Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Making 10mm (N Scale) bocage

I'm reposting an article about making bocage that originally appeared on my old website. Bocage is a French word for the thick country hedges that characterise parts of Normandy and were a major feature of the Normandy Campaign in 1944, particularly in the west where the Americans fought. The landscape in the east, around Caen, included bocage but was more varied. This item shows how I made bocage for my N Scale (10mm/12 mm) armies but the dimensions can easily be scaled up.


DAS Modelling Clay (500 gms makes about 20 hedges)
MDF Bases 15mm x 100mm
Natural twigs from a real tree or bush
Tetrion filler
Sand and ballast mix
Earth-coloured emulsion
Woodland Scenics 'Static Grass'
Woodland Scenics 'Hob-E-Tac glue'
Woodland Scenics 'Underbrush Clump-Foliage' (predominantly Medium Green and Dark Green, with some Light Green and Forest Green)
Woodland Scenics Foliage Clusters (various greens to represent different types of tree)
Woodland Scenics 'Scenic Cement'


The DAS is rolled to size and moulded to fit the MDF bases. This represents the bank and should be about 12mm high for N scale. The ends are sliced flush with a scalpel.

Natural twigs are pushed into the bank to represent trees and bushes. The DAS is left on newspaper to absorb the moisture until dry and hard. The DAS shapes are then stuck to the MDF bases using UHU and mounted on spatulas for ease of handling. The MDF bases give the hedges more strength and also allow gateways to be modelled.

The banks are textured with Tetrion and sprinkled with a mixture of sand and ballast. They are then given a wash of earth-coloured emulsion paint, a lighter dry-brushing and a final cream dry-brushing.

Static Grass is dropped onto patches of watered-down PVA glue.

The hedge tops are painted with Hob-E-Tac glue. After about 15 minutes (don't rush this) the glue becomes extremely tacky and is 'planted' with Underbrush Clump-Foliage. Bushes are given a single colour but the bank top is given a mixture of Medium Green, Forest Green, Dark Green, and Light Green to represent different plants. Underbrush is Woodland Scenics' smallest-cut Clump-Foliage. Hob-E-Tac is now added to the twig tops to receive the Foliage Clusters to form trees. 

 I used three different colours to represent different sorts of tree. Foliage Clusters come out of the packet in a dense mat and have to be torn and stretched to create a more open and lacey effect. Finally, everything is fixed with a heavy spray of WS Scenic Cement. The newly-sprayed hedges in the picture above appear slightly white, but this dries to colourless.

The finished hedges with 10mm figures for comparison.

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