Category Archives: Modelling and Painting Figures

Easy to Make Ditches for 15mm scale

Before I decided to make custom designed terrain boards for my Boxtel game, I needed to find a way to represent the many drainage ditches that covered the battlefield around Schyndel. There was several feet of ditches to be made and therefore they needed to be relatively inexpensive. The ditches also needed to be fairly narrow to fit in with the ground scale represented. Finally the ditches needed to be flexible, as those I was modelling were not straight. This post illustrates the solution that I came up with I came up with;

Obviously ditches should be below the surface of the table, consequently for my purposes an illusion has to be created. I decided that the best way to do this was to assume that the ditches were lined with bushes. This assumption enabled me to design the ditches based on the Javis Flexible Hedging product;


Placing the hedge on its side, I then used a soldering iron to melt the centre of the piece – as shown in this before and after shot;

In order to give the pieces some weight, so that theywould stay in place – I then glued the ends to two pence pieces and covered them with flock and gravel.

The whole was then painted appropriately. These photos show the finished product in play – not as good as my custom built terrain boards but a lot better than chalk marks on the cloth!

Some Dutch ditches today;

Finally a contemporary cartoon of the Duke of York battling to escape one of these pesky ditches in May 1794, when his army was all but surrounded;

Making the Terrain for Wellington’s First Battle

Here are some photographs of the terrain boards being prepared;

The boards are 12mm MDF with the ditches routed using a v-shaped profile.  The road and ditch networks are drawn on the boards from the master map.   The ditches are painted dark brown with black bottoms to maximise impression of depth.  They are then filled with Solid Water incorporating some flock and grit for variety.

The roads are a textured masonry paint highlighted with lighter colours.

The grass finish is made using Guagemaster flock based grass matting stuck down carefully with pva, with all edges concealed with additional flock (very time consuming!)

The finished boards dressed with buildings from Hovels, JR Miniatures, Battleground and Total Battle Miniatures; ponds created from painted shell holes; ploughed fields by JR Miniatures; K&M trees.

15mm Light Common 6 pdr Conversion

When putting together the troops to refight the action from “Wellington’s First Battle”, one of the issues I faced was where to source the Light Common 6 pounder cannon used by the British force as battalion guns.This item was not readily available in 15mm, so I decided to convert some from an existing model;

Having reviewed the design of the carriage, I chose to start with Miniature Figurines Austrian 6 pdr from the Napoleonic range (code 2NA);

Step one; Remove the side arms.

Step two; Remove the crossbars that support the ammunition box and discard ammunition box.

Step three; Remove the eye bolts from the tail of the carriage

Step four; File the rear end to the existing score mark.

Step five; Remove the lug under the axle.

Step six; File down the front end by1½mm and square off. Together steps4 and 6 shorten the carriage to 28mmin length.

Step seven; Remove the handles from the top of the barrel.

Step eight; Assemble and paint

NB: The resulting model is not quite accurate, as the wheels on the model are a bit small (12mm) and need to be approx. 13-14mm in diameter depending on the exact scale. I have also assumed that the carriage mounted ammunition boxes have been removed for action.

Acknowledgement; I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr Stephen Summerfield for his helping in informing, checking and correcting this article.


A.L. Dawson, P.L. Dawson & S. Summerfield; Napoleonic Artillery, 2007, p.101-110
C.E. Franklin; British Napoleonic Field Artillery, 2008, p.171,173
K.F. Kiley; Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815, 2004, p.50