Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Field Position, Gabions in Use

After making the gabions, the obvious step was to actually do something with them. Gabions were used to provide protected firing positions for field artillery, so this seemed like the obvious thing to do. Whilst these are intended for my ECW army, gabion positions like this were familiar on battle fields from more or less the dawn of artillery up to the end of the nineteenth century, so hopefully this will find wide application.
A bit of hardboard cut to shape on the scroll saw and covered with PVA made the base. Casting plaster was added to give a bit texture. Casting plaster actually isn’t the ideal the ideal medium for this, I found. However, I only did it because I’d run out of the usual cheap and nasty decorators’ filler, and I won’t make a habit of it. It’s very unforgiving, I found. It probably responds better to a more expert touch than I have. The gabions were stuck down with impact adhesive. The short ones are full size castings cut down with a fret saw, which works very well. The plaster doesn’t crumble or splinter and you get a lovely neat cut. I put half on, and left it before doing the rest, so I had somewhere to pick it up.

I put some PVA and sand around the bottoms of the gabions to make sure they appeared firmly stuck to the ground. The real things would weigh in at just shy of three tons by my reckoning, so they are going to squat very heavily indeed!

 A coat of “Nearly Black” (panzer grey to the likes of us) emulsion paint provided a base to work on. This was followed by successive drybrushings of dark brown, mid brown and pale sand emulsions, and a coat of flock. I sprayed the whole thing with Pledge floor polish next to seal the flock, then drybrushed again, mainly on the flocked areas. A few tufts of static grass and two sprayed coats of Winsor and Newton Galeria matt varnish finished it.

Here’s an attackers’ eye of view of it occupied by my Reiver Miniatures heavy gun, and two more views showing how the gun sits neatly in the cutout.

It was great fun to build this, and once the castings were done, very quick. The whole thing was probably no more than a couple of hours work spread over a few nights.

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