Long Weekend! Operation: Make Terrain

The long weekend drought has officially ended with Labour Day bringing the deluge of weekend that we’ve all be craving! With my DAK painted up and ready for battle I set my sights on getting stuck in to making the terrain they’d be fighting over. Of course this did not occur. Instead I focused my energies on kicking off my Bolt Action terrain!

Why no FoW Terrain?

I had been considering doing terrain squares for my FoW North Africa board – an idea that was unfortunately scuttled via the prohibitive cost. Instead I settled on doing the usual: get a large MDF board, do stuff with that, making fully interchangeable terrain for a different battlefield every time. Problem: large MDF boards are large. One of the challenges of being blind is that you can’t drive. This can be Annoying at times. Although I can get to the nearest major shopping centre (including Bunnings) within 10minutes thanks to the train, lugging an 1800mm x 1200mm MDF board around isn’t very desirable. Although I did conscript my parents for taxi duty, their Nissan X-trail has just a fraction too little space to fit said board. And besides, they came up in dad’s work car (a sedan) instead.

So most of Saturday ended up being driving around buying things. Lots of things. Brushes, foamcore, balsa wood, MDF (3mm sheets for basing terrain), paint and extruded polystyrene (from Bunnings, Bunnings is the best) and more besides. Back at home I decided to get to work with the balsa wood (I buy the Balsa Basics – Balsa Sticks packs, $13.95 for I have no idea how many 150mm x 9mm 3mm thick sticks) and get started on my Eastern Front Bolt Action terrain.

The Plan

As usual my plan is in my head, but the basic idea is that I want a farming commune, fields, forests, hills and a railway line in the fully interchangeable fashion to make my 28mm Eastern Front battlefield. This follows exactly what I have for my Flames of War battlefield – with the addition of hills which are entirely lacking from my scenery collection at the moment. I decided to start with the buildings for the farming commune because I already have forests (though not very good), don’t want to start with the hills and don’t have what I need for a rail line.

For the commune I decided starting out with a few buildings (say two or three houses and a barn) plus some fence sections should see me in good stead. I decided to follow the style of my FoW buildings for the design – these will appear on my blog at a later date in AARs. Basically they’re a rectangular shaped building made of balsa wood with some empty spots for windows, a door and a removeable thatched straw roof. The buildings themselves are painted white.

The Results So Far

Saturday afternoon I only got a little bit of work in as I was going out for tea, then on Sunday I spent three hours Outside doing some “gardening”. Turning my kitchen table into a workbench (it usually is), I spent the rest of Sunday and all of Monday (9-6) I was making terrain. I’m very pleased with how thingsa re going so far – images below. I cut up some 3mm MDF bases and ended up with three for houses (two rectangular bases, one square – this was a mistake, but as with all mistakes I make when making wargaming things, I just rolled with it), one for a barn and four for fence sections. I ended up finishing all the buildings and two out of four fence sections. I’m yet to do the rooves for the houses though, something I’ll do this week after work, although with sanding the bases. I hope to be painting next weekend and if we’re lucky, finishing the set, at which point I will cut up the spare door mat I have and set it all up to marvel at my creation.


The bases, the back two were for houses, front left for another house with a fence around it or a shed or something and the front right for the barn. The thing ones are for the fences. I hope I didn’t need to point that out.


Partway through the construction of building one and the brave Soviets defend the work site.


Same shot as above, but from a higher angle. I stuffed this build up a bit, the wall in the left of the picture is about 5mm shorter than the one on the right. Not sure how that occurred, but we’ll live with it. Might make the roof a bit funny. The internal dimensions were supposed to be 80mm x 130mm. The doorway is 30mm wide, as are the windows on this building. The idea is that each house should be able to fight a unit or MG or other weapon team inside.


The first house with doors fitted.


The first fence section, our brave comrades are at the ready once more.


The second house less its door. I decided to change the window size to 20mm wide for this (and the third) house. I think it looks better. This house is also slightly larger, I think the internal dimensions are 70mm x 140mm.


The barn, less its roof. The top section is separate from the bottom. I placed two bits of balsa on the underside of the loft so that they site inside the ground floor, so that the loft can’t be knocked off. They don’t fit completely snug, but that was intentional so that things didn’t become too snug when the building was painted. There are doors on three sides to the barn: left and right of image; as well as the large double door.


The barn roof. For my FoW barns the removable roof is just the slats section. I was going to do this, but changed my mind because I’ve never been too happy with how the rooves fit for my FoW barns. Instead I made it so the top section of the loft would be removable, leaving two rows of balsa (as seen in the image above) so that things still looked “right” if the roof was left off during gaming (two rows is perfect barrier height). To make the A frame I glued together my sticks, then did the magic with the protractor to mark 45 degree slopes, because drawing these in and cutting the excess wood off, leaving me with triangle wall sections. Next I found through trial and error the best thing to do was to cut and glue all my slats together, then back these with two balsa sticks, making sur the slats overhung the sticks by a small margin. Finally I glued the completed slate sections to the triangle walls.


Another shot of the completed barn. A very sneaky Soviet has made his way in to pick off the facists already! The loft is high enough for standing models, but the idea is for it to mainly be used as a sniper or machine gun nest.


The farming commune so far. I forgot to take pictures of the house on the square base, but basically it has internal dimensions of 80mm x 130mm with 20mm wide windows. I ended up going with just a some fencing out the front. Perhaps it would have been better with an additional door on the other side, making it the front, then fully enclosing the rear area in for a garden, but I’m still happy with it. I still need to do the other two fence sections, then I will do the rooves for the houses, then sand the bases. Next weekend I hope to be painting these up ready for combat.


Another shot of the farming commune as it stands so far.

I’m very pleased with my progress and am really looking for ward to getting these done so I can give Bolt Action a whirl. A highly productive and fun long weekend!

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