Monday, May 13, 2019

Pen and Sword: Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book Reviewed!

Today we will take a look at the brand new Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book written by the experienced scenery modeller Tony Harwood and published by Pen and Sword Books With this book you will be able to learn how to scratch build your own scenery for your tabletop battlefield!

Pen and Sword: Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book Reviewed!The Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book is written by the talented railway and wargame scenery modeller Tony Harwood. Tony is not an unfamiliar name in the online modelling world and has been featured in multiple wargaming publications both printed and online for well-known publishers. Next to this he also already published his own series of wargame miniature scenery modelling books which are available on his very informative Dampf's Modelling Page blog (link here). Some of you may also be familiar with Tony's work for the wargame company Grand Manner where he made some of the scenery master models for their extensive and magnificient resin wargame scenery line.

The Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book is as the title suggests focussed on the subject of building miniature scenery for the glorious and popular Napoleonic Wars wargaming period. The book is divided in three sections: Working in Different Scales, Quick and Easy and Detailed, Step-by-Step Tutorials and during this review we will take a closer look at each section of the book along with supplying our own opinion on this new scenery modelling building book.
"Any miniature wargame is greatly enhanced by realistic and evocative scenery and buildings, but commercial ready-made pieces can be expensive. Building your own can be a cost-effective and very rewarding alternative, another hobby in itself, but it can be hard to know where to start. Wargames Terrain and Buildings is a series of books aimed at giving wargamers the skills, techniques and guidance they need to create their own stunning and practical model buildings.

In this volume, master modeller Tony Hardwood shares his years of experience and presents the reader with a wide range of projects for the Napoleonic era. With the aid of step-by-step photographs, he guides the reader through building and finishing each of these models, which are organized in three sections of increasing complexity and encompass a range of scales and different materials. Nine projects are included but the techniques and skills demonstrated along the way, along with valuable advice on tools, construction materials and paints, can be adapted and applied to a much wider range of structures to grace your battlefields."

Working in Different Scales

As the "Working in Different Scales" section title suggests, author Tony Harwood covers the construction of scratch build scenery in the three most commonly used miniature wargaming scales covering a nice mixture of different buildings and textures. This is the only section in the book that covers the construction of miniature scenery in an other scale than the popular 28/30mm scale as it also features the making of a 15mm building along with tips and tricks on how to upgrade commercially available 20mm MDF laser cut building kits.

Pen and Sword: Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book Reviewed!My favorite tutorial covers the construction of a 15mm Russian Windmill, a very interesting feature for any miniature tabletop battlefield. This particular tutorial guides us through the construction with a strong focus on using balsa wood as a construction material offering a thorough guide on how to use this material. The Two-Storey French House tutorial covers the creation of an 28/30mm building using the commonly available DAS modelling clay as a main material, this material is also one of the materials most used by modeller Tony Harwood and I would dare to say also his most favorite one looking at the modelling guides featured all his publications

The last building guide covers on how you can upgrade commercially available 20mm MDF laser cut scenery kits. Although this tutorial is showing the upgrading and decorating of the 20mm "La Belle Alliance" modelling kit by Sarissa Precision, the shown techniques and materials can easily be used for smaller and large modelling scales. Although not of personal interest, I can see that this particular guide may prove very popular for people looking to add more character and texture to their otherwise flat and not very detailled MDF laser cut buildings.

Quick and Easy

The "Quick and Easy" section once again features the detailled construction of three different structures, this time all the buildings are constructed in the popular 28/30mm wargaming scale. In this section modeller Tony guides us through the scratch building of small scenery pieces such as the lovely and characterful French Pigeonnier, quick and easy Stone Built Well and lovely Russian Granary. Once again every tutorial is a very detailled step-by-step guide fully illustrated with loads of pictures supplemented with a materials and paints overview. Readers already familiar with the authors own published modelling books will certainly recognize the style of lay-out, materials and construction steps. I think the best way to illustrate his personal style and manner of guiding you through the construction process are some examples as publised in this book.

Pen and Sword: Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book Reviewed!

Detailed, Step-by-Step Tutorials

Last but certainly not least are the most detailed buildings guides showing the constructing of more complicated scenery pieces such as a stunning Hungarian Chapel, characterful German Bakery (as shown in the picture) and a breath-taking self-contained diorama featuring a cluster of Iberian Peninsular buildings. Think my favorite building of this section is the very interesting and colorful looking Hungarian Chapel which is mostly build from cheap cartonboard and really looks awesome when finished and painted.

Pen and Sword: Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book Reviewed!

The Conclusion

If you're either new to the scratch building scenery aspect of the miniature wargaming hobby or already experienced in this particular part of the hobby, I would certainly recommend this The Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book. The book offers a whole assortment of interesting and thoroughly illustrated building guides covering almost every theatre of war of The Napoleonic Wars at a very affordable price at Pen and Sword Books. If you're a scenery building novice you will be more than happy with the thoroughly illustrated and very informative guides supplemented with lists of the used materials and paints which will certainly make an introduction into this part of the wargaming or modelling hobby in general much easier. Although I would have preferred the usage of more different kinds of materials, I can certainly appreciate that the author has used the most commonly available and affordable materials to such a great extent that starting to scratch build scenery won't cost you very much as the used materials can easily be found in every household or general hobby shop.

After reading the book, I have some remarks though which might be of interest if you have already bought previously modelling guides publised by Tony Harwood or prefer your buildings in an other style or for skirmish wargaming. These are no points of harsh criticism but just some thoughts I had when reading the book and was thinking about on how the tutorials could possibly be improved in future titles. Already familiar with the other modelling books written by Tony Harwood, I personally think this new book doesn't reveal much new techniques and materials but still offers a great insight in the thoughts and techniques mastered by Tony Harwood over years of scratchbuilding. That said the tutorials are very well-illustrated and supplied with enough information but still think more new techniques and materials could be featured further increasing the scope of scenery building possibilities.

Looking at the featured buildings in the book you can easily recognize these scenery pieces as being designed and made by Tony Harwood as he has a very distinctive modelling style which may not be the preferred look for scenery modellers and wargamers more interested in building models with a more strict architectural approach or more minimalistic design and look. Another point is that all the buildings are designed to be one-piece structures with no internal detail for skirmish wargaming, I think it would be great if this point could be taken into account in other modelling guides as it would certainly improve the quality and usage of the scenery pieces for low figure skirmish wargames and miniature roleplaying adventures which are hugely popular.

The author Tony Harwood is in my opinion most known for his characterful and quirky little fantasy buildings which he creates with a great eye for lovely detail and pronounced textures but which are in my opinion most suited for the popular fantasy Napoleonic Flintloque wargame setting by Alternative Armies and the historo-fantasy Panzerfäuste wargame by Hysterical Games for which he also often creates building tutorials and scenery. That said the building tips and tricks in the book can easily be used to create every style of wargame scenery when slightly adapted representing rustic, realistic or a more cartoony style suited for fantasy wargames such as classic Warhammer Fantasy. So to conclude despite the comments as mentionned above, certainly worth adding to your wargame book library for further inspiration, guiding and reference for building your own affordable scratch build scenery.

You can purchase the Wargames Terrain & Buildings - The Napoleonic Wars Modelling Book by Tony Harwood for £11.99 through our Pen and Sword Books Partnership Link above and in the meanwhile freely support Wargame News and Terrain allowing us to bring even more independent daily miniature and scenery wargame news, reviews and money saving deals. Bought and love the book? Let us know how it improved your scenery building and the look of your tabletop battlefield!

Disclaimer - We received this book from Pen and Sword Books for reviewing purposes. Please note that this doesn't influence our review as we always strive to supply you with our own independent and honest opinion about the wargame products reviewed.

Dozens of other reviews can easily be found here and make sure to follow this blog as more reviews, tutorials and wargame news appears every day!

1 comment:

Tony said...

Thank you for the detailed review and constructive comments.

I have linked this review via my Blog. at


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