French and Indian War: Campsite Terrain from Renedra Limited, WizKids and Mantic Games

Gaming miniatures scenarios in the wilderness of 18th-century America and the French and Indian War period necessitates terrain that speaks of the period’s stories, often played out far away from towns and homesteads. With campaign seasons hacked through the woods of the Northeast, Ohio Country and Great Lakes region, impermanent campsites are often the more regular terrain encountered during play.

I’ve found a couple manufacturer’s that provide some great, inexpensive plastic terrain to create campsite vignettes on the table. The Terrain Crate Hunter’s Camp from Mantic Games, while produced for fantasy role-playing gaming, is a great out-of-the box foundation for any wilderness camp. The inexpensive box comes with a tent, campfire, bedroll, stack of gear and firewood pile. My one knock on the set is the rubbery plastic that takes flat paint and creates a bit of a gloss.

To supplement this set, I have a couple more bedrolls from the blisterpack from WizKids. These casts are primed and take paint exceedignly well right out of the box. The company has been adding all sorts of terrain, bits and pieces to their line of figures over the past few years including cannons, barrels, boxes, furniture, etc., all of which can find a home in a historical setting.

I painted and glued up all the smaller WizKids and Mantic pieces onto a freeform cut balsa base which I flocked. I kept the tent and campire (mounted on a large metal washer) separate from tha larger campsite scene for ease of tarnsport and a bit more flexibility of use on the table.

I also have a number of ridge tents, a campfire and barrels from Renedra Ltd. Like the other manufacturers above, this UK-based company manufacturers a variety of plastic terrain including buildings, fences and gabions apprpriate to the 18th-century. The barrels glue up from two halves and I mounted them up in various piles on smll strips of balsa.

Along the way, I’ve also picked up a resin cast of a pile of beaver pelts, a key item for traders making their way through the North American back woods of the 1700s. All together, these elements from three manufacturers combine to give me a pretty good sized campsite for trappers adventuring in the wilderness or a European army on campaign.

American Civil War: 28mm American Farmhouse

My workbench focus over the past couple of weeks has been almost exclusively on my 28mm American Civil War project which I hope to have wrapped-up and ready to present in a large scale battle this spring. As posted previously, I love setting out a realistic wargaming table full of structures and terrain. Luckily, Perry Miniatures – the maker of my favored 28mm American Civil War soldiers – also produces a couple 1/56th scale plastic kits of terrain suitable to the period.

The Perry Miniatures farmhouse is loosely modelled on General Meade’s Union headquarters from the Battle of Gettsyburg, pictured at right in a photo from the aftermath of the battle and as it looks today. I’ve seen the house in person a couple of times, and I’ve also seen similar buildings in Western New York, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia. The Perry Miniatures model is typical of the small wood-framed clapboard rural farmhouses found in the North, South and into the Great Lakes region from the late 18th through 19th-centuries.

The pieces of the farmhouse kit come in two easily-assembled sprues along with an extra sprue of three types of fencing. The fencing is disappointing and unfortunately doesn’t really offer much to work with in terms of building out a farm scene. Some extra sets of plastic fencing from Renedra are probably needed to really complete the set. However, the box does contain a chair and a couple barrels to add some nice detail to the model’s front porch.

I glued up the kit and sprayed it with a flat black undercoat. My plan was to give the farmhouse a weather-beaten finish looking like it had years of peeling paint. I started by dry-brushing the model with a large flat brush with a yellowish off-white paint, making sure to leave a fair amount of the black in the gaps and areas between the clapboards (photo at top left).

Next, I dry-brushed the house again with a bright white paint, giving the clapboards additional depth as if the most recent layer of paint had deteriorated over time. For the roof shingles, I built-up dry-brushed paint in dark brown, light brown and then a bit of dark green mixed with a brown wash. I began the chimney with a dark gray paint and then finished it with dry-brushed lighter gray and dabs of brown and off-white paint to represent variations in the stonework (photo at middle left).

For details, I dabbed the barrels, chair and porch planking with dark brown and completed them with some lighter brown dry-brushing and some aging metal for the barrel hoops. The door knobs at the front and rear each got a dab of brass paint (photo at bottom left), and I gave the picket fence another coat of the bright white like the house clapboards.

The final results are below and ready for the battlefield this coming spring.