Today is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, that special day of the year when we honour the men and women who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces. It is also a time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you all for your service and for putting others before yourselves that we might all live in a safer and happier community.
The Roll of Honour, courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
I thought it was about time I worked out some rough dimensions and locations for the various legations, canal, roads and other important features on the table.
I've decided to go with three of my folding tables in parallel giving me a total gaming area of approximately 6' x 7.5'. Anything smaller and the various buildings just seemed to small for a 28mm skirmish game. Having decided on the overall gaming area I set to working out a rough map so I've got some idea of how much ground individual items should cover.
This is by no means set in stone and individual items will undoubtedly be slightly larger or smaller as they get built, driven as much by storage requirements as anything. My storage boxes are approximately 12" x 16" meaning the British Legation would fill one entirely and fill approximately 2/3 of another.
While this was germinating away I was also "building" some ruined buildings. I've assembled the basis of a total of four of those but unfortunately experienced my first modelling accident in the process. I secure the cork walls with steel sewing pins until the glue dries and whilst pushing one of them home the head split in two, meaning all the force was transferred to the finger immediately behind. The upshot was the pin itself was driven clean through the core of my right index finger and out the other side. Not too much blood and very little to see but it's as sore as h3ll and I can't do much including use the mouse, draw or even type very well at present. Oh how we suffer for our art :-)
I also popped into the local $2 shop today and managed to find myself a statue of Bhudda for somewhere on the table. Not sure whether that will form part of the Palace of Prince Su or a temple area. Either way it's another bit of colour...
I found a few minutes here and there over the last few evenings to continue with the terrain for 55 Days at Peking.
Adjacent to the British and Russian Legations was an area known as the Mongol Market which I've not managed to find much information or imagery on unfortunately. Undeterred, I've decided to represent this as a rather rough and ready marketplace with a number of stalls of various sizes and construction methods.
Some dowel, canvas squares, bamboo matting and a pile of cork off-cuts have subsequently been turned into four quite serviceable market stalls with removable roofs.
A number of online vendors produce some quite reasonably priced and comprehensive market goods collections which combined with some crates and barrels should give me a quite convincing representation I think.
Next up? Some ruined housing destroyed by Chinese shelling...
I'm on something of a roll at the moment with the 55 Days at Peking terrain. Every time I think I've had enough for a day or three something pops into my head and I can't help finding myself back at the modelling desk cutting, gluing and pinning for my life.
With Box One nearly full I've moved onto Box Two and this time I've been building a small shrine. Unlike the houses I built earlier this week, the shrine uses a couple of cheap fleaBay finds in the form of a pine tree and a statue. I also raised SWMBO's craft cupboard for some beads.
The roof of the shrine "deliberately" (OK maybe I accidentally cut the roof too long [ahem]) projects out over the statue to keep the weather off.
There's a path running down the middle of the courtyard to the statue which I will border with gardens composed of rocks, gravel and some plants.
The pine tree is growing out of a raised bank and is removable for ease of storage.
To door or not to door? Part of me wants this kept simple...
Of all the buildings so far I've enjoyed this one the most. I didn't plan it much at all and just let it evolve as I worked on it.
I'm glad I started work with the simple building as despite the fact I've done a lot of cork scratch building over the years I am noticing a clear improvement in skills in just a few days. Things like the joins at roof peaks and mitre cuts have all neatened up significantly. This means the bigger ticket items like the legations should look the best and as they are the centrepiece of the table there will be less obvious issues to distract the eye.
Solid progress today has seen the first four buildings 99% finished from a build perspective. All have roofs now of varying types and a few other items like remaining doors have been added.
Thanks to Dave Docherty who helped me with the clay tile sheets. Couldn't find them for love or money down here in Australia but Dave came up trumps the minute I mentioned I has struggling!
They're dead easy to cut and fix and really look the business.
I decided the larger house needed a decent sized main gate which is both more appropriate for the size of the building but also allows for miniatures to move through the structure instead of having to go around every time.
I'm going to hold off painting these I think so I can do a big batch paint at some point. Saves cleaning up all the time and means I can have a bit more of a think about colour schemes.
I'm already feeling the temptation to start work on one of the legation compounds. Must resist that until I've got another box of other buildings squared away!