Friday, 9 January 2015

Ligny - Getting Hammered

It has served us well over the past months but it's time to get hammered into something new and exciting. Preparation and planning has begun for Ligny and, as the six 'P's alliteration would have it, preparation is all important...
Having misplaced the marigolds (during a cavity search) the workers 'glove up' with whatever comes to hand...pun intended
 Sharp and heavy implements, usually locked away from war-gamers for health and safety reasons, are bandied about to chop up the hard, dry red builders sand. It is remarkably robust stuff once compressed and left to dry.
 Soon the former countryside looks like a WW1 artillery stonking ground...
 The scenery breaks into large powdery lumps...
 ...many hammers make light work. We should have recorded the noise of all the hammers drumming away as their dull rhythmic thudding would make a good artillery background soundtrack to a big game.
 Next up, literally, was Colin and Ross. We have found the 'Twist' to be a useful dance to grind the lumps to powder as the 'Pogo' is a little tiring and causes head aches due to beating your brains out on the ceiling.
 It is very effective but we had to stop them up when a slow waltz broke out.
 Next, water...gallons of water. I use the garden hose for this bit. I used to take watering cans from the garden tap but it took forever.
 However much water is sprayed on the sand it only sinks in an inch or so.
 Mixing it to a workable consistency has to be done by hand. A rake is useful to move large amounts of sand around the table. That's good for dramatic topography, deep valleys, mountains and sea etc. but in this case we were only doing just over half the table. About a ton in weight but only about 2 to 4 inches deep and spread quite evenly, as it had been previously.
 The next stage is the topography followed by compression (patting it down, you know, like at the seaside) and the positioning of built up areas and connecting roads and bridges.
 If the ground was being prepared for a WW2 game I would add trenches, bunkers, railway lines and telegraph poles at this stage too. Napoleonic landscapes are simpler affairs and ancients even more so.
As usual Sandy Brown and his men from the council's 1/72 Parks and Recreational Department are hard at work...thanks also to Tom and the Sand Dancers Colin and Ross. A couple of hours well spent.

Next week: Colouring in and not a crayon in sight.


16 comments:

  1. Glad to see your 1/72 engineers hard at work, even in the "off season"! Looks like fun and the results are certainly worth it for the rest of us. Please pass on my compliments to your Parks & Rec department!

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    1. Indeed a theme that will run and run DV. Compliments winging their way as we converse. Cheers, Steven.

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  2. Nice moves! Interesting to see see this type of table in preparation. Looks a lot of fun to use.

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    1. Half the fun, I am convinced, is the sand pie arranging. It is intriguing to see the ideas become actual fact. Obviously, playing the game is the other half...and the dancing duo is just a bonus.

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  3. Most impressive! A huge, and great, job!

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    1. Thanks, Phil. A very long job without friends to help, especially when the whole table has to be moulded.

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  4. Very interesting! Looking forward to seeing the colouring in bit!

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  5. Your commitment to your hobby is fantastic! Puts my cloth and felt to shame... :-)

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    1. Thanks, Nick, but I'd bet money that you, along with all other war-gamers, expand to fill the area you have put aside for the purpose. I'm blessed to have the space, commitment of friends and a very understanding wife..

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    2. I have shown my wife the pictures...She now thinks I am not so obsessed with the hobby.

      Cheers!

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    3. Believe me, Paul, it isn't the first time I've been held up as a warning i.e. be careful or you too could end up like this! Compliments to your wife's judgement.

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  6. It looks promising. So before Napoleon's hammers the poor Prussians you hammer the table. Great!!

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    1. Correct, Joao. It also allows us to vent our pent up nervous energy in a useful manner.

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  7. What an amazing transformation. All hands (and feet) to the 'wheel', hey?!

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    1. It's good exercise all round, James. Having said that, the smaller the table the easier it gets. The mobile sand table (5'x7') takes 15 to 20 minutes from start to first shot of battle if time is short.

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