Friday, 26 June 2009

WW1 Terrain Project #1 ... Digging In

As you may be aware, things have gone a bit Great War-ish recently. I was torn between many different eras and projects. It was a very close run thing with collecting an Age of Arthur army, especially after buying some of those wonderful Romano-British figures from Gripping Beast, highly recommended!

Anyway, I decided that if I'm going to collect WW1 figures then they'll need some nice terrain to fight across. Initially I considered making or buying some trenches and craters to put on my ordinary battlefield (GW mat glued to two 4' x 3' boards) but I then remembered my modular battlefield that has been packed away for quite a while. Here's a picture of each 4' x 2' module

Battlefield module 1
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Battlefield module 2
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Battlefield module 3
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Battlefield module 4
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I built this in the winter of 2003/4, spending many freezing hours in my garage. It cost about £150 all up. The most expensive part were the 2" thick wall insulation boards (like dense polystyrene). Basically I made four 2" deep trays from plywood and timber. The insulation foam went in to the trays then scenic features like roads, hills, etc were sculpted on. The rock face in the last module is made from oak bark (the in-laws have a open fireplace so that was free!). The whole lot was covered in PVA glue and sand along with a few rocks. I took a pot of Bestial Brown along to my local DIY store and they made a litre pot for the basecoat. The highlights were done using a few pots of GW light brown colours. Some flock and Woodland Scenics foliage finished it off.

I intended to use the boards mainly for skirmish games such as GW's Lord of the Rings, my own
Napoleonic rules, etc. Playing games on good terrain really adds to the fun.

For my World one table I've chosen two of the modules to become a small sector of the western front. The other two modules I'll keep for other games ... for now. Here's a couple of pictures of the work so far. Anyone who has seen the Great War rulebook should be able to easily spot my sources of inspiration.

WW1 Battlefield
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A close up of the trench section.

The Trenches
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The next step is to make all the trench revetting from strips of balsa wood, carved to look like planking. I also need to find a good source of finely corrugated card to represent the corrugated iron that was also used to shore up the sides of trenches. Then I'll go crazy with all purpose filler to sculpt the trench and crater edges. Sandbags I'll make from modelling clay. Cocktail sticks and thin bamboo will be used to make posts for the barbed wire, which will either be GW 'razorwire' or just plain wire. Twigs will do for blasted tree trunks.

Plus I need to get cracking on painting some soldiers too!



ZeroTwentythree said...

At most gaming scales, I think regular wire looks good. But I've honestly never tried the GW razorwire, to be honest.

Those existing boards you have (/had) look great. Can't wait to see the finished trench boards.

One really nice detail I've seen on a couple of boards at conventions has been puddles of mud in the bottoms of trenches, foxholes & craters. Presumably done with resin or a commercial "water effects."

Good luck. Can't wait to see the finished boards.

Anonymous said...

great picture. I liked it.
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