Over the last twelve months there has been a plan to move the entire Wargames Holiday Centre, Lock stock and barrel down to Berkshire.

Starting with a blank canvas

So it begins, a view of the blank canvas

The fact that there are over thirty thousand figures, 120 three foot square terrain boards and umpteen villages, hedges and trees is a minor detail. The logistics of building new tables, renting property to house it all and then transporting it all was going to be something of a challenge.

Two of the tables take shape

The first two tables take shape.

So first things first, the rental of a property. After several non-starters we eventually decided in October of 2010, on a sixteen hundred square foot premises replete with toilets and a kitchen area. The location is excellent, accessibility being high on our agenda the fact that it sits right between the M3 and M4 was key.

The third tables frame!

The frame for the third table is erected.

Now we have premises it is time to get the tables built, I had discussed this the month before with a friend of mine Chris Cornwell. Chris is a bit of a wizard when it comes to such feats as building sixteen hundred square feet of table to play wargames on and without further adieu he came up with drawings and a project plan to get this done. So in early December the materials were delivered and just after Christmas we spent two days building them. Boy was that hard work, without the help of Chris however and some small amount of help from my brother in law John, I’d still be there. It sounds easy as I type this, but the logistic of getting all the timber and materials together and the physical labour involved to achieve this was quite daunting.

The third table is finished.

The third table is finished.

The next thing was to get the transportation of the Centre in hand, we would not be able to move things until the middle of December as the original programme needed to be concluded. I could however pack away any of the ranges that had been finished with for this season, so I started with the Marlburian, ACW and WWII kit.

First van load is unpacked

First delivery, unpacked and ready for storage

Now, how best to do this? When I started analysing the amount of figures and their delicate nature I thought it would take some considerable amount of packing and trips to achieve my aim. I then discovered the stackable vegetable cartons you might see in the supermarket. My local place would be flattening and throwing away five or six of these a week, sometimes more, so these would be ideal. I hired a transit van and in November made the first trip, I took all the figures off their trays and laid them out in the cartons. We managed to get all of the figures into the respective cartons, however we filled the van, completely.

First half of the shelves

The shelves start to take shape, key for the storage of the massed ranks.

Another couple of trips up and down to Scarborough saw the majority of the figures moved to Berkshire, the last trip would be with the terrain boards and the remaining Napoleonics and their corresponding villages, single buildings and trees and hedges. I know, I’ll hire a seven and a half tonne lorry, that will take the weight of all those boards and figures, easy!

The other side of the shelving area.

The other area for storage sixteen bays in all.

One thing I had considerable reservations about was the driving of said vehicle, I have done a lot of driving in my life, however to now take on a vehicle that is nearly the size of a bus, (well it felt like a bus!) was a little daunting. Got to be done though, so with the help of my son Dan, we returned to Scarborough arriving very late on the Friday night. My partners Mike and Margaret Ingham were there to greet us and had prepared a fine supper, complete with a glass of very fine red wine!

More of the delivery being unpacked.

The delivery being unpacked and allocated to their holding trays

The following morning saw us up with the lark and joined by my friend Stephen Scott, a very industrious chap if ever there was one. We were joined by another friend of mine Gerry Elliott and his wife Anne, who live next door and used to run the Centre in Scarborough with Mike. There was one tiny hiccup, after backing the lorry up to the gate, I jumped out of the cab to get the tail-lift down. Unbeknown to me I had nudged the door release with my hand into the locked position, I was locked out of the cab, engine running and no way of getting into it, this thing could now run for hours as I had just filled the tank with a hundred quids worth of diesel……panic!

Allocating shelves and building additional ones.

The allocation of space to the various periods begins.

Luckily, after a few calls and a visit from a breakdown man we were back in business! It took over seven hours to load the lorry, part of which was taken up with us trying to get one of the shelving units onto it. After taking all the figures out and then disconnecting it from it’s sister shelf we discovered we could only just lift it, let alone carry it! So we abandoned that idea.

The terrain is laid.

The finished tables, complete with the layout for the battle of Waterloo.

All the boards were then loaded along with crates and crates of figures and terrainThe lorry did the job, everything was on there, now to make the five hour journey back down to Berkshire.

Looking North-east

Looking to the North east of the battlefield, The Farmhouse of La Haye Sainte can be clearly seen.

On the Sunday morning a small army of helpers turned up to help unload the lorry and in quick time we had it done.

Papelotte

Papelotte in the foreground, if the Prussians arrive in time, they could be near here.

The shelves were next, over thirty feet of shelving seven feet high, again it’s a lot easier typing it. We cut most of the timber off site at my house and then transported and built it all in the Wargames Holiday Centre. This took over two weeks, partly as my son-in-law Olly is the main artisan when it comes to the D.I.Y. here and that he only had weekends and evenings after work to fulfil the chore.

Plancenoit viewed from the prospective Prussian approach.

Plancenoit, from the approaching Pussian view.

On the 31st January it was all done, the table is now laid for Waterloo on the 11th February and the new Wargames Holiday Centre is in place.

Looking east into Plancenoit, from Lobaus view.

Plancenoit, from Lobau’s approach.

More images of the battlefield layout in the Gallery, I hope you enjoy them!