Friday 8 February 2013

Terrain Tutorial: Tank Traps

When I was a little boy, I used to love to sit and stare at old war films on the television. One of my favourite was The Longest Day, which depicts the successful (thank Heaven!) Allied invasion of Normandy in WWII. The beach assault scenes are particularly striking. The German defenders have deployed thousands of obstacles to prevent Allied tanks from landing and moving inland. There is a very simple way of making these: get some H-Beam or I-Beam plasticard pieces, chop them up and stick them together. However, I had none to hand. So instead I took some 0.5mm plasticard and some 2mm plasticard and set out to make some simple girders.

1) Take some 2mm-thick plasticard, and cut strips that are 5mm by 50mm. You will need three for each obstacle you mean to make.
2) Take some 0.5mm-thick plasticard and cut some strips that are the same dimensions. You will need twice as many of these as of the 2mm-thick pieces.
3) Glue one of the narrow long edges of the 2mm-thick plasticard to the middle of a thinner strip, creating a very long T-shape. See Fig. 1. Leave to dry.
4) Glue another thin piece of plasticard to the other side of the 2mm-thick strip, creating your girder. Repeat until you have three girders for each tank trap you mean to make. See Fig. 2.
5) You are now going to glue the girders together, which is made a lot easier by having more surface area. Glue a few small offcuts of plasticard in the middle of two girders, see Fig. 2 again. Then glue them together at this point, so they form a cross. See Fig. 2 yet again. Leave to dry.
6) Take the third girder and glue this between the two girders, see Fig. 3. Leave it to dry, or hold it to dry if you cannot get it to sit still happily. Once this has dried you will have what is effectively a tripod.
7) At this point you can either paint the finished tank obstacle or you can base it. If you do, I offer again the option of basing a pair of them on an unwanted CD. If you place them right, you should be able to fit a HW Team in the empty space of the CD. See Fig. 4.

8) If you decide to base them, superglue a bit of card on the CD to cover the central hole. Use a hot glue gun to secure the tank traps to the base, then apply a coat of dilute PVA and tip sand over the top. Once this has dried apply another coat of dilute PVA, wait for that to dry and then set to painting.
9) I undercoated everything black, and then painted the tank traps with an obsolete GW Foundation Paint, and drybrushed them with the remnants of a pot of Boltgun Metal, then splodged on a few bits of Mithril Silver. You can apply some more washes and inks at this point if you like. Then I painted the ground in my preferred colours. See Figs. 5, 6 & 7.

As usual, apologies for Blogger's reordering of my photographs. They are numbered so you can see what I mean despite the blog's attempt to sabotage me! Happy gaming, folks!

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