous watercourses. I have researched many maps including the old Belgian army Overview.
In my opinion a chap called Wupperman and our own Mike Robinson have provided the most useful and detailed maps of Quatre Bras.
The distances and approximate positions of the built up areas are also marked on the sand table. Sculpting and roads will be next which will allow the buildings to be positioned as accurately as possible.
This is an overview of the field showing the lake Materne looking towards Quatre Bras. Piraumont is on the left foreground with Thyle on the right. The watering can is inside the Bois de Bossu ( honest). Gemincourt is in the middle distance located on the heights of Gemincourt above the stream of its name.
Piraumont / Liralle although the sculpting of the heights of Liralle, Heights de la Hutte and Bois de Hutte are incomplete, hence the hole!
The crossroads with the outline of the Bois de Bossu shown by the cane outline and the watering can.
The one surprise that springs to the eye is the very small area where the original main action took place. The triangle formed from Gemincourt stream to the Bossu wood to the crossroads is very limited for troop concentrations of the period. When you factor in the crops this will prove a very interesting re-fight indeed.
I have been sculpting and modelling the terrain. Whilst still incomplete these areas are looking promising although I need to do some weeding in the rye field as some of the strands are not quite right.
I have today been playing with chinchilla dust courtesy of my new friends, Charlie, Gerri and Harry.
Having made a mark 1 dispenser I proceeded to lay the sand borders.
This stuff is very fine and I am not sure what will happen if it gets very wet. However, for five English pounds including delivery for one and a half KG it is cheap enough to replace. Well recommended for roads, gravels etc.
This wood was fiercely contested initially by Nassau troops and eventually cleared of Frenchmen by the Guards in the original battle.
The Duke was given this woodland as a gift and promptly chopped it down for timber!
Having stated ' what have they done to my battlefield ' when visiting Waterloo he does seem to have forgotten his own vandalism. Perhaps he did not wish to remember this action where his initial orders were disobeyed and the Dutch Belgians saved the day?
I have used over one hundred trees so far mainly Gaugemaster sea foam and Woodland scenics forest canopy.
In addition I discovered from a wander around the garden the seed heads of sedum plants, the same as Woodland Scenics! Net saving of at least fifty English pounds. I will be planting more in the spring!
Also, chopped up shrubs decorated with glued on sea foam bits and then flocked help make up the larger specimens.
The ground work is scatter and the seed heads and debris from the forest canopy box.
The view towards Le Trois Bras showing the wood and sunken way.
I have been experimenting with railway modelling backdrops for my Quatre Bras re fight.
Having researched this subject I chose ID Backscenes as having the best range for my purposes.
They come with a peel off backing to attach them and a ten foot section comes in two halves. There is a white border that need to be removed if you are joining two sections. I initially used wallpaper scissors but a steel rule and a very sharp modelling knife is better.
I mounted mine on 2000 grade lining paper so that I can use my washing line and clothes leg system. This gives a decent amount of rigidity without losing too much flexibility.
Many thanks to the Feldmarschall for her assistance in rolling the paper out to avoid creases.
I have attached a link giving guidance which I hope fellow modellers will find useful.
I have been experimenting with the backdrops for special scenes.
I firstly obtained my lovely wife's [ with her permission ] baking tray and followed my usual procedure in building up the scene.
Having built the scene the background is put into place and the height of the model is adjusted for the camera angle required.
The results can be pleasing.
However, the height of the landscape needs to be kept in mind as the undulating countryside can quickly turn into a mountain range. ie The view between the houses.
My friend General Picton raised this very issue and I am grateful to him for this. The problem is I feel optical, as long range shots tend to soften backgrounds but close up shots can exaggerate height.
For my re fight I originally lowered the backgrounds but have now replaced part of it with a lower countryside profile that seems to work well.
Many thanks to Jamie for highlighting this before my battle really got underway and presented weird horizons!
Hopefully, it is now 2PM, 16th June 181, time to commence the action.
Tim Clayton's "Waterloo: Four Days that Changed Europe's Destiny" has Reill's advance into belgium on the 15th being led by Pire's light cavalry closely supported by the four battalions of Maigrot's 2nd Legere. They seized the bridge at Lobbe and the town of Thuin from Westphalian defenders.
Once Ney had taken command of the left wing his first act was to take Gosselies from Steinmetz's forces this was achieved by the light cavalry and horse artillery of the Guard and the 2nd Legere.
The Guard light cavalry explored the road up to Quatre Bras but came under artillery fire and found the crossroads defended by infantry so retired to Frasnes for the night where at about 9pm the first infantry arrived, a very tired battalion of the 2nd Leger. This is apparently set out in a report Lefebvre-Desnouettes sent to Ney but I don't know if the report mentions the 2nd Legere by name.
Clayton says that Ney delayed his attack on Quatre Bras until he felt enough of Reills troops had come up, but as soon as Foy's division arrived he ordered an immidiate attack which began at about 2pm with an attack by Maigrot's 2nd Legere towards Piraumont.
So clayton at least has the 2nd Legere in the vanguard all the way from the french border to the crossroads.
Just getting a good look at your pictures. It is an understatement to say your care, attention to detail, and results are impressive. What a beautifully realized picture of the battlefield. It would put many a museum's displays to shame. Thanks for sharing not only your results, but your process. A real treat and learning experience.