Friday, 1 August 2014

Atlantikwall "Throw them back into the sea"

OK, it's been much longer than I would have liked since my last blogging, but I can assure you I've not been slacking on the hobby front! Given that my boys have finished school & my wife has taken a week's annual leave since then, I've been far more productive than anticipated.  Taking into account the beautiful weather and a hospital visit or two, I've not done bad at all.

So, what have I been up to?

While preparing for our last game, between Paul's American Armoured Infantry & my GREEN German festungstruppe (more of that later), the conversation turned to fortifications among other things and my interest was peaked into putting in some work on my little collection of bunkers and what-not.
This was the haul in my "bunker box". All hoarded with good intentions over a period of time.

The two at the rear are small MG nest bunkers from Jamie's collection. In front are two of the now discontinued(?) little Tobruk nests. Both sets from Battlefront.

This radar bunker (left) and 50mm A/T gun pit are both from Antenociti. There will be a white metal gun in the pit when finished (supplied as part of the kit).

These are marketed as Anti-Tank bunkers by Battlefront. I bought them with the intention of using them for more wider ranging purposes, right up to things like the bunkers at Mérville (these are BIG bunkers!)

I picked these up on a whim from eBay for £6. They are quite simplistic, but I wanted to see if they could be employed as observation type bunkers with a little imagination. I think they're from the Spanish manufacturer Baueda.

As the weather has been so warm, I've been working in the garden whenever possible. I cut bases from MDF, glued down all roofs & gave them all an undercoat with good old Halford's Grey Primer. Where appropriate, I built banks of earth around the structures using blue "insulation" foam. This high density foam is awesome to work with & can be cut and sanded to shape easily. I experimented with the texturing using some of Rich Clarke's tile grout and PVA recipe. It worked really well! I'll be using that a lot in future methinks.
I don't know exactly what it was that set me in motion to actually do this project. Given that although they're mentioned in the CoC rule book, there's no real framework for using bunkers in a game. You just CAN'T game Normandy without having some sort of brush with fortifications, so I'd see their use as scenario specific, but their effectiveness (and the likelihood there will be more than one on table) will mean that careful consideration will need to be given to their employment.

The gun pit & "observation/MG bunker with earth tone added and hooks made from florists wire. I intend to add some netting here and there to give them some camouflage.

One of the big bunkers before being drilled and wired. There is some significant blast damage to both of the big bunkers and I hope to depict some protruding rebar by using some gridded plastic mesh from my bits box. I've earthed the roofs of all of the bunkers as I want to give the look similar to the batteries at Mérville and Longues.

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after adding grass to match my terrain I painted metalwork with German Camouflage Black/Green and added small quatities of rust with weathering powder mixed with white spirit.

After painting on a few stripes of Reflective Green to break up the large solid areas, netting made from an old crepe bandage has been added. First I soaked strips of the bandage in very dark brown, diluted craft paint. after leaving overnight to dry I then soaked it again in dilute PVA so it could be shaped and hung around the walls more naturally. I "encouraged" more wayward pieces by supergluing, but when this dried with a white powdery finish I was forced to paint the final product. This was easy as it had dried solid.

Rear view of the same.

It's sister bunker before any camo.

Front & rear shots of the radar bunker. This one is begging for some sort of Douvres-la-Deliverande type assault scenario.

These two have deliberately been left until last. I wanted to experiment on the cheaper ones first!
Paul-Next-Door and me are due to start a new "At the Sharp End" campaign shortly. He'll be playing some flavour of Americans (probably Armoured Infantry given their HUGE amount of firepower) while I'll be putting up the German resistance. We're planning on rolling up characters and generating the finer details in the next few days. I may opt for those green grenadiers again! They are a frightening prospect when you consider how easily hit they are (Paul was hitting on 3-up and re-rolling his ones!), but there's the up-side that you are pretty much guaranteed to use plenty of your toys as support choices, even in the opening games. They even managed to get help from a Tiger in the last outing. Maybe he'll let me get some of these bunkers on the table?.....You never know!


  1. Nice work Ade. Really like the use of the wire to enhance their appearance

  2. These look great Ade. Really nice work on the hooks and camo.

    Looking forward to seeing the campaign - is this for club nights or mid-week gaming?

  3. Cheers Mark! It doesn't take long and I think it does add something. I need more practice on the netting though.

    Cheers Phil! They are for both ;^)
    You're welcome to come over for a game Chez Deacon anytime :^D