Thursday, February 16, 2017

Building Eylau Battlefield Part 1

Putting the Cold back in Cold Wars, Eylau, a battle during a snow storm. 

We have started construction on our table for our convention game at Cold Wars. This time we are doing the Battle of Eylau. On February 7th and 8th 1807, Napoleon's Grande Armee and the Russian Imperial Army meet in battle at Eylau in East Prussia.

This is my first post, but we started building back in the middle of January. As always we start this process with a trip to Home Depot to get the insulation boards we need. This time Home Depot let us down. They did not have the pink boards we normally get. The did have pink boards, 4x8 but they were scored about halfway through so they could be broken easily. We didn't want that. We wanted the full 4x8 boards. So this time Lowe Home Improvement came to the rescue.

 Here are 3 insulation boards, 4x8, 2 inches thick. We are pretty sure we will be able to get them out of my basement one we add hills, trees and buildings....about 95% sure.

We will cut 2 feet of each board to give us 3 boards of 4x6 for a table size of 6x12

 Normally I just have 5x8 table set up in the basement for playing. But since we are in build mode, I bring out the extra section, for the extra 4 feet in length. The table hangs off a foot on the sides during the build. I don't have room for a 6 foot wide table.

This book is awesome. It's just maps of Napoleon's campaigns and battles.

It has campaign maps in the lead up to the battle and detailed maps of each of the battles. This is our go to map for the battle.

The boards are cut and we are ready to roll

As in past builds we use colored glass beads to lay out terrain features we want to represent on the table. Rivers, roads, towns, forests, hills etc. Using the beads allows us to shift the placement of terrain till we feel we have a fairly accurate representation of the battle.

 Once we have the placement down, we will outline terrain features in sharpie onto the foam boards.

This pic is a little blurry but you can see the lines drawn.

 We have started carving in the rivers and lakes using a Dremel tool with a router attachment. The router allows us to control the depth of the carve and good hand control for following the rivers.

We still havn't found a dremel bit we like for this. The one we used this time, melted one edge of the rivers. Later when we need to sand a bank into the rivers this is a pain in the ass. The melted foam is hard as a rock.

 We made a big improvement on carving the hills on this build. My wife brought home lots of office stuff her company was throwning out. I got 4 boxes of overhead projector clear sheets. So we lay down the sheets, trace the hill outline on the sheet. Then placing the sheet on a piece of foam, we use a needle to punch thru an outline onto the foam that will be cut. Using a scroll saw, we cut out the hills very quickly.

 Hills getting cut and laid out.

Scroll saw on the right. For a rough cut it's a lot quicker than the Proxxon Foam cutter on the left.

Once the hills are cut to shape, they need to be beveled. We use a Stanley Snap Off Knife. The long blade allows big beveled cuts on the foam. We want to cut as much away as we can, so we have less to sand down with the power sander.

Here we are, ready for sanding. 

That's all for now, more to come...


  1. A fascinating post. I look forward to seeing the finished battlefield.

  2. Brilliant looking board - now to catch up with the rest.