Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AHPV VI: Redoubt Tutorial

 The 3rd bonus round of the AHPC was defensive terrain and I submitted the artillery redoubt pictured.  While based on some American Civil War artillery emplacements near DC the terrain piece is designed to be used  for any blackpowder era.

 The only specialized tool I used for this project was my trusty Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter.  Handheld hot wire cutters or a knife could be substituted but the fixed wire is really EASY to use for this type of project.

I used pink 1" thick insulation foam for the project.  You can buy these as 2 ft x 2 ft panels from either Home Depot or Lowes for $5.50 each.  It's a tad bit more expensive to buy the "project panels" (as they are called) rather than the normal 8 ft x 4 ft sheets but they are much easier to work with and store.  For this project I cut a 12inch x 12 inch square and several 12 inch long 1x1 inch pieces for the second level.

 I reset the cutting wire to a 45 degree angle and then beveled the sides.  I also cut out a section for the ramp and then beveled it by cutting along the long diagonal of the piece.
 As I was removing the ramp, I "wiggled" the end section while cutting it out a bit.  It makes the ramp fit like a puzzle piece and ensures a stronger bond for the glue.
Another shot how the ramp fits into the main section - all of this gets covered up but the joint is really strong.

 It's time to glue the sections together.  I use a few wood sticks (wooden kabob skewers) to help anchor the top sections to the base.  For glueing a standard yellow wood PVA glue was used but really any PVA will work fine.

 A picture of the redoubt after glueing up - give the glue a minimum of six hours to setup.  You'll notice that the pieces don't fit together perfectly.  Thats ok as you can either clean the up now with a sharp knife or just cover them up with the "ground material" later.  I choose the later as the irregular shapes give the grout more surface to hold on.

 Now comes the tedious part - putting the ramp and sides in.  I used wooden matchsticks I got from Michaels craft store.  These are simple cut to length and glued down with the same yellow PVA wood glue.  The sticks I used were 1/16 of an inch wide and you can make this a lot easier by using 1/4 inch wide pieces without a loss of visual appeal.

 Whew! - that's a lot of wooden pieces to cut.  After a few knife nicks, some cross words it's done.  Actually it wasn't all that hard to do and probably took no more than 90 minutes to put in place.

 Test fit with a 28mm figure - looks good to me.
 The next step is to cover the piece with your ground material of choice.  I like to use a pre-mix flexible tile grout.  It's relatively inexpensive  and when dry has a very nice texture like a fine sand so works great for 15 - 28mm scaled miniatures.  The pre-mix tile grout can be purchase in a whole range of colors.  I use a "sandstone color" version.

I mix the tile grout with white glue (roughly 2/3 tile grout, 1/3 white glue) to make it easier to put on and help with durability once dry.  Terrain pieces take a lot of abuse and the combination of flexible tile grout with white means you really will not suffer and chipping form use.

After the grout was applied to the ramp I used a popsicle stick dipped in water to make some wagon wheel ruts up and down the ramp.

 This is messy stuff to work with and anything you use to mix and/or apply the materials should be disposable.  Some of you might be thinking "I can use some of the household's fine china to both mix and apply this stuff 'cause I'll just clean it up and nobody will be the wiser".  Don't do it.  This stuff dries really quickly when in thin layers (in seconds) and once it adheres to something it's really hard to come off.  What's worse, if you try to clean it up in a sink, the grout gleefully detaches and then reforms to block your sink pipes and "magically" transform your sink into a bowl.  Tile grout is very cunning.  Just use a plastic cup and some popsicle sticks and toss the stuff when your done.

 The redoubt with the tile grout applied.  When putting the grout on have a damp rag at the ready to wipe up anything that gets on the wooden platform.

I also added to defensive works to the redoubt in the form of "pointy sticks" (I'm sure theres a more technical term for them).  I think they add to the look of the piece greatly and they also serve a very practical purpose.  What is it?  You'll just have to wait and see.....

 The first coat of paint for the redoubt is done.  I used a very basic brown craft paint (much cheaper than using a Vallejo) given the surface area.  I'll next applied a series of dry brushed of lighter brown and tan tones to get the piece to match my terrain panels.
 A shot of the finished redoubt, complete with an artillery battery (French 28mm Perry miniatures).  I added a bit of static grass to again help the piece match my terrain panels.
 I kept the interior details (supplies, equipment) very sparse to facilitate moving troop stands about and to allow the piece to be sure for multiple periods.

 I did screw one thing up - when checking for size I forgot to test an artillery piece.  If I had I would have noticed that some barrels didn't poke out over the top.  My solution?  I built a few platforms from the matchstick cutoffs to raise them the need 1/8 on an inch.
 Think of these platforms as booster seats for the big guns.

Back to the "pointy sticks" and their practical role.  They were positioned to help support the troop stands of an attacker as steep bevels and troop bases don't work well together.

This project took about 4 days to complete, with the vast majority of that time being devoted to either glue or paint drying.  In terms of complexity, it's very simple and I'd encourage beginners to give it a go

Materials Used

- 1" Pink Extruded Foam (roughly 12 by 14 inches) from a 2'x2' project panel

- Pre-Mix Flexible Tile Grout - Sandstone colored

- Matchsticks

- Kabob Skewers - You can buy them or get them "free" with a kabob take out order.  I highly recommend the second option as terrain making is hard work and you'l need sustenance to get through the project.

- PVA glue (yellow or white)

- paint

Total cost of the materials used was less than $10.00


DeanM said...

Very impressive terrain building, Miles. You make it look so orderly and planned out. I bet it's really durable for gaming too.

Paul Howes said...

That`s a very good scratch building project,and looks great. Greetings from Fiddle Wood Norwich UK. Beano Boy

Phil said...

Clever, realistic and beautiful job!

Paul O'G said...

Wonderful job Miles, very impressive. I should have stocked up on that insulation before I left!