Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Brécourt Manor - Part 2 The Base Board

The composite aerial image, contour map and trench sketch image I used to plan the build
In part 1 of my series of posts on Brécourt Manor I covered the design elements of my current project, a model of the German guns destroyed by Easy Co, 506th PIR on D-Day. This post will look at construction of the base board.
Although I intend to use 6mm scale figures at 1-2-1 representation, I have used a slightly bigger ground scale. In order to fit everything I wanted onto a 600m by 900mm board I’ve used a ground scale of about 1:550. Even so the actual manor itself is not on the board. I just want to concentrate on the fight for the guns and so need to give the US some room on the western side of the guns.
The base board and my tools
I picked up a 610 by 900mm 6mm ply sheet from a local DIY store. I coated both sides in PVA to (hopefully) prevent warping.
I screwed some 25mm by 25mm trim to the 4 edges, countersinking the heads. I then sanded the edges to make them smooth and fully flush. 
Flipping the board over so the trim was at the top I trimmed some 25mm polystyrene insulation board using a modelling saw and glued it between the battons.
Next I drew lines every 10cm, vertically and horizontally across the board. I then used the maps I’d created to mark the lines of the hedgerows. I believe on the actual field the hedgerows contain drainage channels or gullies, and that the German trenches used a set. However I decided it’s simpler to raise the hedges slightly and move the trenches out into the open for ease of play.
I glued down some cork along the hedgerow lines. 
Next I marked out the trench lines. I used a standard base size to assist with the size of the gun emplacements and widened the trenches to give me space to place infantry figures as well as trench walls. I intend to base figures on 8mm circular bases and so cut the trenches 15mm wide. 
I then cut them out with a modelling knife. The whole trench area is a fair bit larger than it was historically. However, as most of the action will take place here, I am happy to compromise with this oversized element.  
I went around with decorators caulk to fill in the gaps around the edge of the model, smooth out the hedgerow humps and give a solid surface to the trench system. Or at least I did for part of the model. I finished a tube of caulk and then started a new one and finished the work. I then spent a day or two with something niggling me slightly before I realised to my horror that the 2nd tube had been white silicone and not caulk. Cue banging my head for a day or two and cursing the manufacturer for almost identical tube markings.
OK so it has the product description in great big lettering but I went by colour and they're the same!
Whilst not ideal I decided I could live with it. It has subsequently been annoying where bits have had to be cut out causing more minor damage than necessary but I don’t think it’s going to be anything other than an inconvenience.
I gave the whole board a base covering of brown paint.  
Finally I applied a hardening layer of soil and tile mix on a PVA base with a watered down PVA overspray to protect the base and give the later layers of flock a soil coloured underlayer in the event of scrapes or thin coating.
This completed the base and I then began to model the trenches which I’ll cover in my next post(s). 
I took a lot of inspiration from watching videos by Luke APS off youtube. He has a whole range of videos out there and offers some awesome tips to modellers and gamers - well worth checking him out.

Happy gaming!

Charles the Modeller

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