Friday, 10 January 2014

Terrain for Dummies: Fences and Low Hedges

  Not all terrain has to be big or detailed like a building or bridge. It doesn't even have to provide any benefits or drawbacks in games (roads, railroad tracks, etc). Smaller pieces of terrain can help break up your tabletop if all you have is a smattering of buildings, some roads, and welcome mat wheat fields.

  Armed with some basic supplies, I set out to see what I could make. This post will cover fences and low stone hedges. Later posts will cover bocage, better ways to mass produce your terrain, how to get the most out of a welcome mat, sign posts, and whatever else you can suggest or I can think of.

  In the rural areas, there aren't a lot of fences, because if you mostly grow plants, you don't need to keep them contained. The piling up of stones tilled from the fields is a good enough demarcation between whose property is whose, or breaking up fields by crop. For the fences, I basically copied the dimensions of the ones in the Rural Basing Kit from Battlefront.


  So here's how we start. Again, with the index cards. I assembled toothpicks into a fence by sticking the vertical posts to the sticky side of some tape, and gluing the horizontal pieces on top of those. When it dries, you just carefully pull off the tape.

Quick materials list:

  • Toothpicks, flat ones. Mine were tapered so I trimmed them a bit to level out.
  • Tape
  • Index Card
  • PVA Glue 
  • Tongue depressors/craft sticks. 
  • Dirt from the backyard. I crush the clumps of soil  by hand, sift with an old window screen, and bake in the oven for at least an hour. The baking is to kill any bacteria left in the soil. I get enough large pieces to have rocks for project like this and really fine stuff for general basing.
  • Static grass, pretty much all GF9 with some of Woodland Scenics's Dead Grass (it's kinda green grey, actually)
  • Woodland Scenics Flowers


  This was the first hedge, and underneath the rocks is a bent piece of index card. It was pretty labor intensive, so for the later pieces I glued on wooden coffee stirrers. It helps massively to bevel the edges of these stirrers once you glue them together (two high does the trick). Using the coffee stirrers has the dded benefit of using less glue that comes in contact with the tongue depressor and adding some proper stiffness, lessening warping.

  Height seems right. In the end I snipped off the highest horizontal pieces and pulled the overall height down. The horizontal pieces now alternate 2-3-2 and so on. For future fences I might drop that down to 2-2-2. I'm not sure how I feel about the 2-3-2. Oh well.

Some painting and flocking later...


  Not bad! I really like it! I did trim the tongue depressor so it's narrower, which helps models get right up on the fence without sitting unevenly on the base of the fence. I'm still getting a hang of these Woodland Scenics flowers. The distribution of them is becoming an issue. I have always tended to apply basing materials in clumps. Always learning something new...





  Another thing I am learning about basing is that you need to be aware of the colors of the materials you're using. For this project, it's that I have used GF9's Spring Undergrowth everywhere, then applied clumps of a mix of my three main static grasses (WS's green grey one, GF9's Winter Dead & Static Green, which is comically green). They don't really show up well! I sprinkled some yellow flowers on them to help them pop. I added some clumps of GF9 Straw which showed up much more clearly, so those didn't get any flowers. 

  I can't help but feel like it could be cleaner. I don't have a static grass applier, not even via shaker. Perhaps it might be worth making one? I've seen tutorials, it just takes some will to get it done (and some simple solder work). I know I do need to figure out how to make grass clumps like MiniNatur's. 

  There you go! Overall these didn't take long at all despite doing trial and error on the best way to put them together. I reckon I could make a batch enough for one table in a solid afternoon's work. The hedges definitely took a lot less time than the fence. I know the pictures could be better, but I lost the memory card for my camera, so all I have that is convenient is the trusty mobile.