Making scenery: BARBED WIRE and OTHER STUFF

I have one photo' which illustrates several things.

Here we see a white metal Tetrarch glider tank (by MMS Models) in a ploughed field, behind barbed wire, with smoke pouring out from it.

Barbed wire. This is made from aluminium mesh, sold in car repair shops for repairing holes in car bodywork. Cut the mesh along the line of the strands which go in one direction, and the snipped remains of the strands which run in the other direction will become the barbs of the wire. These barbs are realistic in two ways. First, they are about the right distance apart for 1/72nd scale barbed wire; second, they are blinking sharp, so be prepared to get a few cuts.

The wire has been put onto bases, with cocktail stick uprights, glued onto card bases textured with wall filler. While these bases dry, they have an annoying tendency to warp such that the middles rise, leaving just the ends on the table. To counter this, you could perhaps wind on the wire before waiting for the base to dry. To do this, you will have to make sure first that the uprights are securely fixed to the base, requiring a two-stage process. The wire then holds the base straight. A coil of wire has been added running down the centre of the posts. This was made by winding a strand around a pen. The wire needs gluing to the posts in a few places only, since it grips the uprights pretty well on its own. A corner section of wire has been made with posts forming a triangular pyramid.

Paint the wire with some rust paint to knock the worst of the shine off.

Ploughed field. This is very simple. It is dark brown corduroy cloth, with thick cords. This moulds to the bumps of the table, and is light and easy to store. Do NOT let anyone put down his tea cup on it, though, because the ring left will stay there forever.

Smoke. Most people use cotton wool, but this makes rather clean white smoke. This dirty smoke is hamster bedding. It is sold in a variety of colours, one being black, another, shown here, grey/black which I think is ideal for smoke. What's more, it is very cheap.

Hills. The hill in the background, not I admit very clear, is a flat-topped bump made from several layers of cork wall tile. Cork is light and strong, and doesn't need painting. The slope at the edge of the hill is created by cutting each layer a bit smaller than the one below it, and then gluing all the layers together. I have added some green flock for good measure.

Vacuum formed terrain. The other thing in the background on the right is a Bellona vacuum-formed anti-tank gun emplacement. The one tip I have about using this sort of stuff, is that one can make it a good deal stronger and less likely to leave the table when a puff of wind comes through the window, by gluing a mixture of saw-dust and PVA to strategic parts of the underside, packing it into the larger crevices.

Wheat stoops. These are resin moulded models by Hovels. They look good in fields which have some corn still standing, mid-harvest, as here.

Wheat crop. This is doormat, cut into little squares. This is a particular type of doormat, which has a rubber layer at the bottom, holding together all the fibres. The field has a rather modern look, since the fibres are all nearly the same height, and there are no weeds growing amongst the wheat. Perhaps one could scatter some red flock on, to represent poppies.


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