Thursday, December 30, 2010

Special Guest Blogger: Don't Try This at Home, Kids!

Happy Thursday ladies and gentlegeeks. It is I, the prodigal second born offspring of the recalcitrant author of this publication. I have shanghaied this scripture for my own devious purposes. As some of you may or may not know, I am known for being somewhat extravagant in my modelling escapades, and my current adventure is no different.

I seek to model the exploits of the illustrious Canadian Corps during the later stages of the Great War on the Western Front, in all its muddy, bloody, grimy filth. Months ago, I received several packs of Old Glory First World War Germans and British. I at once set to work completing these wonderful figures as prototypes and I was quite happy with the results:
Stormtrooper Hun, complete with camouflage sturmhelm

Johnny Canuck going over the top

After completing this initial batch of Canucks and Huns, I spent the next few months pondering what sort of battlefield they would combat over. I initially considered modelling the Hundred Days campaign. For any of you historic laymen, this was the period during the autumn of 1918 wherein the Canadian Corps and the rest of the Allied armies advanced at an astronomical pace. The attraction of this option is that the terrain would not be the depressing mud and drudge of the trenches, but the quaint farmland of northern France. I disgarded this thought as quickly as it came to mind. Trenches are much cooler [Dave: cooler? really? no, really?].

I decided upon a total of eight 2'x2' terrain boards. The attraction of terrain boards is that the trenches can be dug down into them, rather than standing up awkwardly upon the tabletop. I slated this gargantuan task to be completed over my Christmas break, when I would be able to utilize the facilities of a certain elderly gentleman [Dave: ouch, that hurts!].
Pristine trenches awaiting destruction
Now, the actual construction of this behemoth project. I cut the trench pieces out of 1" insulation foam, and then glued this onto another slice of aforementioned foam. This allowed me to go deep into the bowels of my miniature trench-scape to place dugouts, craters, and tunnels. This double foam combination became a ply with MDF particle board on the bottom, creating a much more durable terrain board.

The attraction of trench warfare is the churned up, shell shattered battle-scape, but it also the largest challenge. How does one create a modular terrain board system out of foam that is naturally rigid? How does one create chaos out of order?

The answer is FIRE!!!
My trusty sidekick and I proceeded to use a diabolically curious combination of spray paint, blow torch, and soup ladle to create the lunar-like no-man's-land of 1918.
Our "souper" heated ladle
The fumes were completely harmless, I swear.
Next time, I delve into the art of smegma-ing the trench boards to create a realistic smeg-tastic no-man's-land!


  1. Hey Daniel,

    Those boards are looking good! btw, another technique I forgot to mention for edging was to use Carpenters glue and put a few cats along the edges. it won't take a beating, but it will stop all those annoying nicks and scratches that plague the boards at the club. you could also try mixing in a bit of Durabond 90. the combination seems to be slightly more elastic then glue itself, but less likely to crumble chip like durabond 90. most importantly, it won't change the width of the board like lining it with MDF/plywood will.

    Keep up the good work D00d!

  2. Looks exciting! I hope to see these at Hotlead!