Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick and Cheap Terrain - Hedgerows

I've been revamping my hedgerows lately, starting with some taller treeline-like hedges and then moving on to low hedgerows. Both these are distinct terrain types in the Battlefront WWII ruleset, and a must have for anyone who is gaming Normandy scenarios.

I thought I would document my process so I could share with others, as in a short amount of time and little cash outlay you can create some fairly authentic home made hedgerows. My previous hedgerows tended to be uni-foliage in design and I was looking for something a little more varied, having admired some of the terrain I've seen elsewhere on these forums. I'm making these for 20mm WWII gaming but they could be used for other scales as well, and other perioods of gaming of course.

These hedgerows take about five minutes each to make.

1. Adhesive velcro strips

I've been using these for a long time now for various bits of terrain. I purchase mine in packages of 30" strips at our local dollar store, but they are also available at fabric stores. The key is they are super adhesive one side, once the protective paper strip is removed.

I take out the "loop" strip of the velcro and set aside the "hook" strip for other uses (see road verges in a future post). I like the hook strips for use as hedgerows because they have a bit of tooth on their down side that allows them to be placed on fairly steep terrain without sliding away.
I cut these strips into manageable lengths, usually about 5" long, but some shorter to give me flexibility in laying them out on the board. I then trim the corners (so they merge better with the foliage) and remove the paper backing exposing the sticky side of the strip. I also cut strips of black foam core (white would work as well, but you would then have to paint it so it disappears in the foliage) 1/4" high, and about 1/2" shorter than the velcro strip.
Velcro strip, sticky side up with foam core strip in centre. Clockwise: clump foliage (two colours), stiff lichen picked up on travels, model railroad lichen, sprig of dried foliage from craft store.
2. Attach foam core
I then attach the foam core strip to the adhesive side of the velcro strip, centering it. Be sure that the foam core has the paper to the sides and the foam showing at top.
Foam core strip centred on velcro strip.

3. Apply glue one side
Apply white glue one side and then begin attaching bits of foliage to that side. The glue keeps the foliage attached to the foam core while the adhesive quality of the strip anchors it. I use a variety of foliage to create the varied effect I'm looking for, mostly railroad scenery "clump  foliage" (two colours of green) interspersed with bits of lichen. I'm also using some bristly lichen that I picked up on my travels (center top).

4. Apply glue to reverse side and top
Do the same for the reverse side and top, building up the sides first and then covering the top of the foam core.

5. Finished hedgerow

Here is the finished hedgerow. I have also addded a bit of vertical foliage, in this case a piece of dried foliage material I picked up at a craft store, to break things up a bit.

6. Hedgerows in situ

Here are some of these hedgerows incorporated into a scenario set up.

7. Tall hedgerows

I used the same technique to create some tall hedgerows, using a taller piece of foam core for my base. In this case I textured the foam core and painted it a dark green as more of it might end up showing through. I used a bit of florist's wire to keep the lichen upright, representing trees.