Saturday 10 February 2018

The river making has begun - And a new bridge

Some time ago I finished building a pontoon train and a river piece with pontoon ramps and bridge sections, the latter were left unfinished because I planned to make a wide river into which the piece would fit. 

At the time I rather inferred that this would be done soon. Hmmm....

Last week, Tim T. kindly delivered an order of  2mm thick MDF sheets (nine 3' x 4' boards) which had been hanging around in his shop for several weeks. This was the spur for some frantic drawing out of around 7 m of 'wide' river, including turns and tributary entry points. The river will be in sections of between 75 mm and 300 mm long and 240mm wide (the width of water is 180mm with a 30mm bank to either side). At that point work abruptly ceased because I don't have the paint to hand and my hobby budget has been spent for this quarter

Needing hobby cash NOW, I've put a few things up for auction on ebay (a couple of unwanted board games and some unpainted odds and sods) with a view to filling the hobby coffers to complete the terrain project within budget - and things are looking good.

To keep up my enthusiasm until the money and paint flows in I decided to build a new bridge.
(I figure that I'll need three and I only have one, excluding the pontoon bridge).

I thought that a covered bridge would be interesting, both to build and as a terrain item, and I decided to build one based on this photo of a German one I downloaded from a wargame blog (sorry, I can't remember who's) not so long ago.

As soon as construction got underway, the plan changed. What I came up with, except for having stone abutments [bridge ends], two sets of 'A' frame timber piers (span supports), and a roof, is completely different from thae bridge pictured above. However, I'm indebted to the blogger for the original inspiration.

Here is the finished construction after the bulk has been undercoated brown. The abutments will be grey stone when it is painted, the span will be natural wood. The roof will be grey 'slate' tiles.

Even though, like most of my buildings, the new bridge is under scale it is still quite a big thing. It measures 360 mm long and is 110 mm high. The model is a little over 70 mm wide; the roadway is 50 mm wide.

It is constructed out of several materials including MDF, which provides the bulk of the main build, balsa wood, card, and plastic. 
One thing about under scale model bridges that is difficult to get around is the length and gradient of the ramps. To keep the length of the bridge manageable the bridge must be lower than it should be. In this case just 17 mm above the 'river'.
The biggest change to the original design was made so that you can actually see the troops as they cross. 

The flag is too tall to go under the roof but it is high enough allow the passage of cavalry figures.
The roof is removable to allow access to the bridge itself

I'll spray undercoat the roof black before painting. 

The whole upper side panel construction is plastic welded together with polystyrene cement for strength*. 

The 'X' trellising is from an Airfix pontoon bridge set (I had previously used the pontoons for something else). I was out of plastic rod so I had to improvise the rest of the panels: the long struts across the the top of the trellising are actually made from the sprues of model kits with all of the nobbles cut off, and the vertical railings are off cuts from the Pontoon Bridge set. 

* I find building things out of several materials is always tricky, especially when it comes to securely gluing them together, and gluing wood to plastic, where the glue points are small, can be very problematic.

The roof is very light, too light in my opinion. So I've glued some coins to the underside to weight it down and give it some heft. The lip around the bottom edge keeps it in the correct alignment.

So there we are, a Bridge Over Troubled Water. That will go nicely with the tickets I have to see Paul Simon in July. It might even be finished by then!

The Bridge has been finished. Here's a pic.