'Saving Tommy Atkins' or 'Great War Terrain on a Budget'

(Dave Parker and Nigel Gould)

Part 1

As a starting point we looked at the superb terrain used by the Lardies themselves:


Whilst this gave us some ideas, we wanted to start from the basics and went back to the manuals (literally). Of the dozens of books we consulted the 4 shown were undoubtedly the most useful.

  • An Officer's Manual of the Western Front 1914-1918, Stephen Bull (ed.), Conway; 2008.
  • Fortifications of the Western Front 1914-18, Paddy Griffith, Osprey, 2004
  • Trench. A History of Trench Warfare on the Western Front, Stephen Bull, Osprey, 2010.
  • British Trench Warfare 1917 – 1918. A Reference manual. Imperial War Museum, Facsimile edition 1997
The raw materials for the base boards (2ft square chipboard).
As we planned to build the trenches from inexpensive white polystyrene sheets, sold as insulation material, we needed to build a wooden frame to protect the edges.
Framework with trench outline.
As many of the trenches would have the same trace, we created paper templates to help drawing out the trench outline.
To cut out the polystyrene we built two hotwire tools. One handheld and one table mounted jig.
The first trench line.
To protect the exposed edges of the polystyrene we lined the trenches with tile adhesive.
Two of the boards were designed as strong points. One a fortified wood and the other based on a small farm. Here we see the farmhouse cellar set into the polystyrene.
The farmhouse in place.
The fortified wood. Plastic pipes mark the eventual positions of the trees.
Two boards have inserts that are designed to lift out, so that a variety of terrain features can be added. This one incorporates a crashed plane.
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