IntroductionExactly a month ago, I asked on The Miniatures Page if anyone knew how to make cranked fence posts out of MDF or any other cheap material. I had a desire to build a fenced army camp (see also my Quonset huts) for an upcoming game of All Things Zombie. Now, many gamers build chain-link fences from simple uprights such as bamboo skewers and these look fine from a distance. However, I wanted to go a step further than this and model something that would bear a closer inspection.
Corsec Engineering (USA) and Minibits (UK) offered to cut them for me. I went with the UK company, solely on the basis that the postage costs should be lower. A couple of weeks later, after a few exchanges of e-mails with Leon at Minibits to determine exactly what would be done and how much it would cost, I received a bag of parts in the post.
Next, I wondered how to fix the posts. Initially I had thought of pinning them, but a quick experiment showed that the thin MDF posts were far to fragile to drill holes in. Instead, I sank holes at 1.5" intervals along the centreline of the bases to act as sockets. This does, of course, reduce the height of the posts by a couple of mm, but the joint is then quite secure.
Adding the Chainlink
I'd already found some thin brass wire from which I intended to make the barbed wire runs. This brass wire had been woven around a wine bottle originally, but I'd saved it just in case it was ever needed. I used an old technique for modelling barbed wire: wind the wire into a tight coil, flatten the coil and pull it straight (but leaving in the kinks).
- The home-made barbed wire strands are a bit crude. I'm not happy with them.
- The plastic mesh has been sprayed grey. However, that was difficult to do because the small piece of netting was very lightweight and would try to float away when I sprayed it!
- The thin netting was hard to attach evenly to the posts, so as to eliminate any sagging.
- The completed structure is rather flimsy and probably won't stand up well to the rigours of tabletop use. If I were making static scenery for model railways then this wouldn't be a consideration!
The Final VersionIt's hard to reverse course in the middle of a model-making project. By this time, I'd attached plastic mesh to most of the fence pieces. However, I decided that the thin net just wasn't working the way I wanted, so I removed all of it.
Gale Force 9, bought for some occasion just like this. Once the decision was made, finishing off the fencing was very quick.
There is more vegetation on the inside of the compound than on the outside, on the basis that there may be grazing animals on one side but not the other. I also modeled one section of fence as broken down, though curiously the way the wire has been wrecked suggests that something from inside the base has broken through. I wonder what it was that escaped!