Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A simple lake shore for Trasimene

Continuing the work for the Battle of Lake Trasimene game at Sheffield Triples next month, this weekend I tackled the lake shore. This will form one side of the battlefield and is 12 foot long (the table will be 14 to 16 foot long). I could, of course, just declare one edge of the table as the impassible lake shore - but there is no fun in that, and the casual onlooker might not grasp the predicament of the Roman army - trapped and ambushed between hills and lake. 

I decided to construct the shore from 2 foot sections of 2mm thick MDF. Each length is 8 inches wide. I painted the water first using household emulsion with a bit of artists acrylic and ink added for some subtle shading - it's a bluesy, greensy, black. I then applied some muddy bits using artists acrylic (tubed stuff) in a thick sloppy manner; once dry it was dry brushed, lighter towards the drier bank. I then applied two coats of yacht varnish to the water.

I wanted a proper bank that was higher than the water, but only slightly as I didn't want it to look like an 'embanked canal'. I used string, glued on with wood adhesive, back filled with Plasticine to give a constant height. This was sealed with a couple of layers of wood adhesive, painted and then flocked. It has the look of a lazy lake creeping up onto the gently sloping land and I'm happy with it.

This kind of terrain always looks a bit dead. It needs some vegetation to add some life. But adding vegetation to the lake pieces makes them hard to store; so I decided on applique reeds, made from the natural bristles of a sweeping brush, painted green, and glued to penny pieces to go on the mud. The rest can be dressed with existing terrain pieces.

The finished (I still have to drybrush some reed bases) and 'dressed' lake shore: That will do nicely.

I'm now planning the hill sections which will go along the other three edges. These will be made from 2" thick insulation boards. Using the baize cloth, which can be 'thrown over' them, will mean that they only need cutting to shape - the baize cloth! - there is method in my madness.


IM said...


I'm being thick. Is the plasticine on the lake side of the string or the land side?

It goes without saying that it looks excellent.



Hi Graham,

sorry, the landward side, to slope the land the string. At the lake side it forms a small, 2mm, verticle step.

Bedford said...

Blimey James! That looks amazing!

I'm beginning to wish that I did something other than fine Art at uni :O))))

Marvelous stuff as usual.


PS. I'll reply to your e-mail soon mate.

Bedford said...

Please ignore "I'll reply to your e-mail soon mate"....

Wrong James.... now where's a good embarassed smiley when you need one :O)


Paul´s Bods said...

That looks great. Pity the pics aren´t clickable so that they get bigger.

Green stuff and Alioop said...

Nicely done!


Hi Paul,

No I lost that function with an upgrade, but I've enlarged the pics now which might help.

BigRedBat said...

Very nice!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

As always, yet another lovely piece of terrain.


Clarence Harrison said...

Fantastic, James!

Wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for a Stylish Blogger Award!


Congratulations (or sorry to inflict this on you)...

Keith Flint said...

Bristles from a sweeping brush! Pennies! Disgraceful! Don't you know that there are any number of extremely expensive specialist terrain products that have been overpackaged and overpriced just for people like you? And you insist on making perfectly good substitutes from easily available and practically free materials! Shame on you.

Best wishes of course, Keith.

Hendrid said...

Very nicely done. Finished article with all the troops should look smashing.

Hetairoi said...

Very nice and effective table, indeed.
BTW, I have listed you for the viral "Stylish Blogger Award", details here:


Stylish Blogger Award.

Thank you for nominating me for this, and I mean that, but I'm afraid you will have to excuse me for opting out of taking an active part.

For personal reasons, I cannot be a participant in a 'chain letter', however benign.

Again, thank you. I'm not snubbing it, I just can't take part.

Best Regards,