I was lucky enough to order a copy of Pat Smith’s awesome book “Setting The Scene” before Christmas and it turned up on my doorstep recently. What a happy way to start the New Year!
Now I have always been a big fan of Pat’s amazing 28mm modelling on his Wargaming With A Silver Whistle blog and this new production just continues on Pat’s excellent work. I am not a 28mm modeller and was not planning to do any Winter games or scenes right now, but none of that matters. There are so many good ideas and tips and inspirational photos this book is not to be missed if you are a keen wargamer and modeller who likes to build stuff. This is relevant to whatever scale or period you are interested in, but I guess even more so if you are cemented in World War Two like me.
Pat covers many aspects of terrain building from creating a mat, making trees, rivers, bridges and also tips on painting vehicles and figures. So much eye candy and amazing photos of his stunning results I cannot help but keep flicking through the pages. If you are looking for some inspiration and a standard of terrain to aspire to then I suggest you sign up for the reprint which I am guessing will get a run. Drop Pat a note on his blog and get your copy!
After building my Loic Neveu terrain bits and pieces I found I still had some of his low country walls. So striking with my hot iron I quickly glued them all down to a piece of 3mm MDF to make a rough two field kind of configuration. Then a layer of PVA and fine sand, plus some rougher sand nearer the ends of the walls.
I wanted some random scrubland so used a few different types of grass, flock and tufts to cover the field areas. The walls were undercoated black and then highlighted. In retrospect I should have used more browns for the stonework as it came out a bit too black and white. I may change it. These are quite small walls and I realise I should have put a 20mm soldier in here to give you an idea of scale. But these will definitely get some usage in my next games.
More terrain bits from Loic Neveu that i have finally painted up. I mounted them on MDF first as they are quite delicate around the edges. They are nicely detailed and paint up well with out too much trouble. I used plenty of weathering powder to create a dirty, rusty look. Not much else to add. They fit well into my 1/72 scale stuff and will provide extra cover in my war torn urban situations. You could also use them as objective markers too. Loic has a bucket of interesting stuff on his web site https://neveu.blog4ever.com/articles
Just a quick blog as the photos are self explanatory!
Happy Christmas and New Year everyone! I finished off a couple of terrain bits in between stuffing my face with Christmas goodies. No models in my stocking or models in stockings for that matter. But still expecting some more goodies to show up from various model shops across the globe independent of Father Christmas’s delivery schedule!
Anyway i had some rubble piles and cars from Loic Neveu in France that i had left aside for ages and decided to paint them up. They came out very nicely and fit next to my ruined buildings for extra effect. I have a couple more to finish. I had bought a manor house from Loic too but it is more like 15mm scale and it didn’t fit in with my buildings. If anyone wants the building i bought for 15mm games drop me a note and i will send it to you or at least show you a picture first.
Also there is some fencing i bought from Hovels in the UK. Super cheap at 75p a section and they came out really nicely. At that price i really cant be bothered to make my own which will be no better. Based on MDF and flocked etc. It does make me feel lazy but sometimes buying terrain is just a nice, speedy alternative!
In my mission to speed up my village building and supplement my very slow scratch building process, i could not resist buying some more MDF kits. This time from Sarissa at http://www.sarissa-precision.com
I have seen lots of pictures and reviews of the Sarissa French Chateau in 20mm and 28mm scale and I was unable to resist the lure of purchase. So I figured I better make it worthwhile by buying a couple of their 20mm ruined houses at the same time. The Chateau build is for another time, as I decided to get cracking on the ruins first. The kits come flat packed in two sheets of 3mm MDF with a further sheet of window and door fittings in card. At less than $15 Australian a pop they are pretty good value. The best thing is Sarissa does the postage from the UK to Australia at two pounds fifty which is amazing. Definitely makes me want to buy more!
The parts pop out of their sheets easily and consist of a floor or two, walls and roof sections. The roof sections have a triangular support that gives the structure some strength. So all you need is some PVA glue and bobs your uncle. Once you have the structure made you can add the windows and shutters, door frames and doors. You do need to think ahead about what you are going to paint before you finish building as it might be tricky to paint some bits after full construction.
Now i really like these kits but did need to add some of my own bits and pieces just to get them up to speed. Firstly its very obvious where the MDF corners are, so i used my gyprock plaster to give my buildings a texture, before i added the details. This covered up the joins and created a more interesting surface. I also could not quite understand the chimney construction, maybe i did it wrong, so i also had to add some MDF to line everything up. The chimney pots i cut off and replaced with some excellent metal ones i had bought from a model shop, which i think was a good improvement. I also added my own cardboard roof tiles onto the roof remains which give more texture to the roof than the original flat MDF. I also added textured bricks carved into the plaster along the bottom of the walls and also bits of rubble and debris inside the damaged walls. It was a lot of fun to customize these little buildings, but i think they would come out nicely whether you choose to do this or not.
Painting took me a while and i just used basic acrylics. I added a couple of French signs to the sides and then added some black and brown chalk dust to the damaged bits to give the finished result a burnt out look. I am looking forward to building the Chateau now after these two. If you need some quick and easy buildings with a lot of scope to customize then go and check out Sarissa. You can see below how well they fit in with one of my home made buildings – the blue two storey house with a big blown in the middle of it…..
I am never been satisfied with my cobbled streets made out of purchased, patterned card and stuck onto MDF. They still look flat and a bit unrealistic. But I refuse to pay any big money for roads when they should be easy to make. So I cut out the usual shapes and strips of 3mm MDF and gave them a 1-2mm coating of ready mixed plaster. I get a big tub of Gyprock Topcoat from Bunnings which will last for ever. Its great for doing texture on buildings too. Make sure the coating is pretty smooth, although it doesn’t need to be a perfect finish, and leave it to dry overnight.
Then comes the entertaining bit…… First of all I draw horizontal guide lines every 5mm across of all the pieces you want to do. Although you can make the distance smaller or wider depending on how big you want to make your cobbles. I invested in a $10 etching tool on eBay from China. What a great machine. It runs on AAA batteries and its shaped like a big pen so you can sit and carve bricks and cobbles all day long. And it does take all day long. Its much easier and quicker than trying to carve with an old scalpel or blade. Jump on eBay and grab one. It still took me ages to engrave a town square, a couple of roads and another little square. Once the cobbles are carved its just a question of painting them grey and throwing some brown and black washes over them. I did add some brown, black and sand coloured chalk powder on them too. Dirty them up a bit.
You can see in the first picture the effect of the cobbled square and street. Also as a comparison I put my old card cobbled square and streets next to them so you can see the difference. It was a good opportunity to get out all my houses and put them together. Here is a mixture of home made, laser cut MDF and cardboard kits. I think they all mix in together quite nicely, and no two houses are ever identical.
Must get cracking on my village church…….
I have continued building my Normandy village and trying to mix my home made, scratch built, but time consuming houses, with some purchased models. This time i have made some more of Metcalfe Models excellent card models. One grey stone terraced houses with backyards and a similar grey stone corner shop. Metcalfe Models do not ship overseas so i had to buy them from another useful modelling ship called Antics On Line. I think they are around 9-10 pounds per kit, so pretty good value compared to other resin and MDF buildings.
The quality of the card and the printing is most excellent. I do remember my brother back in the 1980s building some Superquick card models which always felt a bit flimsy and never looked like anything but rather crap card model kits. The Metcalfe kits are really well designed and once you have put them together feel very solid, robust and anything but a wobbly bit of card. Its all printed on good heavy card and all the bits pop out very easily once you have cut along certain edges with a sharp knife. During the construction there are plenty of inner supports which keep the whole thing very square and stable. The windows work well and even give you options to have a couple open as well as other options for curtains and different coloured doors. The buildings are mounted onto their own card base and Metcalfe give you individual adhesive paving stones to create your own pavement around the houses. In my build i left off the bay window on the terrace as i didn’t think they had those in France in the 1940’s. The dormer windows on the roof did remind me of a typical Normandy house so i think they do not look out of place. One thing i do need to fix is the corner shop is O’Briens Bakery. I need to find an alternative Boulangerie sign.
OK so after finishing your model you do need to rough it up a bit. I used plenty of powdered chalk in black, brown and white brushed all over the place. This covers any white bits of cardboard and also gives the houses a more weathered, realistic look. I also glued the whole thing onto a 3mm MDF base and weighted it down. Otherwise i did have some significant curling up around the edges. It also gives it more strength.
Next up i am making a new town square so will place that into the middle of my now quite sizeable Normandy village. Still need to make that church……..