Thursday 9 October 2014

6mm Terrain: Wire Fencing

The latest addition to my WWII Libyan airfield is some perimeter fencing. By 1942 the LRDG and SAS had launched so many successful raids behind enemy lines that axis forces were forced to commit resources to defending potential targets. While this made the task of special forces much harder it was also an important ongoing victory for them, tying up men and material that would otherwise have been used at the front. With this in mid my Italian Airfield has now received an enclosing perimeter fence. 

Front and back views of fence sections

I made the wire fence for just a few pounds using materials that are easily available and relatively cheap. Large 'lolly' sticks can be bought from various craft shops but they can be expensive. Bypassing the local craft store I found packs of 50 for £1 in The Range hardware store. Several packs of Wooden Toothpicks are also required for this build and I bought 200 for £1 from a local thrift store. Plenty of PVA/White 'Wood' glue is also needed, especially for basing. The only speciality materials I bought were 2 Sheets of Wire Mesh (the sort used for vehicle body repairs). This can be bought from craft stores but I found the cheapest and easiest source was my local auto centre where I picked up two sheets for just £4. The only other materials I needed were standard modelling items like basing sand, primer, paint and varnish. I estimate that I was able to complete the whole project - making over forty sections or about twenty feet of fencing - for under £10.

I have made over 40 sections, each six inches long.

More than enough for any scenario

Here's my rough and ready step-by-step guide on how I made my perimeter fences.
  1. Drill five holes in each stick, equally spaced, for the toothpick 'poles'. I was able to clamp up to a dozen sticks together to drill through, greatly speeding up this stage of the build. Make sure the holes drilled are slightly smaller than the maximum diameter of the toothpicks. 
  2. Break the Toothpicks in half and place them point first into each hole (with a dab of PVA in the hole first of course). Make sure all the sticks stand straight and leave to dry. 
  3. Use sprue clippers to cut the points of the toothpicks (currently poking out of the bottom of the Lolly Stick bases) flush with the base. Do not trim the tops of the poles yet!
  4. Cut the Wire Mesh into 1cm wide strips. I used a metal ruler to hold down the wire and cut the mesh with a modelling knife. Make sure to use a new blade for a clean cut. 
  5. Pinch each end of the mesh and pull gently. This 'stretches' the mesh slightly and makes it perfectly straight. It also compresses the mesh slightly so the 1cm strip is now about 8mm wide.
  6. Cut the mesh strip to the same length as the Lolly Stick bases and glue to the upright poles with PVA/Wood Glue. Blue-tack may be required to hold the mesh in position while this dries. I added more glue to the joins later on to make sure everything was firmly held in position. 
  7. Trim the vertical poles with the sprue clippers to the same height as the mesh fencing. 
  8. Glue sand to the base being careful to avoid getting any on the mesh. 
  9. Prime the model. I found that using a coloured spray primer (in this case I used brown) was the best way to cover these models quickly. 
  10. Dry brush the base according to your desired colour scheme.
  11. Dry brush the fencing with metallic paint. I used Gunmetal with a second coat of silver on top. Be careful to avoid the upright fence poles as these need to remain 'wood' coloured. 
  12. Varnish if desired. I game my models two coats of Citadel Purity Seal varnish to give them some durability and a dusting with Testors Dullcote to flatten the shine. 
  13. Add grass tufts and other base dressing as desired.
Now my Airfield has a perimeter fence I need to add some AA and MG gun pits. Once again I have some suitable models from Leven Miniatures and I'll post some pictures when they are completed sometime next week. 


  1. Very nice Lee!!! Did you make any damaged sections?

    1. I didn't make and damaged sections on purpose... but dropped a can of varnish on two and damaged the mesh a bit, so I may convert them to 'cut' sections.

  2. Good work mate. I bet it will look very good all set up.

    1. When I have all the elements of the airfield painted I'll take some pictures of the finished setup. The big job (and one I am putting off till last) is the 30 or 40 aircraft I need.

  3. Excellent work. They look great.

  4. Very nice! We did barbed wire for our Desert games a few years back. Same basic idea.
    Mine ended up looking like shit because I am ham-fisted and untalented but use the same method and yours will look great.

  5. Just caught up with the blog. Your 6mm North Africa stuff is coming along and looks great.Another fine tutorial.


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