We decided early on to make the Stalino railroad station a center of the campaign. We had some railroad cars and tracks from earlier on, and an almost built (but not painted) station already. Focusing on the railyards meant that we could look for interesting features to add to our collection, and still be sure that anything extra we built would be compatible with the other terrain. One thing that we wanted to add to the railyard was a water tower.
I volunteered to build the tower gathered up a bunch of reference photos with the help of the clubmates. When I make terrain I like to have reference photos, as I find that it's simpler to try to recreate buildings than to invent something from scratch that's still supposed to look realistic. I can improvise the general shape of the building, but the detail work usually turns out much better with actual references.
For this project we use a combination of old WW2 photos (to see which kinds of buildings existed back then) and modern photos of surviving buildings or buildings built in a similar style. When paired up, you can learn a lot about both design and colours.
I wanted something historically correct yet a bit unusual, both to learn more building techniques and to make a terrain feature that sticks out on the table. This octagonal type of water towers existed prior to WW2, and are still seen in many places. The lower half is usually made out of bricks, and the upper half out of wood. This would be a great opportunity to try to make brick texture for the first time, and the octagonal shape is quite unusual. I guess we have a winner!
My first step is to study the reference pictures, and make some assumptions about measurements. I often end up measuring with a ruler on the screen, as silly as it sounds. Then I try to calculate what would be a reasonable size for 28mm scale. In this case, as you can see in the photo, I ended up measuring the actual size in centimeters on a photo of a tower, and realized after some calculations that I could multiply it with 3 to get how big I should make it for 28mm scale. The best point of reference in these cases are usually the doors, as they are kind of human-sized.
Often you can make the buildings a bit smaller than their full scale counterpart, so that they do not take up too much room. It's more important to keep the proper proportions, so that it looks right.
Also pictured is the first attempt at making brick texture out of black, pliable foamboard. It turned out decently, so I set out to cut out all the pieces I needed and glue together the tower.
The octagon is assembled. Windows will be built out of balsa and cedar wood sticks. The base is also foamboard, and turned out to be too small, so I replaced it. Never be afraid to reconsider your measurements and re-do a step or two if it turns out to look bad in real life. I must have measured the lenghts of the octagonal sides wrong a dozen times.
Second floor in assembly. It will be covered in balsa wood, so no reason to make brickwork texture on those sides. Still a lot of detail work left, and it still has the old, small, base. I decided to take a lot of liberties with the inside of the building, so it will not look like an actual water tower. To make sure that it is still usable as a terrain piece, I decided to leave the second floor open, so that you can place at least a sniper, a machine gun team or such in it. In reality there would probably be enough room for a small combat team even with a big water cistern in it, but with 25mm bases it would be impossible. Sometimes form wins and sometimes function, but usually it's about finding a good compromise.
First layer of paint on the brickwork, with Vallejo's Terracotta paint. I'm going to experiment a bit with some different paints and washes, and see how it turns out. Notice the new and improved base!
WW2 Campaign Blog
This blog follows the second Chain of Command club campaign, set in the intense fighting over Stalino in October 1941.