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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bolt Action - DIY MG Emplacement

By Dennis Berwick

Today I'll be taking you through a step-by-step guide on how to make this simple machine gun emplacement for use as terrain in your games of Bolt Action.

Below is a suggested list of thing you may need, i have used most of them during this project:

The Shopping List:
3mm MDF sheet
Straight dry sticks
Sand (fine and coarse)
Gravel or small rocks
Fine bead polystyrene (most appliance packing has some)
Plastic takeaway container
Knead It (multipurpose)
Jumbo ice cream sticks/wooden coffee stirrers
Tea leaves

Craft knife
Hacksaw blade (mine is sharpened on one side with electrical tape as the handle)
Coping saw
Sand paper
Hand sander (optional)

Water-based Liquid Nails (easy clean up with water)
Craft glue
PVA glue

Finishing Things:
Acrylic paint, use a minimum of 3 (undercoat, first drybrush, highlight drybrush)
Flock, static grass, plastic plants etc to suit your area.

Where to start:

Take the 3mm MDF and mark out roughly what you plan to do. I have used a 60mm and a 25mm base as a guide for my sizes. Then cut out the base and sand down the edges just enough to remove the lip.

Next step is to begin making the retaining wall. Take one of your dry sticks and cut 8 sections around 20mm long and around 6mm. These will be your posts. I try to use sticks no bigger then a models head. This keeps the scale accurate as most solders had limited equipment to work with and were unable to work with larger logs.

Now super glue the posts into position and grab some of the jumbo ice cream sticks. Using a craft knife score lines in the stick to give the impression of planks. I mark them at 4mm intervals.

Measure these to fit on the outside of your posts and cut with the secateurs, then glue into place with the 'planks' facing inward. Superglue the remaining 4 (2 long and 2 short) posts in place and attach the 'planks' to the entrance. Don't be too worried if your jumbo ice cream sticks break on the score line when cutting them with the secateurs, you can still glue them in place.

Next get your polystyrene and the hacksaw blade, and cut strips on a slight angle to make the banking on the outside of the emplacement.

I did this step in the shed as cutting polystyrene is quite messy. You'll see in the photo that the back of my hacksaw blade is sharpened into a knife - polystyrene will blunt any craft knife very quickly, replacing them would be a unnecessary expense. The back of a hacksaw blade is easily sharpened on a whet stone and will last a lot longer.

Using the knife side, shape them to roughly fit the outer side of the walls.

Now to glue them in place, get the take away container (with a lid) and squeeze out a generous blob of Liquid Nails from the corking gun in the container. Crack the spring pressure off the gun to stop it running out and cap it to prevent the tube drying out.

Get a glass of water, an old paint brush, toothpick and some paper towel. Mix small amounts of water into the Liquid Nails to form a paste and apply to the back of the 'planks'. The Liquid Nails will go a lighter colour as its mixed.

Press the polystyrene into place, tidy up any excess with a toothpick. If you need to leave your project simply put the lid on the container, they are relatively air tight so it wont go off as quickly.

Next step is to add gravel, sand and other textures to give the emplacement some character. To start grab some coffee stirrers and cut them into 22mm lengths. Add Liquid Nails paste to the entrance and stick them in place, this will be duck boarding planks when its finished.

Once in place add a little gravel or tea leaves, use a toothpick to make any minor adjustments. Then coat with Builders Sand and shake off the excess. The Builders Sand will draw any excess moisture from the Liquid Nails as it drys. This will be similar to almost every application of Liquid Nails from now on.

Next take a craft knife and carve small wedges into the polystyrene, this will give a better impression of the 'earth' being built up against the emplacement entrance.

Next grab the Liquid Nails, water it down to almost PVA consistency in the take away container and paint on generously.

Now add some larger rocks/gravel to the painted area, concentrating larger chunks near the bottom of the polystyrene and then add some tea leaves.

Finally add builders sand, shake off the excess then start on the next section leaving the center for later.

Continue the process around the rest of the edge, then Liquid Nails the entrance and center part. Working it right into the corners with a toothpick. Be careful not to put extra on the planking from earlier. Then add gravel to the corners and some tea leaves.

Now cover with builders sand, shake off the excess and leave to dry over night.

You'll see in this shot I've added a few extra 'broken planks' to each end of the earth walls. These are just cut up ice cream sticks stuck into place with the Liquid Nails mix. Next step will be sand bags.

Take your tube of Knead It and cut off about a 1cm. This stuff goes off quickly and sets in about 10 minutes, so mix a small amount at a time.

After kneading the epoxy together roll it out into a even worm. Grab your hobby knife and cut it at 1cm intervals.

As you place each one just round off the sharp corners with your fingers, the first layer may be a little hesitant to stick to the sandy surface. Push them carefully into place with a toothpick as needed. Once the first layer is down it becomes easier, continue mixing up the epoxy a bit at a time, cutting them and adding them to the wall.

Where each end meets the earth wall, placement can be a bit tricky. Don't worry if you need to cut one short or lay it on an odd angle. Continue the steps until you have 3 full layers. To finish the sand bag section, place 3 bags on top from each end. This makes the sand bags higher on the sides, to give more protection to the gun crews.

Now add a coating of quite watery Liquid Nails to where the bottom layer of sand bags meets the ground and sprinkle with builders sand. Leave it to dry. Once dry get the undercoat colour you plan on using, I'm going to make this piece match my FJ bases so I'm starting with a Burnt Umber. This is a cheaper acrylic grabbed from a craft store.

I watered down the Acrylic Paint a little to make it spread easier. Use an older brush or a cheap one you only intend to use for terrain, as sand will get stuck in the bristles and ruin it. You can wash most of it out using a comb and running water to continue using it for terrain.

I did this coat on a piece of MDF so any careless over painting didn't get on my work board. Leave to dry. Next step will be a heavy dry brush of Raw Umber, this coat will cover almost everything.

Next step was a lighter dry brush with the Mocha. In places I had to go back over with a second lighter dry brush to bring out the details.

Slate was the colour I chose for my wood areas. This was a light dry brush, trying to bring up the detail in our wood.

Finally the Soft Moss was used for the sand bags. This was almost painted on like a highlight, painting the surfaces but leaving the gaps. In places I still dry brushed it to give it the same grungy look as the rest of the emplacement.

Last steps will be final details. Grab some grass tufts, static grass, clump foliage and even spare weapons. These little details are what will make the piece look great. I started with craft gluing the grass tufts and clump foliage in place, the tacky nature of the craft glue make placing them where you want a lot easier, just use a toothpick to put the glue where you want the clumps/tufts and stick in place.

Next was the fine flock. Watered down PVA was painted around the tufts/clumps and in random places on the base. I do this on a plastic tray to catch any flock/grass that doesn't stick so it can be used later. I also gave the sand bags a quick dry brush with the Raw Umber to tone them down a little and make them look a little more dirty and muddy. Lastly I painted and super-glued in a few pieces in from a Rubicon Models stowage set and a rifle I had spare.

And that's the project finished, I hope it inspires others to have a go at making there own terrain.

Until next time....

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