Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fences & Walls

I'm back! It only took me a year!

FoW essentially died at my hobby shop, so I haven't been able to play for a long time. As such, I lost interest, but I'm going to make an effort to revive the blog. I still love FoW, it just isn't as relevant to me right now in recent circumstances.

In any case, the tutorial I'm going to cover today is how to make fences and walls for your games. First up is stone walls!

You will need:

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Rocks (Pebble Size)
  • Tacky/White Glue
  • Filler Putty
  • Paintbrushes
  • A dark gray and a light gray paint

A rather small list. The first step is to apply a layer of glue to the popsicle stick, and dump rocks all over it:

Carefully excavate the stick until you have something like this:

Take some extra popsicle sticks, and press them against the sides, as well as the top:

After that, you should have something much neater:

Let the glue dry, and then repeat the process to add a second layer:

This is as high as we want the wall to go, but I recommend you add another layer of glue on top to reinforce it more. Let dry one more time, and we can move on to the next step.

For the next part, take your filler putty and run it between the cracks, making the wall look as if it is one solid piece. It should look something like this:

Now we can paint it! Take your dark gray paint and paint it over the entire piece (save the bottom):

And then drybrush the light gray over the raised surfaces only. The final product:

You can use these to jut out from building walls to define property lines, or have them line roads. They are pretty versatile and look good. These are some other fences I made in the past. You can tell that I used different colors in the past, but I rather like the new scheme.
Moving on, we have...
Wooden Fence
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Thin Balsa Strips (Square and Rectangle)
  • Plastic Angle
  • Super Glue
  • Paintbrushes
  • Brown Paint (one fence color and one earth)
  • Ink Wash
  • Static Grass
  • PVA White Glue
Sound like a lot, but not really. What you are basically doing is taking your rectangular piece of balsa stock and cutting it into little pieces. I'll show the pictures of what I'm talking about before I continue, so you can picture it better:

Basically, cut the rectangular piece into thirty or so short pieces, and cut small sections of the square stock to glue on the back in a up-and-down pattern as shown. Glue the l angle to the back bottom of the fence to secure it from the bottom, and then glue the other part of the L angle to the popsicle stick. Paint the fence and ground in their respective brown shades, and ink wash if you wish to add a bit more realism, and then use the PVA white glue to apply static grass to the ground. I'll edit this post later with a picture of the fences painted, as I don't seem to have any.
Country Wooden Fence
Almost there! The last tutorial is another wooden fence that is more an obstruction than for cover!Materials needed:
  • Thin Square Balsa Strip
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Super Glue
  • Paintbrushes
  • Brown Paint (fence and ground)
  • Static Grass Flock
  • PVA White Glue
  • Ink Wash
This is easier than the last one. Just cut your balsa strips and assemble as shown:

That is all there is to it! One consequence is that it is not as durable as the other wooden fence. It still looks good; just handle it a little more carefully. Paint and flock it as I mentioned above and you are finished. I have a picture of the finished fence, but it is from my old cellphone, and it was cropped from a zoomed in picture, so I apologize for its graininess. I would take a high quality picture of it, but i broke mine! That is why I made sure to stress handling it carefully.

The fence is actually on top of a miniature version of a popsicle stick that I bought at a craft store, but I am considering using regular popsicle sticks from now on to make the fence longer and to make all of my fences one standard dimension.
This goes for all three fences, but you can write your name on the underside. I also individually number my fences, so I can see how the construction has evolved from "Stone Wall #1" to "Stone Wall #4" and so on.  It's up to you though.
So that's it then. Next time, I think I will surprise you with something, as I still have no idea what I want to show next. I should also say that I will make no promises as to when I will update next, as I don't want to shatter any expectations that I may set by promising a specific time. Until next time,  have fun, and make sure to ask if there is any questions you may have about these tutorials.

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.