Saturday, 25 May 2019

Terrain enhancement weekend

I always find that a visit to a model rail shop can yield some surprise finds that are gems for wargaming. 

My small haul yesterday has started me off on a side project of modelling some table enhancements, the enthusiasm for which, I hope will last a bit longer than just this weekend :-)

First up is railway 'thingy' above. I have no idea what it is, but it was in the used section for a princely sum of £2. I quite liked the quirkiness of it and thought it would be a good addition to some of my WWII tactical games. The scale is OO, so it is 1/76, but will work fine with my 1/72. It is from the Dapol (ex-Airfix) catalogue.

EDIT - I have been advised by a poster on the Lead Adventure Forum (LAF) that this is a Prestwin Cement Wagon - thank you.

The chap in the shop did know what it was (obviously) and he said a couple of years ago while in France, he saw a row of these on a track, painted up light blue.

Anyway, I re-base coated it and did the top part as being in a seriously badly weathered condition (thank you Humbrol Weathering Powder ((Rust)) that I mixed with various brown paints).

I have rather a nice plastic (yet to be built) kit of an engine shed, so I think I will base that, put some rail track coming out from it and have this machine part in and part out of the shed for added interest. In my minds eye, it should look very good, but we shall see, so a lot of work before this gets to the table.

Next up - above, I have never seen this before, but it is a thick rubber type sheet that can be cut to shape with scissors and the idea is that it provides a fascia of wooden planking with supports to put against a wall. It comes in three sizes of board and I got the large size. It is available from ChoochEnterprises dot com. 

Anyway, plan 'A' is that I build a redoubt type structure and use this to line the interior wall. I bought some rather strange looking balsa wood that has a bevelled 'D' face, which should provide the underlaying structure to the whole thing. So again, something that has quite a bit of work in front of it, but hopefully it should look good when done.

Now this is lovely (click to enlarge), though for it's size, a tad expensive, but there is a lot of material in it and a lot of work I imagine to make it. It is called Stony Mountain Ground and is produced by migjimenez dot com, costing £16. 

It is just a 5" x 9" fibre mat with a load of goodness stuck to it, but wherever it sits on the battlefield, it will bring a lovely texture. It looks suitable for 1/72 and 28mm scales. There was only one in the shop, so a lucky drop on my part I felt.

At first, I thought I would shape this slightly and use any off-cuts on another model, but on further thinking, perhaps it may be better to have it sit within a slightly bigger feature of rough ground.

Finally (above), I took out a very plain MDF building from the bottom of my buildings crate and had a go at prepping it for basing and including it in a larger feature - you know, some wattle fencing and a snorty pig, type look. At first I tried to make some thatch for the roof using Woodland Scenics tall grasses and PVA ...... what a mess! I just managed to get it all off in time!

So I then got some acrylic modellers paste and plastered it around the  sides and then applied it to the roof, using the palette knife to score down a thatch pattern of sorts. It looks okay and just needs embedding to a base, to 'settle' it into an appropriate background.

Oh and really, really finally, the shop had some MDF kits, one of which was a Guard Tower by Warcraddle Studios (£8), which I think is owned by Wayland Games. Anyway, it makes a futuristic tower with a defendable area on top and since 'another' project is to get some tactical sci-fi stuff going, then I thought the motto of 'get it while I see it' ensures that the scenario I have in my mind will get done. 

This is intended to be a fun project with just a squad or two per side, so is just as likely to see the light of day as anything else I do :-)

I know my Quatre Bras boardgame, a new release  from Hexasim will be with me in a few days, so my excitement levels are high and that is likely to be the next serious thing that I post on.

Resource Section:
You may be interested in COMMANDERS, my sister site, which is a bit more snippet based than here. LINK

A photo page that shows the Pretswin Wagon. LINK


  1. Some nice stuff there Norm. I especially like the railway thingy.

  2. Thanks Steve, it has a charm of it's own, in an ugly kind of way. it gives the industrial look, which is what I wanted.

  3. You found a lot of great stuff, Norm! The stony ground mat would be very useful for ACW gaming. I have stumbled over that very terrain while walking more than one ACW battlefield.

  4. The stones are quite large, but just about get away with it I think. I might just add a tad of flock around some of their lower edges to meld them into the mat a bit more - but the mat piece is certainly striking.

  5. Years ago I started building a small collection of rolling stock and railways for WW2 games. I retrieved my old Hornby-Dublo tank engine, rolling stock and track, as well. Always good for urban warfare...

  6. I have selected a few pieces that are without logo's on the side, so that they can really be used in any setting / nation. The good thing, they don't have to work or be in perfect condition, so can be picked up cheaply off the second hand / used / old shop stock shelf.

  7. Diversified realisations, and very nicely done, love the stones on the ground, looks very realistic!

  8. Thanks Phil, the price of them prevents getting a bigger effect, but when you look into it, you would need to use a lot of scenic flocks and grasses to get the same effect at that density. I think it will have to be my 'posh' bit of broken ground. :-)

  9. That’s a good haul Norm. The mountain ground terrain piece takes the honours in my view.

  10. Thanks Mike, I agree, I have not seen anything like it anywhere else before.

  11. Nice terrain additions; you can never have enough terrain! :)

  12. Thanks Dean, I have splurges of activity on the terrain front, so when the urge to do something arrives, I need to seize the moment :-)

  13. Lots of useful stuff, there,I too have been buying a load of second hand railway terrain in my push for more terrain, I'm really interested in the sheet and look forward to it cut up and mounted!
    Best Iain

  14. Thanks Iain, I like that the model rail scale works directly with 1/72 and also gives small footprint terrain for 28mm. Your comment has spurred me to use my Bank Holiday Monday to cut the wood structure, cut a plasticard base and get the basics glued up.

  15. I love railway shops. There’s one kinda sorta near me that I stop in from time to time. Your looks like it has some cool stuff. Nice shopping trip.
    The rail thingy came out looking Great 😀

  16. Thanks Stew, I just dropped into the model shop by chance, rather than being on a mission or anything, so I was pleased with that drop. I also picked up the 1/72 Marder II / 38t kit from Plastic Soldier company, I wasn't on my list, but the guy had just got it in as a line, so I thought it worth supporting his commitment to a new range.

  17. Some nice looking stuff can never have too much terrain...well I don’t think so anyway 🙂

    1. Matt, I am forever driven by the beauty of your table. Though I have just put a fleece on the washing line and applied spray paint .... why do the winds always pick up when i get rattle cans out! anyway, it is a mess, the cans at 12" away give an OK effect, the wind then blew the fleece onto the rattle can and I now have a bright overwhelming 5" brown thin line on the fleece. !!!!!

  18. Some great finds there Norm, you can't beat a model railway shop for scenic items. I have a confession to make, I have dabbled in model railways before - a small finescale 00 scale branch line terminus - and really enjoyed the scenic work and the sheer quantity of items available to make such. I built a couple of locos from kits, white metal, etched brass, wheel sets, motor etc, a joy to do. All gone these days but I do keep saying "maybe one day". Anyway, I digress, that stone and grass mat will make a superb 'Rough going' area in 1/72nd, I can understand why it's was not cheap, looks like a lot of work went into it, excellent purchase. I will be interested to see where you go with all this as I caved in last to temptation last week and ordered some Plastic Soldier Company German sprues, your fault Norm :)

  19. Ha - all good :-) There is an increasingly significant crossover between wargame and model rail, as 'we' at last, strive for better tables. I hope you enjoy your PSC plastics .... but they will feel tiny after handling the 40mm :-)

    Yes, the more that I look at that rough ground, the more work I can see it it. I need to do something with it that is fitting to its visual effect.

    Work has started on the redoubt.



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