Setting The Scene: Winter Wargaming is an A4 softback book with 103 pages, billed as a ‘guide for creating a winter layout for the games table’. Whether adapting what you have or making your own, this is a ‘one stop’ tome for those looking to fight tabletop battles within the depths of winter. By focusing on one project; an attempt to create items for the World War 2 Battle of the Bulge, the author covers all sorts of practical ways to make timeless winter terrain for other periods.
The early part of the book focuses upon a handy ‘What You Will Need’ series of numbered sections. It then plunges into creating your own terrain mats, winterized roads and creating the perfect snow paste mix.
Once you have worked through these sections, the first stage is working with the scenery you already have to give them a touch of winter. It then moves onto creating your own winterized trees and hedgerows. As you go along, you soon realize that every step is not only explained in a clear fashion, with plenty of photographs of the different stages, but also focuses upon the ultimate aim of many-a-wargamer who makes their own terrain: how can I do this as economically as possible!
Moving through how to build haystacks, shell burst damaged trees, defences and smaller scenic items galore, such as barbed wire fences, bunkers and more, its safe to say that you are actually getting two books in one: just because you are making a haystack of your own, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to ‘winterise’ it. Instead, you can stop and be left with a piece of homemade terrain that can grace your tabletop through spring, summer and fall, this book is a friend to those just looking to create terrain as simply as possible.
Again, there are plenty of ‘step by step’ photographs, and a nice touch is the use of ‘Tips’ boxes which highlight things to avoid, or techniques to use to achieve your desired results.
In Section 10, the focus is upon buildings, using MDF kits as a basis. Again, each technique and stage is described, bringing in methods that can enhance the buildings with both a winter and non-winter theme.
Section 11 is particularly interesting, in that it offers methods to only temporarily ‘winterise’ your building collection, so they can be ‘magically’ transformed to suit any season. Of course (in Section 12) the devil is in the detail with some buildings, and the author shows what can be done to make a particular building look more like the real thing than an ‘off the shelf’, store-bought generic piece. Posters, signs and their application are key points which are covered here.
We return to the creative process in Section 13 with a guide to building your own walled graveyard and a destroyed hamlet, again using both store bought and ‘home made’ items, with suitable paint techniques.
This blend of bought and made items continues with the creating a bridge over a river, a winter railway, winterized vehicles with a guide to paints to be used, and how to add that winter look to your figures. A last couple of sections covers photographing your creations using backscenes, and creating your own vignettes, putting everything your have created into a suitable layout.
This is an extremely interesting book, seemingly designed by a wargamer for use by wargamers. Although some items shown are adapted from specific purchased items, the best aspect is the fact that almost everything needed to ‘do the job’ is commercially available from a range of different outlets and brands. These items will not cost you the earth, and the skills imparted will enable any gamer to be able to fill their tabletop rapidly and cheaply.
A really useful guide for those looking to start out building their own terrain or more experienced terrain builders looking for new techniques.