Roads and trails are constructed in straight lines when terrain conditions allow it. In this particular case, the road has been diverted around rock formations which proved too difficult to remove. Wargame terrain needs to be detailed and varied enough to challenge the player. Potential ambush positions abound if the line of sight is cut frequently, and this will keep players on their toes. Roads and trails are used frequently in wargames, they add visual appeal and they are easy to construct. The edge of the 10 mm chipboard has been sprayed green, otherwise the light tan colour of the board shows if the modules are not perfectly adjacent on the gaming table.
Tools & Materials
- 10 mm Chipboard, cut to 50 × 25 cm
- Cellulose Ridges
- PVA Glue
- Interior Filler
- Acrylic Paint
- Size 5 Flat Brush
- Small Stones
- Static Gras
- Axle with Dual Tires
A dirt road with rock formations on either side of it. The road is 70 mm wide, and there are deep ruts in it. Other road sections and junctions may be added at either end of this road module or it may lead up to a farm gate.
This aerial photo was taken at a scale height of less than 100 meters. Notice how your eyes are immediately drawn to the road, and how easy it is to spot the single file of soldiers marching alongside it, despite the fact that they are wearing camouflage jackets and helmet covers. These upright figures cast a vertical shadow which betrays them, and they are walking in a formation which conforms to the conspicuous pattern of the road. These two factors combine to defeat the camouflage and make the soldiers stand out noticeable. Upon close inspection, two French soldiers in horizon blue uniforms can be detected north of the road. They are prone among medium grey rocks which nearly match the light blue uniform colour. A third Frenchman is practically invisible, he is prone on the small rock outcropping furthest to the south-east. The French tanks, too, would be more difficult to spot if they were parked by the side of the road, away from the obvious tracks. A similarly effective multi-colour vehicle camouflage pattern was adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1943.
Dirt Road in a Tube
Ready to use interior filler is the ideal medium for roads and trails. The filler is easy to use, and it dries to a realistic finish which only needs to be painted. A tube with 330 g of filler is enough for 150 cm of dirt road.
- Mark the course of the road with a pencil, making sure that the road exits the module at two opposite corners. The road should be exactly 70 mm wide at the exit, so that adjacent modules match up correctly.
- Apply a finger-thick line of filler down the middle of the road.
- Press the filler down firmly with a spatula, and draw the paste toward one edge of the road. Always work from the middle of the road to one edge, then turn the board around and draw the filler from the middle to the other edge of the road. Apply consistant pressure to ensure that the filler attaches to the entire lenght of the road bed. The center of the road should remain higher than the edges so that rain water will flow into the ditches.
- Large bumps in the road may be levelled by pressing them into the road bed with the spatula, but a dirt road should never be perfectly smooth.
- Allow the filler to dry a little.
- Roll parallel vehicle tracks into the filler. Small card disks mounted on a metal axle are perfect for wagon tracks, they dig into the filler correctly. For modern periods, use an axle with dual rear tires. The filler must not be too moist, otherwise the tire tread will be obscured easily. Make sure that the tracks are dug deeply into the dirt, depending on how much vehicle traffic the road has seen. Vehicle tracks cut across the road at intersections. Remember that continental Europeans drive on the right-hand side: Accordingly, vehicles turning left cut across two tracks, but those turning right cut only one track. This pattern of tracks is easy to recreate if you actually drive the axle across the road correctly, taking the turns as a real vehicle would.
- Allow the filler to dry, then rub a finger across the surface firmly and break off the many raised points of filler. These points chip off during use anyway, revealing the colour of the filler underneath the painted surface.
- Airbrush or paint the vehicle tracks dark brown.
- Airbrush or paint the divider between vehicle tracks olive green.
- Shade the entire road with a thin wash of black ink which will dry in the recesses.
- Fix the paint with matt spray varnish.
- Drybrush the road with sand and yellow paint to pick out the surface texture.
- Landscape the edge of the road with static gras and small bushes.
The terrain on either side of the road may be sculpted to represent fields, crops, and woods, there is even room for a small farm house.