Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

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I have a lot of trees for my wargames tables and I love the effect they give, sometimes (if suitable) I just add some of them on the fringes whether it has any practical use in the scenario or not. I do think they enhance the overall experience, compared to say a dark green piece of felt (or even worse some 2D wood tiles).

As some of you may be aware, I tend to put on large tables for my games at Joy of Six. I have slowly increased my collection of trees and probably reached what I thought was a peak for my 2107 table showing the Battle of Lesnaya 1708 (more about it here).

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Lesnaya 1708 at the star of the battle before all the Russians come marching in. “Oh when Russians come marchin’ in, Oh when the Russians come marchin’ in, I do not want to be part of that Supply line, oh when the Russians come marchin’ in”

However, for this years Poltava table I needed more.

Even at the smaller scale I working with, the cost of buying some wargames specific trees quickly gets costly at the quantities I am looking for. So for my no-pine-tree trees I have gone for the ones you in bulk from china on ebay. This is a typical set of 60 trees at about 15p a tree.

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As sold on ebay 12/06/19

You could then base them individually on bases, I tend to use washers, with small stickers underneath to cover the hole , cut the tree trunk and then glue it in the middle with some 2 part epoxy glue, before basing decoration. Do not forget to spray them with hairspray, scenic cement or clear matt varnish to seal the tree cover as this otherwise easily falls off over time.

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There is a clear benefit in doing this as the trees individually stores very easily in a box or something like that.

Another issue is that some of the colours are a little bit more unnatural looking than others.  You can rectify this at a very low cost by adding some additional colour to the tree.  I tend to use some Dark Green Coarse Grass from Javis as well as some of the Mid-Green variety and did a mix – but you may have some other suitable flock in your collection (perhaps avoiding the static grass type).

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Not a good picture, but this is it.

I then apply some PVA glue on the tree trying to cover most of it and dip it in the mix.

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Let it dry, then apply hairspray/varnish/scenic cement because this will fall off very quickly otherwise.

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A few dipped and ready!

This is a comparative shot, before and after (I think it is worth it).

In addition I wanted to make some forest tiles using CDs – most of us have tons of old CDs, or DVDs, and you could perhaps save a few from going to landfill. Make sure they are not your back-ups of old photos or something like that.

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Give it a little scratch in the name of adhesion

I made a fair few and although they are not as practical to store as the individual trees they allow a quicker deployment on the table and you can decorate the overall area (e.g. the CD) nicely.

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That is about 40 bases with 5 to 6 trees per base, say 220 trees in total.  Covering an area of 2 by 4 feet.  The trees will knock you back about £30 (based on the prices above) the filler, paint, epoxy glue and sand adds a little bit more. Then adding the cost of the Javis scatter and the spray adhesive, etc – call it a total cost of materials between £40 to £50 for this project depending on what you use. That is £1.20 per base and probably what you would pay for an individual based tree! So if you have no problem doing a little bit of work there are some savings to be made with the added advantage that you can finish them in a way so they work together with your other terrain.

They work well with both my 6mm and 15mm stuff — perhaps not as good for 28mm.

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Swedish tanker trying to spot a target (15mm)
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Great Northern Era Swedish Cavalry Units taking their horses for a spin (6mm) – perhaps more suitable given the title.
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Swedish WW2 era infantry (15mm)

 

In addition I bought some N Gauge rock / mountain / outcrop scenery pieces to use for the Poltava battlefield to break down he overall flatness of the kind of mat I will be using.  I bought the set shown in the picture below and another slightly more expensive.

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As sold on ebay 12/06/19

The work really well in the scales I am using (most of them can just be laid flat on the table). I think it will work wonders in creating that look of a battle field that is not completely flat and saved me some time.  They are made from plaster – I guess dental plaster – and painted and decorated as shown in the pictures below.

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The full set (2 packs)
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A few of them had some flat sides – I will make hills sections and incorporate these into them.
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Full set laid out, I think they blend in nicely on my little 2 by 2 game board that is similar to the colours and look of the Poltava battle mat.
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Some 28mm miniatures taking cover (yes they are from the Perry Miniatures Chosen Men – 95th Rifles set – and painted in strange colours and that hardly look like the typically Napoleonic Rifle – but in this shape they are part of my Mutant 1984 Post Apocalyptic campaign and soldiers of the Pyri-Commonwealth)

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Some Cavalry out on a spin (6mm GNW, Baccus)
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Swedish WW2 era AT team behind some rocks (15mm, flames of war)

Both the trees and the rocks will allow me to create that little extra flair to the battle board that allows that magic immersion to set in.

Hope that was of some interest!

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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Featured

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

Featured

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One – Part 2 (+ Basing and Mats)

This, as indicated by the Part 2, is a follow-up of the posting last week where I discussed some painting approaches we have taken to quickly complete the necessary painting of the 2 No. Star Wars Legion Base Sets the Little One got for Christmas, so we could get it on a table and play it.  It is worth checking out that blog post here.

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Today we will cover:

  • Some Tatooine like buildings we got through Ebay
  • Approach to basing and terrain mats
  • The barricades
  • Storing the stuff in the Base Box

Tatooine Buildings

Last time I showed some Tatooine style of buildings we ordered from e-bay, they arrived last week and looked great. Being 3D printed they had some layers visible, but not too much to upset us.

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We added some Vallejo mud paste on the models here and there to add some further interest. It was then primed with black gesso.

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Then from left to right, heavy drybrush with the buffy colour (let dry), then a wash with sepia ink (diluted with water say 1/2 ink/water), then drybrush with the lighter colour.

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We then detailed some part with a drybrush of saddle brown followed by a leather red (Vallejo), whilst other parts in metallic bronze. I then washed these details with a rust wash.  The moisture collectors were painted like the barricades below.  We think it is good enough for the table.

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I have bought another two buildings from the same seller at eBay (3dwgprinted), and will paint them in the same style once they arrive (this should give us a good start with some terrain).

 

Some thoughts on Terrain for Star Wars Legion

One of the cool things with Star Wars are the different environments where the action could take place.  It could be a fight on Tatooine in a desert environment, in a forest like Endor, snow like Hoth, or in space ship (like the opening scene from a New Hope) or a base.  This, to us, is one of the many fascinating aspects of a sci-fi fantasy world.  The bases the game comes with are dark grey for the Imperials and Burgundy red for the Rebels, they are 3mm thick (see picture below).

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Here are ours by the way.

 

We could have left them like this or put some texture on them, but what? – Space based flooring, desert sand, forest, snow? Instead we decided to go for Clear Acrylic bases, and got them from here https://justlasered.co.uk/shop/star-wars-legion-clear-bases/ .

Incidentally they do some other cool stuff, worth checking out (these are in 28mm scale).

Sorry, back to the bases.

This is how the bases turned out and how they look on a gaming surface (based on a sneaky little skirmish we had over the weekend using the Little Ones “Alcoholic-Free Beers and Pretzel Rules”).  I think the bases works well.

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We have ordered a 6 by 3 desert mat after shopping around a little bit – it looks like this.

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It looks good and will also be useful for some of my Mahdist war stuff I was working on last year as well.  However the piece of fabric we used to take the pictures above I have to admit looks smashing too.

This was a piece of fabric bought from ebay. It sells in 1/2 meter lengths and is about 1 metre wide, so you would need to buy 2 No. for a 3 by 3 mat (total cost of £13) and 4 No. for a 6 by 3 mat (total cost of £26). It is shown in the screen shot below.

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The things is that there are many different colour schemes of this pattern/style which would give you the ability to get a few different options for the look of your table.

 

I have only bought the one shown in the pictures above (so not sure how the other patterns would look on the table). Also remember that these are pieces of fabric, not comparable with the quality of the wargames mats in cloth or other materials you can buy commercially, they also come in a 1 metre width (that is 3 ¼ feet so will not do your normal 4 feet width) – but perhaps worth considering to give some variety.  It is hard to beat £13 for a 3 by 3 mat.   I might have ordered one or two more varieties and will report back once they arrive.

Barricades

There are some barricades that comes with the game – we are yet to figure out how these would work in practice! I suppose they are included as a substitute for other terrain, but I always find them funny especially if both sides are using them.  It is a little bit like some kind of paintball range where the opponents meet up instead of a more believable skirmish in a more improvised location, or where only one side has set up defences.  However perhaps I am overthinking this.

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We base coated these with black gesso and then dry brushed them with a medium grey followed by a very light grey. We then used a pale grey wash over them (we used the Vallejo Pale Grey Wash).

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Storage in the Base Box

We cut a few pieces of 3mm foamboard we had lying around to allow us more efficiently utilise one of the Legion Boxes for storing the miniatures (all the other stuff fits in one of the two boxes).  This is how they were cut (all the same length as one side of the box). Making sure the walker would fit as shown.

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Then inserted in the box.

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We then cut another piece on top to be able to store more soldiers, and added a handle to be able to lift it up easily – we used an old little toy model cat.

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Perfect (not for travelling around with, but enough for us to gently put back into storage).

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Plenty of space to fit those speeder bikes when done, and further expansions.

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More or less done.

But that cat does look scared, with all those rebels around! / Hope that was of some interest!

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Featured

29 Let’s Go Pint Sized Campaign for CoC – Houses and Battlefield Clutter in 15mm

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In the post last week I discussed the Project the Little One and I are doing to play the 29 Let’s Go Pint sized campaign from Too Fat Lardies (link here if you are interested). The German platoon and supports have not yet been delivered as an item is on back-order, so we have pressed on with other stuff.  One of the most pleasing aspects of a WW2 Skirmish is a nice looking table that sets the scenes alive. If you look at any of the Too Fat Lardies games there is plenty of character in the table itself – nice buildings, trees, hedges but also those additional things that makes it look real, like Green houses, planters, sheds, benches, telegraphs poles, pissoirs, statutes, monuments, civilian cars, old advertisement on buildings,  etc.

Warbases have a nice range suitably called Chain of Command that has some very nice item including two garden sets (link here), they have been developed with Too Fat Lardies. The only problem for our project is that they are all in 28mm – if I did this in 28mm I would definitely get these.

I contacted Warbases and said something in the line of “Hey Lets Go 15mm?”.  They told me they do not do them in 15mm, but that perhaps the stuff that Scenic Route Models could fit my needs (link here).  Now these model are in OO scale that technically is 1/76 whilst 15mm is about 1/100 (most of the time) – in reality I feel that most of the Battlefront miniatures are bigger than 15mm.  However, I thought to myself, I could throw a few pounds in their direction in the interest of research. So I ordered the following sets this Tuesday and they were delivered this Saturday.

And of course their Green House (well I got two).

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I got them and as I suspected felt that there were a little bit on the large side (as they are design for another scale), this is the Greenhouse door vs the doors on the houses I am using (more about those below).

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However I got out my good old razor saw and cut of a few layers on the bottom on all the pieces before assembling (you could use a knife and cut carefully as well) – A relatively easy modification.

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And, I did similar modifications to the other stuff – always modifying the height.  The only further modifications I did to the buildings where adding roof ridges (cocktail sticks), and gluing on 80 grade sandpaper on the shed roofs, and adding some glass to the plant boxes and green houses – this was from some sheets from some thin plastic from packaging for strawberries (I ate them and cleaned it up first).  After I painted them I added some flower tufts to the planters and green houses. And, I almost forgot, I also added some detail to make the opening to the Green house look more like a door.

I am very happy with the results (the 15mm Americans from last week making another appearance).

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I have made a second order for some more stuff (mainly repeats, but trying out one or more other things) and also ordered some other things from some other suppliers I hope will work as well – but will write about those in future updates here on the blog.

I also stumbled upon the following during an eBay search for something completely different.  I thought it looked like some kind of stone pattern.

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So, I got myself a piece of it to try out – it is called Faux Leather Python Pattern Upholstery Fabric and is sold in 1 meter lengths (1.4m wide) for £12. I got it and did a quick dry-brush and detail and this is how it turned out – not 100% satisfied but it does work.

 

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Finally I bought a whole bunch of 15mm Normandy houses/structures (16 No. in total) from Empires at War – they are pre-painted stuff and are very good (link here).  We only built a few and will only need about 5 No. for the 29 Lets Go campaign and only applied a little bit of additional paint mainly to hide the brown laser cut mdf sides – if you look at the pictures you can see the before and after look – they do work well without any modifications as well.

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I will show more of the houses when I finished them.

/ All the best