Friday, April 20, 2012


Sorry that I haven't posted the fences tutorial yet. The defences one took awhile for me to do and I feel tired just looking at it. I honestly could have made four separate posts if I really wanted, but I just wanted to get all of it out there. On top of that, I do not have some pictures for the next tutorial, and will need to make another piece to get it's photos. So here's a small preview of the type of fences I am going to cover:
  • Stone Wall
  • Wood Fence
  • Country Wooden Fence
No brick walls, sorry. If I ever do that in the future, I will make a "Fences 2" post for it. Anyway, see you in another week or two!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Welcome back to more Wargaming Terrain! This post will cover various defenses such as:

  • Dragon's Teeth
  • Barbed Wire
  • Trenches
  • Rommel's Asparagus

You may have noticed that I left out minefields. This is simply because they are a simple variant from the barbed wire/ Dragon's Teeth. Likewise, I did not include bunkers for two reasons.

  1. I have never tackled a bunker yet. This will change in the future.
  2. I want to save it for a D-Day themed post in the future. It will include the bunkers, hedgehogs, seawall, and beach.

Anyway, on with the tutorials. I will hit them one at a time, starting with...

Dragon's Teeth 

The easiest, and most fun, IMO. You will need :

  • Balsa Base
  • Rubber Feet
  • X-Acto knife
  • Spray Primer
  • Pencil & Ruler
  • Earth paint & Gray paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Scenic Cement and Static grass flock

Yes, rubber feet. The kind that you put under small objects to prevent them from sliding on the table. Not just any kind will do though. These are the kind you are looking for.

They are square shaped, and slope on each side to make a smaller square top. These are perfect for the Dragon's Teeth, and even better, are self adhesive, so no glue required! You get nine in a package, so get two so you can have an even number and fill the base evenly. The base, whatever material it is, will be 2" x 8", the same used as FoW bases, but you can make it any size assuming you don't play FoW.

After cutting out your base, mark it with pencil and plan out your arrangement of the teeth. Mine was a linear pattern, alternating up and down slightly as shown.

After doing so, get your spray primer and let it dry. The reason it needs to be primed is because the rubber will not take paint very well. After it dries you can paint the teeth gray and the base the earth color. It is better to paint the earth color last, as accidentally painting some brown on the teeth will look more realistic than gray on the ground. After painting, ink wash it, and flock it with the Scenic Cement and grass after it dries. The end result should look like this:

So there's the Dragon's Teeth. They are very simple to make, and look great when finished.

Barbed Wire

Barbed wire is time consuming and annoying to make by comparison. You will need to measure and pre-cut a lot of balsa wood beforehand if you want to breeze through this one. You'll need:

  • Balsa wood
  • Super glue
  • X-acto knife
  • Pencil & ruler
  • Picture hanging wire
  • Paints & paintbrush
  • Scenic Cement and Static grass flock

Picture hanging wire, up close, does not look barbed. But if you get the right kind, it will have that appearance from afar. You want to pick out a kind that has a cross weave pattern, not just one where it is twisted in one direction.

To start, cut out the same 2" x 8" base as last time. On this base, mark in into four 2" x 2" boxes, to help with spacing. This next part is somewhat labor intensive, but you will need to cut out pieces of balsa to form x's. For mine, I cut of one long piece and two shorter ones that I glued on each side in the middle to form an x, but you would do better to cut out two long pieces and make a notch in the middle to interlock them. I just didn't bother because mine was more like a test piece and I didn't want to take the time for the notches, but in the long run, it will help because there won't be any pieces breaking off. The length of the cut off pieces are 1" each, while the width of the balsa itself is about 1/4" square.

After the x's are formed, sand one side's legs flat so the x can stand, and then glue them onto the lines that you drew earlier. Two will go together on each line. In addition, two each will go on each end as well. I'll just let this diagram explain what I mean:

The red line is where the x's will stand, and the blue circles show that two can be placed on one line. I also have a regular photo that shows this as well.

You may notice that my pencil markings in the photo are different than in the instructions. I honestly cannot explain this. Just pick the method that works best for you to make them evenly spaced apart.

After all of that, you can glue some sand for ground texture if you wish, and then paint the x's a wood color and the ground an earthy color. For those that are curious, the exact paints I use for this are both Vallejo brand. The wood color is Chocolate Brown, and the earthy color is Flat Earth. After the paint dries, use ink wash to darken it. I use Citadel's Badab Black for this.

After that dries, use the Scenic Cement to flock the ground with some static grass. We are almost done here. Remember that picture hanging wire? What you are going to want to do with it is to take an end of it and start wrapping it around your pencil. Do this for a bit to ensure you have enough. Then just cut off  a length aproximately the same length as the base, and lay it on top of one of the x rows. It will easily slot into the x's, and you can just slot the ends of the coil underneath the bottom of the end x's. You should have something like this when you are finished:

I didn't have a picture of the barbed wire by itself, but you can see how it slots over the x's and tucks under at the ends. What is cool about this is that you don't need to glue the wire down, as it is held tightly as is. Just repeat for the other row and you are finished.

Rommel's Asparagus

This is very simple: Just a matter of gluing some dowels upright. You will need:
  • Wooden Base (Same measurements as before, 2" x 8")
  • Dowel (not too thick)
  • Pencil
  • Super Glue
  • Paints and Brushes
  • Scenic Cement
  • Static Grass Flock
  • Filler Putty
  • Sand
To start with, draw the same 2" x 2" boxes on the base, but this time you are going to draw x's within the boxes. Like so:

Basically you are drawing x's only to see where they cross and make a mark there. This is where you will set the dowels. The dowels are 1/8" diameter, and will be about 2" in length when you cut them. Make 4 of these and glue them upright, or, if you have a drill/pin vise, make a small hole to slot them in for strength. Once on, let the glue dry, and then put some more glue around each pole and let dry again. After that, get your filler putty and spread it over the entire base to build up the ground. After the putty dries, use Scenic Cement to sprinkle sand over it. Once that dries, paint the poles with a wood color and the ground in an earthy color, like below.

After the paint dries, ink wash it and let it dry again. Then just use the Scenic Cement a second time to sprinkle the static grass flock where you want it. The final result will look like this:

The hardest part, actually, is finding a place to store them. Luckily, you will only need three of them for the Seize and Hold Flames of War mission. Since they are so easy to make, I recommend doing all three at once, because I made them one at a time over a long time, and they look greatly different from each other.


Trenches are simple, because you are basically just using some balsa triangle stock. You will need:
  • Balsa Triangle Stock
  • Thin, Wide Strip of Balsa
  • Super Glue
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Pencil
  • Paints and Brushes
Take your triangular balsa stock and cut out a length that you want. From there, mark with a pencil and divide it into subsections,  by 2" (to accommodate FoW large bases). For example, a six inch piece would look like this:

 In the middle of each subsection, mark a 1" area, and cut it out. Cut it on each side, and a slight bit down. The piece should look like this afterward:
Now take your thin balsa strip and cut it into strips that stretch across the triangular stock. Cut out smaller pieces to go around the gap you just cut in the main piece.
Now, you just take another strip and lay it over the lines for the subsections. Like so:

And here is a photo that also shows it at this stage:

Just like every other piece, paint the slats a wood color and the slope an earthy color, ink wash, flock, and you're done. Here is a photo of the finished piece, with guns ready to fire:

And here's a view behind the trench piece. It's hard to see the slats though.

With the skills from that basic straight piece, you can make corner pieces, angled pieces, and so on. Your troops will be protected from enemy fire in no time!

Come back next time when I will show how to make fences and stone walls. I know that I am avoiding houses, but that is such a varied topic. I think what I will do is dedicate an entire article to one building. That way I can go into more detail per article.

Be sure to ask any questions you may have regarding these tutorials. I know it was a lot!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I typed this up earlier only to hit the back button and lost everything. Oh well, second time's the charm!

Admittedly, trees are the few things I don't make, but rather buy. To be fair, there is a small amount of modification that I do to them, though. I get my trees every year from Dollar Tree under their "Cobblestone Corners" brand. They are meant for a Christmas Village display, but work perfectly for our purposes. Unfortunately, they are only sold around Christmas time, so I recommend buying the lot of them when you find them that time of year. If they are sold out (I may have something to do with that), you can always purchase them from Dollar Tree's website.

Anyway, here are the trees in their packages at the store:

And these are the trees I ended up choosing.

They don't look very Christmasy, but that is why I chose them. Out of all the trees they had, they looked the most generic, letting them be used in more settings. The way they are flocked gives them a very high quality look that I haven't seen with other trees.

The only problem, though, is that the bases are not brown like in the last photo. They are actually white, to simulate fallen snow. What I do is just take an earth color, and paint it over the base. Then I just finish with a black ink wash to darken it a little and make it more realistic.

Sometimes the bases are loosely attached with the cheap glue used in assembly. What I do in this case is just to lightly twist the tree off the base, scrape away the glue, and run super glue into the tree's pin before slotting it back into the base. This only needs to be done to the looser bases; most are attached just fine and don't require this.

So you have finished trees, but you need a base. I just get a dark green piece of felt and cut it into an interesting natural shape, and then set the trees on top. The felt base may stand out on the battlemat a little, but the contrast ensures that the borders of the forest are clearly defined, and when you place the modified trees onto them, they look great.

Here are some pictures of the trees/forests used in games:

Anyway, there's that. Christmas is a long way off, but you can just use the felt until then. Next time I will show how to make defenses such as barbed wire, Rommel's Asparagus, hedgehogs, and Dragon's Teeth!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Been awhile since my last post, and I bet you are wondering, with all of the different ways you can go about designating and marking a road, what is a good way to make one? If you were observant, you already saw a sneak peek at one of my roads in the "Fields" entry. It is simple, but maybe slightly expensive.

At Orchard Supply Hardware (or most hardware stores), you can find this special grip tape that is applied to the edge of each step in a stairway. I don't have a picture, but imagine a roll of the stuff. Anyway, just ask to get a couple feet it, and along with it you will need the following things:
  • Some bass wood
  • A hobby knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paint
  • PVA White Glue
  • Static Grass
What I did was to get 6 feet worth of the material and cut it into 6 foot-long pieces. These were then sprayed black, as mine were gray. After the primer dries, you can trim the pieces to the exact shape you want. I believe mine was just wide enough to fit a FoW large base. After trimming it, get your bass wood and cut it to the exact same dimensions of the material you trimmed. Then comes the tricky part: peeling the backing off the material to stick to the bass wood. I recommend having the material facing down on the table (with the sticky part facing up) and positioning the wood over it to get an accurate join.

Now that you have your road piece together, simply drybrush an earthy color (edges too), and after the paint drys, water down the PVA glue to apply the static grass over the areas you put the glue.

From here you can make any variety of road pieces you want, be it shorter straight pieces, curves, angles, intersections, etc. The only reason why I say to have six foot-long pieces is that your road will stretch across a Citadel battlemat, which is virtually a staple amongst wargamers.

Here's some pictures of making the road:

Material before being sprayed...

...and after
Joined pieces, one completed, and one ready to paint
Same pieces, with other peice painted.
4 separate pieces demonstrating the 4 steps.

Next time I will show how I make my forests.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Alright, onto fields. You can thank Citadel's How to Make Wargames Terrain for this one, as I just borrowed this idea from it. Like I said before, it is pretty simple, but I had never considered it before.

You will need:
  • One doormat
  • A box cutter knife
  • A ruler
  • A pen or pencil
Yes, a doormat. Sounded pretty obvious, but I facepalmed for not thinking of it beforehand. The kind of doormat you are looking for is the one with all of the hard bristles on it. The can be found at any hardware store, or stores like Wal-Mart as well. The stock and amount may change depending on what stores are nearby, but I got a yellow mat at Wal-Mart, and a brown one at Home Depot. The yellow one can pass as straw, and the brown could be wheat. The different colors could represent the same crop in different seasons, or different crops altogether, so you could use multiple colors. Another cool thing about using a doormat is that the rubber bottom will hold all of the fibers in place, so there is no mess.

As you can see, you'll want a mat with as much empty space possible to get the most bang for your buck. I actually bought the same yellow mat as the one that is pictured, because I was desperate, but I was able to squeeze a good amount of field out of it. Anyway, on to the planing step.

Take a good look at your mat and get a good idea of where the empty space is and where there are designs, pictures, etc. The reason being is that you are going to turn this mat upside down and draw the dimensions of your field on the back and cut it out. If you don' t want to leave it up to your eye, you could use your ruler as a straight edge to make a mark on the side of the mat that you can continue to the underside. Whichever way you decide to do it, you need to decide on the size and shape of your field. Your mat could very well decide this for you, but I was lucky to make my fields a standard dimension of 5" by 6". They aren't too big or too small, keep the size I was looking for, and store well. In fact, I was lucky to discover that they fit four to a stack inside a pencil box I found at Target.

You might discover that you cut out your fields, only to have leftover space. Not enough to make another field, but useful for something. I would recommend cutting out angled pieces to connect the fields together. I made 45 degree pieces, more than  I would ever need, but there to make the fields conform to roadways, for example.

So there you go. The hardest part will be finding the right mat, but from there you should be able to make as many fields as you want. In the next post I will discuss how to make roads. You will never guess what I used to make them!