Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Hougoumont in 2mm

As regular readers of this Blog will know, when it comes to the 2mm output of Irregular Miniatures, there isn't a lot that hasn't already crossed the surface of my workbench, nor are there many periods of history that I haven't dipped into using these diminutive minis.
The one that got away, as it were, and perhaps the most glaring omission, is without a doubt the Napoleonic Era.

I have to warn all here assembled, however, that my resolve is weakening, and with 2015 not so far away, have been playing around with some ideas on paper. Characteristically, perhaps, this led to the customary itch to put brush to mini, yet I did not want to rush headlong into battalions of redcoats or grognards just yet.

It was the competition to paint the Irregular Miniatures' 6mm sized Hougoumont that is now drawing to a close over at the Angel Barracks Forum, however, that gave me an idea for a quick Napoleonic inspired task:

See Michael's own brilliant effort here:

Being typically contrary, I did not want to paint this 'giant' version, but rather had in mind the hidden gem amongst Irregular's 2mm Terrain pieces: namely the BG138 Hougoumont Farm.
This is a truly amazing small scale version, the only thing lacking being the large formal gardens that were positioned to the East of the Chateau complex; some research here:

gave me a template to work with so that I could sketch these out on some 1.6mm thick Artist's card:

Roughly drawing out the various tracks and the edge of the orchards and wood was done, leaving a gap for the Irregular model itself:

Next I needed an idea of how the Chateau and farm would have actually looked, and there are a number of good models and depictions available online, although in terms of the actual colours to use, one of the best I found is the short guide over at Hovels -
See here: (Warning will download as a PDF)

The Irregular model itself measures 50mm x 38mm, and is very nicely proportioned, its scaling being somewhat larger than the normal building groups in the 2mm range, which allows some nice details in terms of doors, windows and the various gates.
The formal gardens, appearing at roughly twice the width of the Hougoumont complex, gave me a base of some 100 x 80mm, which is pretty hefty, but would not be out of place against the battalion sized 80x40mm bases I used in the 2mm FIW project.

A quick turn around the model itself , now, starting with the North side, and the famous gate which saw the intrusion of the French at the height of the battle:

The range to the left of the gate was made up of stabling and cow sheds, to the right was the Great Barn, which was burnt down late in the day. The centre of the courtyard had a well covered at the top by a Dovecot.

The northern and southern courtyards were connected by an archway and door to the left of the Chateau itself, which at the time of the battle was unoccupied and unfurnished. There was a small door in the Western wall which gave out upon the kitchen garden and lane beyond.

The Southern courtyard held the Chapel, which still survives today, and terminated in the Southern range made up of the Gardener's House and offices. The exit here was an arched passageway with doors at both ends.

To the East, a gate penetrated the wall and led out into the formal gardens, these were surrounded by a 7 foot high wall on their East and South sides.

The mini in place, then, on the scenic base, now in better shape with some flock standing in for the trees of orchard and the wood which screened the Chateau from the French lines.

A view from the West:

As I have yet to invest in hordes of Hanoverians, Nassauers and Coldstream Guards, Her Majesty the Queen stands guard in their stead, giving a good idea of the overall size of the mini and base:

I've deliberately left the gardens flat and without trees or bushes, so that unit bases could fit into the space, either two 40x20mm, or a single 40x40mm.

There's a bit to do yet to pull the whole together, but not looking bad so far; if you're interested in how the Chateau looks today, the charity project to preserve the remains for posterity has lots of good information, definitely worth a look:


  1. Another outstanding piece, and a great idea for a competition. Chapeau!!

  2. SoS if ever I needed inspiration for ANYTHING 2mm related then this has to be it!Brilliant work! I cut my teeth on Airfix Waterloo Napoleonics in the early 70's so I have a real soft spot for anything associated with 1815 and the point about the anniversary in 2015 has also had me thinking. At the opposite end of the spectrum I am sure there is a guy preparing armies for the campaign in 54mm...........

    I think I would stick to the smaller end of the spectrum!

  3. Hi guys, thanks for the kind comments, I certainly found the competition over at Angel Barracks inspiring, although I couldn't justify branching out into 6mm, so stayed with the safe and familiar - I'm looking forward to seeing how all the entries turned out, even if I'm not directly competing with them, my whole Chateau would probably fit into the courtyard of theirs!

    Ah, Ogre, I have fond memories of the Airfix la Haye Sainte, and those soft yellow plastic troops fighting over it on the living room carpet.....the only shame is that Irregular never made a 2mm one to match their Hougoumont.

  4. wow thats ace, I may have to get one..