Monday, August 16, 2010

How to: Generic Field Fortifications

Today I'm presenting a short tutorial on the creation of field fortifications to be used in your World war Two wargames as for example Bolt Action. The goals of the construction was to create a series of fortifications such a single man firing holes, trenches and I have also added some naval artillery defenses. These were orginally created for 20mm miniatures but when I finished them they were large enough to hold 28mm miniatures with exception of the height but that can easily be added by adding some sandbags and logs.

The first step is to cut the hardboard bases with either a handsaw, electric saw or metal plier. The size depends on the chosen scale of miniatures but I cut out four circle bases for the single man firing holes. The two elips shaped bases are intended for the trenches while the two tear shaped bases will become the naval gun emplacements. After you have cut out the bases you sand the rough edges with fine sandingpaper so they are ready for the further steps.

Now you cut out the polystrene dike which will surround your fortification and add the necessary height. To cut out the correct shape you use your hardboard base as a template when cutting out the polystrene with either a hot wire tool or stanley knife. Another step is cutting out the space inside the polystrene shape with the same tools to create the space where you will place the miniatures. Then you also add some corrugated cartonboard and some matchsticks to create the supports of the shelter.

One of the more important steps is to add plaster and fill up the earthen embankement. The plaster used is mixed so it's still liquid and easy to spread and move around the polystrene. Be carefully and don't spill to much wet plaster on the the corrugated carto,board or it may warp. When the plaster is almost dry you can add some texture by poking in the plaster and create the look of freshly dug up earth.

Here's some information about the creation of the improvised naval gun for the smaller scale miniatures such as 20 and 15mm. I have constructed the piece out of a cartonboard base covered with thin cartonboard. For the barrel I used a plastic balloon stick. This way you can create artillery for almost no cost and add some firepower to the defenders.

When the plaster is dry you give the bottom of the pit and the plaster a coat of diluted PVA and fine sand to create some texture. You can see that the textured plaster adds some detail to the layer of sand and creates the look of freshly dug out earth.

The next step is to basecoat the entire piece with a light brown color, make sure to cover up the pieces well as this really determines the finish of your piece. Also remember some craft paints have low pigment values so make sure to paint several thin layers instead of one thick layer that covers the detail. In the picture you can still see some white so I have added another layer after taking the picture.

One of the last steps is to paint the corrugated steel and drybrush the entire piece with a cream color. The last step is too add some static grass and clump foliage (which you can make yourself but more on that in a later tutorial) Now you have the finished pieces ready to be used for your historical, fantasy or science fiction setting.

I have also added some pictures of the other pieces finished in a similar way as described above. As you can see you can create a nice defense line existing out of firing holes and trenches.


Al said...

Very cool!

Wargame News and Terrain Blog said...

Thanks Al!

GEM Team said...

Very nice, simple and yet effective

Arquinsiel said...

Very nice. Must make some of these soon.

q.b. said...

Awesome mate !

Wargame News and Terrain Blog said...

Thanks for the nice comments

Arny said...

nice tutorial!