On the Road to Stalingrad…sort of…

We are stuck into getting the Summer Special ready at present; lots of exciting stuff in the offing there.  But, with the temperature rising up into the 80’s I thought I deserved a break from the Mac and I nipped into the new Lard Island Workshop to make a start on my Stalingrad project.  Well, that was the plan.  With the logistical exercise of rehousing all of our toys while the new unit was built, I sorted everything into two big piles: stuff complete and stuff not completed.  To my horror the amount of incomplete projects, or even unstarted projects, was absolutely colossal and when I moved them into the workshop they pretty much filled it to the point where I had nowhere to stand.
Here’s where I had planned to start:

I’d bought some nice Russian countryside buildings from Warbases and Charlie Foxtrot models and then I saw a great (albeit insane) offer on eBay for a whole Russian city in MDF for a hundred quid.  “That’s lunacy” said I, and promptly made the purchase.  It is these buildings which I plan to use with some of the techniques that ageing rocker Alan Sheward showed us while building his Stalingrad set up for Operation Market Larden 5 (you can see it here:   Big Al’s Stalingrad Build  and very impressive it is too).  Well, the truth was that as things stand I simply don’t have room, despite the new 10 foot workbench!  I needed to start out by chipping at the edges of the work pile and getting some quick and cheap victories so that some space could be generated when the completed stuff was transferred to the wargames table.
Immediately my eyes alighted on a big box of trees.

I’d bought these a while ago as part of my drive to get some fir tree for my Seven Years War set-up (yes, that long ago), but somehow they had evaded my attention.  Having just returned from the Hurtgen Forest in Germany these babies were once again on my radar and, indeed, they would be ideal on the road to Stalingrad.  So, this project would be a really useful one as it would suit many conflicts.
As part of Operation Fir Tree, I had spotted some laser cut MDF bases on eBay which housed a number of 1.5″ smaller bases.  Each came as a base of 2mm MDF, a top and five or six smaller sabot bases.  Ideal for putting trees on in a manner which delineated the edge of the wood, but also allowed space for toy soldiers.

I began by sticking these base and top together with Superglue before setting them aside to dry under a heavy weight.
Next, I stuck the trees onto the smaller bases, thus.

With that done I added a few rocks from the garden, these are actually slate which the missus had knocking about.  I then allowed these to dry overnight.
This morning, I moved on to adding some texture to the bases.  Here I used a large container of dried sharp sand which has been knocking about for ages.  Some old bits of other scenic bits had found there way in, but if we get the odd bit of moss or bush then all the better.
I used PVA glue here, avoiding the round holes for the trees.

A quick dip in the sand box was then followed up by a check that no sand had found its way into the sabot holes.  Where It had, I used a tool called ‘a Pointy Thing’ to scrape that out.

With that done, I repeated the process with the tree bases, but this time I ran my finger around the edge of the base to ensure that there was no unwanted sand on the edges.  Unfortunately, rather like having sex on a beach, a bit of unwanted sand is unavoidable but you try to keep it away from the important bits.

And here’s were we are so far:

Not a bad start, not particularly Stalingrad but useful for any number of wars including the Eastern Front, so that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.  Anyway, that’s just a start, there is lots of exciting stuff to add when that dries to get that woodland feel.  We will give you a further update soon.


10 thoughts on “On the Road to Stalingrad…sort of…”

  1. Nice to see you moving closer to Stalingrad.
    Also, I’m really hoping that your visit to Hurtgenwald might inspire a pint sized campaign down the line. A major meatgrinder of a campaign that is often overlooked. Also, I’ve always been fold of it being very much an ordinary infantrymans battle, without many of the “cool” or “flashy” regiments and troop types.

  2. Pingback: On the Road to Stalingrad, Part 2 – Lard Island News

  3. Rich,
    Please see if you can give us any details about who/where you got the MDF bases from. I have tried but with not luck. Any help would be appreciated.

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