|Area of interest in red box|
As regular readers of my blog will know, I enjoy creating terrain. Initially it was terrain for my 28 mm Napoleonic games, here the look was important and the challenge was re-creating the look of historical battle fields but at the same time doing it in a footprint that allows battalion level gaming. Here buildings can not be scale to their footprint, but one has to try to preserve the vertical scale so the figures do not look like giants in comparison to the buildings, quite a challenge really.
I next moved on to some Dark Ages skirmish war gaming, pretty easy really, as there are few complex structures, so a few hovels and some trees on a terrain board will usually do. There are lots of 28 mm scale buildings available for this era.
Last summer, I finally decided to do some WWII skirmish wargaming with the introduction of the Chain of Command rules. I decided to do this in 20 mm as there was lots of affordable figures and vehicles, and I really did not want to spend the money or do the work of painting 28 mm figures. I was done with 15 mm figures (I had painted 2 North Africa armies and sold them), and they just do not do it for me in respect to skirmish wargaming especially with WWII. All the little figures have different weapons which I want to be able to see, so 20 mm seemed an ideal choice. And although the people who I game with use 15 mm figures, I do not regret my choice.
In the fall, I was introduced to the Skirmish Campaign books which are somewhat adaptable to Chain of Command and we have been lumbering along with a Eastern Front campaign that I have quite enjoyed. I had a look at the different books available from the company and decided to buy the Normandy, 44 Red Devils as well as the Finland-The Winter War books. Different reasons for this, but mostly to do with the fact I am from Canada and the Great White North. I wanted to do some battles with Canadian troops and I want to do some battles on a winter terrain. Logical..............right!
First up was Normandy, I had the German troops but minimal German vehicles and no Paratroopers, so the late fall was devoted to researching the manufacturers, acquiring the figures and painting them. I selected the 3 scenarios surrounding the Le Mesnil Crossroads, mostly because the terrain set up was the same for all 3 scenarios, and I could use very similar terrain elements for the final 4 scenarios in the book. I was told by one of my gaming colleagues that these scenarios were probably not easily adapted to Chain of Command. This does not really worry me as I am really not that rigid, and at the same time the campaign supplement At the Sharp End for CoC has been published. I am pretty sure I can get a good campaign from using the OB's and Support lists from the SC pamphlets, but using the actual scenarios from CoC in conjunction with the Campaign rules. I am sure it will all work out.
So on to the terrain, well I had to decide what was important. One thing I really have found difficult with our Soviet games (and this is certainly not a criticism) is that we did not use real terrain pieces. It was easy enough to remember that dark green felt is a heavy forest, but at the skirmish level the movement and line of sight is completely dependent on the well delineated terrain. I like WYSIWYG, easier said then done really, but I felt I would made a valiant effort. I looks around at a lot of blogs and a lot of terrain and came up with some ideas. I did want to stick with the terrain layouts as described in the SC pamphlets. Finally, I tried to make each terrain item functional in respect to skirmish wargaming. Less important to me was accuracy of the building and terrain items to Normandy. I did try though, but I suspect the buildings and walls as well as the fact that I have used a coniferous forest, may be a little off. Finally it had to be transportable.
Anyway on to the photos, the terrains in the 7 SC scenarios in the Red Devils book are designed for 15 mm vehicles and figures and are generally 2x3' or 2x4' in size, where I was using 20 mm figures, I felt it was pretty safe to go with the standard 4x6' CoC terrain board.
|Here is a dense forest, in CoC this is prevents vehicular traffic and is heavy going for movement. LOS out is restricted to 4". LOS within is 12". Making forests is a bit of a chalenge, I have some nice tree stands from Architects of War, but they really are not easy to transport. I have snapped off several of the plastic Woodland Scenics trees that come with the stands and it is a challenge to keep the foliage on them. I needed something more durable, these are Grand Central Gems, both fir and spruce I believe. They come in bags of 20 for $20, so not a bad deal. I have been sticking them directly into the styrofoam, but I wanted something a little more solid. Gale Force Nine has some nice terrain mostly for FoW, but I noticed that they used 3/16" rubber bases. I searched about and then thought of car mats, these are fairly flexible but durable rubber. So I bought one large truck mat and viola. I am quite happy how it worked. I terrained it first to match the rest of the mat and then forced small holes and fed through the trees, I pushed them through about 1/2" extra and this keeps it in place on the mat.|
|Here are two low crop fields, I used small pieces of Zuzzy Mats, which are a soft textured latex to make them. It is a great product, as I can turn these out quite quickly. Painted in raw umber, and subsequently drybrushed with a mocha and the a cream. The crops are from Tajima1 in the UK, they are sold as strips of different colours that are self adhesive. Really a suberb product with excellent service. These are the leafy green and golden yellow strips, the narrow strip in to the south of the farmhouse is their gorse bushes. They will be treated as rough ground for movement and vehicles will have to take a bogcheck upon entering. Infantry will have light cover. LOS is not affected.|
|A little better look at the wall around the garden. There is a gate that allows unimpeded infantry movement.|
|Looking from the west.|
|I really like how the forest came out.|
|A Canadian paratroop section with the SL.|
|You can see that the wall is a nice height.|
|Paratroopers with Piat waiting in ambush|
|German LMG team in soft cover.|
|German rifle team moving through open ground with JL.|
|Panzergrenadiers squad in SdKfz 251/1|
German SL's directing the troops.
|As a matter of interest, I was able to download this image from googlemaps. Most of the bocage gone I am afraid, and the walled farm is set back more from the road. But quite amazing how much is still preserved.|
This was a really enjoyable project and all in all I am quite pleased on how it came out. I am a little unsure about the height of the bocage, my research tell me 18-20', but I think the vertical scale here may be off visually. Any thoughts?
Well now on to the snowy fields, certainly a much less complex project.