10 July 2013

Making 15mm Bocage - Part 1

I am currently just completing a large bocage order, and thought I would share how I came up with my design and of course the finished product.

Now before I start I have to say this is possible one of the most time consuming things I make, from the casting to the hand finishing of each piece. With many steps and stages between each task.

One of the things I found hard to come by was good looking bocage for flames of war, that was reasonably realistic. As a war gamer the balance for me is about look and playability. It does not have to be 100% accurate to be used but should be accurate enough to be acceptable to the wider community.
The above is a cross section of Norman bocage, as you can see from the width in reality from 6 to 10 feet wide, and with a bank height from 4 to 8 feet high. All this before you consider the hedge on top.
At is core is rocks cleared in antiquity from the fields and piled on the field boundaries to form enclosures. add to this a good covering of mud, grass, wild plants and you don't get a picture in your head of this:
Now don't get me wrong this is perfectly playable just a bit bland for my taste, being one coloured hedge on a pile of rocks.
This has very nice realistic hedges but the banking is just very wrong to my taste. I also know my version will not be suitable for some peoples tastes or pockets, and that is perfectly acceptable as we all have our own tastes.

When I designed my range some 4 years ago now, I wanted some rocks to be visible. As a gamer I expect to see the odd bit of rock, after all heavy rain will wash dirt away from thinly covered banks, the next issue is the local stone is a buff sandy colour, so again a little abstraction to provide a contrast.

Now because I would hopefully be making this on a largish scale, I had to construct masters to make moulds from to cast the banks and save some construction time.
Above is just the straight sections from the recent order.  After I have cast all the components the fun begins, each piece is then sanded to ensure it is flat bottomed, then glued onto a 40mm wide mdf base. Once the glue has set completely normally overnight I then sand the ends of each piece to ensure they butt together. Texture is then applied to the bases and left again to dry overnight.

This is when the real fun begins every piece is base coated in black and left to dry over night. The next day they are then dry brushed up with a couple of lighter greys, this will represent the rocks. Now comes the mud, dark brown first, then two lighter shades, over the texture and in random patches up the earth bank faces, taking the same time as the previous step.
A close up above showing the painted bases, now all they need is dressing up. I will save that for the next part.


  1. I made my own Bocage a few years ago and some of the feedback I got was very positive while others complained they could see the rocks too much. Like you said its matter of taste and as I made mine just for me they were good enough for what I wanted.

    1. I agree completely, the issue I have is because I retail, I have to appease the masses a touch more. But I also retain my gamers eye about these things.

  2. The are great Andrew. I can't say that I have ever made any, maybe one day! I will be refering back to this at the time that's for sure!

  3. Looking splenid so far Andrew !

    The only thing I might want to add is that I might have rounded of the corners of each base, so they look better it they not in a total straight line.

    I made it with my Swedish Round Pole Fense, the first batch as you with stright corners and the second with rounded corners, the rounded corners improved the look at the gaming table, at least forme, even if only a small detain:9

    Best regards Michael

  4. They look wonderful and thank you for the first illustration. I had often heard reference of Bocage being a tall hedgerow, but never really considered how and why it was created - obvious when you think about it!

  5. They look damn fine to me!!! excellent work!!!

  6. Looking forward to seeing where you take this!


  7. looking good Loki, had never seen a cross section before

  8. I'm very impressed with this. The amount of time and attention to detail you've put into this is obvious.

    Very much looking forward to seeing it finished.

  9. It will be good to see how the correct terrain looks and is made for future reference in 28mm.
    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to part two.


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