WR intends to use this updating blog post to show some of the steps WR completes to bring his Remagen Ludendorff bridge 1945 Flames of War (20mm) scenario to life. Each week WR hopes to update this blog article with news of forward progress towards the Remagen Ludendorff bridge scenario, the unit miniatures needed or painted from bare plastic or lead, reference material collected, scenario written up, model and terrain construction, and the long list of small but incremental steps towards a “hoped for” successful scenario game, playtested sometime late March or early April, and featured at the Memorial day regional LAX convention.
Look for the dated updates [xx/xx/2018] below as WR adds to article text.
Previously WR had posted the complete scenario outline and commentary for changes. The Flames of War (FOW) Ludendorff bridge scenario link on WR: Remagen Ludendorff Bridge 1945
While WR takes inventory of the miniature requirements and what he has already painted in his WWII 20mm American and German collections this weekend, he starts with the basic tabletop terrain requirements. There is the Rhine river itself to simulate, a steel beam long railroad bridge, converted to vehicle transit, two river stone piers, a ramp rise and overcrossing for the rail line to and from the bridge, a railroad tunnel outlined by a cut stone opening into a high but somewhat climb-capable hill with rear uphill roadway, a sunken or anchored river barge(s), some woods, and two separated villages or built up areas. The roads, buildings, and woods WR has in his wargame terrain collection….. the other terrain will need to be constructed.
02/26/2018] First the four towers flanking the four corners of the bridge. WR looked around and found on Ebay these foam cemetery vase inserts ($3 each) which are 8″ tall and 3.5″ wide at base, tapering to 2.75″ at inverted top (base). WR applied a light cost of drywall spackling to fill in the airy holes found in the form and smooth out the foam nicks. Once dry, sand to create a smooth finish then “file out” the stonework grooves and notches to taste. See photos below for example of technique.
For the stonework look, WR used a steel file and lightly scored the plastered towers turning the tower while holding the file stationary…. like a lathe machine. Then the Dremel tool created the vertical notches. For the top, the Dremel tool bored out the foam for the battlement top and the doorway at the base.
[03/01/2018 Update]: After work commenced with the towers, WR purchase a large 8’x4′ sheet of two-inch thick insulation foam board ($22 Lowes). He then proceeded to cut out the required hill shape (three levels) and create a raised tabletop for both banks of the Rhine river. See scenario map for hill size details. Three foam hill layers to handle the height of the railroad tunnel portal (5″ height). When the scenario is set up the river lies on the green tablecloth (not pictured), then the form boards, then a top layer of hard green flocked boards to permit hands and body weight to be applied on tabletop. The tools and materials used are pictured below and shows the basic work progress. Also pictured is the purchase double wide HO plaster train tunnel portal.
Progress photo. Shows closely the frontal three layer hill with the foam stepping on the Rhine river face, the four towers in rough form, the bridge which WR previously had in his collection, the plaster HO scale tunnel double wide portal (package in river), the blue plexiglass for the river itself (2’x1′ sheets), and some based 20mm miniatures for Flames of War. Even the pending its paint Arado 234 bomber model makes its appearance. Note that WR plays Flames of War Version 3.0 with his 20mm collection and not the normal 15mm scale miniatures.
The previously posted Ludendorff bridge scenario map has a road ascending the hill from the rear face. So WR cut into the 2″ foam layers several ramps for the roadway. WR applied the same spackling to create a smooth roadway for the texture flocking later. At the same time on the exposed railroad tunnel face WR applied more spackling for a clean face look. For the extra touch, WR applied more spackling to the foam board edges which show on the outside table edge perimeter. When dry, all the surfaces except the vertical hill sides had applied a coat of green water based paint. For the exposed hillside edges, WR applied a light coat of Minwax “Provincial” color stain. It will “eat” into the foam a small bit so be aware of this happening. Once dry, WR bushes a coat of watered down PVC white glue across the exposed hill foam layer edge to give a stiffer surface.
[03/04/2018 Update]: Time to paint the towers. After cutting the stonework grooves the painting is simple. A can of dark grey spray paint applied two coats on the plaster covering. After gluing a paper door and hatch on the battlement painted brown, the entire tower was black washed to give some depth to the appearance. When dry, apply a clear coat to seal the tower.
[03/06/2018 Update]: Start work on the railroad raised ramp to the bridge with stonework arches. How to make these features….? After some thought WR decided to use a 2×4 wood board and crave out the arches and sand down the final shape. I guess foam could be used in lieu of the wood but you cannot “damage” the wood unlike the soft foam. Finding the wood chisels, WR sat down and pounded out the raw shape as shown below. Then the table belt sander was used to grind the final arch shape and sloped edges. There are two arch groups, one for each side of the bridge. Different in size and shape, a gamer following this article will need to measure his own tabletop design for the final size and shaping. The long 2×4″ ramp wood piece with double arch is 12″ long. The shorter raised ramp is 8.75″ long for your notes. WR had a drawing of the arch measurements but it seems to have been tossed out.
[03/07/2018 Update]: The bridge setup below with both ramps in place, the tunnel portal, the bridge river piers (plaster piers HO scale), the sub pier river pieces, and the towers nearby. Looking closely you can see the cut paper stonework being applied to finish the arches to match the bridge height distance for the river piers.
Paint the arch stonework with the same dark grey spray paint. Then apply the black wash to give some depth. The stonework look extends under the actual bridge model to finish off the exposed end face.
While the dark grey paint was drying, WR finished the terrain flocking texture work on the form boards. Even the exposed edges of the hard board tiles will have a light flocking applied.
[03/09/2018 Update]: Finishing up the Ludendorff bridge ramps. After carving out the arches and PVC glued application of paper stonework shapes then painted (sprayed) with dark grey paint and black washed, the task of flocking the ramps is next. First a basic light brown blended flocking for the railroad bed then the blended green to match the tabletop. Finally seal with a coat of clear spray to seal the work. Note the dark grey notch cutout in the upper end of both ramps for bridge placement. For the record WR hasn’t decided if the actual rails will be used during the scenario. He thinks they would just be a nuisance on the tabletop with the miniatures and the curved surface doesn’t tend well for the miniature rail track. Various lengths of N scale track stand by if needed.
Last job before the start of miniatures… paint the model bridge. WR has had this bridge in his collection for many years. Slightly larger and wider than a HO scale bridge, it will work for the scenario and allow the placement of infantry teams and tanks on the actual bridge model, with few overhead cross struts catching hands. It could be an O scale bridge made by an English company years ago. Bridge model width 2.75″, has 15″ length, and about 5″ in height. Painted bridge model with a primer light grey then the black wash treatment. Sealed with a clear coat spray. The actual tunnel opening will have a black sheet of paper to give darkness to the opening…. or maybe a cut out picture of a tunnel opening if it can be found.
05/10/2018 Update: The “chinese” barge has arrived in the mail. This cheap small “boat” is a basic boat with sufficient room to place a small infantry base onboard. It also comes with two small rowboats to place on the Rhine river bank. After cleaning up the basic model minor mold lines, the craft is now in painting with the Arado bomber.
Hopefully the eight extra Zvezda German 20mm Flak models will arrive this week for construction. WR has located all his extra Caesar 1/72 artillery and AA gun crew plastic miniatures for painting this weekend. Along the way the German WWII collection has grown by adding 4x PaK40 7.5cm A/T cannon, 3x Flak38 quad 20mm mounts, and 4x Pak36 37mm A/T cannon on the painting table. Three additional small vehicles under construction for adding to the scenic tabletop: Attack 1/72 scale German models of Skoda type 952 Kubelwagen, a Tatra T-57 K Kubelwagen, and finally a Tatra T-97 car.
05/17/2018 Update: Still waiting for the arrival of the single Flak 20mm models in the mail. Hope they arrive before the Strategicon LAX convention scheduled game on May 27th. Came up with a simple scenario adjustment if the model arrive late… half the cannon tems but double the firepower and each takes two hits to remove rule. I also updated the WR Ludendorff bridge scenario article with additional terrain comments, Artillery bombardment, LOS rules, and placement of the Flak 20mm teams on the Espeler Ley mountain. Finished up extra AA team crew miniatures for the Flak cannon models pending. The Arado 235 bomber is painted and flying over the test table set up.
For the Volkssturm platoon in the Ludendorff bridge scenario, WR painted up several platoons from the excellent Pegasus models 1/72 Germans in Berlin set. The required scenario platoon has six rifle Panzerfaust teams and their command team but it never hurts to have extra platoons available for other scenarios. As a side project, WR painted the Hitler reviewing his Hitler Youth diorama supplied in the Pegasus set. Included in the Pegasus set are German female miniatures (the Berlin office typing pool unit) to join in the Berlin fighting…. so WR painted them to add as extra teams to his Volkssturm platoons if required in a future Berlin FOW scenario.
05/18/2018 Update: The final steps. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten something. First up is the thick paper backing for the tunnel portal. After spraying the sized paper flat black, WR lightly PVC glued the paper to the rear face of the plaster tunnel portal. The reasons for the black “hole” look are: 1) cover the form Espeler Ley exposed interior brown edge cut out for the tunnel portal and, 2) provide a means to hold the plaster tunnel portal in vertical position by using the Ludendorff bridge wooden ramp piece positioned against the stiff blackened paper and the foam Espeler Ley textured backing.
Next little project is the damaged Ludendorff bridge overlay for when the German finish their first explosion effort. Using a piece of thin 3/32 basswood cut to fit the bridge model (approx 2.75″ wide and 10″ in length) then beveled the edges to avoid a raised edge look, WR drew a design on the basswood, then rule lined with a thin black pen the wooden planking. The historical Ludendorff bridge was a RR bridge, so the rail lines had wood beams placed to enable vehicle transit. Painting the overlay with various browns and grey paint washes to finish the effect with several “see the Rhine waters” holes in the bridge planking. Maybe add in some oil stains on the centerline to reflect the heavy vehicle traffic. While the washes dry, remember to place a weight atop the overlay to avoid possible wrapping of the thin wood due to the moisture. Glue on some wood dislodged beams scattered about to finish the look (extras from a old Zvezda medieval timbered house kit). Keep in mind to keep the entire look “flat” for the miniature bases to lay upon without difficulty. WR is still thinking about how to show the totally destroyed bridge look…. for now just removing the bridge model. Later maybe build some bulk metalwork debris to place in the Rhine when time permits in the next week.
While the bridge overlay dries, WR constructed a “blasted ramp” piece for showing the blown ramp archway. Again a piece of 3/32 basswood cut 3″ wide and 2.5″ length to fit the ramp with beveled edges. Glue some debris around the drawn “painted black” internal opening, paint the glued debris to blasted effect, and seal with a light clear coat…. along with the bridge overlay to minimise future wrapping on both sides.
Some finishing photos to show what I have been describing in the above text for the last few months. WR placed the 20mm platoon miniatures on the tabletop to show their general starting positions (refer to scenario directions).
05/25/2018 Update: The destroyed bridge, the blown RR ramp arch marker, and the staff car model for Major Krueger parked outside the bridge tower. The destroyed bridge is a HO scale bridge model made by Model Power (No. 112). WR thinks it could be a reissue from the old LifeLike range. The bridge model is 9.5″ in length, shorter than the starting bridge model of 14″ length. WR plans to place this shorter bridge model between the two bridge stonework piers during scenario play. To reflect the sunken destroyed bridge, WR made a balsa wood (.25″ thick) overlay to place atop the model bridge span flooring, thus covering the planking and pre-made groove for RR track. The balsa wood overlay is cut longer than the bridge model (10″), gluing two end pieces to hide the exposed end. After glue drying time, WR applied some Spackle filler thin layer to create a water effect with ripples and flow, Painted with blue water based paint, then dry brushed with white to create water foaming around the fallen metalwork. Using the overlay allows WR to use the bridge model for other wargame scenarios as the bridge itself is untouched. Purists could say the bridge should show more damage, bent or blasted steel beams, and more debris in the river poking above the Rhine waters. WR thought about it….but came to the decision to allow easy placement of based miniatures vs. a realistic look.
For the blown arch marker, a scrap piece of 3/32 basswood, sized to the created RR ramp piece, with debris and stone rubble, then dry brush painted to surround the painted flat black “hole” center. HO scale staff car found on Ebay for a representative model of Major Krueger’s pale blue Mercedes Benz car. The car came painted grey with silver trim. WR repainted with a “French pale blue” color to match the driven car in the Hollywood film.
To use the destroyed bridge model, the bridge itself is placed on the Rhine river terrain surface between the two black stone piers.
Lastly, looking at the final photos I seem to think a few hedges and low stone walls are need scattered about the buildings. Memo to the event planning list for the May 27th Strategicon LAX convention game.
The test game soon….. Till then cheers from the warren.
Update 06/03/2018: The two Flames of War scenario AAR have been posted on WR, links below:.
Ludendorff Bridge Basic scenario AAR