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

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