Vineyards and Barbwire

Several readers of my WR blog has questioned me on my vineyards and barbwire construction. So a brief overview of my terrain usage and construction discussion for my readership. Materials needed can be found in your local hardware store and hobby shop:

Bass wood strip of any length with bevel edge. The bevel edge avoids a vertical edge showing on the vine model wood base. White household glue (PVC) in a bottle, Zap-a-gap cyanoacrylate glue*, wire brads (nails), galvanized wire 28 gauge, a wooden dowel, a small hand drill, small light weight hammer, a hand file or sandpaper, and hand pliers. Woodlands brand flocking, small rocks and clump foliage materials for the ground texture and the actual foliage on the vines. I added in a beer and TV/DVD for background entertainment.

Material used for vine and barbwire construction. Bass wood strip, brad nails of 3/4" length, galvanized wire and hand pilers (not shown).

Material used for vine and barbwire construction. Bass wood strip, brad nails of 3/4″ length, galvanized wire. Not shown is Woodlands foliage materials, white household (PVC) and Zap cyanoacrylate glues and tools.

Vineyards: Cut the bevel bass wood to the length desired and then slightly round off the corners using a file or sandpaper block. I used three different lengths (6″, 4″ and 2″) because my underlying vineyard terrain mats outline the terrain feature on my tabletop. The actual bass wood bevel strip used for the vines was 5/8″ wide and 3/32 depth.

The actual vine model lengths are for show and can be displaced if the miniatures require additional space. The underlying terrain mat determines if the miniatures are in the vineyard or not for LOS and combative actions. The majority of my vine models are 6″ lengths.

WR's vineyards using the vines and flocked felt tabletop mat of various sizes.

WR’s vineyards using the vines and flocked felt tabletop mat of various sizes.

The underlying vineyard felt mat is just a cut green felt piece with a glued texture coating of Woodlands scenic flocking materials. Note the cut rounded corners to avoid curled pointed corners. I used a water thinned white household glue (in a spray bottle) to adhere the flocking material. Avoid totally soaking the felt with the thinned glue liquid and dry on a flat surface out of the sunlight. The darker coloring is location placement of the individual vine models and also creates a “shade” effect under the vine models. I created various sized vineyard mats for my tabletop games.

Different sized under mats for the vineyard dimensions on the tabletop.

Different sized under mats for the vineyard dimensions on the tabletop.

WR's vineyards using the vines and flocked felt tabletop mat with removed free standing vine models. this shows the terrain texture for vine placement.

WR’s vineyards using the vines and flocked felt tabletop mat with removed free standing vine models. this shows the darker terrain texture for approximate vine model placement.

Vine model construction starts with the pre-cut and shaped bass wood strip. I drilled a small pilot hole at approximately 1″ intervals along the bass wood strip but the actual distance is personal choice and look. Hard to see in the photos but I also avoided having the pre-drilled holes in a perfect row line. I placed some slightly off centerline for a “bent look” on the vine wire model and not all have to be perfectly vertical too. Tack in the wire bards (nail) into each pre-drilled hole but avoid exposing the pointed nail on the far side of the bass wood strip. Note there are vertical wire brad posts and slight angled post at the end of each vine model length. Apply a blob of white household (PVC) glue around the wire brad base at contact point with the bass wood. I applied a touch of Zap cyanoacrylate glue to adhere the angled post to the vertical post. Set aside to dry vine length and complete any remaining vine model lengths by repeating the above steps.

Three sizes of vine models; 6", 4", and 2" lengths. Use depends on the underlying terrain mat used.

Three sizes of vine models; 6″, 4″, and 2″ lengths. Use depends on the underlying terrain mat used. Note a shorter wire brad nail was used for the angled end posts.

Once the posts are dry the fun process of winding the galvanized 28 gauge wire across the wire brad posts at two different heights starts. This is to create a gap between the wires to stuff the Woodlands scenic foliage clump modeling material into the gap and glue later on. Use a touch of Zap cyanoacrylate glue to adhere the galvanized 28 gauge wire to the posts at each junction to prevent the wire sliding down the wire brad posts.

The next step is to paint the posts, wire and bass wood before adding the foliage material. I painted the posts in basic brown paint, the wire in dull metallic gun-metal with tan touches for rust and the basswood in a basic soil color (different brown from the post color). Black wash the posts if you wish. I would also paint the underside of the vine model… I used a dull green color common to all my wargaming tabletop terrain. Just in case a vine model is knocked over and the bright natural bass wood color shows up in your gaming photographs.

Mix up a collection of different colored and density Woodlands scenic clump foliage material in a shallow bowl. Tear apart the clump material as needed and white household glue the clump material onto the wire. I started by pushing foliage clump material between the galvanized wire, then apply the thinned glue to soak the clump material. Let stand to dry and return later to attach additional clump material to the clump material between the wire. Build up the vine foliage effect using different colors and sized clumps of foliage. Apply the thinned white household glue as needed. When done I gave the entire model an extra coating of thinned white glue on all the foliage clumping material. Apply small ground foliage and rock scenic material to the vine model bass wood base (to personal taste). Any future repairs are simple with glue and clump foliage materials. A good storage box is recommended for these vine models. Tossing them into a generic terrain “pile” will quickly destroy them. I think I have 30 feet of vines…. sufficient to entangle most armies.

Vineyards in use can be seen in my recent French republican games of Dego 1796 or my Lodi 1796 like scenario.

Storage box of my vines and underlying terrain mats. The storage box is a cut down apple box, from the local market with glued cardboard inserts.

All in one storage box of my vines and underlying terrain mats. The storage box is a cut down apple box, from the local market with glued cardboard inserts.

Barbwire: My barbwire terrain models follows the same basic steps of the vineyard construction but without the underlying vineyard felt mat.

I used 1″ wide basswood strip, pre-drilled the slightly uneven double line of post holes on each section of wire. I created barbwire in two lengths of 4″ or 2″ (* see note below). The majority in my collection are 4″ lengths.

Tap the wire brad nail into each hole as mention above. Remember to not have every post perfectly vertical but some very slightly off angle. Apply a blob of white household glue (PVC) to each post. Let the glue dry. I then painted the posts a brown color and let dry. Starting at one post, I wrapped the 28 gauge galvanized wire at two different levels along the post line and returned down the opposite post row, ending at the starting post. Don’t pull tightly the post to post wiring to avoid bending the bass wood strip from wire tension. I didn’t cross-cross wire between the two post rows at this stage of construction also. Apply Zap cyanoacrylate glue to each wire junction to prevent the wire sliding down the posts. Paint the wire with a dull gun-metal color and touch up with a rust color.

I next created a “concertina” wire effect by wrapping the 28 gauge galvanized wire around a wooden dowel. Painted the wire while on the dowel quickly and removed from dowel to dry. Once dry I slightly pulled the concertina wire look apart and glued into the internal central barbwire box of the barbwire models. Then I completed the barbwire model with some galvanized wire crisscrossing between the double post rows above the concertina wire below. Paint again any exposed wire requiring coverage. A different look would be to omit the concertina wire construction entirely and just wire the double post rows and crisscross to personal taste.

Barbwire created in 4" or 2" tabletop terrain lengths.

Barbwire created in 4″ or 2″ tabletop terrain lengths.

* The reason for these barbwire model lengths is my 20mm WWII collection and the Flames of War rules set. Yes, not a typo… I play FOW using 20mm scale models and miniatures. I started back in Year 2004 with Version 1.0 of the FOW rules. That version used actual barbwire lengths and not the current FOW pre-determined 8″ universal length of barbwire. When a tank drove over the wire the model tank determined the width of wire destroyed… hence I used generic 2″ widths to create the “opening effect” in the wire. If the tank drove along the wire line, then more was removed from the tabletop terrain. Using the 4″ or 2″ lengths gave me complete flexibility depicting the barbwire location on the tabletop. For the current Version 3.0 of the FOW game, I just remove or place 8″ lengths (2x 4″).

Sample use of the barbwire on my terrain board. Could be either single or multiple density rows.

Sample use of the barbwire on my terrain board. Could be either single or multiple density rows.

Just like my vineyards, and almost all my terrain not stored in filing cabinets, my barbwire collection has its storage box to protect the wire work. Measured out there is 32 feet of barbwire for my gaming purposes. Would need more if I game in WWI format I think.

Barbwire storage box. A cut down apple box, with cardboard inserts, holding 32 feet of tabletop terrain wire.

Barbwire storage box. A cut down apple box, with cardboard inserts, holding 32 feet of tabletop terrain wire.

Basically simple construction but a bit time-consuming task of wire wrapping. Time spent while watching TV sport games created my vineyards and barbwire collection. Been in tabletop use for many years with little wear to show but WR recommends that the gamer not place his/her weighted hand on the terrain nails. Might be a bit prickly.

See my San Fratello Sicily 1943 FOW game for the barbwire terrain in use plus my minefields. San Fratello Sicily 1943 Part I and San Fratello Sicily 1943 Part II AAR

Cheers from the warren. Remember to bring a good pair of wire cutters if entangled.

WR

2 thoughts on “Vineyards and Barbwire

    • Thank you Peter for your comment. If you start this project just take your time building up the foliage on the vine wire structure. I found the process of adding clump foliage bits to each model vine section easy if you give the glue a chance to dry and work on several vine sections in turn. I did 10 feet of the vine models if I remember correctly. The vine model is light weight so adding some small rocks to the bass wood base helps keep the model steady on the gaming table.

      M aka WR

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