Saturday, 3 January 2015

Russo Japanese War Scenery - The Harbour Town

Wargaming naval actions in 1/3000 presents a certain amount of problems, the main one being that one of the only manufacturers in existence that produces any scenery pieces in 1/3000 scale is Navwar ( whose range is limited (and thats being complimentary). The range is limited to European style buildings, meaning that any Eastern set games (such as the Russo Japanese War) have to 'make do'

Navwar's range of harbour buildings is not particularly detailed and has angles, kinks and flash all over the place meaning that prior to painting and basing a considerable amount of work needs to be done to make each piece presentable.

So... where would I begin? Well despite not being able to replicate the pan tiled mini house clusters so prevalent in turn of the 20th Century Korea I would have to make do with an approximation and in order to do this I decided on a pan tiled type colouring on the roofs of all the buildings.

The detail on the buildings was so rudimentary I decided that I needed to add some kind of detailing in order to create some visual interest on the buildings and so, just as I had done with the decks of the ships being painted, I decided to opt for wall planking, exhibited by horizontal white stripes all over the buildings creating a strong visual texture.

The buildings being well painted alone however wouldn't be enough. I also needed to have strong visual basing. Due to the small scale I needed something that wasn't overly detailed, but which was easy to replicate and looked effective. I opted to 'landscape' each base using tile grout, painting it muddy and then using selective patches of flock for grassy areas and sponge to approximate tree coverage.

These are the results of the harbour town. There is no dockside yet as I am still considering how to go about basing them but however I end up doing the dockside and jetty's these are the buildings that will buttress up against them on the land side.

The buildings were all undercoated black and arranged on the East Riding Miniatures bases that I procured. 50mmx50mm for the large ones and 50mmx30mm for the smaller ones.

A basecoat of US Pale Blue Grey was applied to all the building walls being careful not to cover up the black windows and doorways. A basecoat of Chocolate Brown was applied to the roofs.

For the detail coat I used plain White for the horizontal planking stripes on the building and Orange Brown in long thin stripes to approximate the tiling on the roofs. both of these were bright enough colours to provide a good textural contrast at this scale.

The building details were then added, and very simply was basically just painting all the chimney and ensuring that the black details were not intruded upon by other paint layers. The buildings were then varnished to protect them.

Before any buildings were stuck to bases a thin layer of Tile Grout was applied to each one and smoothed out with a palette knife, as opposed to using the toothbrush as with the ship bases. Once smoothed over the buildings were pushed into the still loose grout and then the wake that builds up to the side of the buildings as they are pushed in was pulled out and smoothed into the rest of the base using the palette knife again. The bases were then left overnight to dry properly.

Once dry the bases were painted with Flat Earth Brown and then dry brushed heavily with Brown Sand. Once dry the bases were again varnished.

Once varnished PVA glue was painted on into the areas which were to approximate the grassy areas. Once a good layer of PVA was applied the flock selected for the grass was tipped over the base, pushed down with a liberally applied finger and left for an hour.

The loose flock was tapped off and then in selective areas modelling foam had glue applied directly to it and then pressed onto the areas of the base that needed tree coverage.

The finished bases were then left overnight to dry.... and the next day a finished town!