Google Analytics

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trench System

By now, the trench system used as the backdrop of some of the pictures from previous posts might be starting to look familiar, so today I'd like to share with you how that looks in its entirety and how it was built. How it looks really depends on how you want to set it up and how much space you have. The system is modular, with each piece measuring 1 square ft. The entrances to each trench piece are always located in the same place so that they can connect with any other piece as seen below.

I have built 18 pieces so far, and that allows me to build quite a few scenarios. There are corner pieces at a 90 degree angle, corner pieces at 45 degree angles, straight sections, semi-straight sections with a bend in the middle, a 4-way intersection, 3 way-intersections, a command bunker, a firing bay for a tank, an end section, a couple of firing bays for artillery pieces, and a couple of filler sections with craters on them.  Below are a couple of assembled configurations from past setups.

A setup in depth

A stretched out setup

In terms of how it was built, each piece is made with a plywood base. The trench itself is made with little wooden pieces from twigs and branches, glued with hot glue, using a 'glue gun'.

The slopes of the trenches are made using styrofoam, cutting away and scraping off what you don't need in order to give it some realistic profile. Note that the slope always has to be at the same angle if you want to ensure that it will align with any neighboring section.
The styrofoam is then covered with paper mache. The paper mache I use is called Celluclay. You just mix it with water and add some Elmer's glue to it and you are good to go.
Inserted into the paper mache you can add little rocks, logs (more little branches) and vegetation (decorative moss). When the paper mache dries it can painted over with acrylic paint.

Another configuration of the assembled trench system. This is as compact as it can get.

Click here to explore the many different configurations that can be built with the Trench System.


  1. What kind of wood did you use for that?

  2. The bases are made out of plywood. The trenches themselves are made out of little branches and sticks from the backyard.