Monday, February 24, 2014

Down to the Wire

My first attempt at making barbed wire was rushed and did not turn out as nice as I would have liked.  I needed barbed wire for my US Combat Engineer army I have been working on so I thought I would give it a second try.

One of the things I struggled with was the wire itself.  It took a lot of time to string it up and it was way too shiny for my taste.  I was inspired when I saw this effort on The Miniatures Page.  Real simple and nice and rusty.  I also remembered Mike Haught's "Pimp your Bunker" web article on the Battlefront website and thought I could put the two together and make a second go at it.

I knew I didn't want to paint the wire again like I did the first time so I had to figure out how to get some rust on the wire.  I knew there were ways to put a patina on metal so a quick web searched turned up a formula to rust metal.

I mixed 4 parts white vinegar, 1 part Hydrogen Peroxide, and 1/2 part salt into a large jar and dropped in an entire roll of the Gale Force Nine wire removed from its container.  I left that in the solution for about a day then rinsed it off and let it dry.  It worked!  All the shine was gone and even some parts of it were rusty.  It looked more like galvanized steel but the effect suited me just fine.  I now plan to do this for the Battlefront barb wire sections I own as well.

Having solved that problem I was on to the bases for my second attempt.  I began with prepared 2"x8" panelboard with sanded over edges and primed.  I have a bunch of these leftover from my first attempt.

 Next drill in holes for the posts.

Prepare your stakes.  Using hobby wood from Michael's carefully and painstakingly drill a series of holes in them using your pin vise drill.

 Glue the stakes in place.  I used superglue to hurry things along.  Most any hobby glue would be fine.

Next we are going to use a new product I picked up at Michael's (40% off of course).

 Apply the gel using a paint palette knife or similar tool.  You want to apply it like you are icing a cake leaving slight ridges and waves.  That will give some definition and interest when we go to paint them.  It worked well, i'm going to use it on some figure bases in the future.

Next up will be some more texture.

Sprinkle on some ballast leaving many empty areas.

 Work it into the gel a slight bit with the knife.  Don't bury it.

 Add some of the talus to make some larger rocks.  The amounts and types of texture is all to your  personal preference and what looks good to you.

Let them dry overnight then prime them.  We have had a share of cold weather here in Colorado so spraying was not possible when making these.  I quite prefer painting on the primer after having used it now.  The primer was a new product for me as well.

Next up is painting.  I decided to use my Vallejo paints this time.  I want these to be much nicer than my first attempt.  I've discovered and copied a few color palettes that are working for my taste.  First paint them completely with Flat Earth (983) followed by a good drybrush of Green Brown (879) finishing up with a drybrush of Desert Yellow (977) on all the highest points and edges.  It should look something like this.

Next paint the the posts and rocks.  The posts get painted Chocolate Brown (872), followed by a drybrush of Tan Earth (874) and a last drybrush of Medium Grey (987).  That's the Battlefront palette described to paint fences and trees in "Using the Rural Bases" web article.  Use the same palette from the article for the large rocks:  German Fieldgrey (830) highlighted with Stone Grey (884).  You should be looking like this.

I go ahead and seal them now.  I used a can of the Army Painter "Anti-Shine" matte varnish I've had for ages.  It worked well though I am not sure I am ready to switch to it from Testor's for my figures.  I apply the adhesive black felt to the bottoms like I do on all my terrain and figures.  Next I get them ready for flocking.  I completely suck at using static grass so I'm going to use the same technique and 2 shades of Woodland's Scenic flock like I did for my forests.  I also add a few grass tufts of autumn and spring to give it some more interest.

Next I wire them up.  No coils this time.  I thread all the wires through the posts, 3 strands all the way around the perimeter.  I put in some diagonal wires running from the outside posts to the middle posts making a high low zig zag pattern.  The center posts only had 2 holes drilled.  I twist the wire around some of the posts to anchor them in place as well as just twisting them together.  It worked best to do the top strand first and work down to the lowest.

And there is my prototype for the second attempt.  I was so pleased I made the other 5 needed for the pioneer supply trucks I planned on using at GenghisCon.  Now onto the featured pictures!

"Can you say POW camp?"

"Quick men let's get this wire up, Fausty's coming!"

I also finished up a second supply truck (right) to go with my first.  I was also able to correct the low rider characteristic of the first one.  I took a hobby saw and cut the front wheels off at the axle, drilled, pinned, and glued back into place all without damaging anything or messing up the paint.  I guess I glued them on upside down.

"I hope I don't have to fire this thing."

"High Ho, High Ho, it's off to work we go..."
Did I say painstakingly?

There they are.  I am happy with them.  They look to me more like positions that would be prepared well in advance of any action such as Normandy or the defensive lines in Italy as opposed to being rolled out the back of the supply truck.  I'm going to use them as such anyway.  Sorry about the pictures this time - the lighting and photo processing is off a bit.

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