Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Simple Scenery: Making 28mm Wattle Fences

For of all your 28mm medieval livestock management needs
As my previous attempt at scenery (Building Bilgewater Creek) was sci-fi, I wanted to try something a bit more organic and olde worlde and build up some terrain to be used in historical games (particularly ECW and dark ages) and double up for Warhammer etc. I wanted to start  with a simple piece and work out the best way to recreate wattle (as you do), for fences and wattle and daub buildings.

A proper wattle fence...
Wattle fences can easily cover most eras as they've been used for so long and you can make them look as shoddy or as neat as you like. So here's a step by step guide to creating your own wattle fences. Just for your reference, these come up to shoulder height of most 28mm miniatures. This version uses paper, but I want to try a version with fine string or twine as I think that would look better.

You will need:
  • 1x sheet of 2mm Balsa wood 
  • Cocktail sticks 
  • Inkjet Printer Paper 
  • Plus usual tools: knives, pencil, glue, etc.
Step 1:My haphazard solution to keep them level
Step 2 - 3: Cut out base and mark
Step 1: Cut the cocktail sticks in half. I used an old hacksaw which did the job nicely, although not ideal. Keep the two halves as even as possible, but it's not the end of the world if they're not.

Step 2: Cut out your balsa wood base. I've found that 10cm x 1.5cm is a good size for a length of fence. Be wary of cutting it too narrow as the balsa wood has a tendency to split.

Step 3: Starting at least 5mm in from the edge of the base, mark the post points along the length of the base. In my example here I used 7mm as the distance between them, but next time I plan to try 6mm
Steps 4 - 5

Step 4: Carefully push the cocktail sticks through the base. Take care not to split the balsa wood, although you shouldn't have any problems. If you want to be extra careful, perhaps drill small holes into the base first.

Step 5: Adjust the sticks so that they roughly line up at the top. Around 2.5cm from base to top should be about right. Glue them in place on the base with superglue top and bottom of the base, with two light passes of each. I prefer super glue rather than wood glue or PVA, as superglue strengthens the base.
Step 7-8: Ideal length of paper
Step 6: Mark out your strips on the paper, I've found that around 2.5mm is ideal. 2mm is a bit too thin. The length should be the same or just  little bit longer than your base.
Step 7: Weave the strip through the posts, alternating over and under. Then push it down to the base.
Step 8: Cut the edge of the strip down so that each end is roughly the size shown, and glue it down with PVA glue. I brush a little under where I'm wrapping the end around and then brush over it with PVA too.
Step 9: Just keep on weaving...

Step 9: Weave another strip through, this time feeding through the opposite way - so where the first one went under the post, this one should go over it. Rinse and repeat until you have a finished fence. Leave a bit of a gap at the top. 

Step 10: Glaze over the fence on both sides using some watered down PVA, don't be too heavy handed with this. 

Step 11: Once the whole thing has dried, use clippers to remove the pointy bits of the cocktail sticks under the base. Trim any of the posts at the top if needed. I prefer to do this last as the structure is sturdiest at this point. I also remove the excess sides of the base so they are in line with the end posts.

Steps 11: After a bit of a tidy
Step 12: Base and paint as you see fit. You now have a wattle fence! Just for reference, I basecoated mine with Scorched Brown / Rhinox Hide - be aware that you might need smaller brush to get into the parts where the paper touches the posts. I then gave that a quick drybrush with Bestial Brown, and another of Graveyard Earth. This then got quite a liberal wash of Agrax Earthshade ink. Once this had dried a patchy mix of Bestial Brown, XV-88 and Graveyard earth was drybrushed over it, with the lower part of the fence getting another pass of Scorched Brown.

The Finished Article

Thursday, 17 April 2014

"Freeway Fighter" Adventure Gamebook - Episode 2

Last week on Freeway Fighter...
For part 1, click here

The last episode saw our intrepid non-hero (who seems to be me partially channeling Alan Partridge) tasked with driving across a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of marauders in order to collect a fuel tanker from a distant city. Thankfully they'd given me a heavily weaponised Dodge Interceptor. Basically, the plot to Mad Max. However I have no driving licence - never mind insurance. And come to think of it, I don't remember the town council that sent me on this mad task even giving me a map...

So far on my quest for petroleum distillate, I have met a cyclist whilst I was looking to loot some abandoned shops. It didn't get off to the best of starts as he waved a shotgun around at me. But then I imagine you would be a bit tetchy if your only means of transport through the apocalypse was a bicycle. He warned me not to stop at a nearby petrol station as I would be robbed (just like a modern British petrol station then - end satire), I followed his advice and drove on despite the allures of the gasoline siren beckoning me onto the forecourt.

The story continues...

Episode #2
Starts on page 167 for those reading along at home

I was back on the road again after a close call at Joe's Garage, if our cyclist friend was to be believed. I treated myself to a fresh mint imperial from the glove box, and popped a new mix tape onto the radio

Even driving through a desolate wasteland I had a quick look around to make sure nobody could see me singing, I mean that would be embarrassing. I put my foot to the floor and watch the needle go up to 190km/h (118mph in proper), "...you had a temper, like my jealousy; too hot, too gree --"

Cook a cat. There's someone following me and matching my speed. In a red Chevvy, not on foot - that really would be cause for concern. I have a sneaking suspicion that he doesn't want to overtake, mostly because his mate is leaning out of the top and pointing an M16A1 at me. 

Gah, my armour isdown from 35 to 34...
It was times like this that made me start to think I should have worked out what all of the buttons in the car did. A short burst of 5.56 rounds hit the tarmac beside me as I fumbled for the turret-mounted machine gun. As the rear windscreen wipers waved furiously at my pursuer I realised that this might not quite cut the mustard. I was the right, unperturbed the red chevvy continued his pursuit. After hitting the hazard lights, I finally managed to get the computerised turret to whir into life and two of the bursts found their target which swerved off course slightly.

But it was too early to start celebrating just yet. In the wing mirror, I saw the machine gunner lean out of the red chevvy again. This time the burst of fire raked the side of my car, making a right mess of the paintwork. Another burst from my computerised turret hit my would-be-attacker's tyres and I watched through the rear view mirror as he carreened across the road, rolled over a couple of times and then vanished in an improbably large explosion. So that's how it's done.

Now on to page 188

I turned the car around (after decelerating first, I'm not a maniac) to inspect the wreckage of my attackers. Why on earth would somebody attack me unprovoked? Who were these jokers? Given the state of the car, there weren't really any clues as to their identity. I decide to drive on.

New Hope's Council Leader, Sinclair, off to the shops...
Just as I was about to put some more tunes on when the radio burst in to life of it's own accord. It's one of the Council leaders from my hometown of New Hope, the one's that sent me on this road trip through the apocalypse. Nice of them to check up on me at last. She lets me know that the town has been attacked by a gang of bikers. Eight people have been killed and they've kidnapped the Council leader, Sinclair. Poor sod. She warns me to be on my guard, I thank her and say goodbye. 

I ignore the looming Plot, and continue my journey down the freeway. Looking around as I drove on I was reminded of the I-Spy books you got as a kid, to keep you occupied and stop you from saying "are we nearly there yet." You could do one of those now: burnt out car (one of these was down to me), boarded up shack, wandering dogs, and old swing, abandoned fridges... hours of fun.

Ah bugger. Apparently during the Disaster there had been a tail back on this road, as I soon discover when I pull up behind it. Unlike most traffic jams which just feel that way, there's definitely no chance that this will ever move. There's no way through so I turn round and look for another way around. As I exit the highway, I notice the fuel gauge has started to drop, luckily I was sensible enough to pack a jerry can full of petrol. Sat at the junction of the road that passes beneath the highway I'm faced with a dilemma. Which way do I go?

Hmm, something's off here...
Tune in next time to find out!
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