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WWII inner city terrain (part 1)

WWII inner city terrain (part 1)

Like most people who wargame WWII the one thing I always wanted was an inner city layout to refight battles like Berlin, Budapest, Stalingrad (although due to the architecture and scale of destruction this probably requires a different set of terrain), Aachen and so on. Some six or seven years ago, I started on the first buildings using foam core, but to be honest, I have not gotten further than two partially completed buildings. There is an abundance of MDF products on the market these days, but there either are no inner city buildings or those that you can find seem to be geared towards 15mm. So I was quiet happy, when I found a Kickstarter that did fit my needs last year. What I did not realize back then was that this was actually run by Commision Figurines, who had already made a name for themselves in the smaller scales. With the Kickstarter funding, Walt (the owner) could finally get himself the larger laser to expand into 28mm. He ran into some problems at that point, when he had to find, that the new laser used a different file settings, so instead of just resizing his 15mm files to 20mm and 28mm he actually had to redraw all the files one by one, which took its time. Which in turn meant that since I had pledged for everything except the Stalingrad Mill (which I do by now regret not pledeing for as well), I had to wait through virtually all the process while those on 15mm or with fewer items got their models earlier. But to be clear, I did not mind since a) I did not want to start work before this summer anyway and b) I have hardly ever met someone as straightforward about these problems as Walt. I think we exchanged more than 50 messages over the months and he never gave me the feeling of being left behind. So in that sense I would always buy from him again!

But now on to the models. While I have bought a whole bunch of buildings, I first wanted to do two test pieces. This has various reasons. For one, most of the WWII inner city buildings I see on tables are always grey. Nazi Germany (and the rest of fascist Europe) sure was a bleak and sad place at best. But that does not mean that everything was just grey. I was born in Germany in the late 70´s and some buildings had not been repainted since the war. While many had gone grey by then, one could clearly see that they once been painted in pastel colors, as well as the odd blue, green or red. Same goes if you look at the contemporary colour photographs. So I want my buildings to be in pastels or off whites as well, but I also had to see how this looked.

The other thing is, I usually find most terrain quite bleak, not like anyone had lived there before everything got shot up. So I wanted mine to look more lived in with wallpaper, tiles and furniture. But again, I had to see if this could actually be done. And here are the results:

First two corner ruins

First two corner ruins

The roads will not remain like this. These boards were created all those years ago for my DIY beginning of this project and will probably not even work now. So I will either start from scratch or get myself the roads Walt sells for his buildings if they fit the width I want. But all this will be decided by my gut feeling and a MK I eyeball when more buildings are finished.

Corner ruin 1 (outside)

Corner ruin 1 (outside)

I wanted to give them a real contemporary feeling, so this building received a contemporary slogan. The same will happen to a lot of the other buildings along with posters, air raid markers, military signs and so on.

Corner ruin 1 (inside)

Corner ruin 1 (inside)

Here is a view of the inside, showing the wallpaper and tiles (all simple print outs glued to the walls). The brown planking on the walls was done to mask the seams between the wallpaper for the separate levels. I painted these in a dark brown. While it might seem unrealistic, I grew up in a house that was built before the war and in it, as well as in two others I helped renovate, a lot of the wood for the roof and flooring was painted in a dark brown. All the paint I have seen was pretty robust, so I assume this was to protect the wood from moisture and termites and I have kept to that colour as a result.

Corner ruin 2 (outside)

Corner ruin 2 (outside)

Corner ruin 2 (inside)

Corner ruin 2 (inside)

The rubble is made from scratch using pink foam (to get the hight), paving sand and wooden ledges. The bricks are from a Linka mould broken up and glued onto the pink foam before the sand. I know there is less rubble than there should be, but I once did a model with more realistic amounts of rubble and it became a real trick to do it in a way that minis could still be placed inside, so I kept things more moderate here.

The furniture is all cheap plastic dollhouse furniture that I repainted. I already repainted the all the furniture I have (some 70 odd pieces). I am not sure if I will actually have enough, so I used very little now. I think it looks to scarce, so I will probably have to buy more! :-/

First two corner ruins

First two corner ruins

I deliberately did no rubble on the pavements. I later want to add things like lampposts and roadblocks. Before I do not know what the final set-up will look like, I will not glue any rubble on, that will later block the space for those pieces. Once I get a feeling for how all the pieces will interact, I will either glue on some rubble or do modular rubble pieces that can simply be placed on the terrain.

There is more to come on this so stay tuned, although the rest of this month will probably be taken up by miniatures.

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Terrain building, WWII

 

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New river boards

New river boards

As indicated earlier this year, I decided, that I needed to do some new terrain. But to be honest the one thing that I made top priority was new river pieces. So much so, that I actually tackled this mission last year. 😉 Why? Well you might remember, that I remodelled my terrain boards and along with it, the hillside pieces (which I also used for my rivers). Which meant that I flocked the hillsides over with staticgrass to make them more robust. Back when I did that, I looked at streams around here and many had grass down to almost the waters edge, so I thought I could live with it, but to be honest… I could not. This is what it looked like, and frankly, it looked *bleep* IMHO.

Clash at the ford

The old look by combining he hillside pieces with varnished boards

So now it was on to something new. So I took pink foam (which is only available in very strange sizes here in Germany, so it involved an awful lot of re-cutting to even get the boards to my normal 50cm x 50cm size) and carved the banks out. They were sanded, glued to varnished HDF boards painted first with structured paint and then in browns and greens, flocked and the other normal bells and wistles. I also added bushels of pigs fair to simulate reeds growing in the water and some grey ballast for rocks in the river that have surfaced due to slightly low water levels. All in all, enough boards to fill almost my whole table (at minimum size though). And here they are (I deliberately left any other terrain off the boards for these photos):

Riverboards

Riverboards

Riverboards

Riverboards

Obviously there are a number of regular straits and the same applies here. They are slightly bendy, have mildly sloping banks (to make fording tanks still look good) a bit of driftwood and the already mentioned reeds and rocks. There are also four 90° bends to make sure I make the river flow anywhere on the table.

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

Riverboards close up

But I also wanted some special boards. The most simple one is the swampy board. Actually, this is pretty simple. I made the river pretty wide, roughened the water up a bit along the banks and added more reeds and here it is.

Tau Stealth suits on the swamp board

Tau Stealth suits on the swamp board

But one also needs places to cross the river. Up first is the short bridge. Now this one was actually quiet simple, since I simply recycled my old bridge and fitted it into the new river.

Bundeswehr on the small bridge

Bundeswehr on the small bridge

And then there is the ford to replace the improvised old version you could see in the first picture. Again, the ford area was roughened up, painted slightly different, rocks and reeds and it was done.

Byzantine cavalry crossing the ford

Byzantine cavalry crossing the ford

The ford board

The ford board

So to come full circle, why did I not post pictures earlier? Well I wanted a new larger and more impressive bridge. But I did not have the time to do this until last week. The board itself was done last year and I only left the cut-out to fit the bridge in. So last week I finally did the bridge. I cut some of the pink foam left-overs from last year up and carved stones out. I have to say, this is the first time I have ever carved anything out of pink foam and I was a bit anxious, but I am really happy with the results.

Königstiger on the large bridge

Königstiger on the large bridge

Napoleonic French crossing the large bridge

Napoleonic French crossing the large bridge

This will not be quiet the end to my river project. There will be simple wooden bridges, pontoon bridges and the likes, but those will be build in a way that they just fit the straits. And there will be a dedicated board with a water mill, but I am not sure when I will find the time to do that!

Well, hope you liked this. Now on to the next terrain project!

 
33 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Terrain building

 

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Bauhaus Hussars

Bauhaus Hussars

Now it is finally time to show the Bauhaus Hussars that almost made it into the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. They have been done for well over a week now, but I was (first) in no mood to do the basing and then (second) in no mood to take photos. Yes I know, shame on me!

Before I go on to show you the minis, I wanted to give you an idea where I want to go with them background wise. All my ideas for Bauhaus this has been heavily inspired by the Artwork of Paul Bonner and his paintings of Bauhaus troops and their setting. The unit mentioned and described here has been my idea though and is not based on anything in the background itself.

battle_painting

As I said on the Max Steiner post, in the Warzone setting Venus is the home world of the Bauhaus corporation. Venus has been terraformed and is mostly covered by jungles. But the further you get to the poles, the colder it gets and there actually is a region called “The Circles of Ice” that contains a number of human cities. One of them is Torburg which is a more mountainous region. For over a millennia Torburg has been the home garrison to the 23rd Gebirgssturm Brigade (Mountain Assault Brigade), nicknamed the “Fenriswölfe” (Fenriswolves). It has for all this time specialized in mountain and winter warfare, at which the men and women of the unit excel. At the same time they have access to all the heavy equipment Bauhaus has in its inventory from armoured battle suits to the heaviest of tanks.

Mutant-Chronicles-Bauhaus-Grizzly-Venusian-Ranger

While their main mission is the defense of Torburg and the surrounding regions, time and time again they have been called to serve off-world when Bauhaus forces were called to fight in other cold regions or mountainous terrain. In those cases they have always formed the spear point for the other Bauhaus troops and have gained the respect of both their enemies and their brothers in arms. As such they see themselves as the elites of the Bauhaus cooperation. This holds true not only for the Venusian Ranger, Blitzer, Dragoons or other special forces detachments fighting in the 23rd, but down to the very rank and file. As such even the regular Hussars have taken to marking their uniforms to bring them closer in appearance to the special forces. The Hussars from the Fenriswölfe, while keep keeping their body armor the standard Bauhaus light grey, paint the faceplates of their helmets a darker grey and stylized fangs in bone white on them. Together with the green glass of their visors this gives them a feral appearance and many have been haunted by the memories of them suddenly appeared out of the arctic twilight before them.

grizzly

Now on to the minis. I have given some of them slightly more dynamic arm positions then the normal minis, but nothing too spectacular. Only the trooper with the rocket launcher got different left arm and a shoulder pad for the non-launcher side (the original mini comes with none at all). But to fit them into my cold setting, I sculpted faux fur collars and cuffs onto the minis with green stuff. The minis themselves were painted with their uniforms in a dark blue grey uniforms, the holsters, backpacks and so on in ochre, tan boots and brown leather gloves. The body armour, and grips on the rifles were kept in an off-white. While painting them, I noticed that the faceplates had a skull like shape. But since it was longer than a regular skull I felt it would not lend itself to an imitation, so I just went with very stylized fangs. The eye slits were painted in green and given jewel effects. In the end I filled them with Vallejo water paste, which enhanced the visor look, but killed the jewel effect.

These will make up three small squads and each of the troopers got a small roman numeral on his left shoulder to show his squad. The NCO´s got laurel wreaths on their right shoulder as they had in the first edition of Warzone. I have ten more Hussars (which I will assemble when my weapon packs arrive with the second wave for my Kickstarter pledge) which will bring two of these squads to ten men.

Bauhaus Hussars (1st Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (1st Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (2nd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (2nd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (3rd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (3rd Squad)

Bauhaus Hussars (all 3 Squads)

Bauhaus Hussars (all 3 Squads)

This time I took the photos in front of a red background. I found that the winter setting for Max Steiner had made him look extremely bleak.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Bauhaus, Sci-Fi, Warzone Resurrection

 

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No plan survives first contact with the enemy…

… or does it?

Well earlier this year I had serious doubts, if I could paint all the minis for my Möckern game at Leipzig. I did not make as good progress as I would have wanted last year and when the new year came there was the daunting prospect of painting all the big Prussian units for the game as well as three small French ones. So I did a mental calculation, where I would need to be at what time to have a chance for things to work out. So I decided that by the end of May I would have to be done with all the Prussian infantry, so the only units left to do would be three Prussian batteries, one French battery, said three French infantry units (which should paint up faster than usual since they will be wearing greatcoats) and a unit of Prussian Hussars. If the same goal would be achieved by the end of June, I assumed that there would still be a snowballs chance in hell for me to pull it through.

So where am I now. Well as of last night slightly more than half the minis for the last Prussian infantry unit (the Leibgrenadiere) are done. The other Prussian infantry units are done. I finished one of the Prussian batteries ahead of schedule. In addition I finished 35 minis for my 40K Tau army and the new river boards (which will also see use at Crisis) are about 70% done as well.

To me this is looking quiet well, especially when I look at the fact that I hardly did anything in April.

Leibgrenadiere WIP

Leibgrenadiere WIP

For those wondering why their shakos are still in their light grey primer state: I always make sure that there are no duplicate minis on a base. But I also make sure that no two minis on the same base do have the same hair colour. Obviously I can only make the decision, which minis go on the same base, once every mini in the unit is done, so they are still awaiting their hair. And it is a bit easier to paint the shakos after the hair, so therefore they are not done yet. Those looking more closely will see that the skin is only in its base color so far. This is just a matter of taste. I want to make sure that the mini inside the unit have the same skin tone. I found that painting skin can be a bit temperamental in this regard, so I want to do all minis in one go here. The freiwilliger Jäger is completely done, since I painted him when I was doing the Jäger for the Brandenburger. Not much danger of a bad mix on a two mini base (especially when you already know which mini is going to be based together with him).

 

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Preussische Berittene Artilleriebatterie Nr. 2

So now I am finished catching up with my entries to the Analogue Hobbies Panting Challenge (or at least I will be after this post). Before anyone asks… I ended up nowhere near the top places at 18th out of 47. Never expected any better since the points are based on numbers painted and lets face it… painting Napoleonics takes ages. But my main aim (in addition to having fun) had been to get things done and use it as a motivator to do just that. And frankly I think I did a good job at that in my humble opinion. My first aim had been 500 points which would have translated into 100 28mm minis.Back then I thought “if I can achieve that number, I will be straight on course for my Völkerschlacht project”. But I still felt that it would be a though thing to do. Where did I end up? 818 points. Now if I deduce to extra points I received for a fine-looking command stand and the entry fee Samurai, this still translates into 152 minis and four guns. So I can be happy.

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2 (front view)

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2 (front view)
[Calpe]

Now the last entry was this and I only managed to finish it in the nick of time. These models are to represent the Prussian Berittene Batterie Nr. 2 (Horse Artillery Battery No. 2) for my Völkerschlacht project. Not much to tell about these, since they were quiet a straight forward job. It is amazing how little I manage to get done these days. The guns were painted one weekend and the crews the following one. This was my best shot at getting the final two points to meet my target together (and to actually surpass it) with a decent entry.

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2 (front view)

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2 (front view)
[Calpe]

The worst thing was getting them based. Now I glue the minis to their base using two-part epoxy for extra strength. So that first step takes about a day to dry. The next step is applying filler to the bases to reduce the pitcher mound look from the integral bases. And there goes another 12 hours drying time. The rest of the basing is quiet straightforward with sand, tuffs and static grass, but it meant that I was constantly afraid of not being able to finish them in time.

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, Howitzer

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, Howitzer

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, 3rd 6pdr

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, 3rd 6pdr
[Calpe Miniatures]

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, 2nd 6pdr

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, 2nd 6pdr
[Calpe Miniatures]

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, 1st 6pdr

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2, 1st 6pdr
[Calpe Miniatures]

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2

Berittene Batterie Nr. 2
[Calpe Miniatures]

Oh and there is one more thing to give you. Faithful readers of this blog will remember the Prussian Artillery officers I presented earlier this week. Now after some feedback from a member of a German forum it turned out I forgot to paint the collars of their Überröcke and that I should not have been at liberty to paint the bands on their caps in state colours at all. The most annoying thing is… I knew this two years ago as can be seen on the very first post on this blog (looking at which I actually need to repaint his sash… good thing he is still awaiting a base that would suit him after two years). So I have no idea why I forgot the lessons learned just now. Anyway… I sat down and repainted the collars and hats and would like to show you the results as well:

Prussian artillery officers (front view)

Prussian artillery officers (front view)

Prussian artillery officers (side view)

Prussian artillery officers (side view)

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Calpe, Nap.: Prussian, Napoleonic

 

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