Tag Archives: trees

Trees in 30 minutes!

I had an email a couple of weeks back about the trees in my games.

I know I posted a blog a few years back but thought I would do a quick one, again.

Step One – Find Trunks

I do not spend hours making wire armatures, i don’t have the time or the patience.

I am lucky enough to have a  Rhododendron (I think), my wife is the gardener. When pruned, I keep the cuttings to make tree trunks. The stem/branch has just the right look of a fully grown tree.                  

Stage Two – Help Them Stand

In my last article I glued the trunk to a large washer. Now I tend to drill the base of the trunk and glue in a nail or spear wire. They are small enough not to leave too visible a mark on the terrain tile. I just fill the drilled hole with cheap superglue and push in the wire/nail. It also helps during the construction. I normally have a piece of polystyrene sheet handy to stick them in like a production line.

Stage Three – Foliage

Get your “Rubberised Horse Hair” and cut circles out of it. Mine are normally about 3″ or 75mm in diameter but do not worry if they are not a perfect circle or 3″.  Then pull the layers that make up the Horse hair apart.

Take these de-laminated layers and glue them to the trunk. Keep adding the layers until you have a foliage you like. This is why size and shape do not matter too much.

I bought recently a brilliant rechargeable glue gun for a few pounds at a “budget” supermarket. Not having the wire really helps. It takes five minutes to charge before you can use it.

Stage Four – Leaves

What ever show I go to I look around for cheap scatter material. At the last show there was someone selling bags of home made scatter (coloured sawdust) 4 for a £1. I never worry too much about colour matching I just throw it all together for this type of use. I put all the scatter in a carrier bag inside a bin. the picture is not great but the scatter fills a Christmas sweet tin in size.

Next get some spray glue and wearing a glove on my left hand, I hold the trunk while screening the trunk from over-spray apply the glue until it foams white. I tend to only spray the tops. This leaves the underside bare and I think it looks more like branches.

I then transfer the tree to my right gloved hand to immerse in the scatter material. The fresh gloved hand stops scatter sticking to the over-sprayed glove. Shake off the excess back into the bin and you have a tree.

There you have it.

In 30 minutes I made 8 trees. I worked out the cost to be about £6 for all 8. This size of tree is usually on sale for about £10-12 pounds each at shows, so give it a go and save a fortune.

The dearest part is the Rubberised hair but I have had a 6×4 sheet from a local upholsterers, for a while now and it is still going strong. I make my trees large but  if you like smaller, then smaller trunks mean smaller diameter circles. Here are some 28mm ECW for scale with the rest of the trees.

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Pegasus Bridge 1940 Part 3 – Legionary Show, Exeter

I may be a little biased but my local show Legionary is a great show. I do not think any one thing makes it great but what I do think helps is:

Trader Variety – too many other shows have multiple traders selling similar items. This is not too much of an issue at large shows but at small shows it is annoying. While this can be good for a buyer i.e. bartering, the rest of us wish an alternative supplier attended. I guess the trader is not too happy either as his profit margin gets hit.

Good games – good coverage of eras with good quality figures and terrain. New games appear every year, not just same games rehashed.

Good Parking – Not many shows where you can unload your game from the car at the table! For visitors plenty of level, free parking and only a 45 min walk from a park and ride.

Helpers – loads of people on hand to help and the start and end of the show.

Food – Fantastic canteen facilities run separately and professionally  Great hot and cold food served nearly all day at great prices.

 

The Game.

As usual, living only 5 minutes drive away I was there on time and with the help of Steve, Laurie  and Nathan the game was set up and we broke for a well deserved breakfast.

The format we normally have at shows were we have put a game on  is a bit of wargaming and a bit of shopping while trying to keep an eye on the bring and buy, with at least one of us at the table to answer any questions.

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The scenario was based on the Pegasus bridge raid of 44 in reverse, with Homeguard units holding key bridges from invading Fallschirmjager who once they have captured the bridges have to hold them against British reinforcements while holding out for German reinforcements.

The Germans landed and luckily the homeguard were on the ball, and first thing they did was race to the bridge control room and raise the bridge. There was a vicious exchange of fire and the homeguard started to receive a few casualties. They held on for a few more turns before having to retire.

The British reinforcements started to arrive but almost immediately so did the German ones. This caused a panic in the British as the first lot  of Germans appeared on the same table end as the British having made good time from Exmouth beach, while others appeared at the other end having traveled from Dawlish. The only thing stopping them linking up was the bridge still be up! A group of Germans tried to board the boat and cross the canal. A yes/no/maybe dice was rolled and unfortunately Jerry could not start the boat. No worries, as a unit in rubber boats came up  the canal and storming the control room they managed to lower the bridge.

The British reinforcements made slow progress though the town as Pz IIs were now arriving. The British Matilda even had to contemplate with a 5th columnist Policeman attempting to destroy it with a sticky bomb. He was soon dispatched with a burst of MG fire.

The game was eventually declared a Minor British victory as the Germans were either being pushed back or lacked reinforcements being unable to grab anymore ground. That said though, they had managed to hold on to the beaches!

A big thank you to Steve for the canal and Laurie for a last minute painting effort for the dinghies and lorry passengers. Cheers GUYS.

Many people stopped and chatted and a few were surprised that the bridges we based this game on were used to practice the Pegasus raid  and that they were only a mile from the show.

 

Everything else was from my own collection.

Buildings – Charlie Foxtrot, Sarissa or Homemade.

Trees and Hedges – Homemade. see blog elsewhere.

Figures – Mainly Foundry with a few Artizan, Blacktree and Warlord.

Vehicles – Tamiya, Frog, Stronghold, Blitzkrieg, Blacktree and homemade (Beaverette MKIV).

Rules – House rules. They need a little refining so may be uploaded soon.

 

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

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Filed under British, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Dad's Army, Demo game, German, Legionary Wargame Show, Sarissa Models, Traders, Uncategorized, Wargame Rules, Wargame Shows, Warlord, World War 2

Legionary 2016 – Pegasus 1940 Part 2

Legionary 2016 is now only a week away (30th April 2016). Therefore I have started to pack away my game, ready for the show.

Here are a last few pictures before the show.

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Filed under British, Dad's Army, German, Legionary Wargame Show, Scenarios, Wargame Shows, World War 2

Legionary 2016 – Pegasus 1940 Part 1

With my local show on a few months away it was time to reveal to the boys what I intend to put on for them to play.

The show is only a mile a mile away as the crow flies and to get to it I have to cross a couple, a River bridge and a Canal bridge.

Here is a picture of the canal swing bridge and in the background is a bascule type bridge (I cross this coming back from the show). The reason I am interested in them is that in 1944 the swing bridge and the river bridge where used in training for the Pegasus Bridge assault.

CaptureRiver BridgePlaque

This got me thinking and as a lot of people have done a Pegasus bridge based wargame scenario I started to think about Operation Seelowe (Sea-lion) and the possible importance these bridges may have played if the Germans had come ashore on the Devon coastline. In fact we have two large flat beaches (Dawlish Warren and Exmouth) with a few miles. Both are either side of the estuary and for the forces to link up they would need the bridges.

Below are a few shots of the planned game so far. Still plenty to do as well as a set of display rules to write.

Infantry -Home guard are Foundry with Heavy  Support Weapons ( Northover Projector, Spigot Mortar, Smith Gun) and Beaverette from Stronghold Miniature. I have also scratch built a Standard Mk III Beaverbug version. Regular infantry are Warlord. Germans are mostly Foundry with a few Blacktree with some additional heavy weapons from Artizan Designs.

Vehicles – Vickers, Matilda and Panzer 38T tanks(all metal) old Blitzkrieg Miniature now Warlord, I think. Panzer II are old Frog Fumen kits. Kubelwagon is Corgi, Opels and Styre? Unknown.

Buildings – Mainly Charlie Foxtrot and Sarissa with some unknown and some scratch built. River Bridge is a Hovel.

Tree and Hedges  – Scratch built

Boat – Scratch built

More pictures will follow as items get completed.

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Filed under British, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Dad's Army, German, Legionary Wargame Show, Scenarios, Wargame Shows, World War 2

July 4th Game. It can only be AWI – Guilford Courthouse

Well from the date I should have been prepared. But it was only the night before our game day when Nathan  point out the date and why were we doing a Napoleonic game?

With only a few hours notice I came up with the following interpretation of Guilford Courthouse.  I would never normally use unpainted figures but we just did not have enough painted for all units. So please accept my apologies.

The Battle of Guilford Court House was fought on March 15th, 1781.

This battle at first sight could look a hard or pointless one to play. The British with 1900 men compared to the American 4500. I like this battle as it really pushes the British player and their choice of tactics. The vast amount of the American force was militia! That said, they are behind fencing with support on the flanks and to the rear. All that was asked of them was 3 shots and then they could retire. More importantly Nathanael Greene had taken some advice and positioned a few chosen men behind the militia with orders to shoot the first to run, at least until they had fired their three!

The British really only had one way to attack. Up the main road, hoping to clear the 3 defensive lines of Americans without losing too many themselves.

Historically

The battle raged for around two hours with progress being slow due to the heavy amounts of hand to hand required to clear the fences with the bayonet!  Greene decided his mainly Militia force should retire to fight another day and ordered his troops to disengage and retire. This gave the British the ground and the victory but it was at too heavy a cost. The British had received  nearly 25% casualties not enabling  Cornwallis to effect a pursuit.  Greene managed to retreat his army nearly in tact with less than 5% casualties.

Cornwallis did not/could not pursue Greene’s army. Instead, Cornwallis abandoned his campaign for the Carolinas and led his troops towards Virginia and Yorktown. There they were besieged by a joint force of American and French and after 3 weeks on Oct 19th 1781, Cornwallis was forced to surrender.

Our game

The figures are  Perry and Foundry. From both Nathan and my own collections.

Fields are a cut up doormat from Homebase, evening before. One made all the fields and only £8.99

Snake fences from Treefella on eBay

Trees mostly home made with a few from K&M – see earlier blog on how I made them.

Courthouse is really North American PLANTATION/ TOWN HOUSE w. PORCH from Arcane Scenery and Models – not sure if they are the manufacturer. This was finished this morning!

We used our favourite rules for this period ” Field of Honor” the AWI version. If you ever see a copy pick them up they are good even if someone should have spent a bit of time proof reading as sometime they miss the odd word out. They also come with a full campaign set of rules and 2 large colour fold out map and counters to replay a number of scenarios. We have added a few house rules which can add a little more what ifs.

Being honest the game played out pretty much like the real thing. Sniping from the American riflemen caused the British to slow down until they realised that they had to clean them which they did, though at a cost. The 1st line of militia held up well and managed to cause a few casualties before in one turn it all went wrong. One of the militia units took a hit and because I had given the first line a shaken status I rolled a one and off they went. Unfortunately a couple other units saw them go and decided to follow! Their command and even Greene himself tried to rally them but nothing was stopping them.

The British moved on to the second line and after a firefight with no clear winner they went in with the bayonet. This had the desired effect of clearing some of the second line but it was at a cost to high for the British commander to consider tackling the 3rd line. I like Greene retire my forces having sent a commander on what must have been a thoroughbred racehorse to catch and stop the militia.

You will find the map, combined OOB and record sheet and some options on representing the Militia.

We are glad we tried this scenario and cannot wait to try it again.

Option1.

In this game I started the 1st line, militia as shaken. This will help replicate the shakiness of them. If you want to replicate the above use of regulars, encouraging  them to stand and fire three, then they could start the game as Steady

Option 2.

Fire three rounds.

Tempted to fire three and retire. Check morale of the militia as soon as a British unit becomes visible to them. On a fail, the unit fires regardless of the range. Pass and they don’t fire. Check every turn. Once they have fired the three:

    • Their morale automatically drops to shaken

Or

    • They test morale with a -1 for having fired their 3 rounds. This could remain in throughout the remainder of the game . They are just itching to get away.

Guilford Courthouse game mapGuilford American OOBGuilford British OOB

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Filed under American war Independence, Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Fields of Honor, Scenarios, Wargame Rules

Taking A Break From The War of the Roses

I have to admit that I have finally had enough painting War of the Roses figures. In the last month I have painted and based over a 100 figures.

So to forget it all on Saturday myself and Nathan had a game of AWI. This was the first AWI game for Nathan.

We used Field of Honor war game rules with a few house rules. We allocate a playing card to each Commander and one for the end of the turn. Plus a few others which I will detail if interested in a later blog.

FOH AWI RulesThe Forces

These were basically what ever I had on the shelf. AWI is a new period for me so I do not have too much, yet!

Americans

CinC

Brigade commander No1 had 3 Battalions of State Militia, 1 Battalion of Green Militia and a Medium Gun

Brigade commander No2 had 2 Battalions of State Militia and a unit of Continental dragoons.

 

The British

CinC

Brigade commander No1 had 1 Battalion of line,  1 combined light infantry battalion, 1 Battalion of Grenadiers and a Medium Gun

Brigade commander No2 had 3 Battalion of line and 1  light infantry company( skirmishers).

 

Scenario.

If you can call it one was a meeting engagement. I threw down some terrain boards, lined the roads with Picket fence, A plantation house and some trees. Both sides deployed and………………..

 

Battle Report

Turn One.

Brit No.2 commander is drawn – All units deployed to the left of the road with the light infantry company racing out in front having spotted a brigade of Americans through the trees.

Brit No 1 commander is drawn – Units deploy to the right hand side of the road.

American  No.1 commander starts to deploy troops to the left of the road.

American No.2 commander started to march his troop along the connecting road.

American CinC – With his command range he manages to reactivate both junior commands. They carry on as before except the artillery which deployed last move decides to fire at the Grenadiers. They roll 3 D10 needing a score of 7 to hit (Base score is a 5 to hit  but -1 off the die for Smoothbore artillery and another -1 for the long range ( 38″)). I rolled 2/8/9. Therefore two possible hits. Nathan needs a 5+ to save, he rolls a 2 + 2 A class =4 =Casualty and a 5 +2=7= saved.

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British skirmishers move to occupy the woods

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British left flank

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Americans coming down the road to meet up at the house

 

End of turn card – All units that have not been activated may fire.

Turn 2

American commander 1 is drawn and this enable his 2 lead units to advance up to the fence. Artillery fires again at the Grenadiers but no effect this time.

British Commander 2 light infantry company advance a take a shot at the continental dragoons. ( House rule – Skirmishers can make a half move and fire). They inflict a casualty on the dragoons.

American CinC He allows the commander 1’s infantry now lining the picket fence to fire at the line and grenadiers. The State militia manage to inflict a casualty on the line and an even better surprise was the two hits inflicted upon the grenadiers by the Green militia. Unfortunately for me, Nathan managed to save one of them and avoid losing completely the grenadier battalion. This certainly made him nervous. there was a counter artillery fire where a casualty was inflicted on the British crew. This reduced them to two strength points but more importantly meant they could only roll two dice in attack. American commander no.2 is in command range of the C in C so he gets all his units to right turn. This enable the infantry to have soft cover from the fence and enable the cavalry to think about chasing off the annoying skirmishers.

End of Turn – All units that have not been activated may fire. British right wing (No.1 have a fire but not a single hit.

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American right turn to face the threat in the woods

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Turn 3

American C in C – I unleash all the fury my side can muster. Unfortunately with no damage. I roll a D6 for the Dragoons to clear the fence and the lose 6 ” of movement so they move 2″ in total. A state regiment sent to support the dragoons only lose 1″ and so move 5″ towards the British left flank.

End of turn – The British right inflict a casualty on each unit with the centre left taking two and me not saving any. They are removed from play. I have to admit that I do not feel so sure of a victory. The British skirmishers inflict another casualty on the dragoons and the artillery hit the American artillery causing a single casualty.

 

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British skirmishers fire on the Dragoons

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American left flank

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British left

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American left receiving fire and casualties

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American advancing on the British having negotiated the fence

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American left with a gap!

Another three turns and it was all over. I retreated my troops from the field leaving the British in charge. I had ended up losing my dragoons, artillery and a state militia unit while the British only lost their artillery.

 

Conclusion

A fantastic time was had by all. The ebb and flow of the battle was great and we thought very realistic. Rules played ideally and we will probably borrow the morale and charge rules from the bigger 19th century version.

Nathan had the rules off to a tee with in two turns. Both agreed that they will be ideal for the bigger games we would like to put on. It also meant that as we sat and reviewed the 19th Century version and spotted the ACW I think it may be an era I may go back into again for the 3rd time!!!!!!!

 

Info

Figures are from my collection and are Foundry and Perry.

Fencing is from Treefella on ebay. Great value if you don’t have time to spare to make it yourself.

Trees are home made.  They are cheap and easy to make.Please check out earlier blog. https://gcooksonblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/how-to-make-trees/

The plantation house was from Arcane Scenery and Models. Great model that goes together well.

 

Next

Like most pleasures there is now a period of guilt! Back to the War of the Roses.

 

 

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Filed under American war Independence, Fields of Honor, Gallery, Scenarios, Terrain, Uncategorized, Wargame Rules

How to make trees

Well, today I  have been very productive. Over a 3 hour period I have made 8 trees.

This is how I did it.

I had some Rhododendron off-cuts that had dried out.

These off-cuts are great as the hard wood growth from last year is a silver colour and has a texture just like bark

These off-cuts are great as the hard wood growth from last year is a silver colour and has a texture just like bark.

From a couple of off-cuts I have made 8 tree trunks.

8 trunks all different shapes and styles. bottoms cut square. Figure for scale and is a large 28mm Knight from 1st Corps

8 trunks all different shapes and styles. bottoms cut square. Figure for scale and is a large 28mm Knight from 1st Corps

I next use a hot glue gun to glue the trunks to what are called penny washers. The glue hardens in minutes but if you don’t have a glue gun then use a 2 part epoxy glue and leave overnight to fully set.

In my case a cup of tea later.

here the trunks have been glued to the washers.

here the trunks have been glued to the washers.

Start to tare up the horse hair in to odd shapes and sizes. To make these trees I used less than 1 square foot from my 6×3 sheets. About £1.60 or 20p a tree!

Here I have ripped a couple of pieces for a tree. Ready to be glued on.

Here I have ripped a couple of pieces for a tree. Ready to be glued on.

Fire up the glue gun and place a large dollop on the end of each branch and push the horse hair on like candy floss. If not sure  practice first.

Trees with horse hair glued on.

Trees with horse hair glued on.

Tip. You can add extra layers to increase height rather than glue a single large clump on.

Spray the top and sides of the hair with spray glue. This can be messy and you need to avoid getting any on the trunk. I use an old washing glove to hold and mask the trunk when spraying. I leave the underside the natural colour as I think it looks like the branches.

Once sprayed with free hand sprinkle over the top your flock. I use a mix of greens from many suppliers that I pick up at shows or railway model shops (Cheaper than high street traders).

Leave to dry – couple cups of tea.

Trees all sprayed and sprinkled with flock

Trees all sprayed and sprinkled with flock

Paint the washers with PVA and dip in grit. I use bird grit available from any good pet store, again at a fraction of the cost of any high street games shop.

Bird grit

Bird grit

PVA applied and dipped in grit.

PVA applied and dipped in grit.

Once dry, after a couple of cups of tea, I  paint the bases to blend in with my wargame surface.

I painted mine chocolate brown, dry brushed and added a little flock.

Here they are in all their glory.

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Please have a go. Not only is it enjoyable, surprisingly easy but will give you great results at a fraction of commercially available trees.

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