Monday, 10 October 2011

Vacuum Formed Wargames Terrain

I, like a lot of wargamers out there, am of an age where nostalgia has become important to me.

I love to see once again, things like Leicester Models early 1/300 WW2 AFVs, Peter Laing’s pioneering 15mm figures or Bellona’s vacuum formed battlefield accessories.
The Copyright Minor Vacuum Former
In fact these last items have always had a place in my heart. I can still remember saving up to purchase the “Menin Road” set back in 1970 after I’d seen them advertised in the first ever copy of Military Modelling that I’d bought.
The mould made from foam board and mdf (note the holes to improve vacuum suction)
It was one of those days back in July when I was idly searching on Ebay when I first noticed that there appear to be a glut of small workshop sized vac formers starting to appear for sale.
Success!! A 6 part kit for a middle east building!!
It appears that our dearly loved education system no longer teaches DT anymore and many secondary schools are getting shot of their workshop kit – including their desktop vac formers.
Carefully cutting out the parts
This got me thinking…….. maybe I could make masters for terrain pieces…..and maybe I could recreate them with a vac former…… maybe I could make myself some new terrain and pay for the materials by selling a few pieces to fellow cash strapped wargamers!
Ready to start assembly
There started a charm campaign with Colette to persuade her to let me bid for one. Surprisingly she was all for it….within reason….just so long as it wasn’t too expensive.
First glue the four walls together
I watched a couple but usually they go for £400+…..way outside my budget. But patience, they say, is a virtue and finally two weeks ago Colette successfully bid on a “Copyright Minor” machine located just 44 miles from home.
Finished article!
How excited was I going to collect it! Smaller than I expected (it fitted on the back seat of the Subaru) it was so simple to operate I couldn’t wait to get started.

You’ll see from the pictures within this article that I have now completed my prototype item!! I’ve created a six piece kit for a single storey Middle east house with compound walls in 15mm scale. The mould was made from foam board on mdf and whilst it worked, I’ve learnt a great deal on what I need to do in future. I have to say that the finished article is far from perfect, but It'll do for a first attempt!
This first effort was moulded in rather expensive 0.5mm plasticard from the local model shop, now I need to find a cheaper source where I can buy in bulk.
With figures & AFV for scale
I’ve got all sorts of ideas what I may be able to build…..6mm roads, rivers, villages defences…….2mm terrain modular boards……15mm houses, bunkers, trenches etc…
But I’d really appreciate any ideas you (the readers) may have on perhaps, what you’d like me to make………..

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