Sunday, January 31, 2016

'Defensive Terrain' from MilesR - 'A Redoubt of Doubtful Merit'

Submitted for your review is this humble redoubt and a handful of Napoleonic figures for the Defensive Terrain bonus round.  It's meant to represent a fortified position from the 16th century up to the American Civil War.  This model is based on an artillery emplacement near Washington DC.   The first picture is a scene from the War of 1812 with a US regiment and gun trying to hold back a concentrated assault of the Royal Marines and the dreaded 95th rifles - desperate times indeed.  I kept the figure painting to a "minimum"to not detract from the fort itself

 Of course I didn't paint any of the figures in the first picture for this year's Challenge - had you going there a few seconds!

For the challenge, I did build the fort and painted up a Napoleonic French Artillery battery in the 28mm scale.  The figures are Perry metals and I've had them in the lead pile for at least 5 years.

 I'll detail how the fort was constructed a bit later.  It's overall footprint is 1 foot square and is designed to hold either a three gun artillery battery or an 8-10 stand infantry unit.

 I've left the details inside the fort (equipment and supplies) sparse for two reasons - (i) to allow for better movement of troop stands and (ii) allow the fort to be used for different time periods.

 Some of my artillery pieces are to low to peak out over the top so I built some platforms to raise them a bit - think of them as artillery booster seats.

 The positioning of the obstacles (technically referred to as "pointy sticks") was done to both look good and facilitate holding troops stands in place during those critical assault moments.  Sharp angles and troops stands often don't mix well.

Unlike a lot of gamers, I find terrain making to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby and am really grateful for Curt including some in this year's Challenge.
 The fort started out as 1" thick extruded "pink" foam.  I used a proxxon hot wire cutter for the job and really recommend  you get one if you build a lot of terrain with foam.  I cut one 12 inch x 12 inch piece and 3 1x1 inch by 12 inch long sections for the upper level - one was an extra in case I screwed up and I needed it.
 I then cut a 45 degree angle along the sides of all the pieces and dry fitted the pieces in place.  The access ramp was also cut out and then angled by hand and there you go - the basic structure of the fort is done and awaiting pinning and glueing.

The next step involved a lot of cut match sticks to make the platform and sides and when I say "a lot", I mean A LOT.  Kind of tedious but I think it looks good and also really helps with stability.

Once the platform had set, the next step is to add "dirt".  The ground cover is a mix of tile grout (2/3) and white glue (1/3) which when dries becomes really durable.  I use a standard pre-mix "flexible" tile grout.  The flexible part is important - if the covering is too rigid you'll get chipping.  Once try, I can hit the piece with a hammer and not get any noticeable damage.  Make a few pieces of terrain you learn real quick that durability is an extremely important design feature.

Paint and add ground flock to taste.  Given the size of the project, I use craft paints and my ground flock mix to match my existing terrain board.  The "pointy sticks" are wooden kabob skewers that are sharped on both ends and push/glued into the foam.  Several orders of lamb an chicken kabobs had to be consumed to finish this project - that's the type of sacrifice I am willing to make for you, dear reader.

Honestly, I had so much fun making this I'll probably build a few more after the Challenge. Hmmm Curt perhaps we can consider a mini two week terrain challenge during the summer???????

Just to be clear, scoring wise there is just the fort, 6 28mm artillery crewman and 2 guns.


  1. This took some serious skill to build and it turned out brilliantly. All those matchsticks-holy cow! You must have the patience of a Saint.

    Beautiful work Miles!

  2. Nice piece Miles. I'm envious of your foam cutter sir!

  3. I like how figure-friendly this is. Good work!

  4. Another great scratch built fort


  5. Holy construction contractor Batman!

    You've been very busy Miles and the effort was most definitely worthwhile. excellent redoubt :)

  6. That that is rather splendid. Very envious of your hot wire cutter too.

  7. Grand bit of terrain! Nice thought put in to it also, it'd be a shame for that lot to tumble! ;)

  8. That is a stonking fort Miles! I know the match-stick flooring was a pain but it really adds to the overall effect of the piece. I was captivated by the last build shots and neglected to really look at the opening images until later. It looks quite splendid being assaulted by redcoats. Magnificent stuff!

  9. I'm not surprised you entered this round Miles and what a fine entry it is.

  10. Brilliant work Miles. It does look very formidible!!

  11. Excellent work, Miles! Really super build! I love the way that you left the rear of the redoubt open! Cunning indeed, Sir!

    1. Makes scampering away from a superior foe much easier