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

Pasir Panjang Pillbox

Pasir Panjang (Malay: Sand Long, thus “long sand”)

This is probably the best example of the British Naval Design Type 1 pillbox that still stands in Singapore, there are others in Malaysia* along what was the Kota Tinggi Defence line and I believe a rather good example still stands in Penang, also in Malaysia. Located, today, at the corner of Pasir Panjang Rd and Science Park Rd, the pillbox once covered the west coast beaches and the coastal approach towards the battery and storage depot located at Labrador Park, further East. Land reclamation in the west has seen the “beach” move a few 100m south, and now the pillbox is a landlocked landmark.

It is unknown whether the forces here took part in the Battle for Pasir Panjang since most of the battle took place on the long line of hills and ridges of Bukit Panjang (Malay: Hill Long, thus “long hill”) to the North but it was under the command of the 1st Malay Regiment, who were positioned to oppose any Japanese advance along this route. Although it is well within sight of Bukit Chandu, (Malay: Hill Opium, thus “opium hill”) where C Company made it’s heroic last stand against the Japanese troops, and having visited the site a few times in the past, there appears to be no “battle damage” nor is there any visible repair work that would suggest that it was involved actively in the events on 12-15 February 1942.

I always wondered at the merits of having the door into the pillbox at the side, and can only imagine that there once was some form of sandbag curtain wall to protect the entry, since it would make more sense being placed in the rear. However similar Type 1 pillbox’s built in Malaysia show the door also at the side. (eg: Southbay(1), Southbay(2), Mt Erskine Cemetery, and, Relau Pillbox which are all in Penang) and there are Type 1 examples at Pengerang Coastal Battery location in Johor, Malaysia, not to be confused with the Johore Battery that was in Singapore. And while I have found photos, my search skills have not found any that reveal the doors, but I am willing to guess that they follow the examples that still stand. Though interestingly only the Type 1 at Pasir Panjang has the addition of the rear curtain wall and extra firing ports.

A bit “fresher” and less weathered than it stands today(though I think I need to add a little tropical mould) this is my take on the pillbox. I have to decide whether the level of the earth at the right is a result of modern roadworks, or represents the original dunes above the beach. Maybe a foam insert that I can add if I want, but remove as well?

* I know Singapore and Malaysia were one country and known collectively during WWII as Malaya, but for the sake of convenience when taking about war sites I am going to refer to them in reference to the country they now exist in.


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.