Pen and Sword have released a new book written by a wargamer, for wargamers. Wargames Terrain & Buildings: The Napoleonic Wars is basically a series of model making projects in various scales that can also be used for other periods and contains a wealth of techniques. This is a 160-page softback book, laden with advice, work in progress photographs and a pleasingly chatty style.
The Introduction and Paints Used section pretty much set the tone for the whole book: this is an experienced model maker sharing the secrets of his success, using whatever he has to hand to get something onto the tabletop. The first project is a 15mm Russian windmill, which could be used in pretty much any period. Step by step instructions, explanatory text and useful advice all combine to almost place the author in the room with you.
The next project sees the creation of a 28mm two-storey French house, this time adding DAS modelling clay to a cardboard and newspaper frame. This is a great example of scratchbuilding, using easily available materials such as balsa wood to add door and window frames, and some great paint effects.
‘Tarting-up’ may not be a universally understood or even popular phrase, but the next section is a great example of how to make the widely available MDF building kits your own. Taking the excellent 20mm version of Sarissa Precision’s La Belle Alliance, the author deploys his skills to take it to the next level. He adds supports here and there, commercially available and ‘handmade’ parts, and general ‘bits and pieces’ to produce a more accurate version for his tabletop usage. A really nice touch on all these projects is the ‘Conclusion’, wherein you get a review and comment on the experience, and a list of the items and paints used to get the job done.
This approach continues across all 9 of the projects undertaken, with each one being useful across not only the Napoleonic era but other periods as well. The personalised, conversational style aids in reading and helps you to engage with what is being attempted. Granted, you need a modicum of skill before attempting some of the techniques, but none are beyond even the most average gamer. A cracking job by Mr. Harwood, and I hope to see more of his work soon.