I’ve always enjoyed making terrain- much more than making kits or painting figures. I guess that like many children of my era I harboured the ambition to go into special effects model making all of this came from repeatedly watching the original Star Wars trilogy… anyway enough nostalgia.
Our group has been dabbling with SAGA the dark age skirmish game. Whilst the majority of my terrain is for 20mm twentieth century gaming and as such the buildings will be of no use for 28mm early medieval set ups the trees and river will be fine. Accordingly we needed some suitable buildings. I bought an MDF kit from War Bases to try out some techniques with before building up a whole village.
I like MDF buildings a lot- but only the cheap ones… I think that they need a lot of work to get them looking right so I don’t see the point of spending a lot for detail that I’ll just cover up afterwards. As such I just see it in the same way I look at my own designs cut out of foam board.
If you look on War Bases’ site you’ll see how plain the kit is. Here it is after I detailed it.
Balsa wood and filler (spackle) were used on the walls whilst a towel was cut up to represent the thatch. I’ve previously used teddy bair fur but was unhappy with it, hence me trying towelling.
Here it is finished. Respendent in many shades of sandy brown.
Moving forward a couple of centuries I’ve decided to get a urban UK set up going, based on a couple of on-a-whim purchases at the local model shop. I want to game some Winter of ’79 type game (think late 70s civil war in the UK, popularised by a blog then published as a ruleset). To be fair it wasn’t that much of a whim as I was half looking for them- I’ve recently been sent a very nice detailed, almost RPG set of rules for the setting that I want to try out. I went for card railway models from Metcalfe models as they have just the right look of red brick terraced housing, I bought the basic terrace and a corner shop. The kits are quite involved, each one took a couple of hours to do. That said they are very well designed and make for a sturdy construction when finished.
I’ve put up a few pictures of their construction so you can see how they go together.
I can see myself building a lot of the basic terrace to fill the table in the way I want.
Not like me to do much of the ‘sharp stick’ side of wargaming but it would be dull if life didn’t havea bit of variety every now and again….
As a group we are slowly working on some Dark Age figures, everyone has some Vikings, Evanis going for Welsh and I’ve gone for Normans as my main army. We plan to use the Saga rules, in fact we had a quick game of it this evening, it showed how effective crossbows are if nothing else.
I painted up a group of 12 Gripping Beast plastic Saxons, still trying to perfect my palette of colors for the Dark Ages.
The leader, standard bearer and two warriors.
For reasons that are mostly explained by whim and the fact I read an interesting book on the subject a while back I bought from ebay some of the Wargames Foundry European Bronze Age figures.
5 figures from the ‘command’ pack.
I’m not sure if I’ll get anymore. Whilst low level clan warfare would be interesting, there isn’t much of a figure range available so a lot of repetition of poses would creep in. Also it wouldn’t be much different at a skirmish level to the Dark Ages. I know that we are talking about very different cultures and technologies but at the man to man level the mechanics of swinging and axe into someone is pretty much the same. I happily use the same low level skirmish sets for WW1 to present day games, it is only as one widens the scope of the battle to look at how armies operated and fought that one sees the difference. The Marne was fought very differently to Op. Goodwood…
… I think more reading is in order.
*I know that the term Dark Ages isn’t a particularly useful, descriptive or even accurate term and ‘early medieval period’ is preferred, typing Dark Ages is just quicker.
Given the weather at the moment it has been too cold to go into the shed so I’ve been working on a few model kits inside. It is easier just to bring my making and gluing tray in rather than all my paints; it also gives me a chance to get caught up on my back log of plastic kits.
Yesterday I had a bit of a blitz and assembled all of these:
From left to right we have the Hobby Boss Merkava IV, Two Bedford trucks by Airfix, the Revell re- issue of the Matchbox Sherman firefly and finally a Dark Age hut from Warbases.
The Merkava kit is a pleasure to put together, and the old matchbox kits are no drama at all. I think, however, that the Sherman would benefit from some aftermarket stowage and possibly a crewman. The two Airfix trucks were a little disappointing; given that they were a recent kit I found that they weren’t as well fitting as a new kit should be imo. Still with two in a box they are good value if you see them for sale. The Warbases kit was bought as an example of their range, simple to assemble and easier than cutting out a foamcore one myself. I’ll add some texture to the walls and a fake fur roof too. to finish it properly.
Not bad for a few hours work whilst listening to some CDs.