Winter is clawing at the windows nowadays – our second morning under 5 degrees Celsius two mornings ago – and so I’ve finished with making large terrain pieces until warmer weather returns.

You’ll recall that I was working on some more  “commercial-style” wargaming hills. Last weekend I was able to photograph them and move them inside, and clean up the table in the shed for more ‘house and garden’-type activities.

So, here are the two hills I made – one large and in two sections, the other much smaller (and it can go on the large one to make a two-level hill):     . Because these hills have flat tops, I’ll be able to put some based trees on them. It looks a little bit funny to only have beautifully sloping hills that have no trees on them…but if you want hills to be durable and easily stored with other hills in one box, then my opinion is that you can’t make hills with trees stuck on them.

I have three criticisms of my work: 1) I probably brushed off too much loose flock that was left behind after the glue dried. I could’ve left some on when I sprayed the hills with Scenic Cement to seal them. There are some patches where you can see the brown undercoat a little too easily. Oh well. 2) I touched these hills before the glue under the flock had even had a chance to harden,so one on of the two hill halves, you can just see a thumbprint. Oh well. 3) I used too much of the Heki green scatter material. Originally I said I’d use none, and really strive for a very “commercial”, modular appearance. Then as I was undercoating them I decided I’d better use some of the Heki scatter material to represent weeds, as I have done that one so many figure bases, other scenery pieces and some of the other hills. If I don’t, they’ll stand out from my other pieces too much. In practice, I applied too much. Oh well.

So, no big terrain items now for quite a while.


I’ve already done 333 posts…one third of a thousand. I didn’t think back at the start that I would need so much time to complete enough German forces to have a good slog against Peter – well, I was wrong. At the rate I’m going, I’ll need another 300 posts at least…

Anyway, let’s keep making better hills!

Assemble all terrain ingredients you think will be useful: . I’ve got my Woodland Scenics Green Blend flock, my SeeNiks Earth Blend flock, some Woodland Scenics fine Talus, some Heki coarse flock and Selleys Aquadhere glue. No, none of these companies are sponsoring me.

Apply the glue completely and thickly: . A thick application of glue will fill up any small holes and crevices, leaving a smoother appearance.

If you’re going to apply talus, now’s the time, before applying any flock: . Remember, grass grows up,  around and sometimes nearly covers rocks…not the other way around (unless a volcano just went off).

If you need to apply any sort of coarse turf or small clumpy foliage, you are now at the appropriate stage to do so: – I use this strongly-coloured green coarse turf stuff from Heki to represent big-leafed weeds. Green Blend flock is fine, but it’s still a fairly uniform product. Break it up with some of this kind of stuff.

Thickly apply your flock: – you too can let a chance ray of sunlight into your garden shed if you want…this was by and large a grey morning, so all my other photos don’t feature it. Once applied, I manually pat the stuff down hard so I know that it’s gone into the glue. I pat the whole hill over and I pat it with some strength to the action. Then I apply more flock over the top of what’s there because inveitably you’ll see some glue visible somewhere after patting.

Now you can leave it for 24 hours(or longer if the humidity’s high) to dry.

Want to do hills where some bare soil is showing? OK, apply glue and then your Earth Blend flock: – I placed some Talus around its edge to show the effects of erosion. Remember, erosion usually only affects one side of a hill, so don’t go silly with your Earth Blend flock. I decided with this project to leave the Woodland Scenics Earth Blend out – I wanted to try the less uniform and slightly more gritty SeeNiks Earth Blend. It goes on OK and looks good at this stage.

I like to put some lush vgetation (thick weeds) on the opposite side of the hill, to show that the other side to the Earth Blend is sheltered from the wind: .

Then on goes the Green Blend flock, thickly applied, patted down and then reapplied where necessary: – you’ll see that I’ve even applied it almost covering the Earth Blend flock too. I don’t want the erosion to be too bare.

Now wait for it to dry.


Back inside the house, the next project is waiting to be started. It’s a pair of infantry guns: . I bought them over a year ago – it’s time to get these Caesar Miniatures sIG 33 guns built, painted, based and gaming.

This final experimental batch of trees made from armatures are done. Here they are, immediately after a good spraying with Dullcote to seal them: . Covering the bases with lots of glue to try to reduce the sharp and unnatural angles/contours of the film cannister lids did not quite work: but at least the coarse turf does soften those angles/contours a bit: . So, it seems to me that I’ve worked out the best techniques for preparing plastic tree armatures to become wargaming trees – simple PVA glue to affix lichen; a good spraying with watered-down PVA glue a couple of days later and then careful application of covering flock or turf is all that’s really required. Forget Hob-e-tac! Forget Clump Foliage! Trees made with those don’t survive regular handling and accidental knocking over. So, experiment and project complete.


I bought some more Heki apple trees yesterday. I already have 6, but on the table they make a small orchard and I wanted to have either a big orchard or two small ones. I have also decided to refurbish the trees I have with very warped bases, so I’m going to do them all these trees in one big batch:  . However, I have finally finished all the fiddly gluing and preparatory painting for my Panzer IIIs and Krupp Boxers, so they will be getting full priority from now on: .

I pledged yesterday that today I would start painting water on the sheet styrene, caulk and Heki & Woodland Scenics’ terrain materials river sections come what may. Well, I fulfilled my pledge.

Beginning here – – undercoated sections, I started meeting my pledge by shaking up the two pots of paint I would need for today’s work, those pots being Orkhide Shade and Knarloc Green. I had already decided to start by painting on the deepest water, which for now was going to be pure Orkhide Shade. I commenced and made sure to make sure the deepest parts followed the logical flow of water. For straight sections, I ran mostly directly down the middle. For curved sections, the deepest water had to flow into and hard against the outer riverbank: .                                                                         Those trips fishing for trout at Bright and around Country Victoria were really useful in assisting me to visualise rivers and streams and where the water goes, how it scours into the ground and how it reacts to barriers. I translated all this easily with the #3 Francheville brush I was using. All I had to do was control the brushstrokes.

It didn’t take long to finish , although I did make a small error on the smaller of the ford sections. That was corrected with Kayak Brown.

I then allowed an hour for the Orkhide Shade to dry. It was a cool day here – even so, it dried fairly quickly.

Now I was at the most difficult stage – mixing the two colours. It involves painting on some watered down of the original colour, painting on the next green you wish to use beside it (in this case, Knarloc Green), then mixing the two using a third brush. Nikolas Lloyd’s painting technique is: “The river itself I painted with mid green near the edges, where the water is slow and green stuff may grow; then had a band of pale brown and pale green for the shallows; then in the centre, more mid green, lots of dark green, and streaks of very dark brown, to represent the deeper faster moving water. All of these colours I painted on quickly, with watery paint, and I was happy to see them mingle while still wet.”. I aim for a variation of this – I want the wet paints to mix but in a streaky and uneven fashion. I want them to naturally mix and create an equal mix inbetween them so that the end result is the first darker colour (pure Orkhide Shade), then a ‘band’ of the two colours blended together with streaks of both on both sides, then the second colour (pure Knarloc Green).

This took some time and patience. Even with time, patience, inspiring music and a big mug of tea, I still made mistakes. Here I am, a few sections done and happy with my work:  then a section or two bucked the trend and just wouldn’t behave  . This one in particular  is going to require some serious alterations when it’s dry.

They were nearly all done by dinner and the remainder were quick to do after a good feed.

It had taken an hour longer than I’d intended, but this stage of making the river sections was finished . I looked over the dry and nearly dry sections – they had overall turned out pretty well, as you can see here  and here  . Some need some extra paint like this one and you’ve already seen one particular miscreant who needs some intensive correction. However, the corrective & extra work stage shouldn’t take as much time as this stage has. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow – we’ll see what the ANZAC Day public holiday brings.

The caulk river project meanders along…yes, I know, a pun. Anyway, it’s not forgotten, just not being done regularly.

Coarse flock from Heki was applied during the weekend, and tonight I applied small green bushes and also some lichen. The coarse green flock is to represent water margin plants, mosses and other small but usually bright green plants on or immediately next to water. The darker green bushes are just artistic flourishes and to ensure the riverbanks aren’t monotonous. The lichen is for larger bushes and thickets of plants like Blackberry.


Materials used over the last few days:

  • Streumaterial #3312 Hellgrun 85g – by Heki
  • Dark green Bushes – by Woodland Scenics
  • Spring green Lichen – by Woodland Scenics
  • Coarse Natural Talus – by Woodland Scenics

Medium green Field Grass (by Woodland Scenics) was used earlier for the reeds/rushes and has been stated a couple of times already on this blog both in this project and a previous one, real twigs are used to represent logs, stumps etc.

Back to Tigers

May 24, 2009

As I got closer to finishing the SdKfz 7/1, I commenced work on two command Tigers. They are the same Revell kit as before, except this time I had plenty of experience in assembling them (and knowing where to stop and do steps in a different order, as well as drill out the holes ahead of time) to draw upon.

This time, the track sag is a lot better…it looks a bit more natural then the previous four, where everything felt too angular. Instead of straight lines and sharp angles, the result was closer to a lazy curve, which is what I wanted.

The Doug Chaltry Technique was completed pretty quickly…I had two evening shifts the previous week and we had some warm weather too, so all those ink coats were done two each day rather than singly. I’d like to mention that the Eastern Express tracks that I used on the SdKfz 7/1 took the Doug Chaltry Technique wonderfully – so much so that if I see any more cheap at Swap-n-Sells, I’ll be buying them just to keep the tracks for when I have vinyl tracks to replace! (Yes, I do have kits yet to do with vinyl tracks, so stay tuned).

I don’t have star aerials to put on these two tanks. A colleague and fellow member of NWA has star aerials on his command vehicles and they look fantastic. I don’t have any and can’t think of any way to effectively kitbash them at this scale…I’d welcome advice if you, good readers, do. I’m just going to give them a second shorter aerial mounted through the roof of the turret.

Speaking of Nunawading Wargames Association, we had one of our two annual Sale Nights on Friday. I picked up (after cleaning and assessing them today): 50-odd conifers in 6mm-15mm scale, which will be perfect for my 15mm other wargaming interest; 10 conifers that will be ok for 1:72/1:76 and eight ready-made plastic kit trees. I’m not sure if they are Woodland Scenics Tree Armatures or an imitation. Either way, they are certainly very old and have been exposed to a lot of heat over their lifetimes, as the plastic has become pretty brittle and I snapped off lots of finer twigs and branches just trying to clean them up and get them ready for undercoating. There are enough major boughs and sturdy branches to proceed – I threw away the trees that didn’t survive the cleaning process.

The tree kits we perhaps the best buy of the night (for me), as now I have an excuse to make some trees in Autumn colours. I’ll probably go with Woodland Scenics for them, although if I can be impressed enough by Heki then I may explore that path just for this project. If my experimenting is successful, then I may decide to do more Autumn trees…

Impassable terrain 2

December 2, 2008

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


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!):


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:


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.

Of ponds and Panzers

October 12, 2008

The caulk-and-styrene pond is half-complete. It was undercoated with that household acrylic (“Kayak”) that you’ve heard about so many times, and then flocked with both coarse flock (to represent weeds) from Heki and fine Green Blend flock (for grass) from Woodland Scenics. You can see the result here:

Now I’ve started painting in the water depths, following Nikolas Lloyd’s advice and recalling my successes and failures when I have followed his advice with previous pieces of water terrain. Using Citadel’s Dark Angels Green, Goblin Green, Snot Green and some water, so far the result is satisfactory. I’ll wait until it properly dries before I pass final judgement.

The sides and bottoms of the Tiger hulls have nearly had all basic painting completed. Then on will go the mudguards and I can work on the upper hulls and turrets and hopefully can have a platoon of Tigers ready for gaming in November. There are some renovations at the Mitcham venue of NWA that is somewhat affecting gaming there, so I’ve set myself a reasonable rather than ambitious deadline.


The current world financial situation has caused our Aussie Dollar to fall way, way back against the British Pound and the US Dollar in the last three weeks. Good thing that I ordered and received a few boxes of two certain model kits that is sure to flesh out this German force I’m building up…more in another post, soon.