Foxholes and Trenches

1:72 Scale Modelling Techniques

German soldiers in foxholes.

Infantry in badly camouflaged foxholes, providing too much contrast with the surrounding terrain. Easy pickings for a Matchbox M24 Chaffee, the Airfix soldiers would have been picking oranges in Florida shortly after this episode. Foxholes are best camouflaged with materials matching the colour and texture of the surrounding terrain. In this particular case, rubble and other urban debris might have been used. Many wargame rule sets permit infantry to dig in during the game or to be deployed in previously dug positions. Wargamers may want to use figures in foxholes as status markers to show that a particular stand is dug in.

Tools and Accessories

  • 3 mm Plywood
  • Hot Glue & Gun
  • PVA white glue
  • Sand, Small Stones and Lichen
  • Static Grass and Applicator, NOCH


Infantry in foxholes and weapon pits are easy to recreate in miniature. The most suitable troops for this conversion are the standing firing, and kneeling firing figures, or any other type with the hands modelled close to the body. Even the prone machine gunner from the Airfix Afrika Korps can be cut to fit into a foxhole.

  1. Cut the figure apart at the waist. Keep the legs in your spares box, you may need them for other conversion projects.
  2. Cut an irregularly shaped or standard wargaming base compatible with your preferred game system.
  3. Glue the figure’s torso onto the base, using a small drop of hot glue. If too much glue is applied, it will envelop the figure’s waist and destroy detail. Ensure that the rifle is pointing straight ahead, approximately 4-5 mm above base level.
  4. Apply a ring of hot glue around the figure, approximately 4 mm high, and relatively close to the figure. Be careful not to touch the hot glue to any part of the figure’s uniform or weapon, it will be impossible to remove. The hot glue may have to be built up in layers to achieve the desired height and shape of excavated dirt around the pit.
  5. Paint the base and the glue ring with PVA white glue, and cover it with coarse sand and small stones. It is important to texture all exposed surfaces of the hot glue in this way. However, the narrow space between the figure and the glue ring should not be textured. This area will be painted black to simulate the depth of the pit.
  6. Paint the figure and blacken the bottom of the pit.
  7. Paint the base, drybrush, and apply static grass. Refer to Basing the Troops for more details.

A note about camouflage: Badly camouflaged foxholes are easily spotted, because freshly excavated earth is much darker or, in some geographic areas, much lighter than the surrounding terrain. The effect may be used intentionally, to draw fire to dummy positions, but normally it’s not a good idea to advertise the presence of trenches and foxholes in this way. Correctly camouflaged positions are covered with sods taken from the vicinity, they show no contrasting earth or other disturbance of the ground. Accordingly, our miniature foxholes should be covered with static grass and plants found in the area. There is no shortage of static grass or similar model railway flocking material. In real life, care must be taken to remove sods only in areas where the resulting dark patches will remain inconspicuous, e.g. along field and fence lines, and under trees.

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Modelling Techniques