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  1. #1
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Specifically, the hills on which the battle was fought. They are for the Battle of Gaines Mill being played using the Brigade Fire and Fury rules(2nd edition). The rules are brigade level (duh!) for 15mm figures based on 1" frontages. Depth varies depending on whether they are cavalry, infantry or artillery.

    From the Wikipedia page the map below shows the hilly terrain over which the battle was fought. The key features are Turkey hill which is at the south-western end of a wide ridge that runs up to Old Cold Harbor in the north-eastern corner of the map; the hill opposite Turkey Hill from which the Confederates launch their attack; and Boatswains swamp and the creek that runs through which lay between the two hills.


    I will splitting the hills into 3 separate pieces as they would a bit awkward to move around in one piece as they will be rather large; they dominate a table that will be 6' by 6'. After spending the morning hacking away at, and sanding insulation foam, I have started on the hill section that runs from old Cold Harbor to new Cold Harbor:


    The purple blocks show where the two villages are on the hill; old Cold Harbor is at the bottom of the photo. The purple block just in the frame in the top right corner of the photo shows where Gaines Mill would sit.
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    Veteran Sergeant Dourin's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Looks interesting! Looking forward to some more progress.

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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Quote Originally Posted by Dourin View Post
    Looking forward to some more progress.
    And here it is!

    After a couple of side tracks (here and here) I have returned to these hills.
    Here they are all laid out on a GW grass mat (they will be on a 6x5 foot table so there is over-hang):

    I used a combination of Woodland Scenics hot foam cutter and xacto utility knife to carve the hills:

    After a good sanding with a medium grit sanding sponge...

    ... they looked like this:

    My new favourite glue/texturing medium is a combination of tile adhesive and sanded grout. One tube of the coloured sanded grout mixed with a healthy portion of adhesive (almost 1/1 but you could use less adhesive I think) will do a whole 4x6 table.

    Dolloped on in patches with a putty knife:

    Then spread with a medium pile mini roller, followed by a foam roller:

    Next up, a generous sprinkling of sand. I got a little carried away here; since this a table for 15 mm figures I should have sieved the aggregate and been a little more frugal with it.

    The hills as they currently stand:

    I will let this mixture cure for the next few days before applying low scrub and static grass on the weekend.
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    Chapter Master Little Joe's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    How much harder is it to work precise following a map?
    my general project thread

    [2020] painted: 3

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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Joe View Post
    How much harder is it to work precise following a map?
    It is a little more challenging. The hills for this particular battle would probably be trickier than most as they are irregularly shaped and extensive. Most battles would require a ridge or 1 or 2 fairly straightforward hills. Getting the dimensions right and making sure they lie as correct as possible in relation to each other takes more consideration. I did get a couple of things wrong. For instance the top piece of the branch on the right should be a little longer and wrap a bit more around the top of the opposite branch; but then it would be a little big for a 6' by 5' table.
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Codsticker,

    You are right in that the size issues with the gravel. Are the 15mm soldiers going to be able to stay upright on the large pieces of gravel?

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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    The minis are 4 to a base and the bases are 1" square; I have placed some DBA-based minis on the hills and for the most part they remain upright.

    The application of the static grass is taking longer than I anticipated. Largely because I decided to cover the majority of the hills in static grass and it is taking a couple of layers to get the look I am after.
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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    The major hills for this project are done; just two smaller ones to be completed.





    Although not really my responsibility for this project, I may also make some trees as well as the creek and swamp that separate the two branches of the hills.
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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    OOooh, I missed out on this so far. Looking very good. I really like the natural look of the grass and the roads!

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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Thank you Sigur.

    A couple more small hills are necessary; a little generic perhaps but should do the trick. I tried something new with these ones; first, I based them on MDF. I like how it worked so I will do this ion the future. Second I added all the rocks, shrubs and base layer of static grass while the tile adhesive/grout mix was still wet. The mixture takes hours to dry so you have quite a bit of time to apply the organic features and everything stuck wonderfully.


    The next day I added another layer of static grass and lightly sprinkled a foliage mixture for added texture.



    I don't have any ACW minis in any scale so I took a couple of pictures with some 15mm Numidian for scale purposes.

    Last edited by Codsticker; 10-11-2018 at 15:42.
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  11. #11
    Chaplain D6damage's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    These look great. I do love a good hill [gets misty eyed about the days before AoS killed off hills]
    It's a shame the grass doesn't go all the way to the edges. It kind of spoils the illusion of them blending in to the rest of the table. But I guess everyone gets that problem with all hills.
    How do you stop all the shrubs and things falling off during storage/transport/play?

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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Thanks D6.

    Yeah, I was trying to get the grass all they way to edge but for some reason it wouldn't stick- not sure why. It's possible I had feathered out the adhesive to such a degree that it had already started to set when I started sprinkling the grass. It is much more noticeable in the pictures than when you are looking down on them on the table.

    The tile adhesive is very strong so the shrubs stick pretty hard. Even so, I know that the odd one will pop off here and there; I expect that I will occasionally have to do repairs.
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    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Boatswain's creek and Boatswain's swamp have been modeled. I did the creek first; I made a few mistakes from which I learned when it came to making the swamp:

    I didn't quite get the colour right; it is too beige. Boatswain's creek is a orangey-brown and - in reality- not very wide. As the ground scale of the game is approximately 1"=40 yards, a thick pencil line would have sufficed. The valley that it is is sown as wooded so I have also made a number of trees.

    Another problem I have is that the creek does not want to sit flat. It is on painted canvas, coated with 3 coats of high gloss paint. All those layers have cased the edges and ends to curl up.
    I have a few possible solutions for that.

    Here is the view from the rebels' side of the creek. They will have to assault Yankee positions on the other side; nice eh?


    The swamp turned out better I think. Although the water is too brown now it is closer to actual colour of Boatswain's creek.

    This area too, the rebels will have to cross. The hill on the right will be defended by Yankees in hastily prepared defenses.


    The wider breadth of the canvas has prevented the edges and ends from curling too much I think.

    I used a ton of different materials for the swamp: tufts from Gamers Grass and Army Painter; static grass from Heki; shrubs of my own made from War World Scenics Static grass and both Scenic Express Superleaf and Woodland Scenics coarse turf; Woodland Scenics clump foliage and Scenics Express Superturf as well as shrubs made from 3M contour sanding pads with WS coarse turf.
    Last edited by Codsticker; 02-12-2018 at 21:38.
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  14. #14
    Chapter Master Little Joe's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    To counter the pull on the creek, add PVA glue to the bottom. If you do not need to roll them, using thin paper like toilet paper will add to the counter pull.

    This looks really nice close up.
    my general project thread

    [2020] painted: 3

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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Thank you Little Joe, that is exactly what I was thinking of doing.
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    Chaplain D6damage's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    Wow, that swamp looks amazing. Bravo!

  17. #17
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    We have another ACW game coming up next weekend, the Battle of Shiloh, and my contribution will be the area known as "The Hornet's Nest". Accounts suggest that it was fairly heavily wooded; it also features 'The Sunken Road"
    running roughly east to west, intersecting the Eastern Corinth road. Falsely named, it isn't actually sunken; the name comes from the account of a soldier whose brigade in reality didn't even get close to it . Perhaps, un-fun but I modeled it as it actually was not as it is remembered: just a wagon trail.

    To start with, I cut a piece of MDF and glued a few pieces of thin cork in a couple layers to create low undulations as well as the Eastern Corinth road; these were blended together with drywall mud:

    After a layer of coloured sanded grout mixed with vinyl tile adhesive: while it was still wet I threw a layer of ground fir bark over it (carefully avoiding the road and the wagon trail). Some flock, static grass and some shrubs later the base is done:

    Although I had quite a few trees already I made up a few more and borrowed some split rail fences from my Gaines Mill project.

    Looking north up the Eastern Corinth road:

    From the south-east we see the start of the "sunken road" and "bloody pond":

    Looking west along the sunken road from bloody pond:

    In the north eastern corner is Wicker field:
    Last edited by Codsticker; 11-08-2019 at 23:49.
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  18. #18
    Modsticker Codsticker's Avatar
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    Re: ACW Terrain: The Battle of Gaines Mill

    I picked up a few 15mm ACW buildings from Meeplemart a little while ago.

    They are JR Miniatures products (now defunct):

    Unfortunately of the three I have painted so far, on has a couple of casting issues- nothing major...


    ... one has quite a few air bubbles in it...

    ... and one is really quite bad; quality control was non-existent:

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