Thursday, October 24, 2013


Sandbags making and painting tutorial

Hi everyone,

While waiting my reinforcements from post to come home and help me complete my 5.5’ gun Battery, I thought of making some small terrain pieces that would complement my unit. In my previous post you’ve seen some photos of the command troops that would be responsible for directing the fire of the guns, by taking coordinates from a forward observer and his companion radio man.

These men, would normally be protected and covered. With this in mind I thought of providing them the cover of some homemade sandbags (I have another special one-of-a-kind, but it’s not yet finished – stay tuned for the forthcoming post).

For this reason I bought a box of Milliput’s Standard Yellow-Grey epoxy putty and begun playing with it.

After combining pieces of the two pieces provided (Yellow & Grey), I rolled a ‘’sausage’’ of some millimeters (I can’t remember its width – sorry for that – you can always use the standard ‘trial and error’ method, depending the size of figures you are using), and then begun cutting with my modeling knife small pieces, one sandbag at a time. 

I then put them side by side (no need for glue, as the pieces can bond together on their own) and made these four piles of sandbags. When putting one next to the other, you need to press gently their edges with you fingers, as if they are sewn, as they are in reality. Be careful not to overdo it though! While drying, I drew some marking lines on the sides of the sandbags, with my modeling knife, in order to represent their seams (as if I hoped to!). 

You need though, to keep your hands moist, ‘cause this putty tends to get sticky if it’s not applied quickly. For this reason you need to have a small bowl with water next to your working space.

It took me almost 2 hours to make all these four ‘’corners’’, so be prepared for a rather time consuming task.

I then let them aside to dry (some hours are required – I begun painting them the day after). While waiting you can always paint something you’ve been neglecting for a while (come on admit it, we all do things like that… ;-) )

While searching the web I came across to this page where a tutorial of how to paint sandbags is being given. Nice page, wouldn’t you say? :-)
God, I love internet! 

The painting procedure I followed for my piles of sand (I didn't follow all the steps the page was suggesting to, but, it's up to you what painting method you want to use):

1.       White Primer.

2.       Devlan Mud wash.

3.       Brown paint (diluted in water) wash.

4.       Beige and White drybrush, to give that dusty look.

5.       Devlan Mud wash (light).

And that was it. Easy peasy!

You don’t have to pay money for buying ready made pieces of terrain.  You can always make them on your own! :-)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

make cannons


These superb cannon were created by snitchythedog using wire, beads and wooden dowel. The cutting mat on which they are stand in the picture has one inch grid squares so the cannon are perhaps a little on the large side for 'standard' 28mm wargaming however with the use of smaller diameter wire, beads and dowel...
CannonIn the following article, snitchy explains how he made one of the cannon; however the same methods were used to make all three.


  1. 3/8 inch hardwood dowel
  2. 1/4 inch hardwood dowel
  3. Wood coffee stirrers
  4. Wood popsicle sticks
  5. Assorted beads
  6. Poster paper
  7. 16 gauge wire
  8. 20 gauge wire
  9. One straight pin
  10. Matchsticks
Note that if you want to make a smaller cannon than the one illustrated you'll need smaller diameter dowels, wire and beads.


I began by cutting the 3/8 dowel to the required length. A hole was drilled in the center of each end and, using the pin, I stacked three beads and glue it onto the end of the dowel.
Cannon Cannon
A one inch wide strip of card was then cut and glued in place with the edge half way around the largest bead.
Wire was wrapped around an extra piece of dowel to make a coil which was then cut into individual rings. These are used to hide the edges of paper and add detail at the front of the barrel. Two different gauges of wire were using as shown and all of the gaps were lined up on what will become the underside of the cannon barrel i.e. where they will be hidden from view.
Cannon Cannon
Two 1/4 inch dowels were pinned into place for the arms of the cannon. Putty was then applied to all gaps and sanded when dry. This finished the barrel.


I started the caisson with the wheels. I first found a hard round form upon which I could use a clamp. I crimped three coffee stirrers for each wheel and cut these to fit the form. The strips where then glued together, staggering the openings, and clamped into place.
Cannon Cannon
Note that the crimping process is simply a case of 'cutting' a series of notches into what will become the inner part of the strip. The notches are cut across the width of the strip, not along the length, and each notch causes the strip to bend a little. As you work along it's length, the strip curls. A special tool is available from the wooden boat building section of model shops however you can achieve the same effect with a craft knife; using a blade which is not particularly sharp so as to avoid cutting right through the thin strip.
When the strips were dried, I cut and glued a center spoke made out of a match stick. I then cut and added the rest of the spokes after which putty was used to fill gaps prior to sanding all surfaces.
Cannon Cannon
The construction of the rest of the caisson is pretty straightforward. The various section were created by laminating several popsicle sticks together, cutting them to shape, and sanding. I then glued these sub-assemblies together before using more paper, wire and putty to add the remaining details.
The platform on which the cannon stands is made from matchsticks with an edging made from coffee stirrers.


Depending on what figures you buy, you may find you have lots of spare guns that you can use to adorn your terrain. Then again, you may not. There will be other occasions when you need something a bit different, and lots of terrain model makers create their own from bits of wire and tube and other small parts:
This example was created by Tuco.
  1. the end of a ballpoint pen.
  2. from the Warhammer siege defense box (out of production) but could be easily scratch-built or salvaged from a toy.
  3. a cut-up piece of sprue, the ammo belt comes from a Tamiya accessories pack.
  4. an old Lego part
  5. another old Lego part
  6. 6x lengths of tiny brass tube glued around a slightly longer plastic rod. I think the thin transparent plastic tube that contains ink in ballpoint pens should work as well.
  7. another cut-up Lego part.
  8. what's left of the bars that framed the barrels, it was made from sprue but it proved too fragile.
GunsThe gun to the right was made by Kishkumen and sits on top of a 1:24 scale remote control car (so it's a big bigger than our normal wargaming scales but could easily be scaled down).
Six lengths of narrow tubing were glued around a central shaft of the same diameter. They were cemented at one end and the other end they were spread apart a bit (to create that taper toward the muzzle that Gatling guns have) and then cemented to the wide tube.
The little details on the gun are just bits of strip styrene glued to the outside. For instance, the ammo belt is connecting into an I-beam. The ammo belt is a corrugated bit of sheet styrene with two strips glued to it and then bent into position.
GunsThe little camera is a short length of square tubing with the ends closed off and a tube glued to the end. A bead was stuck in to make the lens and short bits of strip styrene make the handle and eyepiece. It's supposed to be an old VHS camera stuck to the turret and connected to a TV monitor so the driver can aim the gun.
The gun was painted with enamels and then given drybrush with silver. I have to repaint it frequently. The car often tips over and scrapes the gun, exposing plastic.
GunsThe guns on the fortress to the right were made by bugbait_nz using Game Workshop (trapezoid shaped) plastic sprue, cut down milk bottle tops, plasticard, cotton bud plastic tubes, carbon fibre arrow shafts, bike spokes and paper.
The bodies of the Autocannons (the larger guns) are made from nine pieces of GW sprue, glued in threes to make 'sheets' which were then glued on top of each other to make a block; which was then shaped. Cotton bud tubes were used to make the ammo and glued to a carbon fibre shaft. Plain photocopy paper wrapped was around some more cotton bud tubes forms the barrels, with a bike spoke for the recoil rod and also used to hold the barrel on. The spoke wire can be bent and makes lining up the barrel easy. The green plastic pieces were cut from bread bag ties.
The Lascannons are mostly made from GW sprue, with 1.5mm thick plasticard on each side and top, barrels are plain paper rolled and glued around a cotton bud tube, with more rolled paper to make the dangerous end of the barrel and filed at an angle. Cardboard was used to make the two small rings that go around the barrel with copper wire being used for the coils.

make barrels

Barrel/oil drum on the cheap.
A completed barrel standing in front of an oil tank.
Cut a strip of paper 22mm wide and 210mm long (short edge of normal printer paper 80gsm) AMOS glue stick it around a AA battery, dont glue it to the battery, slide this tube off and leave it overnight to set, they are quite strong.
Barrel tubes are formed around an AA battery.
Mark 7mm in from each end and draw a line around for the wire, I BluTac a pencil to the desk and rotate the barrel to mark it.
Technique for marking the position of the rings.
I used solid core network/computer cable, strip off the plastic, wrap it around the battery to make two rings, use a tooth pick to drop super glue on the wire and draw it around to cover the whole wire.
PVA glue a 1mm wide strip of heavy green paper top and bottom
Use the same battery as a template to cut out two heavy card circular ends, make a small ring of PVA glue around the inside of the tube and carefully insert.
They easily squash if you want a damaged look.
A completed barrel with added damage.