Category Archives: scenery

Hedge production…

I haven’t made any small scale scenery for a while. Far longer than I remembered. I made a load of hedges for mt 6mm games way way back in 2011! http://blog.belisarius.org.uk/2011/06/boosting-hedge-fund.html. These used kitchen scouring pads and although they worked well they looked a little ‘formal’ – more like tidy well maintained hedges rather than ‘wild’ country ones!So I wanted something a little rougher looking. I’ve seen various techniques online so adopted a variation on those for these. I’ve always used Woodland Scenics clump foliage on my bases but found the colours (especially the dark green) to be a little too uniform. So a trip last week to Midlam Miniatures in Felling saw me leave with two packs of Javis clump foliage. This seemed to have a better colour with a bit of variation and highlight to it. So I started off with a sample length of hedge using a large ‘lollipop’ stick. In the past I’ve just used PVA to fix clumps down, putting PVA in a tub and dipping the clumps in and then sticking them down. However the Javis clumps were a nightmare! Very crumbly and bits sticking to the PVA and disintegrating as I picked them up! And the ‘foam’ material seemed to compress and stay compressed as you squeezed it to get a good ‘stick’. Total nightmare! I was not impressed. And the PVA seemed reluctant to stick it to the stick so I ended up using a hot glue gun. Once it was all dry I lathered the lot in watered down PVA and the end result looked OK even if a little squished in places.

I was almost going to give up on the stuff as far too faffy to use but having paid £2 a bag I didn’t want to waste it. So… deciding that 12 strips was a good number to have I lined up another 11 of the sticks. I coated one side with PVA to seal it then when dry coated the other side and dipped it in my usual ballast/sand type mix. Rather than waste time painting by hand I stuck the stick to a board and retired to  the back yard with a can of Army Painter Leather Brown spray.Although this is a little lighter than the Burnt Umber I use for my bases once I dry brush with my usual two highlight colours it is close enough.I wasn’t keen on using the hot glue gun for all of this (and visible residue is shiny) so I just ran a line if UHU glue along the stick and having spent a little time preparing clumps in the two colours I started filling up each stick.

Once stuck I then carefully socked all the clumps in watered PVA. I gave them a proper soaking and left to dry overnight. This stiffened and sealed the clumps.And then to blend them in a little with all my basing a dabbed a few bits of PVA along each side of the hedge and added some of my usual static grass mix.And that was them done! I left gaps in a couple of hedges to allow access through.

Quite pleased with the result and the final method made the use of the Javis clumps more tolerable. Given that you can never have too many hedges (and assuming I have enough sticks!) I will make up another dozen lengths and do a few half length ones to allow a bit more flexibility in laying them out. I’ll need to buy more foliage first though! I’d hoped to set up a small table for a game this weekend but time didn’t allow. The hedges look like they will work fine for 6mm and 10mm and even for for 15mm at a push so well worth  the effort!

While making up the sample hedge I also made up a couple of 6mm pylons I have had sat gathering dust since I primed the inner surfaces more than several years ago! Can’ remember who made them but they look fine and although a little fiddly to stick together (UHU worked again!) are worth the effort. I have another 8 to do…So a productive few sessions. Not quite as exciting as going to Salute but a damn sight cheaper!

A

 

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Timecast Goodness…

I’ve paid a couple of visits recently to Timecast in Shrewsbury, mainly to pick up trees and to chat about techniques and things. They’ve always been very helpful and I have a small pile of their buildings waiting to be painted! In the meantime, for use in out Cold War Commander games, Ian had commissioned a few pieces from Timecast and there arrived last week and I finally got to pop round and see them tonight. I took a load of pictures, partly to display here as examples of Timecast’s fine work, and partly to steal ideas for colours and layouts for my own stuff – when I get round to it!

This is all 1/300th for use in Cold War Commander and is intended to be German in theme. First up is the town:

 
 
 
 
 

This can be extended to include a light industrial area:

 
 

And on the outskirts of the town is the airport:

 
 
 
 
 

And if you don’t fancy flying you’ll no doubt need to fill up you car at the Petrol Station:

 

It’s really nice stuff and I just wish I could afford to buy some myself, but it has given me inspiration to do my own. I now look forward to laying waste to the lot of it with my Soviet hordes in the next game! 🙂

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Boosting the hedge fund…

Back in March (don’t time fly!) I had a first attempt at making some hedges for my 6mm games. I knew I’d seen the idea of using the scourers before and the credit must (at least for me) go to Michael at Angel Barracks forum with this article. The main difference is that I use the magnetic foam I purchased from Hobbycraft (although I’m not sure they still stock it). This seems heavy enough to stay in place and has a certain flexibility to it. The first couple I did were full length (c.12″) but the rest I decided to do in 6″ lengths – basically the length of the scourer and the same as in the original article. And I also paint them all brown before applying the flock. So anyway, here is the process:

1. Cut the foam into 6″x10mm strips (metric/imperial – I don’t care!) and the scourer into strips with one flat side and one uneven to give the hedges a little ‘shape’

2. Apply neat PVA to the foam side of the strip and stick the hedge down the middle. And while the PVA is still wet apply a load of whatever you use to texture your bases. I use a fine/medium mix of railway ballast:

3. Once dry this gives you something like this:

4. I then sprayed the whole lot Army Painter Leather Brown. It’s a little lighter than the Burnt Umber I used for my normal bases but close enough. I then dry brush the ballast as I would my bases:

5. I then use a dilute PVA mix and paint the sides and tops of the hedge liberally and dip it in a fine dark green flock (mine is in a tub now and I can’t remember the make).

6. When you’ve done the lot let them dry fully. I also tried doing a larger field (right side) and a couple of smaller fields (bottom) which I applied static grass to.

7. Once it’s all dry the whole lot gets a coat of spray matt varnish to seal the flock.

8. I even tried a couple with an Irregular Miniatures gate stuck in the middle.

The big field seems to have worked OK though I’ve yet to do the interior. I tried this on the two smaller fields but the PVA seems to have warped the foam more than I expected. I tried coating the reverse side to no avail. The foam is flexible enough to bend flat but at the moment it keeps warping back.

So I need to find either a non-shrinking glue or a different base material for this part. The foam (this was one sheets worth) was 59p. The scourers I paid 40p for a pack of five and have used three. And you can see how much of the flock is still left. So overall I nice cheap result. I quite like the green and I prefer the brown underneath as it means that if you miss a bit the brown ‘branches’ show through and you can leave a little gap at the base to show the ‘roots’ of the hedge.

I have a batch of roads nearly done (see the first article) and trees lined up next. Once the lot are done I’ll put together some ‘pretty’ shots!

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Hedging my bets in a new field…

Following on from my trial efforts with magnetic foam on the trial road, I had a bit of a sort out in the attic today (took a day of work to chill!) and along with tidying up I did another couple of trial terrain pieces. First up was a resin field I bought AGES ago. Can’t even remember the make. Anyway, spray with Army Painter Leather Brown, dry brush and static grass to give…

At the top of the picture you can just make out a try at a hedge I did a while back. Lollypop stick, length of scouring pad stuck on. Paint it all brown, slap some PVA on the scourer and apply flock. I wasn’t too happy with the flock colour and it was too short a length. Anyway, while at Hobbycraft I bought a sheet of the brown magnetic foam. Cut a couple of 10mm wide strips (conveniently the same length as the road sections), slap on PVA and stick the length of scourer on, scatter some sand/ballast mix on the sides. Spray the lot with the old Leather Brown. When dry, dry brush the edges, and then slap on some PVA over the scourer and apply a different green flock I picked up at the weekend. To give…

 
 
 

The foam is quite flexible so I left the gaps in the scourer to allow some give. And it has a little weight from the magnet so overall I think this too has promise!

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More roads…and the attic gets some storage!

Despite having a nightmare day with the kids I managed to get the batch of vinyl roads finished and put together a howto, try out the magnetic foam roads, get the Helmer units put together and find time to sit down and write this lot up! I’ve still got to log in to work to run some database updates but that can wait 🙂

First up, the vinyl roads.

1. Cut the tile into 40mm side strips and then cut any curves, junctions required. Peel off the paper backing to reveal the adhesive and lay them all out. Then scatter the lot with a mix of fine and medium model railway ballast.

 

 And as you can see, I had a helping hand from my daughter. She insisted and it was easier to say yes!

2. To make sure the ballast is well fixed, use a spare spray can as a roller and make sure it’s all well stuck. Don’t press too hard though as the ballast seems to ‘powder’ under heavy pressure!

 

3. Once it’s had a little time to dry in, adjourn to a suitably open space…

 …and spray the lot with Army Painter Leather Brown

4. I’d intended taking a pre and post grass picture but didn’t have the camera to hand during the first session but basically, a good dry brush with my mid-brown and then a top brush with a cream/off-white. And then PVA and my standard static grass to give it some contrast.

 

I’d decided to add some bits of bush but I’m not sure it’s necessary and may make storage a but harder as they’ll not stack as well

5. Finally I sprayed the lot with matt varnish. I’ll likely try the PVA mix other people have suggested on the next batch of scenery.

Overall, quite pleased with them. Not sure how they’ll hold up to regular use, but that’s unlikely to be an issue with the number of games I play!

Following the suggestions of a few people on other forums/blogs I picked up some magnetic backed grey foam sheets. This was to use as modern tarmac roads. The easy option is to just cut it into strips and use as is. But that’s too easy for me! So, I’ve tried to add a verge (no grass on yet) and some white lines. These latter were problematic. I used a white gel pen and it doesn’t take too well to the foam, but not too bad though. It would also have helped if I’d got the lines in the right place!

 

This gives a view of the thickness of the foam. Although the magnetic basing adds to the thickness, it also makes it more robust and the added weight helps hold it on place.

I was almost tempted by the idea of coating my boards with sheet metal as then the roads would ‘stick’ in place! Again, I’m not sure on how tough the foam will be but it should be OK. And for 49p a sheet it’s a bargain! These roads are 35mm wide. I may still do the main batch in 30mm wide. And I also need to look into what the correct road markings should be!

And finally, to conclude this lengthy Sunday night post, I made up the Ikea HELMER drawer units. Given the amount of thin steel and sharp edges involved I only managed to draw blood once! They are a great little find (£20 each). I’m going to line each drawer with a non-lip sheet, and maybe make up some compartments to separate stuff. It would also be useful to have some holed ‘panels’ to store Vallejo pots upside down. I think this may help the issue I have of the ‘dropper’ drying out and blocking up.

As you can see, the desk is a little cluttered

 The plan is to move the two units under the left side of the desk

 So there we have it. Some progress of sorts. I now need to decide how many credits I can claim for the various roads pieces?

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