Phil's Practical - Build a steam era campsite

16 July 2020
When steam trains ruled the rails, tents were made of canvas and you didn't enjoy any of the modern campsite amenities. Here, we've built an army camp, but you could just as easily fill it with boy scouts or even hardy hikers.

Our tents are plastic models from Renedra intended for wargamers. There are loads of details like this available from the wargaming world. They tend to use different scales to railway modellers, but apart from figures and possibly vehicles, this doesn't really matter.



Canvas is rough stuff, so after a coat of beige Humbrol enamel, the touch-dry model was dusted heavily with talcum powder to accentuate the creases and give the smooth plastic a little texture.



It's a good bet that the soldiers would have lit a fire to cook on and this starts with some textured paint. A glue spreader works as well as a brush for this since a smooth finish wasn't what we are aiming for. It's a lot easier to clean too.



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Some tiny wood offcuts were dropped in the paint and then the whole lot sprinkled with black and grey weathering powder. The brush was loaded with powder and then shaken over the fire. You shouldn't need glue to hold the powder as the ground will be rough enough to grip it. If it isn't, try a spray of hair lacquer.



There's none of your modern camping furniture here - boxes for fireside seats are from the Kibri crates, barrels and sacks set now sold by Knightwing. While I was at it, a couple of tables were improvised from small boxes and half the side of a larger crate.



Figures are from WD Models and the ruined building is an Airfix resin model. The captain doesn't look too pleased with the state his men have left the site in!


If you prefer a modern campsite, we pitched our tents here.