Wargames Terrain & Building The Napoleonic Wars
Pen & Sword, 2019
Reviewed by Neil Smith
One of the biggest joys our hobby provides is the aesthetics of miniature figures displayed on well-crafted terrain. And while skirmish games are all the rage, there is nothing quite like seeing the big armies fighting it out across fields and hills of green. Throw a couple of smart-looking buildings on there and you have wargaming nirvana. With that in mind, Tony Harwood’s Wargames Terrain & Building The Napoleonic Wars acts as an excellent guide for making those buildings that light up our tables and immerse us in the game.
Harwood is no stranger to terrain and model builders. His high quality work is featured in print and on the internet, and thankfully he has no secrets to hide when it comes to sharing his magic. The Napoleonic Wars is, therefore, a welcome addition to the genre but also very useful for newcomers hoping to enliven their games. The book consists of 160 glossy pages of text and accompanying colour photos, detailing Harwood’s step-by-step approach to nine different projects, ranging from a small well to La Belle Alliance – his section on improving mdf buildings is particularly useful for those of us who take shortcuts when constructing buildings. Harwood also touches on different scales, though his forte is clearly 28mm structures.
Harwood’s style is down to earth and personal, if a bit chatty at times, and his ‘everything goes’ approach to making buildings is refreshing – Harwood uses a wide range of materials: Cardboard, wood strips, modelling clay, balsa wood, card from a toothpaste tube box (!), foam, railway modelling accessories, sand, chalk, sandpaper, and, of course, stuff from the ‘bits box’. He also includes a useful glossary of materials and terms that will have you experimenting quite happily, maybe even for as long as he has i.e. decades! My one quibble was a seeming lack of coherence of The Napoleonic Wars as a book in this era of blogs and Youtube guides. This reads like nine articles stitched together, though that is not necessarily a bad thing, it just comes up a bit short as a whole. Nevertheless, Harwood achieves his goal of sharing his methods and enticing his readers to have a go. As for his palette idea, I’m off to Waitrose for a Wine and Spirit Guide!