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