Rorke's Drift - The Hospital surroundings, 24th. Jan. 1879 "Sir, the Zulus 'ave scarpered!"

spanner570

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I've turned my attention to the hospital grounds. I'm trying to model what it might have been like in this area the day after the battle.

Sorry, no Zulus!
Let's start.
During a recent trip (Scrounge) to our local skip, I came across a couple of chipboard shelves from an old kitchen unit. This is one of them.

So this morning I set to.

I placed the building on the base and marked roughly what is to go where.
The diagonal lines are mealie bags, the squiggle is a small escarpment and the line in the foreground is a wall. I've loosely copied a sketch plan of the defences made just after the battle.
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Holding a jig saw at an angle I roughly cut out the line of the escarpment. More about those rectangle thingies later....
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After slinging the off-cut I glued a strip of 1/4" plywood to the underside of the chipboard. This gave me the initial 6ft. drop down formed by the escarpment to the ground below.
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I've been beavering away at this in my workshop/s*** heap, but the light is starting to go now, so I'll give it best in here for today.

It's a start anyway..... :thumb2:

Cheers.
Ron
 

spanner570

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Thanks boys.
I've made me some mealie bags and builted a barricade.
Made from putty because I can shape and mould them as I like.

First layer.
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Second and third layer.
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Fourth and final layer. I've knocked the barricade over here and there to depict Zulu breeches in the defences. I figured as there was a wall on the front lower level, the attackers would go around it, hence the relatively undamaged section in the middle.
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All a bit bare at the minute but I'm hoping things will blend in later in the build.

Thanks for looking.
Ron
 

spanner570

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Thanks Pete.
I've had look at the link. Seems no one can give the definitive answer to the bag size question. It did bring back a memory of when I was 'On the tools'. I had to replace a door at a grain factory. I vividly remember the lads there lifting grain sacks. They were over 3ft. long and heavy enough to warrant two people to lift them. so I'll stick with my first guess at the dimensions. Also because I've modelled some full sized, some burst and some semi flattened by the one's on top, some placed sideways, a regular and uniform dimension is not so important. - Too late now anyway!

Thanks again for the link. I appreciate your input.
Ron
 

stillp

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Here's a contemporary painting:
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The bags are certainly more than 3 feet long, they seem to be nearly as long as the height of the soldiers.
Pete
 

spanner570

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Cheers Pete. For once my memory hasn't let me down!

The size aside, I often wonder just where the defenders got those hundreds of mealie bags from. They certainly wouldn't all have fitted in the store house. I made 180 just for this diorama. Then there was the other half of the defences linking up with the store house, not to mention the redoubt or the dozens and dozens of biscuit boxes!
 

stillp

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Yes, they do seem to have had rather a lot of bags. It was a supply depot though.
 

spanner570

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True enough Pete, but still an awful lot of stuff to store in just one building. Perhaps the :face-with-head-bandage: :face-with-thermometer: slept on meelie bags!

Update.
I've started work on the small escarpment by sticking a strip of scrap polystyrene to the edge of the chipboard and then digging away at it with my finger nails to get a bit of bumpy stony look to it.

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The blandness of the model is getting on my nerves, so I'll add a bit of colour before I do any more construction.

Cheers.
Ron
 

boatman

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Hi Ron
very nice work an the colour I think you need most is red as for what both side;s went through was terrible
but im following your build as Zulu was one of my favourite film's
 

spanner570

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Thanks boys.
Christopher - Typical British at the time. At least now we know better than to start invading other folks countries.... :rolling:
Jim - Thanks. Glad you are enjoying the trip into the unknown.

On we go....
I've just spent a cold hour in the workshop getting rid of all that 'whiteness'.
I coated the whole base in watered down PVA, then whilst the adhesive was still wet I sprinkled dirt all over the thing. Turned it over and tapped the underside.
With an old paint brush I worked the muck in and out of the escarpment area and finally wiped excess off the sand bags.

Here's the result. Everything nicely blended in and not so brutal on the old peepers...... :cool: :thumb2:

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When everything is nice and dry I can start to add some colour, rocks and vegetation.

On reflection, I think that chunk of ridge board on the middle wall looks daft and could well be on borrowed time. My eye keeps wandering back to it. - Let's have a vote!

Cheers.
Ron
 

Peter Day

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More amazing work Ron - it looks so realistic.

As far as the mealie bags are concerned, this is my rendition of Imperial Gallery's John Chard figure. It seems to me that they got the details of the figure's uniform and equipment spot on, so there's no reason to doubt the sizing of the bag - looks pretty hefty:

100_3605.JPG
 

yak face

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I see what you mean mate , i would get rid of the bit of ridge board too , the centre of the fire was bang underneath this so i dont think any timbers would have survived here . Cheers tony
 
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