ACW Equals Fences

the 5 stages of construction for a snake rail fence

Inspired by John and his post on making 28mm snake fences and knowing that any foray into ACW would require at least a few lengths of battlefield impediments* if not for the simple purposes agricultural bordering and that they look good, then because many rulesets also give certain bonuses when defending said barriers.

After sourcing the mini paddle pop sticks and appropriately sized matchsticks: thank you Art-friend, Spotlight and SWMBO who accompanied me on said shopping adventure. It was simple matter to whittle and scar some of the sticks that would be used as rails, while opting for a base every second section for rigidity and to give some base weight.

A word on the whittling and scaring, this seemed to blunt blades at an alarming rate, and while a blunt blade would still scar the rails it was at a cost that every 4-5 rails it severed it in two and you I to start over with a growing pile of broken sticks. Some of these on the broken pile could serve as spaces and posts but for simple expediency and efficiency a new blade every 200 or so matchsticks was the “goldilocks” zone for the task.

* At best estimate and to cover most options, even my very small table will require at least 20 feet of fencing in various configurations and options (think: snake, post and rail, picket and even stone). So the goal will be to double that estimate which will allow for future table expansions, breakages, and the fact that the chances of being able to match a scratch built style and colour a few years for now will be nigh impossible.

So the first part of this project will be the building.

Reading: Welker, David A., The Cornfield, Antietam’s bloody turning point. (2020) ISBN: 978-1-61200-832-5

Just Finished: Vermilya, Daniel J., That field of blood. The Battle of Antietam. (2018) ISBN: 978-1-61121-375-1


I realised the other day that I have not really been keeping my focus “on the paint table”* list at the bottom, and instead have been distracted by things I had decided to “back burner” for the moment, and, in truth, COVID restrictions have seen myself and a group of colleagues delve back into Dungeons & Dragons and I have been a little distracted by that.

So in order to redress that situation, I made a start on some ACW terrain, chiefly the redoubt on the Seven Pines battlefield, and given that I like to make my terrain usable across periods, I decided to keep it to a gabion wall style, so I could also use it for Napoleonic’s or Seven Years War. I got the gabions from Wargaming3D (Thanks ironchicken) and then set about 3D printing a random assortment of the pieces that come with the download. The straight sections are based straight onto wooden tongue depressors while the redoubt was a custom shape I created to fit my imagined layout.

Note: The ironchicken gabions come in 28mm, I simple scaled them in my slicing software (Cura) to 60%. The very short gabions on the left of the redoubt were simply sunk into the bed while slicing and printed to be that height.

Gabions: Burnt Umber(223), dry-brush Naples Yellow(634), dry-brush Burnt Umber(223), dry-brush Warm Grey(078), dry-brush Tyrant Skull (C-dry) or Buff Titanium(024)

* This list was supposed to act as a guide to focus my energy (and time) on a few projects for the rest of this year. But of course I have gotten totally distracted with Hirst Arts and rebasing my Vampire Counts Army & Dwarves for AoS.

Markers, Labels, Counters…

So Project Wargaming’s Youtube video “Markers and Game Aides for Fire and Fury” got me thinking: “Markers, labels, counters…”, while not all games require a plethora of these, Regimental Fire and Fury is not one of them, requiring at least five different markers to denote a change in status of a unit. The rules recommend using “figures” to represent these status changes, and while I like the ideas suggested, I wanted to go a little further, and look at how those markers may be organised with a unit, thus preventing in the case of multiple markers the loss of a status marker as a unit moves across the table and inevitably leaves a marker behind in the excitement of the bayonet charge, or the often equally inevitable, hasty retreat.

My “limber fortnight” also included basing these markers and tokens.

So basically, just as you create movement trays to facilitate the movement of troops, how might a tray also be created to facilitate the movement of status markers and the regimental label required by the rules.

So a google search led me to “One sided miniature wargaming discourse“, which led me to “Not just old school wargaming“, and this led me down the rabbit hole of musing and then finally to SketchUp where I decided to see what I could mock-up as a “status/marker tray” for my ACW troops. I was surprised by how large “old school’s” status trays were, but they did blend in a little on the table, and looked good. A further example from Command Base, showed how it might look for Black Powder (which is also a rule option).

I will confess I am still learning the rules for RFF, but it looks like each unit needs its “unit label”, and the possibility of also having the following markers: silenced/disorder, low ammunition, brave colonel, skirmisher, but the chances of any unit having all four at the same time seems slim. Other markers such as horse holders for dismounted cavalry, damaged guns, and low ammunition wagons, tend to be for specific types of troops. I would rather the “status tray” to be universal regardless of troop type, and something that can follow the unit around the table top, but this might be a little unrealistic. So far I have come up with a number of designs, and have not settled on any favourite, while I imagine these will work well for both Infantry and Cavalry, I do wonder the appropriateness for Artillery?

A variety of “tests” for a status tray. The dice holder can be swapped in and out as needed.
The idea is that it will sit behind a units movement tray, or the unit itself.

One question I had was should the unit’s quality be a swappable counter, and omitted from the label, but after much thought I decided it was easier to make a new label for specific battles if required. Also I’m also not sold on any particular look thus far, though I kind of like the size of the 3, but with an angled unit information display, thus a variant of the three on the right above. Though I do recognise the long thin “unit information strip” does not conform to size found in the F&F Rule/Scenario books, so puts bit of pressure on me to make up my own.

Also given that my destroyed guns, sit on a 1.5″ round base, and are good for replacing a model if it is in fact knocked out, I have based my crews individually and planned to just remove a crew member to denote that a battery had suffered damage, meaning that a “status tray” for Artillery might just require space for a single “low ammunition” token.

Anybody’s input, thoughts, would be appreciated.