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.


  1. Hi Gerry,

    I grew up with pictures of Peter Gilder's old layouts in early issues of Miniature Wargames and have long pictured the 'Grand Manner' style as the proper way of doing things. I could never find anyone locally that was interested in doing the same thing and don't have the time to try and build two or more massive armies of 28mm figures on my own. Your new 10mm project is very intriguing and I will be following your blog to see how your project progresses.

    What brand(s) of figures are you using?



  2. Hi Ged, looking forward to seeing the building go up. How long will the terrain take? I remember you saying that you were having seperate hills what will you be doing for roads, rivers etc?


  3. Hi Guys,
    I've replied to Bart off-line as he e-mailed me direct. Now to Noel's question.
    One of the recognised problems has been how to do roads and rivers if they are not permanently in the boards. My first thoughts ran along the idea of using thin MDF, reem or rout out an even thinner section and do the river, or do the road with some boundary with texture etc.
    However, Herbert, our regular Austrian contingent, had an idea when we played the Katzbach game.
    He noticed that part of a "made up" river section was made from roofing felt and had been painted and lacqered. It looked fine on the table and sits completely flat. Herbert suggested trying that technique for the new setup. Its cheap and easy and will be tried to see if it looks any good on the table. He then also asked, why are villages always square and surrounded by walls? Thinking on this, he has a point. He continued by asking why the "village base" couldn't be done with roofing felt, textured where necessary and then put individual buildings and/or walls onto the textured roofing felt.
    Its so easy I will experiment with this approach as if the finished article looked good, then the variation you could quickly generate is endless.
    So, thats another job I will be looking at in the coming weeks.

  4. I forgot the first question of how long will it take. Answer is I don't know, but the technique for making hills is decided and the "urethane material" is already here. Its a logistics question of where the actual cutting and painting is done. My target is to be playing games by next Easter, if not before.

  5. I look forward to seeing how things progress. If you could post pics of a test unit or two based up when you can, I think that would be very interesting to see.

    Another thought for quick roads and rivers that aren't permanent parts of the table are to make them out of latex caulk/sealant/mastic on a base of felt or other thing cloth. I picked up some cheap washing up cloths from a local dollar store for use as a base. I got the idea from Fons Liebert's website. The page is now gone but I found it in the web archive here:

    The tutorial covers making roads but I think with some work to get the surfaces smooth it would work for water features as well.