I'm a very lucky man. Guy Barlow and Ken Marshall have been plotting with me (to keep us a bit sane during lockdown since last October's Battle of Ellenbach ) on what to do this year. Rules for post lockdown get togethers were unclear till late February so we planned a cautious approach at first. We settled on a weekend in late May for the three of us to have a game on each day but we'd use the same hills, road and river basics of a sculpted battlefield and just change the add-ons - buildings, woods etc. The aim was to minimise the time taken to change the scene to give more gaming time (Oh, well to be honest, I mean more time for a leisurely dinner and drinks at the The Butchers Arms which will be fully open by then!)
|Our eventual battlefield for The Battle of Brampton|
Guy was first in with a great suggestion to try a "what if?" scenario based on the idea that Prince Charlie's rebel, sorry loyal Jacobite, Army marched out of Carlisle to meet an approaching Government force under General Wade somewhere near the village of Brampton in late November 1745. He characterised the little town as being in a moorland of undulating hills with some "scrubby trees" and the odd farm. Not much to go on but all I needed to get the creative juices flowing. I checked Google maps round Brampton for some clues and ground level photos and found there were some rivers and streams there but I had to use imagination to place the hills to be useful to us in a game. So I came up with this sketch map. Apologies to any readers who know the area - but this is 276 years ago - that's my excuse!
|Plan for the 8 foot x 6 foot table|
|Choosing from my stock of brown hills|
|My driveway is a nice place to "work" with native logs and|
antique weights. All the materials would have been sent to recycling
if I hadn't used them, I didn't buy anything but the glue.
|This shows a cross section - wooden batten at edge supporting 2 or 3 |
overlapping layers of cardboard smoothed out with brown packing paper
stuck with PVA glue in my usual papier mache style.
|I measured a rough grid from the map and drew in the features to scale with marker pen. Then added the hills to show where they go. Ex Falklands War shell case used as a weight now (courtesy of my nephew Mark, ex Royal Anglia Regiment)|
|Now using thin acrylic paint to secure the locations|
|Later a coat of Acrylic Gloss Varnish on the water.|
The first of about 4 or 5 coats laid over successive days
|While the gunge was drying off I went along the roads with two coffee stirrers to leave wagon ruts. When dry they were scraped back down with a neat Surform tool. The same scraper can be used to get rid of any awkward irregularities over the whole surface.|
|Smoother patches, much scraped, for the bases|
of Built Up Areas (BUAs)
|Over half covered now. I use an old plastic kitchen sieve to grade the sawdust or other crumbly bits of texture|
|All covered and you can see the rough toothbrush-stippled effects, particularly at bottom left where it is still a bit wetter and darker. I have blended the brown hills in to be less obtrusive.|
|Now the detailed areas need attention|
|Very useful marsh tuffs from such as Warlord Games |
bring the Marshy Beck to live up to its name
|A mixture of sawdust and commercial woodland floor scatter|
helps to mark out the woods......
|.....and dried tea leaves for the more organised farmyard "mud".|
Multiple shades of commercial foliage scatter on the banks help
bring the beck alive
|Quarry Beck got an extra special helping of small stones, |
dry brushed with off-white highlights. You can see my standard
green board still intact under this special moorland one
|Difficult artistic choices now. This is a yellow ochre acrylic dry brush|
mixture for selected areas, but I also added lighter highlights
of different sympathetic tones all over the surface to unite the features
and help cover irregularities
|The hills have come out a browner shade, which is good for game purposes and still fit in to the overall effect|
|These three photos help you get down nearer the water level. It's at this point I try hard not to|
imagine I'm following the charming Julia Bradbury on one of her TV Pennine hikes!
|Above and below: The finished terrain with trees and buildings added|
|The buildings are just out of the toy box for the sake of illustration, most will be replaced by Guy's own Scottish-style crofts. The trees I made specially, more on them later.|
|I had now got far enough to take some birds eye view photos for Guy to use as our player map. Really looking forward to it, he has made me the Jacobite player and I can't say more at the moment, Ken may be watching!|
|Guy's border country stone cottages will look the perfect thing on the day.|
In the next post I will be showing how I'm converting this basic terrain for Ken's Imagi-nations SYW game and how I did the trees for both different terrains.
PS> I joked about Julia Bradbury but a bit of idle curiosity led me to this JB Cumbria walk - mind you that is Summer in the northern hills - brrrr!