At the beginning of 2008, I watched three fellow collectors trying their newly developed wargaming rules. I was fascinated. Especially the idea of transforming historical facts into simple rules that will allow a quick game, struck me. Thus, I decided to join them, and they agreed!
As they featured the British respectively the American side of the American Revolutionary War I thought I should adopt the French troops.
But at first I began with some landscape modules: a stone bridge, a wooden bridge and a river. My idea was to complicate military operations by landscape obstacles. No longer pitched battles in a scarcely wooded plain.
I must say, I really enjoyed developing and building the landscape modules (I have always liked creative hobbies).
As material I used plywood, cardboard, filler and wall colours. This is the result of my stone bridge:
When the photo was taken I did not have any wargaming figures. So this surprise egg grenadier had to do.
Just to give you an idea of the size of the bridge.
My next item was the wooden bridge:
It has a removable central part, so that it can be destroyed.
At that time the stream/river consisted only of the basic structure. I later added foam and marks of current.
I have just finished my first buildings, a two-room log cabin farmhouse and well and a thatch-roofed barn.
The farm building I found quite interesting as it does not correspond with the stereotype idea of a log cabin. I found photos of this historic type of building on the internet, and knew I had to build it.
The ground structure is plywood; the "logs" are imitated with thin boards of balsa wood (which is easy cutting into shape with a sharp knife). The intervals are filled with filler.
The shingle roof is imitated by rows of thin cardboard, into which I cut slits, and the wood structure is produced with the help of glue-stiffened paint and a coarse brush.
The door has got hinges and can be opened. And inside on the ground floor there is an open fireplace with a copper kettle. It doesn't make any sense in wargaming, but I enjoyed making it.
A look through the window at the fireplace.
barn walls and roof I experimented. The ground
structure is again plywood. For the walls it was
covered with filler, which was then modelled into boards, and with stripes of
thin cardboard which were structured and painted as weather-beaten wood. Both
methods I find practicable, the second one producing a less weather-beaten
The roof plates were covered with thin sheets of styrene that were then structured and painted in my well-tried method. The ridge was built up of thin cardboard with a layer of single sisal fibres glued on, kept in place by beams laid across. The colouring does the rest.
The gates are made from cheese-box wood, the hinges from sheet metal of an old cigarette box. (Never throw anything away, you might find it useful one day, as my grandfather said.)
I got the idea from a fellow blogger (steve-the-wargamer). As I’ve made use of his idea - with some variations - I will here describe how I did my field-works.
First I made the bases from pieces of 3mm thin plywood that had once been parts of a crate for mandarin oranges. They were 7 cm wide, which set the measure for the length of the earthwork modules. I cut them into 5 cm broad stripes. The sloping edges I produced by tilting the table of my mechanical saw.
Then I bought two ledges, one with rectangular cross-section (1 by 2 cm), and one with triangular cross-section (2 by 2 cm), and cut them into 7 cm long pieces. The rectangular bits were provided with slits with the help of a carving knife, to produce the effect of boards later. The triangular cross-section of the ledge on the “outer” side of my earthwork produced the basis for a rather natural looking slope (at least that’s what I think).
The pieces were glued to the bases as indicated in the sketch.
Then I smeared the outer side of my earthworks with my special filler, which consists of proper filler enriched with white glue and a greenish brown Umbra hue. The parts of the base which were still raw wood, were then painted in the same greenish brown colour.
At the rear side, matchsticks were then glued against the “boards” to provide the upright poles of the parapet. Finally the “woodwork” was washed with a light brown tone to create a more “used wood” impression.
When the thing was dry, I put glue on the earth parts and spread sand on it (the same mixture of sand from a sandpit and gravel from a path, which I use for my bases). Finished! No more embellishments necessary.
The “redoubts” were done similarly, but as bases I used styrene pieces that had been the base for pre-packed cut cheese (larger pieces of thin plywood would have been even better, I think). And on the outer edges I added some static grass.
Redoubt with added earthwork
La Siège de Yorktown le 17 Aout 1781
by Louis-Charles-Auguste Couderc (sometimes spelled Couder)
Since I had
come across a picture of the painting “La Siège de
Yorktown le 17 Aout 1781” by Louis-Charles-Auguste Couderc (which is at
Versailles today) I had been pondering about constructing Washington’s and
Rochambeau’s headquarters tent which is to be seen behind them.
I sat down at my desk with ruler, angle and pencil and conceived a paper model. After testing it I drew the final plan.
(You may copy and use the plan if you like.)
copied the drawing to thin cardboard and cut out the parts, glued them together
and painted the whole thing. As a base I took a bit of
The flags to the left and right of the tent can be identified as the French and the American colours. I doubt whether this is historically correct. I would expect the personal colours of the commanding officers instead. As the colours of both, General Washington and Maréchal Rochambeau, are known, I decided to use these. So you can see the French commander’s colours at the left, and those of Washington at the right. I wonder if the obverse wouldn’t have been correct, as the American was Commander-in-Chief.
I had the idea to have a blacksmith shop among my buildings. So I first looked for some figures. I came across two sets: a horseshoeing group by Minden Miniatures, and another one by Hovels Model Buildings. The latter one is 19th century, if you take things too seriously. But I surmised that an American blacksmith might have worn his hair short in our period. So I had two sets available.
Blacksmith group by Minden Miniatures
Blacksmith and apprentice by Hovels Model Buildings
One of them even contained an anvil. So I didn't have to sculpt that. A appropriate tub was among my spare parts, collected years ago at the Kulmbach Fair.
The water tub filled with plastic water
But what about the building itself? I searched the net for pictures of historic smithies and came across some useful illustrations which helped me concretize my idea of the smithy.
Photo of a Colonial smithy from the internet
The problem was that I not only wanted to have the
exterior of the building, but also the interior, which could
be seen through the wide open door. So I had to
do the hearth, the furnace, the bellows, and of course the grinding stone and
some spare tools (tongs and hammers). Not to speak of the material the
blacksmith was going to use: some iron bars in a
corner, a collection of hose-shoes on a beam, and iron wheel tires on
the outside wall.
The hearth with the glowing fire of the smithy was not really a problem. Looking for hints how to build it, I came across a model railway builder's website that offered a cheap solution: using an electronic tea light! Two of these lights cost me two Euros. The parts in the interior of these lights - a battery, battery chamber, a flickering LED and a switch - are so small they easily fit into the hearth.
Electronic tea light
The glowing hearth (mind the tools!)
The electronic tea light inserted into the base
The grinding stone
Bird's eye view of the interior
A view through the detachable roof
(mind the horseshoes and the spare iron bars in the corner)
The hearth with the bellows
Making all this, turned out great fun, forgetting the original purpose of wargaming, of course. It changed to model building in the course of affairs.
Left side with the wheel tyres
The wheel tires in their original state (I used the interior ring)
Life at Johnson's Smithy
I thought a massive stone building on the table might be something like a fortress for the party who took possession of it first. (A nice scenario, isn't it?)
McConkey's Ferry Inn, where Washington stayed before crossing the Delaware
For an isolated building only a country tavern came into account. I studied several historical buildings and then constructed one, following my own ideas. A slight remembrance of McConkey's Ferry Inn is not to be denied.
Red Bull Tavern, a product of my imagination
My house is built of quarried stone walls, has got an upper story and a verandah. The roof and the upper floor are made detachable. I even cherished the luxury of interior walls and a staircase. I even didn't forget the door to the wine cellar!
The ground floor
The upper floor
As material I used plywood, cardboard, and all kinds of scrap wood from my collection. For the wall structure I used a model railway maker's mold for a quarry stone wall, which I filled with a mixture of waste paper, white glue and a filler. And finally I used two sheets of slate roof to cover my building. The windows I bought from a producer of architect's material.
The tavern sign
I have devised a ridge tent for my figures. In the Internet I found the site of a firm that produces tents for re-enactors. So it wasn't necessary to do all the research myself. I just had to use their measures, do a bit of arithmetic (feet and inches to cm, and reality size to model size, 1:56).
Adopted drawing from the tent-maker's website (measures in cm)
The rest was drawing and remembering my geometry lessons. And printing my work onto thin cardboard, of course (4 tents per page).
My finished tent layout of a French or American Ridge tent with half-bell
Then I started building my first tent.
First I cut it out, folded it, and glued it together. Like this:
The cardboard tent
Then I prepared the base of thick cardboard. I cut it to size (about 5x9 cm), drilled the holes for the tent poles and the pegs (when I did my first tent I forgot to drill four holes on the long sides of the tent, I corrected this later). I cut two poles from tooth pricks (3.7cm), and glued them into their holes. Then I painted the tent floor in ocre (later it would be difficult to reach all the edges).
The base with the tent poles
The next step was adding the cardboard tent, and gluing the pegs (tips of tooth pricks) into their holes. The peg for the tent line was glued in later, in order to be able to straighten the line which might come loose by the cardboard base bending in the process of painting it. At the moment it is just stuck into its hole to hold the line in place.
The assembled tent
Then I painted the base an olive green and put grass around my tent. I also added some paint to the edges and "seams". And finally I straightened the line and glued in the last peg.
The finished tent (sideview)
Rear with the half-bell
The ridge of my tent model is a bit straight, I must confess. But it does not look too bad, I think.
One of the flaps I threw open, put some straw inside, and added the closing tassels to the flap.
Waiting for my Perry camp figures to be painted.
At the moment they look somewhat "ghostlike" or like virtual figures.
Our war-gaming group (5 members between 24 and 80) had begun to revise our set of home-made rules. Actually it is a constant process of revising, trying to adopt the rules to new historical information one of us has come across.
Having read about the effects of hot weather on the
troops at the Battle of Monmouth, we decided that this ought to be taken into account.
Our rules contain the element of "incident cards", i. e. cards that are drawn every round which describe unforeseeable events in war, for example a change of weather. Drawing the card "Hot weather" (c. 110° F or 40° C!) would have several consequences:
· The movement of troops would be hampered;
· a certain percentage of the unit would suffer from heat strokes;
· horses and oxen would have to be watered at the nearest stream, pond, or lake;
· soldiers would have to fetch water at a stream or a well at a neighboring farm or house if they were to move at all.
So far so good for our attempt to get as close to reality as possible in a game.
However, we did not have enough wells to put this into practice. We could have said that there was an invisible well at every house. But we like to have scenery and not just imagination. otherwise we could play with cardboard bits on a bare table.
Scrap building wells causes some difficulties in my eyes. It would be manageable with a log built well near a cabin.
My scrap-built log well
to achieve the form of a stone well? I had no pipes in my cellar of the right
diameter. So I looked for wells to be bought.
Up to now I have discovered two wells at Thomarillion. They are fantasy products, but serve my purposes well enough. I added ropes and buckets (made from a surplus ballpoint pen), and the smaller one got a superstructure with a pulley.
Village well (no. 40339) by Thomarillion
Well (no. 41294) by Thomarillion
with scrap built superstructure of my own
So that's a beginning anyhow.
When preparing our simulation game of the Battle of Somerset Courthouse I realized that we didn't have a building of that kind. I couldn't find a picture of the historical building. So I had a look at what I came across, and invented my omn Court House of 1777.
Here is the result:
And here is the building with some civilian scenery
Blockhouses were very common in North America, either as single defences, or as part of larger fortifications. The most widespread type is the two-storey building, the groundfloor of which is either of stone or of timber, and the upper storey protuding so that defenders can fire down trough machcoli in the floor at attackers who have managed to get next to the wall.
They were used from the French and Indian War well into the 19th century.
My blockhoulse has a stone groundfloor and a timber upper storey, the latter with gun ports. The cardboard roof is covered with shingles. Instead of a look-out there is a central chimney.
The Ansbach grenadiers (Warlord Games figures) are added for size comparison
The material I used is mainly 4mm plywood, the upper storey with a layer of balsa wood. For the roof I used cardboard and laser-cut shingles by Charlie Foxtrot Models. By the way: The stone wall is a product of my computer printer.
Here are some more pictures of the thing:
The ground floor with the fireplace
The upper storey with machcolis, trapdoor and a cannon
Detail of the gun port
An attacker's view of the machcolis
For a long time I had wanted to build a small earthen fortification that could be used on the table. My friend Horst and me agreed that a fort or redoubt should be built in a modular form. So I started planning. First I drew a sketch of the cross-section of the wall.
cross-section of the wall and ditch
The figures are in millimetres,
but I changed the measures slightly later because I used 30mm thick polystyrene
foam sheets to build up the wall in two layers.
I started with three straight sections of the wall, using 4mm plywood as a base and for the sides and the buld-up of the parapet. The front of the wall was then smeared with an olive-green coloured filler. And I then continued with four rectangular corners, a door section, and a section with a gun emplacement. The abatis palisades I added after everything had dried. They were cut from small sticks of oakwood I had collected sometime in the past (you never know what things like this can be used for, just keep them in your cellar).
The fort before the final finish, arranged as a simple redoubt shape and without stairs
The gun emplacement under construction (equipped with a British 6-pounder by Pipe-and-Drum)
The door section with Anspach grenadiers (figures by Warlord Games)
The outsides of the walls were then covered with static grass (from a model railroad shop).
The finished gun emplacement with British gunners (Warlord Games figures)
I can now use these moduls for a simple square redoubt, a redoubt with a gun emplacement (like Redoubt 10 at Yorktown), or as a small fort, or as the cicumvallation of a blockhouse.Here follows the photo shooting of the finished fortification:
The redoubt with a wet ditch (made of printed cardboard and plywood borders), here the stairs in the corners are added
This is what the corner stairs look like
The entrance to the redoubt with removable bridge
Redoubt with gun empacement and a 18-pounder naval gun
A small fort consisting of a blockhouse with cicumvallation
The flèche guarding the entrance, with chevaux de frise, made of rocket sticks (collected on New Years Day) and toothpicks
Seen from the interior
I wonder who will dare to attack this fortification. However, Redoubt No. 10 at Yorktown was taken by the Amaricans in a surprise night attack. It had a dry ditch though.
Stockades are a very old form of defence. In America they were used by Indians and the first settlers, and continued well into the 19th century, usually at the frontier. They served as temporary miltary defences as well as defences of single farms or of whole setllements.
Masterton Stockade of 1669
1832 civilian fort with stockade and blockhouse (Apple River Fort replica, Elizabeth, Illinois, USA)
I conceived my stockade again as a module construction. It consists of 3 straight sections, a gate section, 4 corner sections, 2 inner angle sections, and 2 stone basements and a new timbered ground floor for my blockhouse.
front view with some Indian figures
gate section with moveable gate wings
inner angle section (used with the settlement enclosure below to create a protruding sectin of the defence)
stone basement 1 (for the Blockhouse)
stone basement 2
new timber ground floor for my blockhouse
With these parts it is possible to build differnt simple fortifications on the gaming table.
corner of a small fort with a defending blockhouse
blockhouse with stockade enclosure
the same blockhouse with an additional stone basement
enclosure of a small settlement
The use of the stockade is not limited to the American Revolutionary War, of course.
Die alten Posts des Blogs habe ich in zeitlicher Reihenfolge gelassen. Im folgenden Teil, in deutscher Sprache, stelle ich kurz weitere Gebäude, Landschaftsteile und anderes vor, das ich gebaut habe.
Der Prentis Store in Jamestown
Für ein Stadtgebäude wählte ich einen Laden in der Altstadt von Jamestown. Da ich im Internet Risse des Gebäudes mit Maßangaben fand, war der Bau nicht zu schwierig.
Mit Figuren zum Größenvergleich
Auch Vorlagen zu den Nebengebäuden in Jamestown waren im Internet zu entdecken. Ich baute ein Küchenhaus, ein Toilettenhäuschen und einen Küchenbrunnen; alles streng nach historischem Vorbild.
Küchenhaus und Brunnen
Toilette eines vornehmen Hauses
Die Platte mit Kleinfluss, Mühlbach mit Wehren und unterschächtiger Mühle und einem Nebengebäude
Das Mühlengelände mit den zwei Wehren
Blick von der anderen Seite
Straßenseite mit der Einfahrt
Bei einigen der Bilder ist der Hintergrund seltsam, weil sie im Garten aufgenommen wurden.
Backhaus mit Ofen einer Bäckerei
Bäckereigebäude, mit Mehllieferungen
Backofen einer Gemeinde oder eines großen Anwesens
Die Brauerei der Gebrüder Schmidt
DiesesModell von Bernd Kufahl habe ich mit Eingangstreppe und Kellerzugang versehen und bemalt (offenbar war der Besitzer zu stark seinen Produkten zugetan.)
Die Kirche von Renedra in meiner Fassung
Und hier auf ihrem Platz auf dem Kirchhof, von der Rückseite aus gesehen
Farmhaus von Perry in meiner Fassung. Detail: Im Eingangsbereich hängt eine Sense auf einem Pflock.
Die rappelige Scheune von Renedra in meiner Fassung
Kuhstall (selbst gebaut)
Schweinekoben (auch selbst gebaut, außer den Viechern)
Heuwagen (die Ladung ist mein Produkt)
Das primitive Blockhaus, das erste Haus der Siedler, ist ein Modell von Bernd Kufahl nach meinen Informationen, das ich bemalt und hier in Szene gesetzt habe.
Die Ziegelmauer besteht aus geraden Teilen und Ecken. Die Grundkonstruktion besteht aus Leisten, das Ziegelmuster wurde mit einem Silikonstempel aufgebracht.
Den Zaun der Kuhweide habe ich nach historischen Vorbildern gebaut. Er eignet sich auch vorzüglich als Feldbefestigung im Kampf.
Ranger in Stellung hinter einem Weidezaun.
Straßen habe ich nach dem Baukastenprinzip aus Bodenfliesen aus Vinyl geschnitten und mit Gras aus Sägespänen begrünt. Hier befahren von einem selbst gebastelten Bauernkarren.
Dies sind die Wege-Module.
USS “Philadelphia, American gundalows (gunboat) built in 1776 on Lake Champlain and sunk during the Battle of Valcour Island. The wreck was raised to the surface in 1935. From the documentation I got all the information I needed to construct the tabletop model.
Walfangboot, wie es von beiden Seiten im American Revolutionary War benutzt wurde. Das Modell ist meine Konstruction; die Besatzung sind Ranger von Redoubt Enterprises.
Britisches Kanonenboot (eigene Konstruction)
Schaluppe (abgeändertes Modell „Sea Dog“ von Games of War)
Kutter („Sea Dog 2“ von Games of War)
(„Küstensegler“ von Thomarillion)
Tender (Games of War „Sea Pup“)
“Longboat” von Games of War
“Jolly boat” von Games of War
kleines Ruderboot (unbekannter Hersteller)
Module für eine Feldbefestigung
Mörserbatterie: Die Stangen auf dem Wall dienen zum Visieren, die Leiter zum Ausguck halten.
Der Kleinfluss „White Water Creek“ besteht wie die Straßen aus Modulen. Gefertigt sind sie aus Plexiglas, die Ribbel der Strömung sind mit „Wasser-Effekt“ von Faller angedeutet.
Zwei Biegungen sind so gearbeitet, dass an der Außenseite ein Felsen mit Prallhang angesetzt werden kann:
Biegungen für Prallhang
Und zwei kleine Stücke sind als kleine und größere Furten gearbeitet:
Fußgänger- und Fahrzeugfurt
Damit lassen sich verschiedene Verläufe des Gewässers herstellen.
Hunchback Mountain; die Grundstruktur sind dicke Styropurplatten, der Rest ist Spachtelmasse und Verschönerung
Die Figur zeigt die Ausmaße des Felsens
Zwei Felsen oder Prallhänge am Fluss
Allmyer’s Needles. - Die Felsformation gehört zu dem See. Sie besteht aus Stücken von Kiefernrinde.
Neben meinen zu Beginn gebauten Brücken kam eine neue Konstruktion hinzu, eine gedeckte Brücke:
Gedeckte Brücken sind seit dem Mittelalter bekannt. In Amerika wurden sie vielleicht erst nach dem AWI eingeführt.
Das Modell besteht aus den Rampen, dem Brückenkörper und dem Dach. So kann der Kampf auch im Inneren stattfinden, oder die Brücke kann zerstört werden.
Blick ins Innere der Brücke
Beispiel von einem Teich
Teiche und Sumpf bestehen aus einer Plexiglasscheibe mit einsprechendem Untergrund und Begrünung.
Bäume habe ich zumeist aus Gartenabfällen und Belaubungsmaterial hergestellt. Die runden Basen sind von Käseschachteln aus Pappelholz.