A few months back when I completed my first US Infantryman (pictured right) I had grand visions of him storming a Normandy town, darting through streets and houses ducking from MG42 bursts. In my head I saw brickwork, destruction, cobblestone, craters, stone walls and rows of buildings. The town was large, looming, exhausting oneself just by walking down all her streets. A beautiful French town stuck in a hellscape.
Now the time has come to deliver on this vision. The guidelines are simple; durability and functionality above all else!
Laying the Groundwork
To keep things simple, I am using cloth printed mats to act as a base layer and implementing a subtractive approach to the terrain. Basically as you can see in the picture above, the cobble stone mat (from Geek Villain) turns into a road when I cover every area with terrain except where I want roads. I also wanted the ability to run games where the outskirts of town were in question. For that I needed a grass or farmland mat, this one is from Cigar Battle Box Mats!
The first (and largest) layer I wanted to implement were the sidewalks and blocks. 1/4″ thick MDF seemed to be a perfect height to act as curbs, so I started there. I wanted to add bricking to the top and settled on using printed patterns, not my favorite look but it works. I chose the color red reluctantly (I did find red bricking / color in source material, but it never seemed to be in such large areas as I was putting down) after printing our various gray/blue patterns and disliked how it looked on the cobble stone mat. Put some ‘battle damage’ on the outskirts or places where I know buildings won’t be and called it good!
As you can see above, I have also been busy raiding 4Grounds and Black Site Studio’s inventories. One thing about scratch building terrain, it’s time consuming and by golly does it hurt when it starts getting worn and broken! Prepainted MDF kits have intrigued me for awhile and this was the perfect time to give them a shot, a great combination of durability and functionality! These will sit on top of the mdf boards to create the ‘second layer’!
I also have warmed up to these after being unsure at the start. I am not a big fan of uncovered MDF joints but the paint and little details they both added to their kits do a great job in mitigating their look.
Just Another Brick in the Wall
In some of the source material during my research I’d see a plaster(?) brick wall. I loved the look and wanted to integrate it into this build. I used pink foamular and cut out sections to carve in the brick and other details. I put in 1 1/2″ inch screws in the base of each side to help weigh the wall down since it won’t have a base. Print and glue on some posters, done. Quick, easy!
Trees…and More Trees…
What I thought would be my one and only batch of trees will probably end up being the first of three or four. These trees are the cheapest ones I could find on Amazon. A heavy zenithal highlight with contrasting colors (dark green and almost neon green) gave them a cool look over their glossy plastic one they came with. I had some small boxes and blank CDs on my material rack that I thought could be perfect for tree planters. For single trees I 3d printed tree stands and hot glued them to some weighted plastic bases.
That is all I got so far! It’s been fun and I am getting better at throttling down a bit. I’ve learned that pieces can still look great even if you don’t put in 100% effort or resources. I apologize for such a long winded post, I didn’t realize how much I had gotten done since I updated last. Thanks for scrolling through, take care!
2 thoughts on “1944 France; Town Planning and Breaking Ground”
Contortusery nice- I especially like the trees in planters.
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Great post. Everything looks really top notch. Well done with the trees too.
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