Friday, April 22, 2022

BLOG UPDATE! Recent Project Activity

 No posting activity but that doesn't mean we've been idle here in the SOUND OFFICERS CALL gaming bunker.  Far from it.  I've been working on new terrain concepts here and after a recent trip to Gettysburg, have been motivated to get back to finally finishing my ACW project.  I have literally hundreds of painted 15mm troopers awaiting rebasing from a massive 2017 convention purchase.  Add my recent foray into 15mm Ancients and I have a whole heap of blog topics to share.

The Terrain Project

I've never been quite happy with my terrain system.  It hasn't been convincing to me, so I felt it was time for a change.  First up?  Trees.  Trees are an essential part of any wargamer's battlefield.  I have lots of trees in all shapes, sizes, and brands, all based on thick wooden stands.  I remembered a LittleWars TV video featuring trees with PINS drilled into the bottom and thought about incorporating that onto my table to make it look a little nicer.  This was a bunch of work, and wasn't as simple as just putting pins into the trees.  First up, my wargaming table has a new foundation....

Cheap foam interlocking mats now make up gaming table foundation.

Tools of the trade

Lots of snipping, drilling, pressing, and gluing later, I had a bunch of trees with pins in the bottom.  How did they turn out?  I'll let you be the judge.
Not bad.  As a bonus, some of the trees from Noch naturally had a cavity in the bottom.  All of these trees are pinned to the mat.

So with all of the trees done, I watched some of the Littlewars ACW videos for Antietam, Gettysburg, and Bull Run for more ideas.  The gaming surface was my next big project.  The Cigar Box Battle mats I have are beautiful, but I never liked how they "draped" over hills.  I wanted to see what the LittleWars guys did for their beautiful tables.  The following videos were extremely helpful for ideas:  Bull RunRavenfeast Terrain Video.  I ended up buying a felt mat that was roughly 6 x 6 and it worked wonderfully.  I like its thickness and how it drapes nicely over the hills.

I guess I'll iron the wrinkles out!

Small farmhouse in the valley

I think this looks really good!  When the house is painted, the roads dry brushed and the fences on the table, it's going to look excellent.  At least to me.

For the mat, while I'm happy with it, I'm going to lightly spray paint some tan "fields" and darker green "fields" into it, and also put some light browns on it as well just to break up the "golf course" look on it.  That brings me to my next terrain enhancing project - buildings.

The Buildings

Another battlefield essential are manmade structures.  At least in my house they are!  Most of the places I'm fighting over are loaded with people and their dwellings.  So I needed better buildings.  Gettysburg seemed like a great place to start.  Instead of just buying everything, I figured I'd start my search at home.  My plain, boring, out-of-scale wooden craft houses were perfect places to start.

Chimney removed.  We'll add a custom one later.  Windows penciled in.  This building is going to be modeled after the "Sweeney" House in Gettysburg.  You might know it as a the "Farnsworth House

windows cut from a cereal box

Roof added

Coming up I'm going to kit-bash the famous Codori Barn as well as the McPherson barn.  (and have been eyeing up some of my wooden craft houses which are stories taller to make European townhouses - perfect for Napoleonics in 10mm!) These buildings will be literally perfect for playing games like Fire & Fury and Age of Eagles, with their large brigades of 15mm troops.  Played with 15mm scaled buildings on the table looks ridiculous and the McPherson Barn is literally 2 x Brigades long!  These will look much more in scale next to the long lines of troops.  Anyways these buildings are perfect and will still look perfect with 10mm troops.  I've begun painting this and I'm going to detail the windows, add a chimney and presto.  Sweney house circa 1863!  Will post pics when it's finished.

My next project was to make a clapboard house but I ended up making a more rural farmhouse modeled after very old farmhouses I've seen in the Appalachian mountains.  This will make a great AWI farmer's house or ACW farmer's house and smacks of "he built it with his own two hands".

cereal box timbers going up around the farmhouse

Each timber is 1/8" wide

Almost done!

basecoated and ready for paint.  You can just made out the fences and cornfield in the distance
I'm painting the farm house a more rustic brown dry brushed with a sun-worn grey green.  Once done, it's going to look awesome.  And speaking of awesome, no ACW battlefield is complete without fences.
making a shed load of these for ACW and AWI battles

I'm guarding these-here fences

some leftover felt and clump foliage - perfect for some small hedgelines or field borders if playing in 10mm or 6mm but they'll work great as small hedges in 15mm as well.

Ancients Update

Finally, an ancients update.  I've been slowly rebasing my 15mm Ancients for "Age of Hannibal" since it is one of the simplest looking Ancients games I've seen.  Happily, the 40mm squared base size will work perfectly for my Commands and Colors 2 inch hex mat games, and 2 of the 40mm squares adjoined will work for "Hail Caesar" and even "Soldiers of Rome".  My "blue" Legion is done and the "red" Legion is being based now.  I have hundreds of auxiliaries and lights to base, as well as archers and shirtless Gauls to paint up but the important thing is - the Ancients project has finally gotten underway!  

8 units based for Age of Hannibal

Finally, you can see what my Friday night plans consist of!  These fellows will have their feet soaking in water all night and will be rebased tomorrow on my standard 1" squares for Fire & Fury.

A small portion of what we have to rebase!  slowly but surely they're coming along.

So lots of activity and I wanted to post on what I've been up to around here.  A lack of posts definitely does not mean a lack of activity!  Lots of gaming goodness hopefully coming up even if it's solo!  Stay tuned.


  1. Crikey you’ve been and are going to be busy.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished results.

    1. I'm almost done with the Sweeney house. Will post results this weekend.

  2. The use of foam mats is interesting and perfect for pinning trees. Are you hills going to be made from the foam mat to? The scratch built fences and house are looking good.

    1. It has so far worked well, Peter. I am going to use insulation foam board to carve out hills and ridges to place under the mat.

  3. A good mix of stuff going on there:). The felt mat should like nice when you'ave added some colours to it to break it up a bit. I love the scratch built buildings and look forward to seeing them finished. I use 6mm buildings with my 10mm figures as they look 'right' when on the table.

    1. Cheers Steve I definitely haven't been idle! The work on the buildings is so much fun I'm wondering why I've never thought about doing this before.

      In one pic you can see a scaled 15mm barn and it's massive. Probably the length of 2 fire and fury brigades or almost 3 Altar of Freedom brigades or put another way - the size of a whole division!

  4. Excellent work sir!
    Love the idea of the 'pin trees' - will make for an excellent looking battlefield.
    Looking forward to the ACW action.

  5. You have not been idle, Steve! Every time I pass by those foam, interlocking mats at the store, I think, "those would make a nifty game table base." Good to see these in action. Rather than a foundation for a cloth, I was considering actually painting and flocking the mats, themselves. Not sure if that approach is practical. What do you think?

    1. Hi Jonathan! Good to hear from you. I think the foam tiles would work well being painted and flocked. The ones I bought would for sure. They're also fairly rugged and could stand up to abuse and would travel well.

  6. I find terrain modelling very therapeutic! Looking forward to seeing the finished article with blue & grey fighting over it. Or is that gray?

    1. hopefully you won't have to wait too long Jeffers! Hoping to get a game on the table soon.