Saturday, 30 May 2015

Waterloo Project: Our 1:100 Refight unveiled

I've written an awful lot about our West Country group putting together the forces and test games of sections of Waterloo at 1:3 scale and thank all my followers for the kind and supportive comments.
But we are also doing the whole battle in some style too. I refer you back to my original post in 2013 as this is an emotional wargame for me, marking 50 years since I first started wargaming  "properly". This is the brainchild of Paul D who has been giving us grand scale Napoleonic battles in 28mm for many years but we've never yet fought Waterloo.  He is providing the entire armies - nearly 2000 figures at one figure represents approximately 100 men. I took on to do all the terrain, and the ground scale is about 1 inch = 60 metres.

You may have seen me preparing the basic table for the 1:3 game back in February and all the photos of that in recent posts. Well the week after that I started a solid timber battening and side wall construction and took the next two months rendering a kind of "installation art" version of the Waterloo terrain covering a scale 5 mile width.  Here is the map with the simplified contours necessary at this scale.
The outlined area shows the terrain we will be able to play on and it is 12 feet long by 6 feet on the West side and 8 feet on the East side. There is 9 feet x 2 feet extension divided into two pieces at Plancenoit village. One piece will be placed on a side table so the open space will allow player access.
Now some views of the overall finished terrain but without the add on piece which will go where my painting table is.
From the East
From the South
From the North-east
In the past I had a sand table which was hard work but no problem in rendering accurate terrain. Then with ill health and house moves that had to go and I made two-foot square terrain tiles instead.  But I got fed up with the joins and the warping and the configuration limitations so I was determined to do better for something as iconic as Waterloo.  I think of it as installation art because I've given it much of the love and attention one would a piece of permanent art work, but unfortunately I have to "scrap" it at the end of June to make it into the La Haye Sainte terrain at 1:3 scale!  So download the photos of this Chris Gregg original and save them for posterity! And if the map is any use to anyone feel free to use it for non-commercial purposes.

Here is a quick tour of the main features. Most buildings are conversions of the 15mm card Waterloo series sold by Miniature Wargames magazine a few years ago. We agreed that the "footprint" of the key defensive positions and villages needed to be right at the cost of the buildings not being accurate, but passably representative. There are some figures on the table just to give an idea - the 28mm is just about acceptable with these buildings.

A Division's worth of British infantry line the crest of Mont St Jean
La Haye Sainte and the Elm tree crossroads
La Belle Alliance looking North
Hougoumont with Merbe Braine and Mt St Jean farm in the distance
Frischermont and Smohain
Papelotte and La Haie - combined for our purpose into one resin farm model
Plancenoit village from the South. The church is 25mm by Hovels and
beautifully painted by Kevin. Like the real thing it is on its own "hillock" and
dominates the village centre. 
Two views of the Lasne Brook. This one looking East from Plancenoit,
and below looking West. Rather pleased with the wet look.

Smohain seen from Smohain Brook. Pity to spoil the rural idyll with muddy
I have photos of the work in progress and am happy to post a few "how-to" thoughts if there is sufficient interest.

And now the scene is set, so Paul came round and deployed the forces ready for next weekend. We are starting off this game in approximate historical positions around 1130 am. Most of the Allied army is still out of sight so shown by unit cards. The French forces visible at present are I Corps - D'Erlon and II Corps - Reille, all the rest are still unsighted. There will be two umpires and 3-4 players per side playing for two complete days to give us time to get the best out of Paul's rules and hopefully a definite result.

Our plan is to stop the action at the end of each turn so we can take a photographic record and bring it to you happy viewers, hopefully during the week of  8th June.


  1. WoW! Looks 1st Rate to me, easily recognizable and having the right feel. Apparently the last 50 years of preparation have not been wasted.

  2. Battle arts at their finest!

  3. Amazing terrain! Artfully rendered, and certainly as good as anything at the old Wargames Haoliday Centre in the days of Mr. Gilder.

    Best Regards,


  4. Very inspiring indeed. Our group is planing to re-fight Waterloo also. I thought our cigar box mat of Waterloo was impressive until I saw your set.Please do show your preparations.Best regards, Bill

  5. lovely terrain features/building and the miniatures/units look awesome and great photos as well!
    thanks for sharing!...

  6. Stunning terrain - I'm really looking forward to further posts on the actual game (and yes to any posts on how you made it!)

  7. Thank you so much to all for your support. The reference to Peter Gilder's work was particularly poignant, thank you. Some photos on how I did it will follow this week.

  8. Marvelous table - it would be a delight to play on it, and a great sorrow to dismantle it!

  9. Lovely table! I particularly like the brooks, for some reason!

  10. That is a magnificent table Chris, bravo! Very sad to hear that you have to recycle, but at least it is recycle-able into another project. The rolling terrain is very pleasing as well as realistic. I wish I knew a genius solution allowing us to make a compromise between flexible configurations and real relief... I'm looking forward to learning about your techniques and the game.


  11. Most impressive. I have about the same number of players, but using a 9x5 table and 15mm

  12. Thanks again for more lovely comments good to see the continued support from Down Under. Sun of York yours looks good - 15mm will give a much better impression visually. For those not familiar with it take a look at the blog here

  13. Fantastic looking table, looking forward to seeing the battle report.