Friday 24 March 2023

And Fir Trees

 Work In Progress

I've been a bit slow to post, once again, but can honestly claim this is because I've been busy making historical buildings. Not just busy, flat out in fact. What I am working on is the components of Franco Prussian War villages. As I might have mentioned before, the FPW was fought across most of Northern France and the style of buildings was very different in each province. Hence there is no such thing as "generic French" vernacular architecture! You have to choose one area and go for it. I've plumped for Lorraine, as will be explained later, and am busy with the buildings, to be followed by village bases and surrounding walls. To do what I want in terms of quite big battles I reckon I need some twenty new structures, so mass production is under way. The research and planning are done, I've made masters for local types of window, chimney, etc, made moulds and cast almost 400 resin components. Eleven houses are nearly complete at this point. I'm finding it quite a satisfying process, and will get some "WIP" shots when I next take photographs.   

Plans for 2023

Generally I find it's a bad idea to come out with big plans and then fall distinctly short. So most of my goals for 2023 consist of things that were planned but didn't get done in 2022. There's five objectives:

  1. Lorraine villages. Umm, will need some basic railway lines to go with this environment.
  2. Prussian and French staff groups, as mentioned before. Quite a lot of mounted figures, mostly major conversions.
  3. A playing table which looks decent and enables us to set up any configuration of hills and valleys. This will have three elements. Firstly a system of blue foam hill underlays, which I did  actually complete in the New Year. Then a set of boards covered in blue foam sheet which the hills can be pinned to. And finally a good cloth (teddy fur probably) which will cover the whole.
  4. When the Perrys plastic FPW French finally come out I won't be able to resist doing at least a couple of units, though must withstand any thought of replacing huge existing armies of Foundry FPW figures!
  5. The third chateau of the planned trio: less eleborate than the baroque affair, but based on a former medieval castle. Such a chateau featured on several FPW battlefields, and was the prime focus of the Battle of Villepion.
If, if, if I can get this lot done, then I want to move on to a new wargames period in 2024. And have real go at modelling rivers maybe.

The Fir Trees

Finally the pretext for these ramblings, the fir trees which I made along with the previously-seen pines in about 2012. These were mostly made by the "bottle brush" method and then set into short sections of twig for the trunks, the leaves/ needles being static grass. I experimented with one or two different approaches, but they all ended up looking similar. Once again some trees are based and some on pins. 

As individual models I wouldn't say these trees are my finest-ever productions, but they group together into woods which look the part. There's a couple of details in the photos below. A pair of trees which appear to grow into one, which seems to be a thing with fir trees. And an eleborate base with a rotting, ivy-covered log and mushrooms! The latter are just the tops of pins, so a tiny detail that's easy to make.

Overall I've got about 40 freestanding pine and fir trees, which go together on flexible wood bases. Because coniferous woods, even more than deciduous ones, are very often on the slopes of hills. It was making these which got me started with using felt for games terrain. I'll photograph the overall effect for the next post.