Building Gettysburg in 15mm

Researching scenarios for Sharp Practice from the Gettysburg campaign, I came upon the stand made by the 45th NY during the retreat of XI Corps. Men from the regiment occupied buildings and backyards in the area of the Eagle Hotel and Christ Lutheran Church and fought to buy their comrades time to make it safely to Cemetery Ridge.

This would make a great scenario for Sharp Practice. However, it would need a lot of buildings. Call me crazy, but I decided I would go for it. It’s going to be a long-term project, especially as I want to scratch-build as many of the buildings as possible.

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This is the area I want to model on the table. I decided to start with Chambersburg Street, which is the big street leading to the West from the square. Fortunately, I found a historical photograph of the Southern side of the street:

ChambersburgStr

You can see the cupola of the Lutheran Church in the background.

My main material for building the houses is plastic sheet. I also used textured sheets and windows from model railway suppliers. The roofs are made with cardboard tiles – a time-consuming work, but it looks quite good, I think.

This is my view of Chambersburg Street:

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And here you can see the houses I have finished so far. These are two bases of three houses each. I decided not to base them single, because a common base ties them together better.

Here is a front and back view:

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I made a mistake with the George Arnold shop (the building on the corner), but I’m not sure if I want to build the whole thing again. Maybe, when everything else is finished, I’ll reconsider.

Next up is the Eagle Hotel, then some more houses and the Lutheran Church.

ACW Camp Scenes

I’m researching and preparing yet another scenario for Sharp Practice. This one is going to be about the Union cavalry raid on Port Republic during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in 1862. This was one of the few moments when the Union showed aggression and they almost managed to capture Stonewall Jackson himself.

The Union cavalry surprised the encamped Confederates, so I need some camp scenes for the game. I procured tents from QRF/Freikorp15 and stacked muskets from Irregular Miniatures. Incidentally, Irregular Miniatures have great stuff, but some of it is well hidden – the musket stacks are in the 15mm napoleonic section. Add a couple of crates and spare figures, and I had two camps.

 

As the Confederates were surprised, I wanted to convey frantic activity. In this scene, a drummer is beating the long roll while soldiers hurry to get into formation:

While tents look nice, I’m actually not sure the Confederates camped at Port Republic had them. Maybe they only had bedrolls and slept under the open sky like this guy:

sleeping

So I made another scene where I tried to model sleeping soldiers with green stuff. The results are, I have to say, somewhat mixed. But they look ok is looked at from a distance, like it is usually the case when actually playing a game.

It’s been fun making those scenes and I’m looking forward to testing the scenario.

Oh, also painted up the strange man himself – Stonewall Jackson from Peter Pig’s new range of ACW generals. I painted him in his old blue VMI coat, so this is a portrait from early in the campaign, which is strictly speaking not correct for Port Republic. But at least he is mounted on Little Sorrel!

swj

Building a Wizard’s Tower

One of the scenarios in the Sellswords & Spellslingers book demands a wizard’s tower. While there are several available to buy (from the plain Ziterdes keep to the formidable Tabletop World spire), I decided to scratch build my own.

The starting point was a box of pringles. I glued it unto another cardboard roll to, as I wanted to have it protrude from a rocky outcrop. The basis was provided by an old single record.

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For the rocky outcrop, I used blue foam and chunks of tree bark. The basis for a small secondary tower was formed by an empty toilet roll.

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The next step was to fill the holes and cracks with modelling clay (of the air-drying kind) and filler. I also made adoor for the small tower was made out of wood and a parapet for the top platform.

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I then added some details. First, cardboard brickwork to break up the surface of the tower. Second, an oriel made from yet another cardboard roll. Third, the door and windows. I bought those from Thomarillion, as I didn’t trust myself to scratch build nice enough ones. And last, I made protrusions beneath the parapet. They will later carry the Gargoyles, which I also ordered from Thomarillion.

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I then started to cover the whole structure with DAS air-drying modelling clay, an idea I got from Tony Harwood, who regularly uses this technique with great success.

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Before applying the modelling clay, I covered the surface with PVA glue, as the clay shrinks and may otherwise come off when dry. Looking good so far!

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The roofs were made out of cardboard cones, with small bits of cardboard for the tiles. This is a boring and mind-numbing work, but fortunately I’m used to it from other project and those roofs were actually rather small in comparison to some others I’ve made. The base was covered with sand and grit and PVA glue.

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Now there was only the painting to be done… and, after a couple of days, I had my final result – the wizard’s tower!

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On the Painting Table

CRISIS really gave me a motivational boost – I’ve been quite busy painting since coming back from Antwerp. One big bunch I could finish was the ACW artillery. I’m still working on bringing my ACW forces up to regimental level, so I needed a couple of guns.

This is what I have so far. The crews are mostly from Peter Pig, while the guns are from QRF/Freikorp15. I’ve ordered some more, so in the end I’ll have at least six guns for each side as well as a couple of limbers.

I’ve also touched up the river I bought from Products for Wargamers. I still have to put grass and lichen on the banks. I also knocked up a small bridge and a modular ford to go with the river.

Finally, the painting tray:

tray

In the back, you can see Union ‘enthusiastic soldiers’ from Old Glory – those are the ones I got at CRISIS. In the front rows we have Confederate soldiers at ease from Essex. Additionally, there are two ‘out of ammunition’ markers from Peter Pig.