15mm Fences

If you're going to play miniature wargames set in the American Revolution or the American Civil War, you've got to have rail fences in your terrain kit. Bob Bailey and David Glenn offer advice on making 15mm worm fencing in the Terrainmakers' Yahoo Group.


David Glenn:
Here's how I make a lot of good-looking 15 mm split rail (worm/snake)

1. I use boxes of flat toothpicks, making sure to trim off about �" off of the pointed end of the toothpick. (Save these pieces.)

2. For the bases, I use the big tongue depressors. They're about 6 inches long with rounded ends. Craft/popcycle sticks aren't wide enough for the fences. The rounded end is also useful for combining sections at 90 degree and other odd angles leaving little gap between sections.

3. I also make up a few half-sized sections by cutting a few tongue depressors in half, and `rounding' the flat, cut edges. These come in handy for creating gaps and for surrounding those `odd' sized fields and pastures.

4. Take the fence bases, paint the top side and edges with green paint, then sprinkle or dunk them into the proper flocking material. Shake them off, and set aside to let the paint dry.

5. Once dry, you can start to make the fences. I put some glue on a flat surface (a piece of aluminum foil, piece of plastic or scrap cardboard). Using a pair of tweezers, I start laying rails by dipping each end of the rail into the glue and then placing on the base in a zig-zag pattern. Keep making successive layers until you have the proper fence height. (about 3/8" high)

6. Some types of split rail fences have small, vertical rails placed to each side where a `zig' or `zag' is created, crossing just above the top rail. Look at some old pictures to see the type of fence I am talking about. Use the �" long pieces saved from step 1.

7. For variety, I add some ground foam, small rocks along part of the fence base, and add some taller grass at the rail `elbow-shaped' areas, where weeds would have grown. This gives it a more realistic appearance. "Remember, it's the little details that count."

8. Either leave the fences a natural color, or give the wood a light washing with a brown or grayish color paint or stain to simulate aged wood.

I made about 50 feet of fencing in an evening, after all of the rails were trimmed.
Bob Bailey
Take flat toothpicks and cut them in half. Use the flatter half for the fences, laying them atop each other with the contacting ends glued.
I found that about 5 "rails" gave a good height. When dry, I sprayed them a moderate grey, washed them with a grey-black wash, then drybrushed them with a light grey, thus giving a quite good weathering effect.
I used the other halves of the toothpicks as the horizontal rails of post-and-rail fencing, laid between pairs of wood posts attached to bases, again with the contacting ends glued.
The flatter ends work better with the less supported nature of the worm fencing, while the thinner ends are very convincing as the narrower rails of the post-and-rail fencing.

I think I like the idea of the bases with the vegetation "extras" better than my "no-base" approach, although mine can be used at all times of year (I use a brown cloth for early spring and late autumn, a green cloth for warm weather, and a white flannel cloth for winter scenarios).

Warning Order

Warning Order is the official online magazine of the Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society.

Zombie Infection Simulation v2.3

Ok. This is neat. It's a Java window that shows how fast one infected individual can destroy a population.
Zombie Infection Simulation v2.3


Sandbags are an essential part of a wargaming terrain collection. David Glenn offers advice on using lima beans to make sandbags.

Here's a clever way to make sandbags...

Use dried lima beans. Depending on their size, they can be used for
a variety of scales. The only preparation is to snip off the ends of
each bean with a saw, exacto knife, dremel, etc... Then paint
the 'sandbags' and glue together for any type of reinforced position
or bunker that your fig's can hide behind.

Sculpting Epoxy Facts

The masters of wargames miniatures are sculped from various forms of epoxy -- green stuff, brown stuff, sculpty and so on. Here are a few handy facts about epoxy resins, silicones, and other two parts materials from Joel Haas in the Yahoo Sculpting Group:

The handiest bit of knowledge: as a rule of thumb, for every 18
degrees Fahrenheit 10 degrees Celsius you increase or decrease the
temperature of the material, you will halve or double the curing time.
That means, if an epoxy is rated to cure hard in two hours' time at
20 C or 70 F, then it will cure in one hour at 30 C or 88F; and, in a
half hour at 40 C or 106 F; and in 15 minutes at 50 C or 124 F. The
opposite is true as well --if you're working on a mini and somebody
phones you, slip the mini in the freezer at about 30 F or a little
under 0 C and the mini will stay workable when warmed for about 8 hours!
I just kept a small toaster oven on my workbench set at "warm" (about
175F) and would slide one mini in to "cook" for a quarter hour or less
while working on another one. They come out a bit rubbery when
heated, but quickly regain their rigidity as they cool. Don't heat
green stuff beyond 325 F, it melts at about 375 F!

Why is "Green stuff" rubbery? I was told years ago it was because it
was originally designed as plumbers' epoxy to patch copper pipes.
Metal, of course, expands and contracts, so a completely rigid epoxy
was not as good a sealant for water pipes as one that had a little bit
of give.

Two part chemical reactions catalytic reactions --are
"exothermic"they give off heat as they take place. As we have just
seen, heat makes the reaction set up even faster. That is why you
don't see large solid balls of epoxy or polyesters, etc. cast. The
heat from the reaction setting up is trapped in the middle and makes
the whole mass set up at different rates and times, producing
"crazing" and weak spots. With small scale casting, this is seldom a
problem. If however, you wanted to get the epoxy to flow more into a
mould with a lot crevices, etc, I suggest you cool the mould a bit so
the epoxy will stay fluid longer and get to all the parts of the mould
(don't try this with urethanes).

If you have ever used car body repair putty (a filled polyester sold
under the trade name BONDO in the USA) for making terrain, you have
probably found it sets up in less than three minutes on a hot summer
day and takes almost 15 minutes in the winter. RTV silicones,
urethanes, etc. are all subject to the same heat sensitivity.

A terrific standard and short work on epoxies is INDUSTRIAL EPOXY
PUTTYS by John A Wills. Though published in the mid 1980s, I had no
problem finding copies offered for sale on the internet by typing in

In addition to Polymeric's epoxies, I have used water cleaned, rigid
epoxies by Aves www.aves.com and Magic Sculpt www.magicsculpt.com

A good way to keep you dental tools for working minis clean�especially
when working with green stuff�is to wear an old watch band with a
Velcro patch on it. On the Velcro patch, just place a small wad of
cotton soaked with mineral oil or baby oil and just keep wiping your
tool over that. A lot more appealing than licking your tool all the
time or using the oil off the end of your nose! Also, alcohol is an
epoxy solvent, so try that if you can stand the smell.

Joel Haas, sculptor