Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Unpacking Scratch-built Model`s for Waterloo by Beano Boy

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I always knew  that I wanted to paint as best as I could model figures,but little did I realise at the outset of trying to paint them,it would also involve years & years of research and scratch-building projects too.This truly is a hobby for the practice of patience. 
The Dovecote & Well I made  many years ago, so it had been stored up,as were others in cardboard boxes up until September of 2013, when these pictures were taken.Those figures are French Infantry,as is the Cavalry behind them in boxes.

Above is the Great Barn along side the Dovecote both were in back of the Chateau d, Hougoumont which burn`t down during the fighting. The French Gunners fired incendiaries onto the buildings which soon turned this place into an inferno. The Dovecote was badly damaged ,but the Great Barn  plus Stables, and the buildings fronting Hougoumont  survived intact in spite of the battle raging within and all around them. Since 1815 the place although still a working Farm was allowed  to fall into dilapidation what did remain inside the complex,like the Tower Stairwell of the Chateau was just left  to crumble away and a few photo`s can prove this to be the case.
On the left the remains of the Tower about 100 years after the battle at Waterloo. Clearly there was no such thing as Health & Safety in those days. Where the camera was set up for this occasion it would have been near the remains of the Dovecote & Well although by this time only a few stones remained of it and a large hole in the ground where the Well was.
This is a view of a building that all who are into Napoleonics will well recognise on sight which is of course my version of the front building`s of Hougoumont. I decided to scratch build all the buildings myself because to be quite frank about it those models that were available were not to my liking and some were so fragile they would break just getting them out of the box. The prices were way to high for a poor widows son from FiddleWood near Norwich,England.
In those far off days of my youth ,if one had two pennies to spend you couldn`t spend a Shilling or even Sixpence, let alone a Threepenny Bit.(No, no plastic card in those times. ) So it was order of the day ,that is my childhood days of cold Black & White 1950`s Norwich to make my own toys. 66 years after taking my first gulp of fresh air I am still making toy props in order to show story`s on line & of course Model Buildings, and all made out of paper too. Everything except the figures that is,is made from paper picture card which is used for framing pictures. When painted it soaks the paint up and goes,As Tuff as Old Boots!
 Below is  my version of the little Chapel that survived that horrid fire during that battle of nearly 200 years ago. The real one can be seen in the old photo I posted above of the dilapidated tower that stood attached to it nearby way, way  back in the day.
These were all unseen pictures,even by me who took them well over a year ago. Well I suppose we who take lots of photo`s know that not all of them come out crisp and clear when we review them on our P C Screen. Well a few months ago I lucked into lots of money  so I treated myself to a very good PC that could do a wonderful job of adding light to all those rather dark, and dingy pictures that I had still on file on my old PC. So today in order to place more pictures on line. I waded myself through a sea of these former useless pictures,and boy am I glad I kept them on file,and had not deleted them,because the quality is A OK! Well I`ll win no bright award for showing them,but for this topic they are fine,and i hope you agree. 

This building is my version of one of two, that were used as stables or whatever 200 years ago farmers used them for. The real buildings of the farm complex went way back to medieval times and were Monastic  buildings built by Monks, The Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. 
The original Tythe Barn must date back near a thousand years or so, and part of its outside wall can still be seen today. So when modelling the Great Barn I took careful note to study pictures in books as best I could with a magnifying glass in order to see how the medieval walls looked like. No internet in those days.  As for the buildings that were gutted by that fire, they just fell down and what ever they looked like when standing proud is unknown. Nobody saw a need to leave a clear record of them. So Artistic Licence Applies on these model buildings. Mine I kept simple and decided on two building that buttered onto each other to form the far corner of what could I suppose could be called the Back Yard.

Above the farm buildings already mentioned and as seen they form the right hand corner of, yes lets call it the back- yard of this place. At this angle, this would have been seen from the roof of the Great Barn, and in part from the back windows of the Chateau.

This view is of course seen from over looking that corner made by my version of the buildings that once stood there. The scene played out with the French Infantry is part of my fancy concerning the break-in  by the French through the back gate that was left open at that early point in the battle for this odd pile of stone and brick referred to by many as Gaumont, and who am I to argue upon such a finer point, concerning something that is quite less than half still standing.  
The opposite corner seen from outside. The end building probably used as pig pens mentioned as being there at the time of the fight for control of this place,and the outside view of my version of the medieval  Tythe Barn  made of rock hard flint.
On my old small table that is no more,The Next Update, will show just how the complex of buildings look ,when like the Jack!  All is sprung out of the box. BB
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I thought I`d let this Jack in the Box out now. 
Above part of the Waterloo Model of Hougoumont commissioned by Lord Wellington P M & the British Government,and the Army under the direction of Captain Siborne in 1830,and it is the Apex shape of the roof that proved to me,that this was  going to determine how I would rebuild my version of the Chateau. It was in 1830 that a detailed survey of the terrain, and the buildings were  carried out by Siborne leading an army of Expert Surveyors, and before the work on this building and the entire Diorama began it was approved as correct in its shape and detail by those Powers above already mentioned. That was and is enough good reference for me.
So I began Scratch Building my version of the Chateau Hougoumont in the year 2006. This would be the beginning of the 4th time I`d built this place and working from old photo records from the 1860`s,1880`s and onwards to our day the detail mainly of brick work and stone was laid so to speak in my own mind. How to do the actual work of every Wall & Roof however was somewhat of a mystery for me. However I set myself upon my own pathway to Design a System that outlined every Roofing Tile and Detailed  every Brick of my work Dead Certain and Keen in my Mind & On Paper Card. It would take over three years to build between doing other things that living in the real world dictates we all must do.________We all must Render to Caesar !
It must be mentioned that the argument for placing Allied Troops and the Prussians on the Diorama ,was well fought over by the Powers that were back in the Day. They fought over it with a Stiff Necked Arrogance ,and such Bitter Contention. Yes Very Big Boys fighting over where to place Little Tin Soldiers.
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Above the back view of the Chateau,the Great Barn & the D C Well are placed in relation to it.

Above a birds eye view of the other buildings of the inner front complex of buildings. The small lean-to building of pig pens or whatever ,would reveal a hidden view of the  section leading to the Formal Gardens .A photo taken from inside that small building that was shot from  one of the open doorways I ,"Modelled below," revealed the wall and entrance to the garden directly opposite. 

 Yes,the soldiers are French Infantry just placed to give scale to the buildings.

Above my version of the Chateau Hougoumont and the buildings that fronted it. On the inside complex  of buildings can be seen to the far right,the entrance of the Formal Gardens already mentioned.   Notice the open back gate,that would lead to such a fight later in the Battle to keep this Place Fixed and  Secure. 
Guarding the inner Gate.


Another birds-eye view showing in part both front and back actions of that day. The French are in through the open back gate .Also the other side view of the Garden entrance seen high above the Formal Gardens which I must leave to your own imagination at this time.
As you look you must understand this is like a traced out piece of work just in order to make sure its all OK,before placing this entire model on a Large Base,that will include the Wood,the walled garden  ( all defended. ) and the Hawthorn Hedge, and Orchard.  
All the work has been planed and carried out to the last branch of the three Oak trees that fronted this place. The Giant Haystack has also been modelled which caught fire during the early fire fights as French Infantry crossed the open space between the Wood & the Garden wall.  BB


  1. Great buildings Paul!


  2. Great looking buildings, no doubt!

  3. Thanks Guys,I lucked in finding some very dark photo`s that were on files from my old PC.and I have downloaded them onto a much finer new PC that can add light and zoom into the pictures.The end results are Brilliant and this High Tec item that cost Silly Money is now worth every penny & pound I paid for it. There will be an update soon. BB

  4. Excellent model. I went to 'Waterloo Uncovered' last year. Archaeological group helping wounded,injured veterans & sick HM Forces personnel rehabilitate through doing archaeology. Phil Harding was with us. Look on their post they have just discovered foundations of those buildings you describe opposite the Great Barn. The outbuildings near north gate that were totally destroyed. I went twice last year first time was with Norwich branch Coldstream Guards Association. regards. Martin Jones.

    1. Thank you Martin for your comments. As far as i know the site of those long lost buildings has never been Time-Teamed! Good news that Veterans are being able to take part too.
      Greetings from the leafy green of Fiddlewood Norwich BB