Friday, 10 November 2017

Building American Post and Rail Fencing

Battlefields for conflicts such as the AWI or ACW often have a very distinctive style of fencing that, in my opinion, immediately evokes the right sort of feeling for the terrain and the era.
My post & rail test piece

In reality such boundaries were easy to produce from the abundant natural resources and very sturdy. So I thought I'd have a go at a test piece before making many feet of fencing in miniature!

I began with an spare piece of 3mm MDF approx 4cm by 28cm, trimming the edges to give a slight 'chamfer' to the sides. The rails are made from kebab sticks - easily sourced from your favourite supermarket - Tesco in my case.

Mark out the holes and drill them ensuring the diameter of the hole is slightly less than the diameter of the sticks to help get a snug fit. Ensure that the MDF is on a solid surface when drilling (I didn't and the board partially de-laminated so I had to shorten it!). The holes should be slightly further apart than the diameter of the sticks as they will be laid at an angle.
Make the upright posts from the sharp end of the sticks as the taper makes it easy to insert and get a nice, tight fit. The posts vary in length from 33-44mm. Try not to make them all the same length to help give it a rustic look.

Glue the posts in place using good quality wood glue and leave to dry completely before adding the rails.

When adding the rails, trim each to the right length as needed. Again, vary this slightly for best effect. You'll also need to make some short 'spacers' to fill in the gaps at each end. The pic below shows this quite nicely. Let the glue dry completely then trim off the sharp points underneath with a pair of snippers.

Depending upon the quality of the kebab sticks you might find some that are warped or have bits missing etc. These are great for adding a bit more variety.

I haven't done a step-by-step for this simply because it's very straightforward! Prime the wood with your favourite primer then start with a good coat of a mid grey, followed by a light grey then an off white. I bought a small selection of tester pots from a DIY store for this. The important bit is to use an off-white (Soft Almond here) for the final highlight.
The base is Americana Honey Brown, then highlights of VMC 847 Dark Sand followed by a final highlight of Foundry 9C Boneyard Light.

The decoration on the base is just Noch 08310 static grass and a few tufts and bits of clump foliage.

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out. Being a test piece there are a few things I've learned...
* Angle the corners slightly as this will make it easier to layout gentle curves to follow roads, etc.
* Make complete sets of V's so that sections align nicely. This avoids the need for corner sections.
* Figure out how to make some gates.

Hope that was helpful.


jmilesr said...

Great job

Moiterei_1984 said...

Now that’s a really handy guide! Will give it a try once I come round to the period.

95th Division said...

Excellent - thanks for posting. I'm going to try this.

JOHNBOND said...

Very nice and simple fences for that period Matt, I noted your tutorial for the future as I am slowly painting up minis for French Indian war period.
Thanks for sharing
cheers John

The Wargames Table said...

Thanks all! Glad you found it interesting :o)

Paul Scrivens-Smith said...

Great stuff, I'll likely be copying these in a few weeks.
They have a long Thanksgiving weekend over here so this could be my project for those few days....

Phil said...

Creative and excellent!

The Wargames Table said...

Good plan, Sir!

The Wargames Table said...

Thank you!