Impassable terrain 2

December 2, 2008

When I last posted, I was at the following stage of my “felled ground” project:

felled-ground-1

The “tree stumps” (hand-sawn twig cuttings) had been glued to the shaped sheet styrene base.

Since then, it has received two undercoats of good old Kayak Brown acrylic housepaint (I need to buy a new pot too, it’s almost dry – after 10 years, I might add – good value!):

felled-ground-2

and then I had to think about how to make it look natural – what ground cover, ground effects, bushes and the like had to be added.

This required recalling the logged areas I’ve visited and also recalling what bushfire damage (and the subsequent regrowth) looks like. I decided to have some brown earth tyre/wheel/tank track marks going through the middle, with just weeds and smaller bushes there. I wanted big bushes in between the tree stumps. I wanted my green grass on the edge. I wanted small ground cover (big weeds and small weeds) everywhere else.

Once I’d liberally applied glue to the base (careful around the tree stumps, of course), I began to apply everything as outlined above. I used all Woodland Scenics products (except for a couple of bits of Heki flock that were in my homemade hill-making grass mix). The tye tracks ended in the middle of the felled ground, where I decided a vehicle had been blown up – so to liven the piece up, I added some black coal flock to represent scorched ground. This looked pretty good, so a few more patches of scorched ground were added here and there – remember, the Germans often burnt forests to flush out partisans! I wanted that to be represented in this piece. Also remember – if what you end up with looks better than what it did in your mind, then keep doing what it was that you did to make it so good. I am a big believer in that rule, especially when making hills.

The bushes were a mixture of light green and medium green chunks of cut lichen, with small bramble bushes of natural-coloured lichen. Big weeds were dark green foliage chunks sprinkled around, and small weeds were a mix of light and dark coarse turf. Then some more grass flock was sprinkled to try to cover any remaining bare spots.

I couldn’t press down/push down all these things to really make sure everything was adhering to the glue, as it would have stuffed up layout and stopped over things glueing properly. So, all I could do was make sure the room was warm (so the glue would dry/cure properly) and hope for the best.

24 hours later, I shook off all loose materials and was left with this:

felled-ground-3

Not bad, but still far too much uncovered undercoat. Disappointing, but certainly no disaster.

The course of action from here is as follows:

  1. Spray on watered-down glue and add some more of all the above materials in order to cover bare paint.
  2. Allow to dry.
  3. Shake off excess.
  4. Check for any final touching-up.
  5. Seal with a light coat of varnish.

I’ve come to the realisation that while this piece of terrain will be impassable to vehicles, it isn’t a truly impassable piece of terrain (like a lake or quicksand are) because soldiers on foot, horseback or motorbike (kettenkrads, anyone?) could certainly move through it. So, it will be impassable to vehicles larger than motorised cycles. The big bushes will block some line-of-sight (LOS) and it will still slow down those on the hoof/foot/bike. Gameplay will finalise my decisions.

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