Category Archives: Uncategorized

More cardboard buildings from Paperboys


I’ve been quietly boxing on making some more of the cardboard models from Florian Richter and Peter Dennis’s book European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames.


In addition to the windmill I have previously posted about, I now also have a mansion, a church, and a watermill.


This impressive mansion will be perfectly at home as either a country house or a town hall.

The book also provides roof connectors to so you join more of this model together to form a larger building – making the entire Palace of Versailles wouldn’t be out of the question!

I’ve made this and the other models straight out of the book. The only additional work I have done was to strengthen the inner structures with some heavy card.


The northern-European church looks surprisingly solid for a cardboard model. I think it is the buttresses that make it so sturdy-looking.

If you wanted to super-detail this model, you could cut out the windows and then re-inset them behind the holes to give more depth. However, the original artistry is so good that the windows look sufficiently 3D just as is.


I did this watermill in one afternoon.  I’ve made it fit with my existing latex river terrain by adding a foundation to the main building so that the wing with the wheel sits on the upraised bank, and the wheel itself hangs down ‘into’ the water.

I also added some piles made from sprue to support the overhanging wooden outhouse.


Here’s the first building I make from the book. It was probably a brave move to pick this one as my prototype, as it is the most complex. But it came out surprisingly well.

There are still plenty more buildings to make in the book – a Spanish-style church and windmill, farms and houses from both northern and southern Europe, bridges , walls …


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Simple-to-build cardboard European windmill


I made this complex-looking cardboard windmill in just one evening! It’s a cut-out model from Helion Publishing’s latest Paperboys book, European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames by Florian Richter and Peter Dennis.

Despite the intricate design of this windmill, with protruding attics and overhanging annexes, it was surprisingly easy to make. It was simply a matter of scoring all the folds, cutting out the pieces, folding them into shape, and gluing. Everything fitted perfectly.


This windmill is one of the many cut-out buildings included in the book, which covers both Northern and Southern Europe settings. Other buildings include two churches, a mansion, a watermill, houses and farms, bridges and walls, and much more.

Unlike the Paperboys model soldiers I’ve made, which need to be photocopied before assembling, these buildings can be cut straight out of the book. The pages are printed on light card, with only some instructions and explanatory photos on the back of each page, which (if necessary) you can simply capture with your phone camera before you start cutting out the model.

The book’s front cover also shows a column of figures from Peter Dennis’s other new Paperboys book The War of the Spanish Succession: paper soldiers for Marlborough’s campaigns in Flanders.  I bought this second book too, intending to use it just as reference.  But, boy oh boy, Peter’s figures are just so colourful and eye-popping (especially the French Maison du Roi) that I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist assembling some regiments!


The figures shown in these pictures of my windmill aren’t paper, though – they’re from my Minden Miniatures army.  But they show how well these cardboard buildings will go with any traditional 28mm army.

Peter’s preference is that his buildings are a little smaller than true scale so that they have a smaller footprint on the battlefield. But you can easily photocopy them larger or smaller if you wish.


Probably the most complex part of the assembly was the beam structure on which the windmill sits. But in fact this was surprisingly simple to put together. The trick is to score all the folds first, and then use Uhu All Purpose contact glue for very fast bonding.

The finishing touch with any cardboard building is to use a wash (I used green wash) to disguise any white card that shows through the folds or on exposed edges.

So there you have it – a wonderful windmill in one evening …


Filed under Eighteenth century, Minden Miniatures, Paperboys, Terrain, Uncategorized

Gorgeous 3D-printed governor’s mansion

house 4

‘Every local despot needs a stately mansion to flaunt his wealth and influence,’ says  Printable Scenery’s website in the description of their  model Governor’s Mansion.

I’ve been really enjoying painting this 3D-printed model over the last couple of nights.

house 3

I love the quaint look for this building, with its saggy roof, diagonally-placed overhanging tower and intricate half-timbering. It wouldn’t look out of place in the city of Ankh-Morpork (as per the screenshot below from the old Discworld computer game).


The model was a cinch to paint, with lots of luscious detail that was easily picked out by dry-brushing. I chose a colour scheme that hinted at Bavaria, with its light blue and white shutters and doors.

house 2

Printable Scenery deliver this model as a .ZIP file pack containing STL files for use on a home 3D Printer. The files are set to 28mm scale but can be rescaled before printing.

If you haven’t got access to a 3D printer, Printable Scenery have a list of licenced third party printers all over the world.

house 1


Filed under Terrain, Uncategorized

Paper buildings for the Jacobite Rebellion

To complete my paper armies for the Jacobite Rebellion, I’ve put together some of the lovely Scottish buildings that are included in Peter Dennis’ book Battle for Britain: Wargame the Jacobite ’45. Whilst the figures in Peter’s books are flats, the buildings are fully 3D.

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Firstly, here’s a hamlet of four typical turf, stone and thatch ‘Black Houses’. As the only chimney was a hole in the roof, these houses became blackened both inside and out, thus the name.

The book also includes a peat pile, which I assume is a feature characteristically found in the Highlands.

The civilians, too, are paper figures from the book.


And here’s the ‘Big House’, with its exterior circular stair turret. The windows come separate for you to glue wherever you like, and the wings and tower can be configured in different ways – so you can make more versions of this house with no two alike.

By the way, the figures in the second picture aren’t paper, nor are they flats – I have included them to show that these buildings will work just as well with metal fully-rounded figures too.

This is actually the second version of this model that I have made, as the first one (see below) suffered a spray varnish disaster when I tried to give it more of a matt finish and the varnish went white. Frustrating, but in the end it was just some time that I lost, as I only had to pay the cost of another colour photocopy.




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A quirky Netflix doco on Napoleonic reenacting


On the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, thousands of enthusiasts reenact the epic clash. But there can only be one Napoleon.

I’ve just finished watching a quirky documentary on Netflix. Being Napoleon is a feature length documentary that follows the stories of several historical war reenactors as they prepare for Waterloo 2015.

Over 6,000 reenactors gather for the 200th anniversary of the epic Battle of Waterloo, from humble foot-soldiers through to officers and even the great Marshal Ney (who is unfortunately less adept at horsemanship than the original).

But the real battle is taking place elsewhere, as two contenders vie for the vital role of being Napoleon. Frenchman Frank Samson, uniform-maker extraordinaire, takes on American Mark Schneider as to who will be Emperor on the day. By the way, my son and I saw the latter in action ten years earlier when we took part in the 2005 Waterloo!


There was only one Napoleon in 1815, so there can be only one Napoleon in 2015. But the Belgians are in charge, and unrest is growing in the ranks.

There’s also an outstanding prison sentence to be served, an unpaid bill for parking to which Empress Josephine has something to say, and a motley group of elderly Grenadier reenactors gamely trekking Napoleon’s route from where he landed after his escape from Elba in 1815.

The movie concludes with some amazing footage of the Waterloo event, especially the last stand of the Guard.

As to which of the two contenders ends up being Napoleon, you’ll just have to watch.


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Dressing The Lines’ top ten posts of all time

Today I’m taking a trip down memory lane, looking back at the most visited postings since I began this Dressing The Lines blog back in February 2010.

Here is the eclectic list of the top ten postings to date (ignoring the home page with 225,287 views), featuring everything from Western towns to pirates, samurai and the 18th century, not to mention famous paintings and even Sir Peter Jackson. Enjoy!

1. One of the nicest wargames terrains I’ve ever seen (13,433 views)


My most popular posting actually depicted someone else’s modelling skills! One of my friends had hand-built this gorgeous Western town on a 4’x4′ board. I felt this was one of the nicest terrain pieces I’d ever seen. Despite this posting dating back to 2011, it regularly appears in my list of recently visited postings, as it is still linked from many external sites and blogs.

2. My ‘Barry Lyndon’ armies (10,146 views)


When I began collecting 18th century Minden Miniatures figures, instead of replicating any real armies or making up a completely imaginary country (aka ‘imagi-nations’),  I chose to recreate the regiments featured in my all-time favourite war film, Barry Lyndon. So I painted British, French and Prussian units from the movie, complete with the costume-designer’s inaccuracies! This 2010 posting tells the back-story of how I began this project.

3. Sir Peter Jackson needs Kiwi wargamers (9,116 views)


This was the posting that launched one of my most memorable experiences in the hobby of wargaming. In 2015 Sir Peter Jackson was in the process of developing a museum for the centenary of World War One. One of the planned displays was a massive diorama of the Battle of Chunuk Bair on the Gallipoli Peninsula. He commissioned the Perry twins to create five thousand 54mm Turkish and New Zealand soldiers. I was part of the project to find one hundred Kiwi wargamers to paint all these figures in a very short time-frame, and this posting was my first call for volunteers.

4. Fontenoy – my favourite battle painting (7,634 views)


I first saw this 1873 painting by Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux on the cover of Charles Grant’s 1975 book The Battle of Fontenoy. In this posting from 2010 I took a look at the many stories and details included in this, my favourite painting. To me this painting instantly reflected the feel of 18th century warfare, with its glorious colour and pageantry, its mannered politeness, and also its timeless horror.

5. A pirate’s life for me  (6,707 views)


In 2010 Games Workshop Historical came out with a new set of pirate rules, Legends of the High Seas. This fired the imaginations of several of my gaming group. Here was a new period we could get into with minimal cost and painting required, and which could use a lot of our existing scenery. So we quickly ordered some sets of the rules, and a collection of 28mm pirates. This posting showed off some of my first painting efforts.

6. Fabulous cutting-out expedition diorama (6,636 views)


During a holiday to the UK in 2013 I stumbled across this amazing diorama at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth. It depicts a fictional cutting-out expedition by British sailors and marines somewhere in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. This had to be one of the nicest dioramas I’d ever seen, especially for the water effect and the captured movement of the figures and boats. Though I must say the diorama outshines my own modelling and painting skills!

7. My stereotypical Japanese terrain for ‘Ronin’ (6,629 views)


If you’re going to do samurai skirmish gaming, you might as well go the whole hog so far as stereotypical Japanese terrain is concerned. In this posting from 2013, I think I pushed all the buttons: cherry blossoms, humpbacked red footbridges, sturdy torii ornamental gates, and a pointy-roofed shrine.

8. A fantastic landscape diorama – and I do mean fantastic (5,936 views)


In 2011 I posted about an enchanting exhibit at De Efteling, a theme-park in the Netherlands. This was ‘The Diorama’, a 60 metre long showcase containing a fantastically rugged landscape with towns, villages, castles and churches, moving trains and automobiles and flowing water, based on the work of the famous Dutch artist Anton Pieck.

9. Musing and enthusing on samurai (5,319 views)


In 2013 I’d been experiencing a lack of motivation for painting or gaming. But my imagination was eventually stirred by a potential new period to game – samurai! In this posting I was still in that euphoric state whenever you start a new period, when you haven’t yet purchased anything, but are happily day-dreaming about which figures and terrain to buy.

10. Amazing medieval figures: Bruegelburg (5,083 views)


Back in 2011 this range of figures caught my eye. Whilst I’m not into wargaming the medieval period at all, the 16th century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel is one of my favourite artists. I loved the way these miniatures were so much like Bruegel’s ‘earthy, unsentimental but vivid depiction of the rituals of village life—unique windows on a vanished folk culture …’







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So this is what paper soldiers look like en masse?


I’ve finally finished enough of the Paperboys figures to set up both sides to recreate a battle of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745/6 – often simply referred to as ‘The 45’. Today I took advantage of the nice weather to set them up outside for a photo-shoot.

I’ve reviewed these 28mm Paperboys figures previously. As units, they certainly look good. But I couldn’t wait to see how they would appear en masse on the table.


Here’s the battle-field from the Jacobite side (click on these pics to see them full-size). I have seven units of infantry so far for the Jacobite army, plus some cavalry and artillery. From this angle, you’d be hard-put to tell that these figures (apart from a couple of exceptions) are all flats!


And here we see how the table looks from the Government side. I’ve got six infantry battalions, a large unit of dragoons, and accompanying artillery.


The commander of the Government troops is Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. He is best remembered for his role in putting down the Jacobite Rebellion at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.

Behind him are Loudon’s Highlanders – the Jacobite Rebellion had Scots on both sides. John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun raised this regiment in Inverness and Perth in August 1745.


Here’s the first paper battalion I had ever tried making. The beauty of paper figures is that, with careful cutting, even your very first attempt comes out looking perfect! The blue breeches, instead of red, indicate that this unit is from a Royal regiment.

Behind them is a provincial unit. Most of the provincial corps, such as the Yorkshire Blues, appear to have been dressed in blue rather than red coats.

In the background is one of the few 3D models in the army – a small horse-drawn wagon.  Well, the cart is 3D – the horse is still a flat!


Here’s a unit in yellow facings. The only thing I’ve done to my paper figures that goes beyond what they’re supplied with is to add static grass to the bases.


I’m really pleased how the unit of Government dragoons came out. They’re in an almost three-quarter view, which means you get to see more of the equipment and the horses.

The Paperboys range includes cannons in both flat and 3D versions. I preferred the latter. Whilst fiddly to make, they look pretty good, considering they are cut out of paper! The gunners are still flats.


Another view of everything we’ve seen so far – cavalry, artillery, regulars, provincials, generals, even transport.


The artillery also have a couple of small Coehorn mortars. Once again, the mortar is 3D, whilst the gunners are flats.


Now to the Jacobites, charging forward waving claymores and other pointy weapons, and carrying small targes (shields). The assorted weaponry made these figures somewhat trickier to cut out than the muskets of the more regular units. But they certainly give a great impression of motion.

The blue flag with a yellow saltire in the background indicates Stewart of Appin’s regiment, the colours coming from the family arms

Between the two units you can see Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart, more commonly known as ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, commander of the Jacobites.


The red and yellow stripes of their flag indicates that this is a Clan Cameron regiment. On the left, you can also see a skirmisher base.


Another shot of wildly charging highlanders, these from Lord Ogilvy’s Forfarshire Regiment.

Behind them you see another unit of highlanders who are carrying muskets. Highlanders generally discharged and then discarded their muskets, before charging forward with their traditional weaponry.


The Jacobites also had artillery. This gun is served by several Jacobite gunners assisted by French artillerymen.


I’ve got one French regiment in my Jacobite army – the famous Royal Ecossais. Louis XV sent a small expeditionary force of about a 1,000 men to Scotland to help Charles Edward Stuart to try and recover his throne. This force was made up of the regiment Royal Ecossais, as well as a number of men from each of France’s Irish regiments, and the Fitzjames regiment of horse.

By the way, did you notice the mistake in this photo?


We’ve seen the front and back views, but what does a side view of flats look like? Well, despite the illusion of realism being broken, they still don’t look too bad in a symbolic sort of way. Better than wooden blocks or cardboard tokens, anyway!


One of the beauties of paper soldiers is that they are remarkably robust. Here is my storage system! There’s certainly no risk of paint chipping. All that will be required before play is a little grooming with my fingers to straighten any bent muskets.


Could this be an unintentional symbol of the outcomes of the Jacobite Rebellion?! Bonnie Prince Charlie stands atop a higgledy-piggledy pile of his troops!


Filed under Eighteenth century, Paperboys, Uncategorized