My apologies to Eily Beadell and Nell Tollerton!

I started by making a stream/small river, about 45m wide in scale (including banks). A bigger river will be a later project, maybe next summer.

For today, I first took stock of what sheet styrene I had left, which was just going to be enough: . You can see the trusty Olfa cutter there – one of the greatest wargaming terrain/wargaming scenery-making tools you can own.

Next, I had to make two sets of measurements. First, I had to make sure that the lengths I was cutting would fit comfortably in their intended receptacle and then second I had to make sure the river was the right width. These were done by 1) measuring cut lengths against the box that will hold them and 2) using a based infantry team for width. An infantry team is on a 40mm base, which is 40m on the wargaming table. If they cross at a ford, where they can Walk (not Wade), they should be able to get over in one turn. Both of those measurements are being made here: . Ah yes, the A3 Reflex copy paper box. I’d be very inconvenienced without them! They hold my hills, my trees, my buildings, my roads and very soon, my rivers.

Where possible, I used offcuts and previously-cut pieces as templates or “cookie-cutters” to speed up cutting: In that photo, I’m about to use an off-cut from the perfect straight edge to do the cutting for the other bank of the river piece, which is then snapped off as a complete piece. Then that completed whole piece can be laid on the sheet styrene, cut around and snapped off as a second seperate but complete piece! Etc., etc.

As well as straight pieces of different lengths, I made a narrow man-made ford section, a natural ford section, a Y-intersection, curving sections and ‘wobbly’ sections as well as a section that opens into a small swamp or bog before becoming a stream/river again: . Those two at the bottom – the left is meant to be a separate swamp or bog, the right will become a large pond or small/medium lake.

Last, check once again they fit in your receptacle: .

That’s it for today. Tomorrow I’ll get another tube of caulk.

I mentioned below (or click on this link if you don’t want to scroll down) that I was working on another piece of WWII wargaming terrain that is impassable to vehicles – a knocked-out T-34/85 tank.

Here’s a pic: Brewed-up T-34-85 aerial

The piece is ideally representing a group or column of vehicles that have been knocked out / destroyed. This piece may portray the losers of an armoured battle; an armoured column hit by artillery; an armoured column attacked from the air; softskins hit by artillery or from the air…there are plenty of possibilities, if you do some reading!

I’m using up an Eastern Express T-34/85 that I bought but later decided I wasn’t going to ever assemble and use for active gaming.

This piece of terrain should be kept fairly small – as you can see, it only extends a short distance around the circumference of the model. All the paint has been applied – I’ve been wanting to apply washes and inks, to represent mud and also weeping rust, but haven’t had the inks and necessary paints until last night. Hopefully I can apply these this weekend, and then this terrain piece will be complete. Here’s a second pic, from a slightly different angle: Brewed-up T-34-85 side

***

Nearly every wargame table benefits from having at least one hill on it. I’ve made hills for both the 15mm scale and for sci-fi wargaming scales in the past and nowadays make hills for 15mm scale and also 20mm scale (1:72).

Having rescued some very thick (80mm) house insulation polystyrene foam that was destined for a rubbish tip last year, I spent a cooler summer day cutting it into the rough shapes for some tall, steep hills (the plan being to use these steep hills to represent the mountainous regions of Romania, Hungary or Italy).

I used a hot wire cutter to get the rough shapes I wanted. This is a dangerous thing to do because:

  1. If you’re using an industrial unit like I was, you may scald yourself on the wire;
  2. You need to do it where there is plenty of fresh air;
  3. You must wear eye protection as the fumes can damage your eyes.

Therefore, do it outside or where you have good airflow; wear tradesmans’ or lab technicians’ safety glasses; wear old clothing and lastly do everything slowly and take plenty of breaks so your concentration remains unwavering.

Two of the end results were these: Roughly shaped blanks

On the weekend, deciding to get a few of these hills made for a game while Peter’s busy, I tool out my Olfa snap-blade cutter (Get knife) and shaved off and smoothed the hard angles and rough edges –                             as you can see here: Shave and smooth blanks

Using a Olfa blade, packing knife or anything similar is also quite dangerous. Remember to always cut away from you (always, no getting lazy!); check first that each cut is necessary before making it (don’t just absent-mindedly whittle away) and always retract the blade fully before putting the tool down and check that it was retracted fully before you reach down to pick it up again!

Provided the weather is good (well, not wet and/or frosty) this weekend, I can take these two smoothed, prepared hills Completed first stage and move on to stage 2 – undercoating them with paint.