Making generic earthworks

The Cerignola game stuff is nearing completion; even the last of the Gendarme types are almost finished. One job I was not looking forward to, was making 12" of earthworks to add to the ones I already have. Making them is not a problem, as they are easy enough to construct. But, I'm adding them to ones I've had for a while and I have to make the old and new blend in. This is never easy: I tend to use cheaply bought (heavily discounted) artists acrylics and odds and sods household emulsions for terrain, and when used up it gets replaced with something similar but, not usually the same.

Anyway, I have taken a few shots of my 'generic earthworks' to show how I made them. They are easy to construct and they are also quite cheap - which puts them into the scope of most gamers.

Firstly, making 12" of earthwork seemed a bit silly. Earthworks are so quick and simple to construct that you might as well make a batch of pieces. I had 16 resin gabions in the locker, so I laid them out next to a tape measure and worked out the length of earthwork I could manufacture from them. It worked out at 36 inches (3 'long' sections).

This is a lot of earthwork for 16 gabions - but I cheat the cost.
After gluing the gabions back towards one edge (see pic above), singly and in pairs, to a strip of 2mm MDF (35mm wide), I cheat the cost by gluing a piece of card in the space between the gabions.

Note: The wide side of the MDF strip will be the front of the earthwork and the narrow side will be the back (defender's) side.

Note: Each strip starts and ends with a gabion. They make the section joins 'disappear'.
To the back (defender's) side of the card I stick horizontally laid lengths of wooded barbecue skewers. (I cut the skewer to length with wire snips). Then I add some vertical 'holding posts'. This is where the cost savings are made - wooden skewers and card are as cheap as chips and look perfectly acceptable as 'barricade' when finished.

At this point I undercoated everything with dark brown artists acrylic.

Next I added the 'earth' to the front of the breastwork. For this I used terracotta Daz modelling clay. It air drys, doesn't shrink much (hardly at all), is strong and durable when set, and is cheap - I used half a 500g pack that I picked up, from ebay, for £3 including postage for this job.
Once dry I used PVA to texture the clay with sand and grit.

Then I painted the lot with acrylics, acrylic ink, and household emulsions. I added a few patches of flock for more texture and colour - Bob's your uncle, 3 foot of generic 16th to mid 19th Century earthworks.
Getting them to match with the old sections - 8 out of 10? Perhaps I'll leave you to be the judge. BTW, the mid section is the old stuff.

There is another difference between old and new that will not be immediately apparent. The basing uses a different material - the old basing is perspex from an old shower screen, alas, now all used up. Old shower screen, now, those were the days......


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