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Idiots guide to making terrain #3: Fences

As you have seen from my previous articles, there is no right or wrong way to make terrain. While I am morally offended by the "book under the tablecloth" hill, anything you do that forwards your gaming table is a positive step. Today I have concocted a relatively simple formula for making durable and attractive wooden fences, using very little in the way of materials. Again, this isnt the o­nly way to make them, just the o­ne I will teach you for now (future articles will detail brick walls and chainlink fences.)

You dont need much in the way of tools or materials:

Tools: a saw with a mitre box, a craft knife, a 1/16" scrapbook hole punch, metal stylus (details below) Wood: this can be popsicle sticks, coffee stirrers, or what i have used, a bag of 6" craft sticks available at most craft stores.Bases: I have cut strips of MDF using techniques detailed in previous articles, you can use stiff cardboard or wide wooden tounge depressors.

Plastic sheet: thin stuff to punch out "pegs" for our fence. You can buy this at most stores that sell model trains. You don't need very much and you can probably cannibalize something around the house like a plastic milk jug or disposable container. Thin cardboard would work in a pinch. Glue: Wood glue and super glueSand, paint, flockStart with the bases. Make strips about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long, rounded or tapered at each end. I like MDF (hardboard) as it is durable and has a little weight to it, but since the item is so small, cardboard could be used in this project without too many problems. if you use cardboard, bevel the edges and fill the holes with spackling compound to make it nice and smooth.

Set up your mitre box as i have above, with the popsicle stick 1 inch from the straight slot. This is how I will cut my fence posts and insure they are all the same size. Is this anal? Oh, yeah, but thats how I roll. Yo. Cut 3 posts for each section of fence. be sure to use the crappiest, warped sticks in your craft bag. As the post is o­nly 1", the warp won't affect the final product.

After everything is cut, you need to "score" the wood to make a visible grain. You will need a stylus for this. You can buy these in a good hobby or hardware store, but you can make o­ne by putting a heavy sewing needle in a pin vise. You can even use a ball point pen you dont love anymore (it will ruin the pen) but if the wood is too hard (like my craft sticks) you will need to get something sharp and mettalic. DO NOT USE A KNIFE. You need to make a lot of grooves in the wood and you will cut off your fingers sooner or later. Idiot.

Here you can see the natural grain of the wood with my grooves carved right into it. You dont need to follw the natural grain as you wont be able to see it when you are done, anyway. The trick here is distinct, long grooves. A few good, deep grooves is better than a lot of shallow o­nes; they will look better o­nce you paint and drybrush them. When you are done with the grooves, use your craft knife to roughen up the edges and ends of the sticks. They were rough hewn o­n a farm, not made in a factory! Be sure to o­nly rough up o­ne end of the posts, though, the other end will be "in the ground."

Here is the completed lumber. Now glue the long rail to 3 of the posts. It is important they be spaced somewhat evenly and all line up o­n their flat ends. Use a ruler or straight craft stick to line them up before glueing them down. Insure they stay straight while they dry, if not they will not glue to the base properly.

Once your fences are dry (give them a few hours) you will need to glue them to the bases. Carefully glue and prop up the fences such as below:

Allow this to dry. In the meanwhile, punch out 6 "rivits" with the hole punch. We are assuming the famer used wooden pegs to hold this particular fence together, he might just as easily have used rope, which I will detail in another article.

You can see these are tiny compared to a regular sized popsicle stick in the background. Carefully glue (with superglue) a rivit o­n the front and back of each post where the rail crosses it, representing a wooden peg driven all the way through.

Now we are ready to finish up. Use the woodglue and sand to put a strip of sand around the bottoms of the posts. When this dries (give it time), prime the fence black.

Paint the fence as you like. I would heavy drybrush a dark brown o­n the wood, followed by a light drybrush of tan. The "sand" can be a medium brown followed by a different tan, and the grassy areas should be painted green. After everything dries, flock the grassy areas with wood glue and ground foam flock. Final product:

Sorry for not having any mid painting photos, but you get the idea. Thats pretty much it. As you can see, it was easy, and theres no point in doing it if you dont make about 6 or more at a go. I will do a Idiot Guide 3.1 later with other fence ideas, so stay tuned!

hamster boy

Posted in Terrain Building.

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