Entrenchments / Trenches for pennies

…yes, literally pennies in cost, plus (admittedly) a few hours effort.

As I have mentioned on several occasions, for our main gaming effort of 2016, we are looking at a large series of connected scenarios around the actions of the British 6th Airborne Division on D-Day. You cannot start a campaign like this without playing a scenario around Pegasus Bridge.

ham and jamThe scenario I have (from Red Devils in the Night, a Battleground WWII scenario book) shows the Orne canal with trenches running down both banks.

I looked at how much it would cost to buy six feet of ready made resin trench – this ended up with a price tag of around £50.

I don’t know about you, but I can find better things to spend my hobby budget on than a trench system, and so I thought that I would try and make my own. I also wanted some more generic entrenchments for use with Chain of Command, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. In addition, I’d been inspired by the job that Dick Bax had done on the entrenchments on his WWII table at the St. Albans Lardy day

dutch trench
_20151126_205527So I set about the task of making my own. The materials required for this project were really basic:

  • MDF bases, cut to size (in this case 6″ x 2″)
  • Coffee Stirrers
  • Matchsticks
  • Household filler
  • PVA Glue

The spec for these was very simple – they had to be able to hold a team of infantry (5 or 6 figures). Since the vast majority of our figures are based on small coins, the trenches had to be that wide.
The first thing was to create a basic wooden frame for the entrenchment.
Once this was dry, the outside of the trenches was built up using filler, and sand was applied for texture
Once this was all set, the trenches were then base-coated in a dark brown (I used Java Bean from the George set of paints, available from Asda in the UK)
This basecoat then had a couple of lighter drybrush coats were applied, and the wooden boards were drybrushed with two shades of grey to age them. Finally, a layer of flock, followed by a layer of static grass was applied.
And that’s all there is to it. The project took four nights to complete, primarily due to waiting for glue, filler and paint to dry. However, the final result looks pretty good, and as I said, costs pennies to produce. As you can see, the entrenchments fit an infantry team well.
The only thing I would change, in hindsight, is that I would have made eight of the trenches into two-part sections, that could be joined in the middle. Considering how well these turned out, I’ll probably look at doing this in due course.

2 Comments on Entrenchments / Trenches for pennies

  1. They look great, are cheap and very effective. What’s not to love?

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