Category Archives: Terrain

A Low Countries Canal Build

Ever since Too Fat Lardies released their Blitzkrieg 1940 Handbook for Chain of Command I’ve been working mostly on Early War projects. I had wanted to do something with this Sarissa canal bridge and after seeing how the owner of my FLGS built his canal for a Battle of Mons game I decided to adopt some of his techniques and build my own.

I don’t have the inclination, nor the room, to make dedicated terrain boards so like everything else the canal was going to have to be modular and easy to store. As my gaming mats are 60″ wide I decided to make 5 sections, each 12″ x 12″.

I used panels of Ampersand hardboard and airbrushed several colors of green for the water and then applied three coats of Minwax acrylic gloss varnish using a foam brush. For the canal walls I used Pine Ranch Casing that I picked up at Lowes. This was cut into 12″ lengths (except for the bridge section) and airbrushed with some brown. For the walls I used some brick texture paper that was given to me by a friend. It was cut into strips and affixed with carpenter’s glue. This was finished off with a wash of Vallejo Sepia and some Secret Weapon Algae where it met the water. The completed walls were then glued to the panels with carpenter’s glue.

Next I assembled the bridge and added some fine sand on the surface of the ramps. This was then primed and painted, and I added more brick paper on the horizontal surfaces. Before cutting the canal wall pieces I placed and marked out where the bridge would go. Then I cut the short pieces of casing and finished them the same way as the others. I didn’t get any pictures of it, but the bottom “base” of the bridge had a connecting piece to make it a one piece affair and help align the ramps when opening and closing it. I had taken a leap of faith and removed it while finishing the bridge, hoping that I could align the pieces well enough when I affixed them. I attached the bridge to the canal board using carpenter’s glue and set it aside to dry. Spoiler alert – it worked.

To finish off the bridge piece, I fashioned some connecting wall pieces using card stock and the ever versatile brick paper. These were affixed to the board, and then the remaining space was filled with air-dry clay. Once this has set, I added more fine sand and painted it to kinda-sorta blend it in with the ramps. Then I flocked the edges making foot paths on both sides. I may add some detail parts in the future, and I do have some boats to finish, but for now it’s functional.

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The Duvel Brewery

“I look for ideas at conventions and on the web, then I steal them.” – Me

Back in 2013 I reviewed a 28mm Crescent Root Studios warehouse. It’s a great piece, but it hasn’t been in heavy rotation in my games. I think the driving factor was it didn’t have a purpose. It was just this big set of buildings without a theme in the context of my other terrain.

Thanks to Richard of Too Fat Lardies I found inspiration to resurrect the warehouse and turn it into something I will use more often. A few years ago Richard started posting a series on his blog about building a brewery. This, combined with the release of the 1940 Handbook for Chain of Command and an idea I had for running a game at Cold Wars, made me think that converting my warehouse into a brewery may be a good idea.

I could have just made a sign and strewn a few barrels about, but I wanted to take the opportunity to do a few minor upgrades otherwise I feared it would just sit around gathering dust again. I applied the same techniques to all the buildings, and have used the outbuilding/shed as an example.

I started by touching up the building walls by painting over some obvious tabs and then giving them a wash of Vallejo Sepia to bring out some detail.

I then turned my attention to the doors. I painted the hinges and pulls, gave them a wash and then some dry brushing.

Lastly, I focused on the roofs. The detail on these was a little soft, and they had tabs that were showing through so I decided to reshingle them. I purchased some self adhesive laser cut paper S-Scale shingles from Rail Scale Models. These were placed directly on the existing roof pieces. I then gave them a wash and dry brushed them with multiple colors.

Once the buildings were done, I decided to copy Richard’s work a bit and add a smoke stack. I bought an HO stack from Walthers and covered it – somewhat poorly – with some textured brick paper a friend had given me. It was then given a wash and some light dry brushing. I then added an O-Scale ladder to cover up my awful vertical seams. It isn’t the best match for the other brickwork, but it’s good enough for me.

Next I applied the same techniques I used on the buildings to the walls and platforms by touching up some exposed tabs and giving them a wash. I then made the decision to make a permanent base. In the past I thought that I may use the platforms and/or walls in other settings, but that never happened. I had a piece of tempered hardboard that was the right size, and to this I attached a piece of JTT grass matt to act as a moisture barrier and a base for the flocking.

I layed out the walls and platforms, then once satisfied secured them with carpenter’s glue. After this had dried I applied the flock and tufts I wanted.

To add some final detail I wanted to add an illuminated sign. I had a 3V gooseneck lamp in my electronic gadgets box, so I wired it up with a switch. I then printed out a sign, affixed it to a thin MDF base and overpainted it. I simply attached it with poster putty so if I want to change theaters or whatnot I can.

Overall I’m pleased with the outcome and feel that this will get the playtime that it always deserved. I’m also happy that, apart from the large base, that it still breaks down for easy storage. As with anything of mine I imagine it will evolve over time. I have more barrels to add, and am already on the lookout for a hand cart.


French Harbor Town – Part VIII

We finally had a short break in the weather, so I was able to fire up the airbrush and finish the Opel Blitz and the sea wall. The truck is from Rubicon and built straight from the box.

I created the sea wall by 3D printing the stone cap pieces which I then affixed to lengths of 90 degree angled styrene. I then created the wall by cutting sections of G-scale corrugated sheet and gluing them to the angled pieces. The backside of the plastic sheeting had the shape I wanted for the wall corrugations. The dock cleats are an O-scale model railroading product. I may circle back and airbrush the stonework a bit more if I have enough time.

Up next I’ll start working on the U Boat.


French Harbor Town – Part VII

Happy New Year everyone. I was able to work a little over the holidays to add some details to the board.

I’m sure it’s somewhat hypothetical, but I wanted a cart with some torpedoes on it. I took a chance and bought a Sarissa Bomb Trailer Set in the hopes that I could modify it to fit some 1/48th scale resin torpedoes I found. Thankfully it worked out pretty well. I only had to shift the cradle pieces up a bit to accommodate the length of the torpedoes. The “fish” are probably meant to be for aircraft, but they work for me.

 

To add some more weapon supplies to the dock I ginned up these mines. Again not very historically accurate, but that’s okay by me. I took some bits and whatnot from around the house and painted them up. I have an Opel Blitz that I’m going to put these in, but it has been so cold here that I am unable to airbrush in the garage.

Up next I’ll start working on the sea wall and some electrical poles.


French Harbor Town – Part V

My new compressor showed up so I was able to complete the storage shed. It’s a Things From the Basement kit, and I built it straight out of the bag. The miscellaneous supplies are from various sources. The pallets and cable reels are from Things From the Basement, the fuel drums are from Tamiya, the stack of sacks and the grey boxes came out of my 1/35 scrap box, the bundle of crates and barrels are from Grand Manner, the other crates are 4Ground and the single barrels are pre-paints from an unknown source.

 

Next up, the harbor crane.


Fall In! Prep Part I – Trenches

I know it isn’t until November, but if I’ve learned anything being a convention GM it’s that I shouldn’t put any stress on myself trying to make a deadline. It is just a hobby afterall.

That said, some folks on the Too Fat Lardies Yahoo Group put together two “Lard Days” at Fall In! to showcase some TFL games. I threw my hat in the ring to run some games of Chain of Command. My scenario is a late war affair where some British Commandos have relieved some Canadian Paras and are preparing for a German counterattack. The only terrain elements I needed were some trenches and a gun pit.

There are a few manufactures that make nice 28mm trenches, but I wanted to do these on the cheap as I’m assuming they won’t get much use. Fortunately I had already purchased the 3D printing files for these trenches from Printable Scenery. My plan was to print a set of masters and then cast what I needed in dental plaster.

I printed a set of masters using my PrintrBot Play (which is now apparently OOP), but naturally neglected to snap a picture, which would appear below.

I then made latex molds of all the masters using Duplos to contain the material.

Over several days I casted enough pieces using some dental plaster that I bought off of eBay a few years ago. I think I have enough to last a lifetime.

The bottoms of some of these were pretty thin and I had a few casualties when I removed them from the molds. I shored them up with some balsa that I trimmed to fit.

Prior to painting I added some details here and there – some corrugated metal using a cardboard coffee insulator, a camo net made from gauze, a tarp of lead foil and a strand of barbed wire.

I also needed a few machine gun nests so I ginned these up using some plastic sheet and bamboo skewers. I know they look more “Eastern Front-like”, but they work for me.

Here’s the finished products after painting and flocking. They aren’t great as individual pieces, but together on the table they look okay.


Warlord Anti-Tank Obstacles

A few years ago my friend John asked me to be his ringer – a back up player in case of an odd number of participants – for a Bolt Action tournament he was running at either Fall In or Cold Wars…I don’t remember. Anyway I ended up playing and for my participation I was given this very cool Warlord Anti-Tank Obstacles box. Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I finally finished it up. The Dragon’s Teeth are mounted on 40mm squares to make them “modular”.

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