Monday, January 4, 2010

Building the Hanging Rock Battlefield

This month, not only am I writing about where the August 6, 1780 battle of Hanging Rock took place, I am also creating a representation of that battlefield for 15mm miniatures. This has the potential to be a far greater challenge than building either the Cowpens battlefield or Williamson's plantation, my principal undertakings to date. Hanging Rock was fought over a large area, and the terrain included steeply-sided hills, large boulders, Hanging Rock Creek (plus some lesser watercourses), and several farms. Building terrain is frankly a lot less interesting to me than reading, writing, or painting miniatures, and so I am aiming for something that doesn't involve a major investment of time but still has visual appeal.

I plan on doing this battlefield at 1:20 scale. I started by stretching out a Woodland Scenics ReadyGrass Vinyl Mat (Summer Grass), and putting on it a temporary grid (only the corners are marked). Each grid square is equivalent to 1000 square-feet. I tossed some scattered bits and pieces of "vegetation" onto the map to get a feel for what the open spaces will look like. I also have to make a decision as to which miniatures I'll use for this battle. Because the miniatures are individually based, I can easily swap painted figures. Below some Provincials faces off against a phantom enemy, supported by the same three-pounder I used for my Cowpens project, but this time manned by a Provincial "on command."

Use of 1:20 scale creates complications. Commercially-available creeks, roads, and houses for 15mm miniatures are sized for a near 1:1 scale. To minimize this problem, I've decided to use a) vegetation and small rocks to represent the watercourses, b) a narrow, hand-made path to represent the Camden Road, and c) a single cabin and a few small fields to represent the farms. At 1:20 scale, a single cabin has a "footprint" equivalent to 400 cabins (it's both 20 times too long and 20 times too wide), but if I didn't include it, the battlefield wouldn't look right to me. Below is the farmland at Hanging Rock, a work in progress. The road and woodland haven't been set up yet. Also needed are the brush huts that the British used for want of tents.


  1. I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Thank you! The final product will look a lot nicer.

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