Sunday, 23 February 2014

Tough Cost Effective Stone Walls

If you do a search for making model stone walls you will find plenty of very interesting You Tube videos. We wanted to make some and didn't want to watch lots of videos.  Also, we wanted to provide local sourcing options and provide a graphic instruction guide, the same way we did for hedges and sandbags. We do not claim any originality in coming up with this idea.  We just wanted to share a detailed post with instructions and how we got it to work. Also, we think this is probably the easiest way to make the walls with very little wasted cost and effort.
The aluminium channel is a one off cost which can be re-used for a long time and does not require any work to build. Enjoy.


PVA glue, Pebbles, Ice cream container lid, mixing container
The ingredients we will need are:
Decorative Pebbles.  These can be purchased from a hardware store in the garden section.  We obtained a 2kg bag for $5 (AUD).  Based on our first run, this will make about 20 feet of stone walls!
20 Feet of walls in a bag
PVA Glue.  The core ingredient of most of our scenery.
Jumbo Craft Sticks.  These are 6 inch long fat icy pole sticks.  We obtained ours from the $2 shop. You'll see these in a photo later.

The Tools

The key will be to mix up the glue and pebbles and put then in a mould.  We found the easiest mould was some Aluminium Channel discovered in the tiling section of the Hardware store.  This cost around $14 for a 165cm long channel - enough for 10 x 6" walls.
Just add pebbles
Ice cream containers are typically made of the type of plastic which nothing sticks to.  So we cut out squares with some slots cut out to fit over the channel sides.  These are placed at 6" distances, marked off on the channel with permanent marker.
"Jump so I can see you"
The channel is very convenient as the shorter side is good for waist high walls and the longer side is man high.

Let's Go

The first step after preparing the framework is to spray the channel with WD40.  This will stop the PVA pebble mixture from sticking to the sides.  As the channel is made from aluminium, the WD40 ensures nothing sticks to it.
Nothing will stick to WD40 and Aluminium (we hope)
Then we mix up the pebbles and a large dollop of PVA.  It works out that around 50gm = 6" of stone wall.
Hmmm. Yummy.
We want all the pebbles surrounded with the PVA glue.  We used an old skewer to mix the pebbles as we didn't want to get in trouble using any good cutlery.
Pour it in using the skewer.
We then start pouring in the mixture using the skewer.  The mixture is very easy to form at this stage.
Don't lick your fingers. Yuck.
Once poured we pressed down the pebbles using a moistened finger and picked up loose pebbles that spilled over the side by an over eager pourer. Don't lick your fingers.  It doesn't taste any good at all.

Can't wait for my cover.
To make a gate, we just plonked in trimmed down icy pole sticks.
The hard part is now to wait.
As the bottom of the mould gets no air, it won't dry.  But the top will.  Leave it for at least 24 hours.
Then you can pull out the dividers and carefully pop out each section of wall.
Upside down. Can you tell?
We then left the walls upside down so that the still wet under-sides could dry.  In about 6 hours or so they dried nicely.
Bases ready
The Jumbo Craft Sticks are the perfect size to use as bases.  We glued the walls to the base and fixed any holes in the walls with any spare pebbles that had fallen off.
Looking good.  The figures can't wait.
Once more, wait until the PVA is dry.  Then you can paint up the walls and play.  We used a dark wash which highlighted all the pebbles well, then dry brushed to give the walls a darker tone.
Done!  Just one more thing ...
We painted the bases brown and added bits of flock for grass.  Looking good!  But there was just now more thing to do.  How do they look in action?
During mixing and at the end they look like a Rice Bubble mixture. We considered using Rice Bubbles but they would fail the "wargaming strength" test. After all the work we put into scenery, we want it to last!  Also a stone wall made from stones is pretty cool.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Sunday, 16 February 2014

That's an awesome building

That's an awesome building Mum.
At Cancon we picked up a couple of the 4Ground Russian buildings.  We wanted some smaller buildings that would suit more country battles and these seemed to fit the bill.
As part of my 4Ground Personalisation Project I didn't want to have these buildings looking as uncared for as they have ben designed.  So we gave the building a nice white wash, and painted all the door and window trims a cleaner colour.
I am also very fortunate that my lovely lady enjoys craft and building a 4Ground building is great craft!  When we were near the final stages of this building, our youngest son (3 years old) wearing his fine Bob the Builder construction hat looked at the building and looked up at Mum and aid, "That's an awesome building, Mum."
I'll be posting a lot more on the 4Ground Personalisation Project soon.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Transporting the War

All the stuff needed for our long weekend at Cancon
We decided to run a large public participation demo game at Cancon 12 months earlier and happily proceeded building up all the things we required - Buildings, scenery, boards, models, and so on.
Then, about two weeks before Cancon was due to start I looked at all this stuff we needed to bring and wondered, "How will we transport this safely?"
The trick is being able to pack, unpack and repack each item and have it survive the journey from home to vehicle to table and back again.  Although we have always built to "wargaming" standard which means tougher than modelling standard, there is still the risk of damage during transport and storage.

The figures were easy. These foam storage trays worked well.
I asked for advice on various forums and groups and someone chimed in with the clever answer of cardboard Archive Boxes.  All of our 4Ground buildings fit in very well, and did not need much padding around the sides.  I recorded each box's contents with a permanent marker so we could easily tell what was in each box.
Figures were easy as we already had a number of cut foam figure cases.  As our army grows, we will try making some new storage cases using foam-core sheeting which we saw some clever gamer use via the Bolt Action Facebook group.
Now we can find all the littler bits.

Zip lock bags were perfect for all the smaller scenery items such as walls, trenches, hedges, bushes, objective flags and so on.  You can pack them in and leave plenty of air for padding and then zip them sealed. Easy!
The Pegasus Bridge was an issue so we had to place it carefully on the back seat and hope for no really sudden stops during the 90 minute drive!
The Church was too tall (by about 5 cm) for the storage boxes so we found another cardboard box into which it fit very well.
All in all everything survived the trip extremely well.
This is what caused our issue. What a variety of sizes!
My last photo shows the boys behind a range of varying sized buildings, holding a 12 inch (30cm) ruler to show scale.
Thanks to all the online gamers for their advice and sharing.


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