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LUETHEN a 15mm SYW Project

 
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alcal
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Joined: 01 Nov 2007
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Location: Birmingham

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:19 am    Post subject: LUETHEN a 15mm SYW Project Reply with quote

Battle of Leuthen
December 5, 1757
The year 1757 was the first in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) in which the league arrayed against Frederick the Great of Prussia had an opportunity to use its overwhelming strength. The summer and autumn were difficult for Frederick. The Russians invaded East Prussia and won a victory there at Gross-Jägersdorf (August 30). The Swedes invaded Pomerania, and the French conquered Prussia's ally, Hanover. The Prussians were forced to abandon their invasion of Bohemia, and the Austrians captured most of strategic Silesia, including its capital, Breslau.
Frederick saved the situation and stabilized the war by two victories. At Rossbach (November 5) he inflicted far greater losses on a much larger French army, which he attacked on the march and routed. Leuthen was a more difficult engagement. Frederick had a first-rate army of 35,000; Prince Charles of Lorraine 65,000 Austrians. Frederick, crucially, took and retained the initiative. Benefiting from the cover of a ridge, he turned the Austrian left flank while a feint attack led the Austrians to send their reserves to bolster their right. The Austrian left was unable to cope with the concentrated weight of the Prussian attack, and the cavalry of the Austrian left was also defeated.
However, Charles of Lorraine was able to wheel the Austrian army so that it formed a new south-facing front anchored on the village of Leuthen. The village was carried by the Prussians after bitter fighting, but the Prussian infantry became exposed to the Austrian cavalry. This cavalry attack was preempted by the Prussian cavalry, and the battered Austrian infantry finally retreated. The Prussians lost 6,382 killed and wounded, the Austrians 22,000, including 12,000 prisoners. After their defeat, the Austrians abandoned most of Silesia. Leuthen made the Austrians far more cautious, paralyzing numerous Austrian initiatives later in the war. It did not knock Austria out of the war, but it played a major role in the "miracle" of Prussia's survival.
Leuthen was a victory that reflected Prussian firepower, Frederick's skilled exploitation of the terrain, the fighting quality of the Prussian cavalry, and the ability of Prussian commanders to take initiatives. It was the victory of a well-honed army over opponents who fought well but operated less effectively.



Leuthen: Building the Terrain

At all of our displays or Leuthen, the one element that has attracted the most interest was the terrain itself and more specifically how we achieved the realistic snowy terrain effect. Our challenge had always been to visually recreate this terrain in 15mm scale and not fall into the "all white" snow board effect. Hopefully the section of the article will reveal how we tackled this challenge.
After some careful consideration (or inspired guesswork) we decided a table size of 8 feet by 6 feet would give us the right size to be able to field all the units we were planning on painting. Our previous experience of putting on show games have long taught us that the boards need to be strong, so we settled on 2 inch thick styrofoam as the base, with 1 inch pieces forming the hills. Also to minimise the number of seams, we ordered 2 feet by 3 feet and 2 feet by 2 feet board sizes.

As a first step the boards were laid out and the map of the battle field was sketched out with an indelible marker pen. The finished map appeared quite busy with terrain features, so a number of roads and smaller villages were removed to provide for better playability. The key features were retained; we are wargamers and not Hollywood directors after all!

Each hill was created by first cutting its outline in card. This was then sellotaped to the 1 inch styroform and it acted as a template for the hot wire cutter. Once cut out the hills were chamfered using the hot wire cutter and glued into place on the main boards. They were then sanded with rough sandpaper to remove the sharp relief.

Also, to provide balance and give a more mixed relief to the boards, a hot air gun was used to sink some areas of the main board.

Next came the roads. These were pasted on in polyfiller using a 1 inch paint scraper. They were then inlayed by dragging the reverse end of four paint brushes along then and additional pitted effects were added by dotting the roads with the brushes in various places.
The built up areas and streams were given a coat of PVA and sanded to give a textures effect. The fields near these terrain features were made from Dolls House carpet with additional grass glued onto it.

The streams were cut into the boards using a soldering iron turned side on to give an initial wide cut. The soldering iron was then turned thin ways to provide the deeper cuts for the stream itself. To give the raised "hang over the edge" effect, milliput was rolled out and kneaded along the edges of the streams. Bridges were scratch built.

Now that all the main terrain features were in place, the boards were painted all over with a Dulux emulsion mix of chocolate brown. The roads and built up areas were then highlighted with some judiciously heavy dry brushing. Everywhere else on the boards was covered in a neat coat of PVA and the first coat of scatter applied. The second coat of scatter was then applied as were the grass edges to the streams and hills. Everything was then sealed using a mix of PVA and water applied through a spray gun.

To provide the iced/frosty effect to the boards, we dry brushed all the roads, streams end built up areas in white. Candle wax was melted into the stream beds and marshy areas. The buildings, mainly from Hovels and Timecast, were also dry brushed in white.

The church, which provided the famous "last stand" for the Austrian's was scratch built using foamcore board covered in Tetrion. The churchyard walls were cast from a master made using expanded polystyrene to give the cobbled effect. The winter trees, which attracted so much comment at the shows, were in fact Super Trees from Scenery Express. These were attached to pins and they are inserted into the boards on the day of the game.

The final snow fall is also added on the day of the game. Woodland Scenics Snow is used for this. Not only does it look very good, but it does not leave behind a powdery effect when shaken from the boards.


And the finished project and game in full flow:










Cheers AL
_________________
`I often wonder who that young lad was,
Who gave his life to cross the bloody Rhine;
And if no loved ones have him in their thoughts,
Come haunt me lad, and live again in mine`.


Last edited by alcal on Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:54 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Bob_Mackenzie
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks very cold! Great looking terrian & Battle
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Janick
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alcal:

Quote:
which attracted so much comment at the shows, were in fact Super Trees from Scenery Express.


Surprised Shocked Surprised Great stuff Alcal! I actually have plently of stuff on its way to me from Scenery Express! Rolling Eyes Actually about two more boxes of "Super trees" since I ran out when I purchased the starter kit! He also has a new "Super Sage" kits out which only produce a few but HIGHLY detailed treees!

regards,

Brad Smile
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kingscarbine
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to do this one day. Alas, my gaming buddies aren't into SYW, yet... Twisted Evil Mhuahahahahahahaha....
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Michi
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kingscarbine wrote:
my gaming buddies aren't into SYW, yet... Twisted Evil Mhuahahahahahahaha....


...neither am I, but it is a fascinating period with fancy uniforms and great possibilities. My only figures for that period are from Playmobil so far...
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Darren
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic stuff Al, the colour of the troops looks great against that background.

Darren
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salpao
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dreaming with opened eyes
Shocked Shocked
salvatore
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hayes wauford
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Al,

Really beautiful. Just what I try to describe when discussing winter terrain, not too white, not too blotchy. Really great job again!

Hayes
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