Bridges, bridges

Since completing my new river banks I realised two things:

1. I didn’t have enough bridges to provide the scenery options I might need for future 28mm games
2. The bridges I did have were now compromised as they weren’t designed to work with 9-10mm banks – their centre supports wouldn’t reach the water!

So, to fix problem one I decided to find a decent stone bridge model and after some web surfing I settled on the Italeri plastic kit. This provides a very simple by effective model, with a road width just under 80mm, a span of about 130mm (more than enought for my 90mm rivers) and total length of about 230mm. I ordered mine via Amazon and it came within a couple of weeks – from Hong Kong, for a total of under £14 including P&P. Not bad.

Here are the kit components, 2 sides plus a top roadway and a underside arch, all nicely detailed with stone and paving.

With box cover art to make sure I put it together properly!

Ta daa! It took about 20 minutes to put it together, requiring a small amount of prep to ensure the arches went fully into the slots on the side sections. I used plastic cement, the same I’ve used for hard plastic figures, and it worked very effectively as you’d expect. I used the old rubber band trick for holding it together while the blue dried, and the result is a pretty sturdy bridge ready for undercoating and some fast dry-brushing.

 

 

Slightly blurry picture of the finished article. Painting took about 30 minutes. Black undercoat followed by a mid grey and then a light grey build up of dry-brushes. I then used a pale yellow/brown shade for the feature blocks and covered everything with a diluted GW brown wash. Finally I gave it all a light dry-brush of Vallejo’s Iraqi Sand, which softens everything and ties into all my terrain and other scenery as I use it for pretty much everything.

To solve problem 2 I added the necessary depth to the centre supports on my other 2 bridges. The (Hovels?) stone bridge received a stack of thick card pieces, stuck together and carved to shape. They then had a scraping of quick-dry plaster before being painted to a reasonable match for the existing stonework. The Renedra wooden bridge had a couple of plasticard struts added, which were painted to match. Now my troops can cross and re-cross my rivers with abandon!

 

A new bit of scenery

I’m never one to pass up a good quality piece of scenery at a show, although I can’t for the life of me recall when I bought this one, or who makes it! The cave/mine entrance is a favourite for Hordes of the Things players, and although that’s not a ruleset I use for my 15mm fantasy games, I like this model and its handy space for a 40mm wide element in front of the entrance for a dramatic defence or the arrival of horde reinforcements.

The only modification I made before painting it was to add sand to the flat entrance way and around the edges of the base, to allow me to blend it in better with my terrain boards. A black undercoat was then followed with a few successively lighter layers of grey, and some brown for the ground, and voila, a nice new piece of scenery to go on a board edge for my next game with Orcs or Dwarves.

Before and after pics (I guess it doesn’t look that different but some effort Did go in, honest!)

Crossing the River

I’ve always been interested in battles and campaigns that involved the use of pontoon bridges. The ability to identify a crossing location, devise a plan and put the necessary bridging resources in the right place, at the right time – often under the noses of the enemy, was a skill demonstrated by the best generals and staffs.

So, wherever there’s a river on a tabletop battlefield, there’s the potential to throw a bridge of boats across it. Even if it plays no part in the game itself it still presents an attractive point of scenery interest. Although I admire other gamers’ pontoon efforts in the larger scales (Charles S Grant’s for example), my aspirations definitely lie at the smaller end of the spectrum! I have a number of 6mm armies and the potential scope of games in this size allows for grand tactical activities, including the crossing of major rivers.

Rather than have to create miniature pontoon units for each period and each side, what I wanted to do was have a single bridging force that could serve as required. This is something that 6mm is well suited to due to the size of the models but even so some nice generic (ie. drab!) colours were required. I’d had a few suitable models from both Heroics & Ros and Irregular Miniatures for some time and finally decided to get them together and finished off.

Here are some pictures of the results, on the march and bridging both small and large rivers, in a couple of period settings (Medetian mid-17th century and Frederick’s Prussians 100 years later). The bridge elements are scratch-built from card. I’ve actually got plans for completely new rivers, which will be the subject of future posts when I get started on them, but these little guys will still be able to bridge them.