Bridges, they’re a staple of the wargames table. Many a battle was fought over them, and they make great objectives as well as being nice looking scenery for your table. I bought this nice-looking MDF kit from Sarissa a while back and built it up
Building the kit
The kit is 2mm MDF with a cardboard roadway. Sarissa actually sell it in multiple versions, you can get just the ends, a couple of different sizes of centre sections, and all the combinations thereof. So you can get whatever size you want. I went for the largest span, as my club has some of Last Valley’s wide river sections which are pretty big. Remove the centre section and it will still cross a narrow Last Valley stream like you see in the pictures above and below.
Assembly is pretty straightforward due to the good instructions Sarissa include. I wouldn’t say they’re totally idiot-proof, there are a quite a few pieces and you need to check you’re sticking the right thing in the right place.
I’ve added a few bits to the basic kit. I glued some tabs to the mating ends of the sections so that they line up nicely. Following the advice of George who recently built a near-identical bridge I added some cap stones to the top of the walls. The kit comes with strips of cardboard to glue to the sides that have lines scored on them that look a bit like cap stones, but you can see from the pic above that the effect isn’t brilliant. Luckily there’s more than enough cardboard of the right thickness left over after you build it, so I just cut a load of little rectangles out and stuck them on.
The cardboard deck of the bridge did give me a bit of grief. To fit it you simply bend it to shape, it’s scored and conforms nicely. You could paint it as a wooden deck, I decided to add some dirt texture and leave some of the “plank” detail to show through. However, once I started adding watery PVA and a couple of coats of watered-down cheap house paint from test pots I found that the thin, porous greyboard soaked up the water like a sponge and then warped. I fixed it by gluing some coffee stirers under the flat centre section which was the worst affected. So before getting the cardboard wet you might want to either reinforce it or maybe seal it with a coat of neat PVA?
Obviously the kit has some good points:
- It’s modular, so can represent either a small or a large bridge
- It’s MDF, so doesn’t feel like carrying a brick around like resin bridges do
- It’s quite nice looking (I think)
But it ain’t perfect. My main gripe with it comes from the fact that it’s modular. As you can see from the above pic, most rivers and strams on a wargames table stick up a fair way. This means your bridge isn’t likely to sit flat. You can see above that I’ve stuck some Blu Tack to it, otherwise the two halves would be sitting at a jaunty angle to each other. If your roads joining the bridge are at the same height as your river it should match sort of ok, if they aren’t as high (highly likely) you’re going to get a bit of a step.
When the bridge is using the centre span (see pics at the top of the article) you might get a step in the bridge itself.
So, a fairly minor niggle in the grand scheme of things, but this is definitely something you won’t get with an single-piece bridge.