I want to be able to dig in one or two squads of my Germans for Chain of Command, but I’ve never been happy with the available solutions for showing 28mm infantry as dug in.
Firstly, I want the troops to be in foxholes or shell scrapes, not standing behind walls of sandbags or in WW1 style linear trenches. If you look at WW2 German field manuals for entrenchments they show two and three man fighting pits pretty much identical to what soldiers dig these days:
A lot of gamers simply throw down a wall of sandbags to show a unit is entrenched, but this is hardly realistic. The trouble is that the miniatures are still sticking up above ground level, a problem even more lifelike options like Architects of War’s dug in squad foxholes can’t solve. I think it’s a real shame when gamers bust a gut to buy and paint realistic-looking miniatures then spoil the effect with bad terrain.
So this project is about chopping your miniatures in half and moulding them into some fighting pits.
How to build 28mm foxholes
I’m using spare miniatures from my box of Warlord German Pioneers. My Germans are late war, so the fact that these guys are in the early war uniform with the jackboots shouldn’t matter much once I chop their legs off!
On a card base about 8x6cm I put two layers of 3mm foam core and carved out the shape of the foxhole. Then the foam core was shaved back with a thin serrated knife and the whole lot was slathered in filler. I cut strips of the smallest corrugated cardboard I could find and used it to line the inside walls to represent corrugated iron.
I need a couple of one-man holes including the squad leader, so that men can be removed as casualties. After the filler was dry I covered everything in artist’s lava gel. I’m hooked on using this textured gel on all my bases. It’s a simple one-step process that fills and textures bases, it’s messy to work, not too messy, and can be cut when dry.
To be honest though this step was probably a bit unnecessary, and after the first couple I just went straight to PVA and a dip into sand. This gives a lot more variety than the artist’s gel, including big “rocks” if your sand is grotty enough.
The whole lot was sprayed brown and drybrushed a bit. The interior of each foxhole was painted black (although left brown didn’t look bad) and I painted the corrugated iron with Vallejo Dark Rust and a touch of gunmetal.
I added some details like panzerfausts, grenades, ammo tins and helmets sitting ready to hand for the defenders to grab . The miniatures had their legs snipped off and were painted in the normal way. Check that they look OK in the holes before starting to paint. You might have to trim them a bit to get a realistic look, or modify the pits. I think some of my guys are standing a bit too high up in their holes, but sometimes you’re limited by things like arm positions.
I’ve done enough to field either a panzergrenadier section with two MG42s, or a line infantry section with just one gun (1x NCO, 3x Two man pits, 1x one man, 2x gun pit).
How do you think they’ve turned out? Has anyone done a similar project? I’ve only seen a couple like this online so I’d be keen to see more of other people’s’ work.