Small Scale Syria

With my Maidstone Wargames Society hat on, I recently put together a number of smallish towns and villages for the club’s 2016 show game, The Road to Homs ’82. Having been asked in the past for painting guides for our Small Scale Scenery range, I thought I’d go through the steps I took in making the scenery. I’d been given a brief by Paul, who was making the rest of the game, which included the number of built-up areas he needed along with their size and the positions of any roads. I drew these out on 40thou (1mm) plastic card and marked off the roads. Each block was also numbered to correspond to his plan so that laying the terrain out at a show was straighforward.

I cast up a large number of buildings, mostly from the Middle-Eastern village set, but also mixing a few buildings from the Mediterranean and Roman building packs, even a couple of barns from the Normandy pack, plus of course some Mosques. The largest town was mostly left empty as I wanted to add a number of apartment blocks which at this point hadn’t even been moulded ! After cleaning up any mould lines, I started by spraying all of these in Army Painter Bone – in fact this was unnecessary as I ended up spraying them again, so you can ignore this step ….

I now started to line up the buildings around the roads. Instead of trying to create an internal road network in each town, which would have taken an age, instead I just randomly dotted buildings on each block. On some blocks I left open areas which would be market squares or plazas near to mosques. I also put in a few walled villas using Evergreen plastic strip to make the walls. The buildings were superglued to the plastic bases while the walls were attached using liquid plastic cement. One of the blocks was meant to be a walled farm so I used a couple of barns and outhouses and added several of our poplar trees.

Once all of the buildings were in place, I used an old paintbrush to spread PVA between them and covered everything in fine sand. It was at this point that I realised that the quickest way to paint the towns was to spray them, so I sprayed everything in AP Bone again !

The next stage was ink washes – Citadel Gryphonne Sepia for the buildings and Agrax Earthshade for the sand. Even though this was over the same base colour, the contrast between the two washes made the buildings stand out. After this, I drybrushed the sand in Citadel Terminatus Stone (one of their ‘dry’ paints). The roads were marked out with a much heavier drybrush making them lighter in colour. I picked out a few odd details – pitched roofs in brown to orange shades and Mosque domes and minarets in blues, greens and gold. After a spray of AP matt varnish, the final stage was to dot in some greenery using Woodland Scenics flocks and foliage, fixed in with PVA.

I’m very pleased with the final result – the one thing I considered but abandoned was painting the windows in black. There are something like 3000 of them altogether so I figured that was going to be rather time consuming ! The washes pick out the windows reasonably well anyway, so I was happy to leave it at that.

The blocks are intended to be used on their own, but when put together they make a decent sized town. You can visit the club website to see how the whole game looked – it must have been reasonably good, as the game won a prize on its first outing !