Fast Fence Tutorial

We use tons of fence sections for our tables, but they are expensive to buy and pretty tedious to make. After some thought I’ve hit on a pretty quick and inexpensive way to build as many as you need.

What you’ll need- I make mine out of balsa wood, though styrene sticks would also work.  For this demonstration I’ve used 1/16 by 3/16 for the fence planks and 1/16 by 3/32 (1mm by 2mm) for the cross bar pieces. The vertical posts are 1/8 by 1/8. You could certainly use other sizes/dimensions, whatever looks appropriate to your eye. These are intended for 28mm figures.

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For the base the fence will be sitting on I used these tongue depressor type pieces bought from Hobby Lobby. It’s important to use all one type of material, as wood fence pieces will bind to a wood base much faster than they would to a plastic (or whatever) base. I also use Elmer’s wood glue as opposed to plain white glue, as it provides a much stronger bond.

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If you do any scratch building at all you would be doing yourself an enormous favor by picking one of these up. You can quickly cut balsa wood, styrene strips, etc. with lightning speed and by using the adjustable metal stop shown on the upper left every piece will be precisely the same size as every other size. I got mine online a few years ago for about $35 if I remember correctly. Aside from an airbrush this is the most handy hobby related tool I’ve ever used.

 

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First, cutting all of the planks-

Next step is taping two 36 inch strips of the cross bar down to the glass table top. Glass is ideal for this, as any glue that overflows from the wood won’t stick as much as other surfaces would.

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Apply glue to the cross pieces and then start applying planks. With wood glue, it’s not a good idea to go out more than 10-12 inches at at time as the glue will start to dry too soon.

After several minutes, you end up with 3 feet of this.

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Cut into sections appropriate for the base size, and then glue 3 vertical posts to each section.

Glue the posts to the base and you are done. Once the glue sets up, these sections are very sturdy.

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Although these are ready for painting and flocking, I like to add an extra step. As these are pretty lightweight, I add pennies to the base for heft. We play our games on teddy bear fur mats, and the extra weight helps keep them upright

The above took me about 20-25 minutes, and is easy to do while you’re just sitting there watching TV or listening to music.

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Six feet of fence in about 45 minutes at a cost of about 5-6 dollars, or approximately $1 a foot. I’ve seen commercially available wood fences going for $1 an inch, so essentially investing an hour of time can save you $50 or more.

 

Ready for the Battlefield!

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Chain of Command Berlin Scenario Finale

 

 

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The JS-2 targets and obliterates the halftrack that had bottled up the Russian Squad in the  apartment building on the south edge. With the half track destroyed the Russian squad can now make their way across the street unopposed.

 

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The Russian tanks can now move forward

 

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The Germans gird for this final assault

 

 

The FJ Schreck draws a bead on the JS2 below.

 

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After much maneuvering the Russians are finally able to get their armor up to the intersection where they can take on the Tiger. Unfortunately for the Russkies the JS2 with the white recognition stripe on the turret takes a Schreck hit from the paratroopers on the second floor of the government building, knocking out the main gun before it can get into final position. The Russian tank crew confers behind the tank to discuss their options. The second JS2 and the T-34/85 move up to hammer the Tiger tank.

 

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The Tiger swings the mighty 88 into position.

 

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Medium machine gun crew races to join their comrades on the south side of the government building.

 

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The 88 barks and the second JS2 goes up in flames!

 

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Meanwhile on the north edge of the board the second Russian squad attempts to race across the street near the Tiger and hopefully destroy the beast with a captured Panzerfaust.

 

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The bow MG on the Tiger makes short work of the panzerfaust carrying Bolshevik.

 

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The survivors of second squad seek safety behind the stone wall.

 

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After another exchange, the Tiger destroys the T-34/85.

With two squads decimated and support armor smoldering in the street, the Russians call a halt to the attack to wait for reinforcements. The communists came tantalizingly close to capturing the German position, but despite being hit three times, the Tiger is able to stuff the Russian armor at the intersection. The Government stronghold remains firmly in German hands.

 

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The battle hardened Fallschirmjaegers have written their names into the history books enough for one day. They pull back into the recesses of the building to bed down and see what tomorrow brings. They are in a world of shit, yes. But they are alive, and unafraid.

 

Thoughts on the game-

This was our second full game of the TooFatLardies ruleset, fought over 4 nights. By the end of this most recent phase we felt like we had a pretty good handle on the rules, though I’m sure there’s still a couple of things to learn. We all really liked these rules, especially after trying another set that just ended up not working for us last year.

What I really like about these rules is every phase and turn presents you with choices, challenges and conundrums. We also discovered that planning ahead is essential, as making the wrong move at the wrong time could very well cost you the game. This will be our ruleset for WW2 skirmish gaming going forward.

Chain of Command Berlin part 3

 

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After the collapse of the their positions in the middle of the board, the Germans have pulled back to the fortified government building at the west edge of the board. A fresh platoon of Fallshirmjagers has arrived to attempt to reverse the German fortunes in this sector.

As we are still learning and experimenting with the excellent Chain of Command rules, we have decided this FJ platoon is elite and will have 6 command dice. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the game.

 

 

 

The Gods watch and wait

 

 

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FJ squad hunkers down behind sandbags waiting for the Bolsheviks to show themselves

 

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Russians creep into one of the apartment buildings on the south edge of the board that the Germans have just withdrawn from. Watch out for booby traps Ivan

 

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2nd squad climbs over the rubble pile to seize the large hotel building. The Russkies check in, but will they check out?

 

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Russians cautiously peering past the rubble on the north edge of the board.

 

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The JS-2 lurches up behind the disabled SU-152 to line up a shot on the Panther down the road.

 

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Kryuk, fire on the Fascist Beast!!! Yes, commander!

 

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The massive 122mm shell rocks the the Nazi tank!

 

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The Panther is burning. Serious setback for the Germans, and this phase of the game has only begun.

 

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The surviving crew members bail from the burning Mk. V

 

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The Germans only have one tank left in this sector, a Tiger. Paging Michael Wittmann! Oh, er, never mind.

 

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The Russian infantry begin to rain down fire at the Germans from the third floor of the Hotel

 

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With the Panther destroyed the Russian armor can now advance up the street towards the German positions.

 

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The JS-2 hugs the wall near one of the apartment buildings to get a clear shot into the Government building. Senior German commanders Gunnar and Steve brace themselves for the incoming 122mm shell

 

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Good position to hit the Germans, but threat of schreck or faust attack is very real.

 

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Commander Steve needs to contemplate his next move.

 

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The JS-2 fires again. Three Fallshirmjaeger dead, three points of shock.

 

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The Germans move from their forward positions to escape the devastating 122mm shells.

 

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Troops on the upper tier scramble for advantageous firing positions

 

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That battleaxe may come in handy for hand to hand combat in the very near future

 

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Meanwhile in the apartment building on the south side of the board the Russian troops concentrate for an assault into the park next to the German stronghold.

 

The halftrack sitting in the park covering their only avenue of attack presents a problem however.

 

 

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The German tank crew weighs their options after the loss of the Panther. Fall back to the rear to find another tank, or stay with the infantry and fight?

 

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Tune in for next week’s game, should be fateful!

Chain of Command Berlin ’45 Smackdown part 2

Friday night sees a resumption of the Russian attack towards the fortified government building on the western edge of the board.

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The Germans have lost two jump off points and due to loss of morale are down to three command dice. Things are looking dire for the Hitlerites.

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Will the Tiger be able to stem the Soviet advance?

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Steve decides to attempt a close assault on Dan’s Russian squad on the north edge of the board as it’s vital the Germans protect their last jump off point. If the Germans can’t halt the attack here their entire position in the sector may become untenable.

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The Volksgrenadier squad launches grenades and then moves in to close assault the Russians.

IMG_2555Vicious close assault melee ensues. This is going to be bloody.

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The Germans kill 5 Russians, but lose 7 dead in the attack. With three points of shock and most of their squad gone, the surviving Germans stumble back to seek cover in the rubble. The German position in the north is in serious trouble.

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IMG_2560The German team hastily confers to see how the situation can be saved.

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It is decided Gunnar will move the Panther up to engage the Soviet armor. Destroying a Russian tank would help to stabilize the situation for the Germans.

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Gunnar zeroes in on his quarry, the T-34/85 in the distance.

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Not a comforting sight for any Allied soldier.

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The Panther shell crashes into the T-34!

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The 75mm shell knocks out the bow MG and inflicts two points of shock. The Russian tank is not out of action, but the crew is shaky.

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Meanwhile on the southern edge of the board, the third squad has deployed to reinforce the SS troops in the apartment building that had been battered by the JS-2. The MG -42 covers the street outside. Don’t fall into the sewer boys!

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It may have been better to direct these troops to the north edge, will this be a fatal mistake for the Germans?

IMG_2537Russian squad still awaiting activation to storm the apartment building.

 

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Russian flamethrower team moves up on the north edge to help press the attack on the surviving Volksgrenadiers.

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This is really going to hurt nearby property valuations.

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The Russians launch a grenade attack to try to eliminate the remaining Germans from the Volksgrenadier squad and capture the last jump off point.

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The last survivor from the squad, the junior leader, is cut down before he can get over the fence. The German defenses on the southern edge have melted away.

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Killing fascists is hard work, time to get some shuteye

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And maybe a bathroom break. Reminds me of the nearby gas station bathroom

The loss of morale and command dice are the death knell for the Germans. The two remaining squads withdraw back to the west before they can be outflanked and cut off. The Panther and Tiger prudently decide to pull back until additional infantry arrive to provide support.

Next Friday we’ll begin a new game, with the Russians starting their patrol phase from their current positions, and a fresh German platoon arriving to attempt to hold the government building. We’re still learning the rules and have definitely made a few mistakes, but the game is tremendous fun. Prepare for battle!

 

 

Hotel Steinplatz build Part. 1

I wanted to build a fairly sizable building to sit opposite the government building on my Berlin board, so I decided on a hotel structure. There was (and is) a real hotel in Berlin called the Steinplatz, but of course mine looks nothing like it. I began with the largest street facing wall, cutting out windows and doors, as well as adding exterior cladding.

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The white strips are cut from PVC foam board sheets. I purchased them from Amazon, the brand name is Sibe-R-Plastic supply, though there are many other manufacturers. They are glued down to paper backed foam board, obtained from Hobby Lobby. I peel off the paper so I can imprint brick patterns, shell holes, etc. The weights help to minimize warping.

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Here I have added plastic styrene rods, in varying sizes and shapes to provide architectural detail, and also to bracket where the hotel sign will go.

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Angled wall joined to original piece, and placed on a thinner foam board that is the same thickness as the eventual sidewalk it will be placed next to.

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I used hex head screws with a fairly coarse thread to firmly wed the pieces together until the wood glue is dry. 24 hours is usually enough to ensure a solid seam.

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The three street side pieces are now joined together. Two 28mm figures shown for scale.

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Sign that will go on the Main Street side. Letters are from Hobby Lobby.

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All exterior cladding now done, on to the roof!

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I decided to do a mansard roof, as I think it is a very cool look and appropriate to the era.

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Supports are styrene plastic rods, purchased from a local hobby shop.

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Supports complete.

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Facing complete, all styrene sheets. Getting the angles right was a bit tricky.

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Standing seams complete

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Part 2, the interior!

Chain of Command Berlin ’45 Smackdown Part 1

 

We recently began playing the Chain of Command WW2 Skirmish rules by TooFatLardies, a fantastic rule set!

I’ve been working on 28mm urban terrain for several years now, the table shown is 12 feet by 5 and 1/2 feet, and everything but the model tanks and infantry is scratch built by me.

We played a game last Friday night, Steve and his son Gunnar were the Germans, and I, my brother Quinn and our friend Dan played the Russians. Germans have an ad hoc platoon of two understrength SS squads and one Volksgrenadier squad. They also have a Panther and Tiger, in a last ditch effort to stop the Russians from taking the Government building stronghold at the end of the table opposite the Hotel Steinplatz.

I was unsure about the Patrol Phase when I read about it in the rulebook initially, but as we began playing it it turns out to be a very fun mini strategy game before the main game than can have huge implications later. (as both sides found out!) Definitely an art to this, will have to put more thought into it later.

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SS MG 42 team waiting for the Russians to appear
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JS-2 enters the board at the eastern edge
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Panther next to the Government building in a defensive position

Due to some lucky dice rolls by the Russians, we have accumulated enough command dice to have several consecutive phases and have pushed the Germans back from their initial positions. Two of the German jump off points are in peril.

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The Russians cross the street into the wall breach to push the Germans out of one of the apartment buildings on the South edge of the board. Disabled SU-152 from the previous day’s failed attack sits in the intersection beyond.

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Dan’s two Russian squads on the Northern edge of the board attempt to capture the apartment building and push on west towards the Hotel.

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Looking west from the Russian positions, Panther in the distance.

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Panther covering the street.

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The hotel across the street from the government building stronghold, looking east towards the Russian lines.

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The JS-2 fires on the apartment building held by Gunnar’s SS troops. Partial building collapse inflicts shock and forces them to withdraw to a different section of the building. The 122mm cannon is a sledgehammer!

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Gunnar’s SS steeling themselves to repulse the Russian assault on the apartment building after evacuating the adjacent section.

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Squad has accumulated some shock, but they’re still ready to fight. Barrels on the upper left are a German jump off point.

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German view from the roof of the Government building. The washer in the background is available if anyone has some dirty laundry.

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The eventual objective for the Russians, though the Germans may have something to say about that.

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After the first day of fighting, the front lines denoted by the German and Soviet flags. The battle resumes Friday night!!

Historical miniature wargaming and creating terrain

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