Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Reinforcements Arrive!

Well, following suggestions from both my wife and son, I've started to include pictures of the inside of the building to show progress.
All of the pictures are taken from the front left hand corner as you look at the building from previous posts. The room is 30' 3" long and 24' 6" wide. As you look at the far end you can see 3 double glazed windows, the centre window being able to full open its whole size.
Immediately to the left in the picture are MDF sheets leaning against the wall. These are 8' x 4' and will be used for the narrow side tables that will be 24' long and about 2' wide. The white sheets further down against the wall are melamine coated 10' x 4' MDF sheets. These will be used as shelving under the main tables. They are ready to go and require no additional work except to cut and then pin/glue edge tapes to finish the job.
In the centre of the piccy are more MDF sheets. The top 2 are melamine coated but underneath are the main MDF sheets for the centre tables which will be 24' x 6'.  They are 25mm and weigh a ton, took 5 guys to get them in! You can also see the lighting, just. There are a total of 8 x 5' twin natural light fittings with reflectors. They are positioned to be over the centre of the main centre tables so that there is no shadowing.
The whole room is painted brilliant white and is insulated. The concrete floor will the last job finished. I will leave it until Easter before finally completely painting it and carpeting it.
The above piccy is by panning to the right from the first piccy. What you see is a trestle with the main steel (yes steel) support beams. There are 8 of them, 2 for each table section and each is roughly 24' 6" long and 60mm x 40mm x 3mm thick. Just underneath you can see a MIG welding machine. We are welding lugs onto the steel to take the main timbers. I've used steel to cut down on timber leg supports. All the tables will have leg supports on 6' centres. It also means that as the main table is only in 2 pieces, alignment should be easier.

Panning further to the right gives a feel for the lengths of steel. A de-humidifier sits in the background. Believe it or not, the concrete should be given 200 days to let it dry out. This is based on the fact that it is lined underneath and allowing a day per mm of concrete for drying. The de-humidifier helps speed this process.

And lastly, but not least and what this is all for, the first troops are based. Apart from awaiting their eagles, you are looking at 2 regts of infantry, 6 btns, the 3rd Ligne in the foreground and the 18th Ligne in the background. Each base has a computer generated identification label as does their position in the storage tray. There are 684 figures in the piccy, 114 per btn (nearly squeezed them all into the frame!). This time next year I hope to have nearer 160 btns!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Situation in the "Situation Room"

Unfortunately there are no new piccies. I'm struggling to get into town to see the "correct guy" at the camera shop to go through what lens I need for 10mm figures, both close work and distant. I hope to have piccies in the near future.

The room itself suffered a hiccup! Water!!!!!! Unfortunately, converting a garage to a "house" has a few niggles and this one was unforeseen by myself and others. Simply put, water got between the surrounding flags and the cement, forced it ways to the concrete base and then as it had nowhere else to go, tracked into the building. Its worst at the door because the door was set incorrectly as no mastic was used!!!!!!!
Looking at it, the water must amount to less than a cup full of water.

The cure looks OK. The flags had to come up and I thought this would be difficult. It was done withing 30 minutes. Then the magic gunk, a paint called Bituthene which is effectively a liquid bitumen. It seemed to the trick and water ingress appears to have halted. We just need 3 dry days to then give it a second coat and put the flags back.

On positive notes, the room is insulated, painted and all electric & lighting are in. I hope to start on the tables next week with my neighbour John who is going to do the tables. I'll do a separate post on that. Troops are now arriving, I have 6 Btns French infantry painted and based and just awaiting flags from GMB which are on order.

Next month should also see all the WWII kit being ordered from Pendraken and I've sourced where the roads and rivers will come from and possibly even village bases. All I need now are the buildings themselves. To accelerate figure acquisition I'm also likely to use Neil in Bangladesh, turn round of 9000 figures in 9 weeks is not to be ignored!

I've acquired all new dice, I need to do things like musket sticks and I still hope to gaming around Easter next year.

I'll take some piccies of the inside and talk my through the building of the tables and why I chose the method that you will see.

The WWII rules will get published in January and the Yahoo Group site supporting it will be brought up to date.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The "Situation Room" secure

Hi All. I last left the Situation room with a roof on. Since then things have progressed. The job that was done next was to render the outside. This is a two part process. Initially, a coarse render is applied that is up to a 1/2" thick. The reason for doing this was to create the "proper" water seal for the building. Noel commented on what appeared to be a lot of problems for a prefabricated building. I agree in the sense that I'm trying to take something for one purpose and make it fit for another. As a garage, it would be fine (but would need a very big car!) but once its insulated (unlike the original) then it must be water tight. The next piccy shows the first layer of coarse render.
This took a day to put on. Fortunately, September has been good weather and it was sufficiently dry to allow the fine render to go on the next day. This is similar in thickness. However, it takes two guys a day to do it. I never knew that render, or concrete for that matter, was polished. But it is. And the above render is done with graded trowels ending up with a steel one. The finished rendered building is below. At the same time I've included the progress on the flags for around the building and the new path. The Situation room was looking good. 
So there you have it, a nice looking building. This left two jobs to do. Painting it was an obvious choice and thankfully the weather was still on our side. Anne helped me paint the building and it took two and a half days. I always use a masonry paint, always Sandtex. Two coats were applied and we were fortunate because it did rain shortly after finishing the painting on the second day but the paint managed to cling on OK.
The last job was to redo the ridge line. As I said in earlier posts, the ridge line was essentially a tin cover, the cover being about 3mm thick and then the gaps in the eaves filled with a foam. The final part was to replace this with a proper ridge tile made of the same material as the roof panels and have it bedded in. The gable ends were also lead flashed, primarily to guard against capillary action of water moving inside in time of snow.
So here is the finished article (fingers crossed!).

I now need to get a new camera lens for taking piccies of the troops which have started to fill the ranks!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The "Situation Room" Arrives

The last blog left the concrete base awaiting the building. Well, a week later the building arrived on a truck about the size of a large flatbed but not quite long enough to be articulated. It had its own forklift truck which was of limited use. The first piccy shows the truck and all the panels neatly stacked.

The guys had arrived at their factory at 4.30 am to load up the kit and arrived at 7.00 am at our cottage. It had also rained so the base was slightly wet but they ploughed on. The idea is to erect the whole building and finish it in a day!
The next stage was somewhat humorous, for me at least. When the build started, I of course was watching out of interest and possibly interference. Having marked out the base to exact measurements I gave them, they began the assembly, only for me to come running over and say it was being done wrong in that the window positions were incorrect.
This really made the guys happy as they brandished the drawing in front of me only for me to point out it was the wrong revision!, a revision two months older than the current one. Now that the drawing was sorted all was calm, especially when hot tea arrived to warm the guys up. The next piccies show stages of the build to the point of disappointment occurred!!!!!

We had now got to the point where all four walls were done, windows were in, fascias front and back were up and the roof was to go on. Only the roof didn't go on!!!!!!!!! The main concrete fibre sheets were 6" too short.The only silver lining was that the delay would only be two days and at the same time the guys building the room had suggested an extra steel roof support as they were unhappy with the number provided.
We were gutted! The project had to wait two days and that was unfortunate. On the Wednesday, the same crew arrived with the correct panels and it was raining rather a lot. It looked like the construction of a swimming pool to some extent. To add to the fun, the extra support was too short in height. The air was blue for a while whilst they talked to the factory and then they progressed. The roof went on and then more little dramettes. The low pitch of the roof meant that the design had left the side wall too shallow and to fit the roof panels was stressing/bending them. So, more mods would be needed which were straightforward and this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When the roof went on and the door was opened, the wall at the front flexed!!!, rather alarmingly!!! When you stood back and looked it was easy to see why, a 24'6" wall, effectively unsecured, with a PVC door in the middle.
The roof panel problem meant a third visit the next day but at least the wet weather was being kept out. The Thursday saw a different crew arrive, the foreman no less. Everything this day went smoothly, all remaining jobs were completed, mods to my design to brace the wall incorporated and the roof secured down. All the work was done in four hours.
The last piccy shows the nearly finished building
The guttering was added after this piccy was taken. Since this, I've been inside and used Urethane foam to seal all the windows, doors, and ridge timbers that are on the support walls. I did this because the foam is good at penetrating all the little gaps and it means that no silicone gets used which I want to avoid as it perishes too easily and can blacken.
Not long after this, at the weekend, we had the severe weather test where it failed in two areas. The first was expected, water drove in at the panel joins, just above the internal cement fillet and forced its way past the mastic that was supposed to prevent this. However, the planned rendering should permanently cure this as this was an expected issue. The second area was the roof ridge line covering. It is not the best engineered way to do it but I was constrained by keeping to planning restrictions on overall height. The problem is that the ridge line is not a tile but a steel panel covering. It is "sealed" with eaves fillers and the driving rain made short work of this in one area only. The fixes had already been identified. The area will be sealed with the magic urethane foam and then coated with silicone based resin. On top of this I plan a piece of lead flashing, bonded to the ridge line, to cover the whole ridge. That will hopefully cure that.
I'm now cleaning out the excess foam from all the cracks. I can't do anything with the floor until November as it has to dry and its amazing how much moisture is present that is evidenced by condensation on the bottom of the concrete roof panels.
Next update will be when the rendering is done. Figure wise, over 4,000 are with the painter. Storage trays are being made now to accommodate them and I hope to order the WW2 figures by the end of this month.
Its all beginning to feel real now!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Hole in the Ground

When I did the first blog I forgot to mention the 2 little posts that can be seen which define the front of the Situation room. Things have now moved along at a rate of knots.

The next picture shows Anne, spade in hand, digging out the first sod. I thought it poignant that Anne got this acknowledgement as she is what keeps me driven to complete the project.

Once the digging started, the hole in the ground developed quite quickly. A 3 ton excavator was used and the whole area was dug ready for foundations withing a day. The next picture shows the excavator and the dumper truck that also squashed the grass on the lawn, but that can't be helped!

The rate of development was indeed quick. One minute there was a scraped area, then a sort of hole and then the foundations were all dug and ready.

At this point the foundations are ready for concrete. In the centre of the new building base there is a device for setting the whole base square and also level. Its hard to see, but the difference in height from the front left corner to the rear right corner is the best part of a metre. The next pic shows the support wall on top of the foundations.
It was about this point when I went completely potty and ordered the first figures, just 32,000 10mm Napoleonic troops. After doing this, I had a little lay down and allowed the guys to continue work. The next pic shows all the walls complete, then filled with 30 tons of hardcore and finished with a layer of sand.
The whole process reminded me of baking a cake when you pour the mix from the bowl to the cooking tin. No idea why! The pole you see, front and centre, is where the mains power cable will come in. From this position, it took only two more days to complete the base. The next stage was to lay a damp proof course which consists of polythene type sheets and took about 10 minutes. The whole of the area inside the bricks then had steel reinforcing mesh laid and then the concrete was brought in by dumper truck. The last pic shows the nearly finished result.
Believe it or not, the very last job which took a day, on and off, is to polish the concrete. I never even new that you polished concrete, yet more things that I have learnt.
So, there we are, the base is drying slowly and the building is due to come on the week beginning 27th Sept. It will be erected in a day! After erection there are some detailed mods that I an having done, all to do with ensuring the building is weather tight. I don't think I mentioned the actual building, it will be made from sectional concrete with my purpose made mods (not all decided yet either).
Figures should also star to arrive by November and the whole process for the figures will take at least 18 months. And that's the first order!!!!

I'll post more when the building arrives.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Where it all Begins

The site of the Situation room. The plan is to have 32,000 10mm Napoleonics (French & Russian) available within 2 years on a table that is 24' by a yet undecided depth, but at least 12' and more likely 14'.
Standard infantry battalions will have either 96 or 108 basic fig and cavalry will be in regiments of 72 basic figs up to 144. There will also be a new set of rules for the new look games.
Terrain will be based on fixed standard tables with other terrain being movable (hills etc).

I'll update on progress as it also allows me to get used to this blogging lark!