Bunker Mentality

DSCF1069Bunkers or pillboxes are one of the easiest structures to build, limited only by historical record or for the futuristic modeller imagination. Typically it’s all square and boxy, and no fancy details like glazed windows, roofing nor chimney. I’m going to show you how to make one, in the style of a World War II German bunker such as you might find as part of the Atlantic wall. For this project you’ll need some foamcore board, plasticard, a base board and the usual selection of tools, glues and paints. To start take a pencil and ruler and draw out a plan on the base board similar to the picture above. What I’m after for this bunker is enough room to get two bases inside, one larger weapon such as an 88mm gun plus a smaller support weapon like an HMG. At the plan stage I’ve had one of my standard miniature bases around, I’ve also traced the finished design onto a scrap of paper for making measurements for the later stages.

DSCF1073Next is cutting strips of foam board to the height needed to comfortably allow based pieces to fit inside. On the last bunker I made I used plasticard with an eye to having a bash at getting the texture right. It worked but was a little on the large size, and very slow. In using foam board I’m hoping to get an authentic look but easier, so I’ve scored the card horizontally on the exterior of the walls. You can just about see it in the photo. I’ve made sure I’ve plenty of spare pieces left for later on. Then I’ve marked where the apertures and interior door will be, as well as where the walls need to be cut. I’ve made life a trifle harder by only having a single ninety degree corner. If this is your first effort you might want to stick to square corners.

DSCF1074Cut out the apertures and door before you stick them down. Then I superglued the walls in place, gel is better for this than the liquid variety, let it dry and then used PVA glue to strengthen the joins. The join of the two aperture walls is the only one I bevel cut before before joining, the others I overlapped slightly, and then trimmed. The first embrasure is cut from the spare pieces and rather handily a single piece. It’s important to get these walls set square on the vertical, and this will depend greatly on how square you’ve cut the bottom of the walls. To the right is an embrasure which wraps around a corner and I tried a different approach for it.

DSCF1075Here’s the corner embrasure, which is a sandwich of pieces. To make sure there’s a slight slope to it I’ve cut the first piece to the plan and then just placed that on a piece of foam board and traced around it with a pencil. This makes each piece slightly larger than the previous. When glued together this can be trimmed as a whole. This was time consuming, and I wasn’t happy with the finished result, so although I’ve shown how to do it I’d recommend trying just about any other way. I’ll drone on about this lack of perfection later.

DSCF1076To the left is an embrasure with a better finish, again from scored spare foamboard. I’ve added the stepping to the main weapon port (I got bored with using the word aperture).

DSCF1077Now for the bunker entrance and ammo store. I’m going to have a fixed roof onit so I’ve used scored plasticard for it. Again it’s double glued. There’s an important if near invisible step to the model at this stage, and that’s liberally applying PVA glue to all the exposed foam edges. This is for a number of reasons; mainly it’s to seal it, so when painted it doesn’t just soak up tons of paint like a sponge. It will do this given a chance, then gravity will go about it’s evil way in sucking that down into the very core of the model which may warp the walls, detach the paper on either side and even leaking through any poor joins at the bottom. The PVA glue also protects the foam from materials which might damage it, like green putty, misplaced plastic-weld or some spray paints. It will also prevent the near suicidal or neo- psychotic (depending on your style) episode which result from the experience of finding a near finished model slowly destroying itself. Isn’t PVA glue wonderful?

DSCF1078Here a roof has been put on the extension to the left, and I’ve added a ridge to it. Paints been brushed on to the now PVA’ed foam edges, and most joins. Green putty has been smeared around the base on the exterior to allow purchase for later stages.

DSCF1083Next is the roof, which is two pieces; one being the roof itself cut from foamboard, another being a piece of plasticard to hold the roof in place. Now to measure this from the model is troublesome, but remember how I traced the original plan in the first stage? That’s where you can take your measure from, bear in mind you’ll want the roof to slightly overlap the walls like any good bunker.

DSCF1084Spray undercoat the model, and onto what for me was an experimental stage using a new material – oasis. This is the material used by many florists as a base for flower displays, not the brothers who sing “Wonderwall”. It comes in two colours, green for use with fresh flowers, and brown for dried. I picked some of this up at a pound shop and have been looking for a model making use for it. It’s very light, cheap and can be cut and shaped easily, but it’s insanely delicate, just touching it can produce a dent, and press it hard enough and it becomes paper thin before giving up the ghost and crumbling at your brutality. However this doesn’t mean it’s without use, namely as a type of filler where others would be too costly, heavy, awkward and in drying lead to warppage of your base. So I’ve cut and shaped several slightly oversized pieces to fill where earth would be heaped against the bunker walls. This has then been sealed with lashings of PVA glue, which takes a long time to dry with this material.

DSCF1086Then I’ve mixed some miliput, rolled it really thinly and applied it over the top. This gives it a hard shell which can be sculpted, drilled etc. You could use basetex, any other filler or similar of course.

DSCF1088I’ve spray painted the model in a lighter shade, roughly brushed on a camo pattern, and added the first coat of flock.

DSCF1090It’s a decent piece now, although I’ve yet to add a dirty brown wash and the finishing layers of flock, although for the purposes of this tutorial it’s finished.

DSCF1094Lo and behold plenty of room for two bases inside. I may well add a couple of posters to the interior to make it more interesting. All that remains is a little whinging…

DSCF1097Here’s the main weapon port, you can see the camo is roughly applied which is deliberate as most camo was, plus a dark brown wash will pull it together as well as bring out the detail of the scoring. However the right embrasure is awful, unless you want the look of poorly laid concrete. Discovering a use for oasis has made up for it though.

DSCF1199Here’s a shot of the finished thing with a couple of tiles of British Infantry creeping around in front of it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Bunker Mentality”

  1. Michael Says:

    image with men for size comparison please.


  2. Michael Says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: