Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

This is the 150th blog post issued on the 3rd anniversary of this blog. Some of the blog posts have been better than others – some of them I am actually even proud of (especially the two that were written by the Little One).  Like most of us I have limited time to spend on the hobby and very often the blog updates goes out without too much second/proof reading but I hope they serve some purpose. 

The first blog post was Saga in 6mm – Part 1 (16th May 2016) – it seems like a long time ago – it is still being read on a regular basis.

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The first picture on the blog – An Anglo-Danish warband.  I now have a massive amount of pictures in the blogs media library.

I will have a cake this evening and maybe even a beer. Whether this is the first time you are here of you have been before, thanks for checking it out!

If this is of any interest to you please engage by leaving a comment, follow the blog (you can sign up for e-Mail updates) and engage here, or on Twitter (@Roll_a_one) or Facebook (@rollaonepage).  These interactions really makes a difference and it keeps me going! I love this hobby and this blog is my open door to what I am doing with it – use it as you wish!

Thank you!

Enough of that – some time ago I read Iain Fuller’s excellent blog (link here) Tracks and Threads where he had found some interesting looking material from Hobbycraft.

“I’ve recently started visiting some Facebook pages after resisting them for ages and apart from the odd silly comment (usually from people not reading the OP properly) it has not been too bad. The other day on one of the pages, 6mm Miniatures and Wargaming, a lovely bloke called Ricky posted that he had found (or more correctly his missus had) some A4 sized ‘Plush Foam Sheet’ that are perfect for fields whilst in a Hobbycraft shop. Upon checking out their website I saw that they do ‘Corrugated Foam’ sheets too so with my ‘Club Terrain Chap’ hat on I duly ordered some – Beige, Dark Green and Yellow ‘Plush’ and Brown ‘Corrugated’ and they arrived the next day, and they are ace: look good, great texture to the ‘plush’ ones and will drape over hills nicely and seem pretty durable to boot. Oh, and they cost 80p a sheet!!”

From the Tracks and Thread blog post “Nice 6mm internet terrain find”, 1st October 2018.

Note: Following some research Ricky is Ricky Bell who produces some fantastic 6mm Napoleonic stuff and posts frequently on the “6mm miniatures & wargaming” Facebook group.  I also think the price has gone up to 99p per sheet.

In the run-up to Christmas last year I found myself at a hobbycraft shop with a gift voucher and bought a fair few of these sheets, I was very excited at the time but then stuck them in a drawer – passing them to the myths and legend of the terrain material mountain – a lighter but more colourful lump of stuff (compared to the lead mountain) that will never transform into nice looking terrain on the table. But faith would have another outcome for these plush sheets.

Last year I incorporated some fields into the terrain mat for the Horka battle, but there were two issues with it: (I) It added to the time to do the mat and (ii) the bushes around it were only indicative as they were built into the surface – it was ok, but I wanted to do something different this year.

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The Mat from last year, this year the mat will be 4 feet longer!

So I thought I do some field tiles instead that I could place on the mat that would create a similar illusion to that achieved last year.  I remembered those Flush Foam sheets. I ventured to the room of many things, rummaged through the boxes, found a lot of things I had forgotten I owned, some of it I had even bought twice, I even found some of the very rare purple lichen (!?) and then in the end I had the sheets in my hand and work could truly begin.

 Here is a series of pictures that I hope will explain how I made some field tiles.

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These are the Plush Foam sheets. They could be used to quickly create some fields just like they are.
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I marked up the tiles I needed on some 6mm mdf sheets I had lying around (these were 2 by 2 feet square) from some previous projects.  I used to make my tables from 2 by 2 boards but have now gone over to the mat concept.
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I then made sure I had enough material and that all the fields would fit in a A4 size (the dimension of the foam sheets) sheet.
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Then I cut out the tiles, sanded the edges (to avoid the flat 6mm edge on the boards – this will further be off-set by adding the clump foliage – as shown later), and cut out the pieces of foam and glued them on (using Grip Adhesive), trying not to have the same colour on two adjacent fields (note the darkest brown is a corduroy type of floor tile I had left over from another project, this sheet is slightly better than the corrugated sheet produced as part of this series).
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It ended up looking like this – a little bit to artificial for my taste.
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I started dabbing in some colour in straight lines, that would match the original colour to create some depth.
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Creating a little bit more depth, but some of the old colour shining through.
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Then I added some clump foliage to the sides and I think the aerial shot has wastly improved. Dabbing on the extra colour in lines gives the illusion of depth and the sheets more looking like fields.  I made the clump foliage myself a few years back for the Saga project and had a fair amount left.  I basically bought a large bag of foam off-cuts, put them with water in a blender to shred them into small pieces. Mixed them with PVA and green paint, spread them out on a flat surface and let them dry. Then, when dry, I ripped them up smaller pieces. You could use some off- the shelf foam, but the method I did creates “firmer” form due to the PVA glue.
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At ground level it is not looking bad either. Here we can see some Russian Dragoons spying on some Ottomans riding through the Country side. Maybe it is during the Pruth campaign in 1711. (6mm Miniatures from Baccus)
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The dark brown part being the floor tile mentioned above, the others the Plush foam.
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Really happy, with the benefit that I can use these for a lot of other situations. Will add a little bit of static grass here and there on the edges and drybrush the bushes before finalising them and then add some matt spray varnish.  But this more or less battle ready.

Hope that was of some interest!

 

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

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The accounts of the Poltava Battle and the Siege of the town itself states that the houses/village outside the city were burnt down in a measure to avoid them being used as hiding places for the Swedes as they laid Siege to the town (the rather big model of the Poltava itself can be found here).  This was a very common measure as a clear area was needed in front of the defensive walls.

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Poltava Town

I wanted to mark this on the mat for the battle by doing some ruined/burnt down buildings.  I checked quickly what was available to buy from various sellers but found mostly WW2 biased stuff in the scale, like bigger buildings and in general two storey buildings – it did not really fit my 18th century rural Russian theme.  I reckoned I could have a go at building something myself that would do the job, here is a rough guide showing how I made them.

This is a very simple project and I hope it is of some use! It is very quick to do! – provided you have some glue and matches. You could of course use tooth picks as well.

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I took some bases and basically cut some matches and used some PVA glue to build these kind of structures. I did the first level complete but then proceeded to some random parts.
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When it was dried I put some black ink (mixed 50/50 with water, the ink works better than paint giving that kind of coal glow – if you know what I mean) on the wood and some brown sand (or any sand just painted brown) for ground cover. I also added some additional matches, to represent collapsed beams etc.
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Grey dry-brush and a little bit of dead grass. I guess I could have added a little bit of more grey here and there to add to the effect.
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I then added them to some tiles that I decorated to blend in with my normal ground cover.
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Good enough! – no Swedes will hide here
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I also made a few tiles for the Villages not burnt down. The buildings are from Timecast Miniatures (http://www.timecastmodels.co.uk/) and the Churches from Battlescale (https://battlescale.com/). Both companies doing some really nice 6mm stuff.

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Some Riders from Nylands Cavalry Regiment! (these and the other miniatures are of course from Baccus, https://www.baccus6mm.com/)

That was all for now, Please play with matches carefully!

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By the way, you can use them for other periods too 😉

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

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In an earlier blog posting I showed my prototype Russian redoubt for the Poltava Battle (see link here, that also describes how they were made). These were hastily fortifications that caused the Swedes a lot of trouble during the march up to the field where the main Battle was fought.

You can read more about the redoubt battle on the eminent Tacitus webpage here.

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Screenshot from the Tacitus page (link above)

In this update we will cover:

  • The finalised redoubts
  • Some casualty markers to show whether a redoubt has been taken or not.
  • A few Swedish Siege Artillery pieces

All scratch built  with Baccus 6mm miniatures, using a lot of their dismounted dragoons and casualty figures from the WSS and GNW range.

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Here are the final Redoubts, note that one is empty as the units were on a toilet break at the time.
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Some of the redoubt were not completed when the Swedes attack, I have added digging engineers to these.
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Another angle.
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Each of the redoubts comes with two markers, this one showing it having been taken. In essence a glorified casualty marker.
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…and the one showing it fully defended.
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Some more casualty markers.
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One with a Dalregiment solder waving the regiments standard. This one actually not a Baccus miniature but a converted Peasant from Microworld Miniatures (I have since rectified the chocolate cake look around his mouth).
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The first six, these are 40 by 40mm bases.
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Some additional ones done from left overs, 60 by 30mm bases.
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The last four, 40 by 40 mm bases.
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Another close up of one of the bases with a Swedish Officer, perhaps reflecting on the horrors of war.
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I also did some Siege Batteries for the Poltava Siege
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Guns and Mortars
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Close-up of the Mortars

Hope that was of some interest!

Let us see that Dalregiment gentleman again! – the flag with the Dalecarlian bolts is waiving in victory. Wish it had gone like that on the day though!

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Background to your Miniatures – a little trick

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This is a little short blog update to discuss a little trick you can use to add a little bit of extra interest to your miniatures photos. Nothing revolutionary in my view but some appreciation at Twitter, when I have revealed the method, has lead me to believe that perhaps someone else may find this useful.

Here are a few pictures I took of some of the Eastern Horse I will be using for the Poltava 1709 Battle.  They are all 6mm models from Baccus form various codes from the Great Northern War and Ancient range.

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Some of these models look better in the flesh than others, but I hope you agree that we can roughly see what is going on and that the background enhances the picture. It becomes a few blokes riding around the country side as opposed to a some miniatures on a 60 by 60 base. You may even wonder what they are up to!

There are many ways we could achieve this, including (1) having a fully “terrained” up table and using that as a backdrop, (2) using a background picture on a board (like the long side panels used for railway set-up with rolling terrain) or (3) using some green sheet in the background and then photoshop in a background.

I used neither of these methods, I just found a picture I liked on the internet, turned my coffee cup upside down (make sure it is empty) and placed the miniatures on it in front of the picture on the screen and snapped away – quick and easy.

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My little rig!

 A few things to note is that this works great for a few miniatures but it may be difficult to line up your whole army and get them all, I suppose you could set something up against you wide screen TV – I let you explore further.

This is a 54mm figure, so I guess it is not just a 6mm thing.

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An early 19th Century Swedish Infantry man!

/ I hope that was of some use, a little cheers from my Paradise Island!

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..or is?

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Have fun..

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Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

In the last update on the Poltava project that will be laid out at Joy of Six in July this year I presented Poltava itself and I wrote about it here.

As I have stated on a number of occasions, this is just one of the many features I want to capture on the Battle Field.  In an earlier update I showed some plans I had in doing the Swedish camp.

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I had no idea whether a tent was standardised or not (but since everything else was I assumed it would be) and got some input from Oskar Sjöström who works at the Swedish Army Museum (and also wrote a brilliant book on the Battle of Fraustadt 1706) in the form of photos of tents from re-enactment groups (the one below representing enlisted tents).

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In addition I came across this old document from 1699, showing an officers tent. It is signed by the King himself (Carolus, Charles XII) – straight on top of the drawing.

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Another prominent feature of the camp are the Swedish Supply wagons, these were based on another design from the Period (I wrote a blog on how I made these wagons for the Lesnaya project here).

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The overall design of the camp is based on how a battalion camped during the era, and I used the following picture as an inspiration (from the book Poltava 1709 – Vändpunkten, by Moltusov and Lyth).

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Inspiration
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Initial thoughts and planning – tents are from Baccus 6mm
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Some further work – note the Supply Wagons discussed above. The blue foam is a perimeter wall around the camp. I made the camp on a 6mm mdf board, about 2 by 1 feet in dimension.
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The Tents – I made these on separate bases to allow some flexibility.
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Another angle…
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Some camp followers
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Some fires
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The tents in the Camp
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Some meat is being prepared

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Adding some supply wagons
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The final spectacle with enough space for some troops. Putting it away until the show, there is much more to do.

/ Hope that was of some interest

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Salute 2019 by the Little One

[The Little One has written the blog today… I will write a little bit more next week from my perspective, but enough of me…]

I asked my Papa (that is what I call my Dad) if I could write the blog post today as we both went to the Show. I played two games at Salute. I could have played more but some were demonstration games whilst other were crowded when we went there and Papa tended to stop and talk to all kind of people that he knows. We did not maximise the playing time very well – but we both did have a good time and I know he likes to talk. I wanted to play the Omaha Beach game but it was full every time we went there – it looked really good [ed: this was the Omaha Beach game put on by  Peterborough Wargames Club]. I will write about the two games I did play in more detail below, but first a few general things.

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Omaha Beach by the Peterborough Wargames Club – it looked really nice.

I did like

  • I really enjoyed the show, there is a lot to do and buy;
  • I got myself 3 Tiger tanks in 15mm from Peter Pig and they gave me a bonus miniature (thanks!) and I also got the Osprey Book about the Tiger I. We also bought a target lock laser line each – this will help us when we determine whether something is in an arc of fire or not. It avoids arguments, I tend to be more rules strict than my opposition (like Papa). I always see Peter Pig at shows and Papa has a lot of their WW2 stuff – I think he has the world record.  I also got some dice, but they were not very exciting.
  • Everyone was friendly to me and answered all my questions really well;
  • There is a lot of different games at this show, I really like historical games but you could also play fantasy and science fiction (I was looking for someone playing Star Wars Legion but I could not find any, we play it at home so I was not too sad about it).  Some games are more like street fights but there are a lot of very big battles as well;
  • We went to the venue using the Cable Car – it is very exciting, and
  • They always have some cool people with costumes at the show, like Star Wars and 40k. This year they had a Spartan from the HALO universe too.
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I took this picture from the Cable Car, you can see the big Excel centre in the background just behind the big boat, that is where Salute takes place every year.
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Peter Pig doing a Pirate Game, it looked really funny!
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There was even a game using Lego models, that is really cool.
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Romans fighting Celts – very exciting. I am currently reading a lot of books about the Roman army, you should too it is really interesting.
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Spartan Soldier

I did not like

  • I was looking for some of the latest Star Wars Legion releases but the traders were only selling older stuff from the range – things I already have.
  • I am not used to walking around that much and should have taken better shoes.

 

The Battle of The Little Big Horn 1876 – The Wargamer Collection Calculator

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The first game I played was the Battle of Little Big Horn, it was fought in 1876. It was a battle between 650 soldiers of the US 7th Cavalry regiment under the command of Lt Colonel Custer against Allied Native American tribes led by Sitting Bull. It was fought over land that had been given to the Native Americans but the Government wanted to take it back because they found gold in the region.

The game was cleverly designed and was played on four different boards, each linking to the other boards and events were interconnected. First I played as the Indians but later I took the role of Custer himself, and my strategy was to get into the Indian village and take the women, elders and children hostage. However I found this challenging, first I attacked when I thought the Warriors had gone off hunting but they were still around, second I had left my Gatling guns behind.  During the game, I found myself facing three different enemy leaders (one being commanded by my Dad) but managed to fight bravely and get into the actual village, but unfortunately I had lost my bonus (as my leader – Custer had taken injuries) and had nothing to counter the Native Americans – ensuring my defeat.  I did put up a brave fight and when I talked to Peter who was one of the organisers at the end he said that I was the closest to Victory on that day. I do not like losing and felt annoyed at first, but I realised that as a consequence the children and the women would be safe – so that is a good thing.

It was a really good game, and I really recommend it if you see it on another show.  It is being run by the Wargamer Collection Calculator – you can find a link to them here.  I heard that they won best Participation Game on the day – I think they deserved it.  I hope I can play it again at Joy of Six in July as I will be going there this year [ed: as if you had any choice mate!].  I am getting the book about the Battle by Philbrick.

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Here is the first of the four areas that was part of the game, the small board is the Native American Village and the big board is where Custer fought. In reality he died on top of the Hill in the Middle. The wooded arrows show how the board links with the other boards.
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Here are the other two boards that form part of the overall Battle.

Space Vixens from Mars – “Meine Ehre heiβt Treue”, The Road to Castle Itter May 1945

The second game was interesting too and was about a situation at the end of WW2 where a German Army Major and an American Lieutenant joined forces to save French prisoners in the Austrian Alps. These prisoners were being guarded by loyal SS Soldiers at Castle Itter, determined to ensure that the prisoners are terminated.

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The Book that inspired the game – The Last Battle with Stephen Harding. I ordered it today as I found it really interesting.

In the game I played the German major and his two squads of the finest German Army Soldiers.  We had to convince the SS checkpoints at two stages to successfully enable us to get behind the PAK 40 AT Gun and the Tiger Tank the SS soldiers were equipped with. This would allow me to conduct a surprise attack whilst the American approached the SS position with his Sherman tanks.  Once the Shermans were spotted, they concentrated their fire on the Tiger and managed to disable it. I overwhelmed the gun crew and put some of my men to operate it and managed to use it to destroy some enemy positions.  The American commander did his job well and finished off the remaining opposition.  As a results we managed to free the prisoners.  All-in-all another great game indeed.  They were using the SFD rules. Really nice people (Phil, Gary and Steve) and they have a webpage too (link here) [Ed: and thanks to Josh Shuck who played the American Commander].

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The Germans approaching the SS position – the Major in his Kubelwagen and his men in the American lorries behind. This requires nerves of Steel.
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The German Major is bluffing his way through as the Sherman Tank sneaks closer at the far end of the table, getting ready for the knock-out shot on the Tiger. Then all went according to plan.

/ Hope that was of some interest, Great Show and Great day. Thanks to the organisers and all the people who put on nice games and shared the hobby with me!

 

 

 

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Poltava Town done (TMT)

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For this years Joy of Six project, you may be aware, I needed to represent the Town of Poltava, in searching for some maps from the era I came across this beautiful map from the period showing the Battle of Poltava 1709, it was made by Anna van Westerstee Beeck. She produced a lot of maps showing battles of the period for the Great Northern War and the War of the Spanish Succession (more here and here).

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Anyway the focus today is Poltava itself (see below). we can see the Swedish Siege lines on the left. I wanted to capture the general feel of the town – wooden walls and the wall in the middle.

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I set out some ideas on a 6mm mdf board.

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I then built up a some walls with 6mm underfloor heating polystyrene and tooth picks.

 

The wooden towers required some thought and was made using pieces of lego cladded with tooth picks and I then made one roof and made a mould from putty silicon and produced enough for all the towers.

 

Anyway, here it is, buildings from Total Battle and Timecast.

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/ All the best, hope that was of some interest