Making the Naseby Terrain

Naseby at Colours 09 02

The Naseby game went well at Colours, and the battlefield looked good.  Many thanks to those visitors who were kind enough to compliment both the idea and how it had turned out.  There was a fair bit of interest, so I thought I’d better do a quick explanation of how the board was built …Naseby build 01I had taken a standard pasting-table, and switched the hinges around so it folds out squarish, rather than long (so 44″x34″ rather than the original 22″x68″, in this case).    The wooden edges on the hinge side (i.e. down the middle) had to be cut down to allow the layout to model the valley between Dust Hill and Closter.  This was a bit of a pain (old fashioned cutting and sanding, I’m afraid) – so lucky you, if your battlefield has a ridge across the middle.

The basic contours were then formed roughly with polystyrene foam off-cuts, glued in as above.Naseby build 02I then covered this valley with a finish of ‘warmalite’ thin wall covering … this is just the same open cell polystyrene stuff, but comes 2mm thick on a (23″ x 30′) roll, and does a good job of flowing over everything.  Note that the everso helpful people in the DIY shop recommended using a premix wallpaper adhesive with it (indeed this is also confirmed on the tub) – but this proved to be as bad as I feared … no tack, no grip and doesn’t really dry.    So I had to resort to my old favourites, Copydex and Elmer’s PVA … (and panic about whether the thing would be dry on time).

But really that’s about the only bit of this ‘how to‘ you need to trial.  You just need to use an adhesive that will grip the polystyrene, and hold it down on your substrate.Naseby build 03As you can see, I had to weigh it all down with box files, books and Slingshot back issues whilst the splodge that the DIY guys recommended slowly dried!  (Don’t be confused by the old newspaper – that is just there to protect the books and magazines from any stray gloop)…Naseby build 04At least waiting for it all to dry gave me plenty of time to carve out Closter Hill (the ridge on which the New Model deployed at Naseby).

I tried to copy theNaseby at Colours 09 06 front edge of the contours shown on Markham’s 1870 plan (page 214 of Foard’s ‘Naseby’), assuming that the back edge on Ireton’s wing would merge into the rise at the back of my battlefield.   The front edge of the feature is roughly highlighted, left.

Many previous projects have taught me the best tools for shaping polystyrene insulation board is a sharp carving knife followed by sandpaper.  It is quick to cut, and ends up smooth.  If you have invested in a hot wire cutter, so much the better, of course, but you might still find the sanding a revelation.

I wanted to make this ridge feature a separately fixed-on item, rather than smoothed in under the warmalite, as it is the area where the Parliamentarian foot will get Armati’s +1 for being stationary on the terrain for the first turn of melee, if charged.  In that sense, it is both part of the landscape of the battlefield and a specific game ‘template’.  So I want it to hit that modelled-in but standing out compromise.  The thickness of the feature and the drop of the valley were measured so that with the finished ridge fixed in place the whole battlefield (-box, as it were) could be closed for transport.Naseby build 05Once the ridge was glued-in and dry, the whole landscape received the normal matchpots, PVA, flock and such like treatment.

My idea was to represent the ridge and furrow effect of the 17th century open field farming on Broad Moor by an earthy base with flocky, static grass ridges (much like the effect beautifully shown in the illustrations to Martin Marix Evans’s  Osprey title) ….  This will need re-doing, as the version finished for Colours was at best OK … The field system is too stark and crude, really.  This is mostly the fault of the nasty, rubbery flock I used (but a redo will tone it all down a bit, I think …).Naseby build 06See what I mean. This is the finished battlefield (and I’m experimenting with dotting about a few loose trees etc.)  Trees, hedges, walls etc. are all to be added on, free-standing, when the battle is set up (but that only takes a few minutes).  Without them on, it all folds up (and still has the pasting-table’s carrying handle to help ..)..Naseby build 07If you look at this end, you can see where the wood has been trimmed back to allow the fall of the valley, and you can see the ends of the join in the ridge feature.  Of course, in transit, all the paint and flocking etc. is protected from scuffing and damage by being closed up inside.  This is by far the easiest and most durable terrain I have taken to a show.

The only other caveat I would add is that the cheap pasting-table I had was the type that uses hardboard surfaces.  These are a bit of a pain as they warp and bend a lot (they are also a bit absorbent when it comes to the gluing fiasco), and if I was doing it from scratch, I’d be tempted by the more expensive and heavier type of table made with plywood surfaces.  Still, most of this was done within an evening, which isn’t too bad for a terrain build …Naseby at Colours 09 05.. and I think with the figures on it, it did a pretty good job of allowing us to recreate the battle.  And the Saturday morning set up was mercifully quick with so much already done as soon as the table is folded open.

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3 Comments on “Making the Naseby Terrain”

  1. Pete Latchford Says:

    Our group is doing a Battle of Naseby on the 23rd will send you the pics of the set up the day before, we are all looking forward to it.

  2. yesthatphil Says:

    The scale is broadly *1 Armati section per block of troops on the Streeter contemporay plan* …

    Roughly that ends up as about 1:100 for the horse ..
    1:60 for the foot …

    Wargame cavalry figures are quite chunky, so per ‘footprint’/stand, you get fewer in, hence the scale difference.

    Obviouslt, having them take up the right ammount of space on the battlefield is more important than precisely how many figures stand on each base …

    Thanks for taking an interest, Mike


  3. mike cozens Says:

    I like very much using a pasting table mostly into ACif I were to wargame this sort of action, may I sayreally great.
    What was the scale of the fight ie 1:50 etc, keep up the good work

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