Tuesday, March 24, 2020

V1 Launch Site Model

A quick diversion from my Brecourt Manor project to a small diorama/ terrain piece I entered into a light hearted competition in one of my Facebook groups, 6mm wargaming and terrain. The challenge was to create a terrain piece on a credit card/ store card inspired by some outstanding work done originally by Ben Fiene.

Ben Fiene's original which inspired the whole thing
After casting around for a while I came across this image and page linked to Flames of War for a V1 launch site. 
The FoW build which inspired my copy
It’s a simplified model of a genuine site which would have had more buildings nearby but I thought I could recreate it fairly easily and it could provide a neat objective for a WW2 game. The one I built is not true 6mm scale but it’s a terrain piece and it fits with my approach to buildings (and indeed with Ben Fiene’s approach which is about 2mm scale).

I started with the V1 itself. I wondered if I could make it out of a long grain of rice but decided instead to use a cocktail stick. I found one with more rounded ends and smoothed them a bit more before cutting them off and glueing them together. I applied liquid green stuff to over joins in several thin coats and smoothed it down. The fins came from plastic are strips and were glued on. Finally a thin point section from another cocktail stick was added as the jet burner.

The base consisted of an Icelandic card obtained I think to pay for fuel on a holiday some years ago. I used air drying clay to make the concrete paving with a small amount of PVA folded into it. I rolled it flat on top of grease proof paper and then cut the T shape to the correct dimensions for the card. I then impressed plasterers scrim tape into the clay to get the outlines of paving squares.

I glued the clay onto the card and waited for it to dry. Results were mixed as it shrunk slightly and I got two cracks. A bit of liquid green stuff later and I wasn’t massively disappointed as it helped break up the pristine look. Earth and tile grout mix gave me the full base layer

I dabbled with the launch ramp and made several unsatisfactory versions before I added a thin cable tie to a strip of plasticard, with a number of plasticard supports to give the ramp its correct launch angle. I created the blockhouse using some MDF bases glued together and sanded smooth. The walls were plasticard strips.

I created the blast walls from some N-Gauge brick card glued back to back.

The V1 was painted and glued in place.
Finally I added a fine turf covering for grass, added bushes and a few trees.

I was pretty pleased with the result.

I didn’t win the contest - there was a beautiful Napoleonic diorama of the aftermath of the battle of Vitoria and an awesome Californian skate park - but it was fun to get involved and to have to think small.

Stay safe everybody

Charles the Modeller

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Brécourt Manor - Part 5 - The Guns

This is a quick post in my series on my build of Brécourt Manor. Earlier posts have covered the trenches. This time I’m covering the guns themselves.
I’m using GHQ models, G54 105mm Howitzer to represent the guns. The models are pretty pricey - 2 deployed guns, 2 towed guns and 2 tractors in each £12 pack. For the 4 guns I needed two packs. Costly but very detailed and quite beautiful. I also can’t justify gluing them permanently on the model - I need them for my other battles.
GHQ model and painting, copyright GHQ and Magister Militum
To use them on the model I cut bases to fit into each of the gun pits. I used 1.5mm plasticard cut exactly. To represent the prepared position I decided the guns would be mounted on top of wooden planks. I had a quick go at scoring balsa wood but the narrowness of the lines made the whole thing very tricky.

However I found a pack of staples in our stationary drawer. I simply cut the staples into 3 and using some gorilla glue and laid them out roughly on the bases.
These were then painted with desert yellow and a strong tone ink wash. I used Adler extras including spent shell casings and ammo boxes. The base was then covered in an earth and grout mix.

The guns themselves were sprayed with a sand undercoat, heavy desert yellow drybrush, military shade with skeleton bone highlights.

Next time I’ll look at the rusted truck and vegetable patch.

Roll dice responsibly

Charles the Modeller

Monday, February 24, 2020

Brécourt Manor - Part 4 Corrugated Iron, Dug Outs and Sandbags

Welcome to another blog post on my model of Brécourt Manor, based heavily on the look from the TV show Band of Brothers. In the last post I talked about building plank and wicker walls, this post will look at corrugated iron, the dug outs and sandbags.
To make the corrugated iron palisade walls I used cut down toothpicks as posts and aluminium foil for the corrugated sheets. I found a really helpful video online which started me off.

Whilst the youtuber was using tin from a take out tray, I didn't have any to hand so I substituted aluminium foil instead. I folded some foil over until it was about 8 ply. I adjusted the height to size, about 5mm high. Then I used a cocktail stick to score lines in the foil. I painted it completely with rust coloured paint and then gave a heavy dry brush up and down with platemail. I used a strong tone wash and added the odd ash grey highlight. By going up and down this hopefully conveys the idea of rust and water running down the sheet. I then glued the posts to the foil and placed them in the model trench.

I included two dug outs in the trench system, the command/ radio bunker where Lt. Winters found the map recording all the German artillery positions and an ammo store. 
The command/ radio bunker I made larger. I decided to wall this as if it was lined with logs, just to add variety to the model. The logs are simulated by 1mm diameter leather cord strands which I laid next to each other and then used PVA to glue together. I covered the cord with Oak Brown paint and gave a Desert Yellow drybrush.
I used the spoil on the sides to raise the overall height of the bunker and for there to be an opening on the south side looking out into the field.
I intend to create an ersatz desk and radio station but that will be later in the build.
I cut out the ammo store and just covered the walls with the earth layer. The ammo crates are from Perfect Six Miniatures.

I built removable roofs for both bunkers. Again I decided to simulate logs laid side by side. This time though I used cocktail style toothpicks just over 1mm in diameter. These were laid side by side, PVA'd and then covered in the earth mix and flocked with Woodland Scenics fine turf. 
I put the sandbags on the model in place last. Outside the trench I used a bead of flexible filler covered with the base mix to simulate the spoil from the trench. I set this back from the trench edge by a couple of mm. 
Between this spoil I put a single depth, single width line of sandbags. The TV episode showed sandbags on the edge of the trench and it helps give the model trench definition. I also thought they might be being stored there for when needed or were bolstering the defence and preventing the spoil being washed back into the trench.

I made my sandbags using air drying clay. Mel the Terrain Tutor has a really good video on making sandbags. He’s working at a bigger scale but the principle was spot on. I made my sausage 1.5mm wide and gently flattened it to 2mm before using a cocktail stick to mark the individual bags 3mm apart.

I found the lengths would often split after about 4 to 6 sandbags. Once dry, again the lengths would easily break apart at joins if you weren’t careful. However this often worked to my advantage as the ground changed direction and was uneven. I just placed a little PVA down and then gently pushed with my finger. The lengths generally broke at a sandbag join and could then be easily adjusted.
Once in place I coated them with PVA to harden then and a quick coat of skeleton bone and a strong tone wash gave me a great result.

Finally I used several sandbag lengths from Perfect Six Miniatures on the entrance to the trenches at the western edge.
Next time I'll look post a quick update on the guns themselves.

Happy gaming!

Charles the Modeller

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Brécourt Manor - Part 3 Wicker Work and Plank Walls

In earlier posts I covered the design approach and then the building of the base board for the model I’m building to enable a refight in 6mm of the battle at Brécourt Manor by Easy co on D-Day. This blog post will look at the building of the trenches.
I had cut out and caulked a basic trench design into the base board and covered this with a layer of soil and tile mix. This gave me my base floor and colouring. Watching the Band of Brothers Day of Days episode I picked out a number of elements I wanted to recreate in my build. In no particular order these included plank walls, corrugated iron panels, wicker palisades, dug outs, sandbags and trench roofs. I'm covering the plank and wicker walls in this post.
For the trench wall where the 4 guns were placed I wanted to make them a more robust feature.  I figured that with the blast from the guns and the extended presence of the crew firing that they should be properly defined and well built. I decided to make the walls from planks. I used flat tooth picks cut length ways and thin off cuts to represent the supports. I used wood glue to stick them together and a coat of strong tone followed by a desert yellow drybrush.

For the trench sections I decided these would be mainly wicker walling. Building this was quite straightforward but a little bit tricky at first. I used cocktail sticks as the main posts, cut up staples for the middle panel uprights and thread for the wicker.
I put a bead of Blutack down about 4mm deep. I then inserted the cocktail sticks about 10mm apart and then 2 staple pieces between each post. These were painted dark brown. The thread was tied with a simple knot to one end and using tweezers threaded in and out. I found that I used between 16 and 20 runs of thread to make a palisade section about the right height.
I found the thread sprung back and tried to uncoil every two or 3 runs. I just needed to twist it at the end of each run to reduce this likelihood. I also left the uprights higher than I needed them to give me more room to play with.
I didn’t worry too much at this stage about the exact positioning of the thread. I used static grass glue to stiffen the thread and once wetted I found I could easily move the thread up and down the uprights, opening it up where needed and closing it up as appropriate. The glue, being tacky held things in place while it dried.
Once the glue dried the posts were trimmed to size and brown paint applied across the thread and tops of the posts. A drybrush of desert yellow completed the piece and I was able to use the points on the cocktail sticks to pin the piece in place on the board.

Any gaps between the wicker and the trench wall were then filled in and covered with the basing mix.
Next time its on to corrugated iron, sandbags and the dug outs.

Please wargame responsibly!

Charles the Modeller

V1 Launch Site Model

A quick diversion from my Brecourt Manor project to a small diorama/ terrain piece I entered into a light hearted competition in one of ...