Friday, 16 January 2015

Ligny - Colouring in

Continuing the step by step 'How We Do Scenery' theme we leap lithely from sepia to colour...and here's how...
Having marked out roads, placed bridges and buildings we mark out in 'rough' flock (flock that wipes its nose on its sleeve and drops its H's) where the wooded areas will be.
Years ago I got the chance to buy a job lot of flock but since then we've made our own with sawdust and dye. Once the sawdust is coloured, sieve it. The fine stuff (majority) will fall through to become the flock of basing and general scatter (no relation to colonel willy nilly) but you are left with the slightly too large flakes. These can become leaves for home made trees and hedges but, if you mix various colours, it makes nice wood, forest and copse floor cover.
 Moving troops through wooded areas is a pain if you constantly have to move the trees. Better, we have found, to mark the area covered by the wood with rough scatter and then put down the odd tree to denote type of wood. In this way you can move trees about within the 'patch' without being accused of "Burnham Wood to comes to Dunsinane..." or moving the scenery (cheating). Clearly defined wooded areas are a boon (no relation to Daniel)
 At the same time you can fill in the roads and begin to scatter on the main colour which is the low ground.
 You can be generous at this stage because it's the main and largest area. No profs or dips to movement or vision...
 Don't worry about enthusiastic colouring as the 'tidy' stage comes last (no relation to the Deadwood stage)
 High ground is marked out with your lightest colour (D'uh) and lowest marshy ground with the darkest of greens.
 This is literally how you do it. Medium level (12 to 18 inches) to give the flock some dispersal room on the way down. Shake gently to get even coverage. Incidentally, if you do the same thing with quality talc you get a brilliant snow effect.
 Despite the picture, of and ice cream tub full, very little flock is used to cover a very large area. Altogether two standard bags will easily cover a battlefield of 8 x 6 feet... just need to vary the colours, of course. The more accurate you need to be...
 ...the closer you need to get. At low level you twist your fingers like adding salt to food.
Changes in terrain type need to be clear and obvious. Then you need to just identify areas that need tidied up...
 ...and do a bit of close in work...
 ...add a few trees...
 ...some hedges and foliage...
 Blue flock for the Ligny Brook itself and (because the banks in places are not passable to artillery) the marshy areas are represented by the darkest green flock of all. I know rivers and streams are rarely, if ever, blue, but it's the contrast that gives everything definition.
 ...add a little lichen...
 and a few fence posts and stuff to mark out boundaries.....and we're done.
 Meanwhile, Colin has been massing his giant Prussian Army (eagerly contributed to by 'Shiny' Mark and his dad Roy). He spent a lot of time sorting out the OOB. As you may notice, he has layered the various Corps in boxes by Division (Brigade to the Prussians).
We salute his dedication in collecting such a huge number of empty beer crates for the cause...or will do, as soon as he's dried out.

Feel free to ask questions, make suggestions and/or general comments.

Many thanks as usual to the lads for adhering to the motto of the Chinese Electric Company...'Many hands make light work'.

Next week: Pre-game tweaks and French OOB. Game Saturday 24th January DV. All welcome. Post game run ashore.


  1. Always find the terrain layouts and massive armies you guys do simply awesome. Almost wish I could get my head back into Napoleonics. Looking forward to the rest of this series...

    Cheers, Dave

  2. Thanks for the kind comments Dave. We're on a 'Napoleonic binge' at the moment but sand is best used as a 20th Century medium really.

  3. Really enjoying watching this battlefield come to life! Great stuff gentlemen!

  4. Thanks, Rodger. We try to get a balance between realism and detail on one hand and ease of movement and playability on the other.

  5. The table looks great! It's amazing what you did with the flock.

  6. Thanks a lot. Flock makes it all come to life and gives gradients and features a 3D effect.

  7. C'mon! don't make us suffer! work harder!!