Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stalingrad in 20mm - Part 1

Now that I have lots of room for projects, I am getting on with several that were put on hold by the move. I figured I would keep track of some of them here to:
  1. Keep a history of the various projects to help me remember to finish them; and
  2. To provide my mates with the opportunity to egg me on when I start slacking.
Today's project is the first step of the Stalingrad wargames table in 20mm. Today I am working primarily on layout. I'm starting with three pieces of 24"x48" sanded pine, ½" thick. I found them at Lowe's. They also do 24"x24", as well as the full 48"x96" sheets.

The other key part of today's phase is the map from MMP's ASL module, Valor of the Guards. This module is the second of the "official" ASL Stalingrad modules, the first being Red Barricades which was produced many years ago by Avalon Hill. The reason I am using this particular map is that it contains the section of Stalingrad which includes the 9th of January Square, on which sits "Pavlov's House", a key feature in many battles in the campaign. I also know that ASL modules are fastidiously researched, and can trust this map to be as accurate as possible.

I had decided from the outset that I will only be building the "ground" on these boards - the roads, dirt, some rubble and other texturing - but no walls, buildings, etc. Those will be left separate. This will keep the terrain more portable, and allow me to mix things up for different games without having to make whole new boards. Jeff at Battleworks Studios is making several buildings for me. So far he has finished Pavlov's House and one other piece, and they look marvelous - well worth the price.

Here's what I'm starting with... Pretty exciting photo, eh?

That's actually just half the map, by the way. They give you a huge map and a gajillion counters, along with lots of scenarios, in this module.

What I did today was draw on all the roadways, and the square which will be the centerpiece of most of the battles fought on this table.

I did get off to a false start. You can't tell in the photo (or maybe you can, if your vision hasn't gone as far south as mine), but the hexes on this map run at a diagonal. My first few roadways were also placed on a diagonal, which quickly went awry. Fortunately, I was only a couple of minutes in when I realized that it would be far easier to run things north-south, east-west without tilting them to match the map. Problem solved.

I hadn't planned this originally, but as I was drawing on the roads I noticed that the 24x48 sections would make for good modular boards, similar to those that come with ASL, or - probably more accurately - with DASL, as 24x48 equates to 6 hexes by 12 hexes since 4" equates to one hex in my conversion of the rules for miniatures. Still, I think I will investigate making non-scenario specific boards as modular as possible.

The other advantages of using these 24"x48" sections are that the battlefield is portable, I can add to it in the future, and we can use as many or as few sections as we need for the particular scenario.

The next step with the board itself is to start texturing. I will do the roads first, and need to decide whether to use the smooth Golden gel medium (which, by the way, you can get for the least cost from Dick Blick Art Supplies), or just texture some paint with a bit of fine grain sand.

Then, as I mulled this over, I realized that I need to decide what to do about shell holes and craters first, as they will be endemic to this board, including its roadways. I have a few options here, but only two of them have any real viability. More discussion on this later...


- Rod

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