Ludendorff Bridge 1945 Preparation

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.

The scenario map. For WR’s scenario game the squares are 12″ deep and 15″ wide to create a 25% increase in tabletop width due to the use of 20mm scale miniatures.

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.

Applying a light cover coat of drywall spackling to fill in the foam “airy holes and any nicks or dents. Once dry lightly sand to smooth texture using a sanding block for drywall work.

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.

WR created his stonework by lightly filing out the grooves and notches. If a mistake… just reapply the spackling and light smooth again. The Dremel tool bored out the battlement opening at top and the doorway.

[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.

Cutting 2″ foam insulation board into required shapes and size. The three hill levels, both Rhine river banks, and the top layer hard board to permit hand and body weight pressing on tabletop.

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.

Closer view of towers, the bridge, the railroad tunnel portal (double wide), the top layer hardboard over the 2″ foam board, the clear stepping on this face of the hill and 20mm 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.

The rear roadway leading to the top layer on the hill. Notice how WR slightly tapered each hill level to create a sloped look. Unlike the front  and rear hill faces, the side face cannot be climbed.

Side view of the Ludendorff bridge, the towers, the tunnel portal, the bridge river piers, and some miniatures for scale. Rhine river is blue plexiglass sheets 2 feet by 1 foot.

[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.

The painted tower. Dark grey spray paint applied with two coats, a paper door and hatch glued to the foam tower then a black wash applied. All sealed by a quick coat of clear spray.

[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.

Craving out the arches and removing excess wood before final sanding with the tabletop or bench belt sander. Note the saw cuts to permit quicker wood carving and WR braced the wooden block against the stone step.

[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.

The bridge set up. WR has started applying the cut paper stonework to the two ramp pieces to finish the arches. WR also added the wooden sub piers in the river under the purchased plaster piers to match the height from the river to the bridge ramp point.

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.

Paint the paper stonework with the same dark grey spray paint then apply the black wash as for the towers.

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.

The general view of the project. Green blended flocking applied to the foam layers, the bridge, and towers in place. Note the exposed hard board tile edge needs a light flocking application still.

[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.

Finishing the Ludendorff bridge arched ramps. After the paper stonework is PVC glued, the light brown blended flocking is applied for the rail bed underlay. Then finish the remaining areas with blended green flocking. Seal with a coat of clear spray to seal. Under top ramp is uphill roadway.

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.

Finished the Ludendorff bridge by painting the actual model bridge with light grey primer then black washed.

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.

Outlands model (Ebay) for about $3.00 (free shipping). Approximately 4 inches in length and 2″ wide. Will fit a small infantry team base on the open deck area.

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.

The finished Arado 234 bomber flying over the tabletop and sighting their target.

Arado 234 bomber alongside the completed cheap “barge” model. Sniper team onboard to sail down the Rhine on their pleasure cruise….

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.

Total sideshow material. The mentioned extra Pak cannon, several Volkssturm command teams, extra Flak teams, and two weird “Hitler reviewing” his Hitler Youth dioramas.

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.

The bridge with the damaged condition overlay in place. the tunnel portal with the “black hole” backing, the blown RR ramp marker, and three additional vehicles for the collection: Skoda type 952 Kubelwagen, a Tatra T-57 K Kubelwagen, and finally a Tatra T-97 car.

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).

General Remagen – Ludendorff bridge scenario tableview with the platoons in starting positions.

American Heavy Tank platoon (Perhings) look on at the bridge and the German defenders.

Bridge showing its damaged condition, the tunnel portal in place, and the towers HMG team garrisoned.

Side view with the river barge in position off the American Rhine river bank. The other sniper team positioned lower right corner away from the Volkssturm platoon.

American reinforcements arriving at staging area “3”. Spare rowboats on the German river bank.

German Volks Artillery battery in position with the 37mm Flak batteries upper right. Better move the battery command team to woods forward edge to spot as they have no observer teams.

The rough roadway cuttings up the rear of the Espeler Ley mountain. Note the 20cm Flak teams start well away (6″) from the forward edge of the Espeler Ley. Note American objective marker.

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.

The 9.5″ length Model Power bridge model painted grey and black washed. River overlay to “sink” the bridge on the tabletop, the pale blue repainted staff car, and finished blown RR ramp marker.

To use the destroyed bridge model, the bridge itself is placed on the Rhine river terrain surface between the two black stone piers.

The destroyed bridge model is placed between the two black stone piers resting directly on the Rhine river terrain surface. The “river water” overlay in place with the “river white water wash upstream. Of course the upper bridge model will be removed.

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

Ludendorff Bridge “Hollywood Movie” AAR


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