One of the issues I have always had with wargaming is trying to find bits and pieces that make the tabletop look just that little bit nice. I must admit this is a much easier job today than it was thirty years ago, but even back then I tended to scour model railway shops for bits of “Scatter” that made the table come to life. A fantastic example of this today is the Peter Pig ranges which have all sorts of bits and pieces, such as telegraph poles and road signs, which can make a pretty plain table look something special.
With my current new project being the Dark Ages in 28mm I have been looking for some bits and bobs that do a similar job, but obviously in a more simple form. Back in January I attended Crusade at Penarth in South Wales (a really fantastic show, very highly recommended) and it was there that I really noticed The Scene for the first time. From Maidenhead in Berkshire these chaps produce a weird and wonderful range of odds and ends, some of which is really quite esoteric (28mm skips with a variety of rubbish/rubble loads anyone?!) but other stuff is not only perfect for general table dressing, but very reasonably priced as well.
Back in January I purchased three small ploughed fields, perfect to have outside some peasant’s hovel, and some areas or rocky and broken ground. I could, in all fairness, just get some model railway rocks and scatter them about, but there was something about their standing stones that had an air of antiquity about them that I thought would be perfect for the age of the Dux Britanniarum, so when I saw The Scene again at Overlord in Abingdon this month (another smashing show) I grabbed a few more packs.
In the following photo you’ll see my purchases which came to the princely sum of £9. Even the missus can’t complain about that as a hobby expense! I could have bought them ready painted, they have them available as well, but I wanted to paint them to match my Dark Age basing on the figures, so I bought the plain resin and saved a few quid.
My first job was to spray them with a black undercoat and then paint them with a roughly applied coat of Burnt Umber. As with my post the other day I used Winsor & Newton Galleria acrylic paint for this stage. A large cheap brush is a good idea for terrain, and this one was very large and very cheap. I would not use a decent brush for terrain as the wet/dry brush technique I use would just mess up a good brush.
Once this had sort of dried I dry-brushed on a very small amount of Vallejo Stone Grey to highlight the furrows on the fields, which was them complete, I now needed to do the field edges and the rocky outcrops.
I applied a coat of Raw Sienna with all the accuracy of a drunk in a urinal. If your paint job is looking at this stage you’re doing something wrong. This Galleria paint is not like the high quality wargame paints with a high pigment to gloop ratio, it is pretty slimy stuff that elderly women use to paint portraits of their dogs or ickle-pretty flowers, so it goes on a bit like grease. But fear not, the layers of colour do build up and you get some pretty nice tonality as a result. If that is a word.
Next step is a coat of Yellow Ochre which leaves the piece looking like it’s got jaundice. Now you need to let that dry properly.
The next stage is a pseudo-dry brush, actually using a bit more paint than you’re normally dry-brush a figure with. I add some bronzed flesh paint from Citadel to a bit of yellow ochre, probably 2:1 ratio, and then run this over all of the ground area. Once this is done I add some white (I use a tube of Plakka acrylic rather than using my decent figure paints) and add a final dry-brush over the top to create a highlight. I also finish off dry-brushing the residue of this over the ploughed bits of the fields as that blends in the edges with the field itself.
Here’s a side-on shot so you can see that we’re not trying to cover the base, but really just highlight the rocky bits and leave the earth dark (which is where the slimy acrylic paint helps us as it has the covering power of a string vest).
Finally I add some of my home-made static grass mix (I am the Colonel Sanders of static grass; I mix up my own delicious blend of 11 different grasses, flocks and scatter to get the perfect ground cover for me) and then whack on some of the SUPERB Silfor tufts as introduced to me by my old chum Kev Lowth. And that’s it.
So, I can say without fear of contradiction that if you’re looking for some nice bits of scenery for a very decent price then The Scene will fit the bill. You can check them out at http://thesceneuk.com/
The reputation of the Corpo Truppe Volontarie, the Corps of Italian ‘Volunteers’ sent by Mussolini to support the Nationalists, has probably suffered as much from Francoist propaganda and subsequent historical commentary based on that propaganda, as it ever did from Republican bullets. While the force did have its shortcomings, not least that they were not