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

(Dave Parker and Nigel Gould)


It all began in June 2011, at the end of another successful Durham Wargames Group Open Day. Nige, after having a year off from putting on a game at the show, was itching to have a go at another big project. It must have been post show euphoria but I foolishly agreed to help before we’d even decided on the nature of ‘the project’.
Nevertheless, after a few moments thought, we swiftly came to the conclusion that we wanted to put on a World War One participation game, using ‘Through the Mud and Blood’ by the Too Fat Lardies. I already had the figures, so all we would need would be some trench terrain. How hard could that be?

From the beginning we set ourselves a list of design parameters. The terrain had to be modular (ideally in 2ft squares to fit in with club terrain) and fairly generic for maximum versatility. Crucially it needed to be relatively inexpensive but large enough so that, at the end of the project, it would break down into 2 useable halves, i.e. at the end of the day, we would both have our own set of trench boards.

Finally, from a design perspective, this would be useable wargames terrain and emphatically not a display model. That said, we were keen that the set up should reflect reality in as much that the trench system would be dug through a pre-existing landscape: hence, our incorporation of woods, roads and buildings.
Originally, we had intended to write a detailed description of how we built the terrain, but sadly, we ran out of time. Instead we have opted for more of a photo diary approach; hopefully the pictures speak for themselves. Of course, anyone interested is welcome to come along to our next show, on the 9th June 2012, and see the terrain first hand. We will be hosting several participation games and will be glad to welcome interested players.

Because the article is 'photo intensive', we've split it into 2 parts. Please use the following links: