Modelling WW1 Trench Warfare

...from Crowood Press

Title: Modelling WW1 Trench Warfare
Author: Andy Belsey
Publisher: Crowood Press
ISBN: 978-1-78500-858-0

This new book in their series of Modelling books takes on the particular topic of the varied details of the trench wafare of the Western Front in WW1. A 176-page soft-cover book, the author Andy Belsey is an architectural modeller by profession, who in his spare time uses his skill to further his own interest in the history of the trenches of WW1. His superbly detailed models are in 2 particular scales, the smallest is 1/285 and the larger ones in 1/32, designed to fit with the excellent range of resin cast model figures by Tommy's War.
The book opens with an Introduction where Andy sets out the background to his interest, and how he started sharing his models with others through the old Military Modelling magazine website (which I administered at the time) back in 2013. Since then he has moved on to an even wider audience and expanded his range of finely detailed models which we see detailed in the book. After going over some advice on the tools you can use, he goes on to explain not just the modelling side of it, but the historical details of the various types of trenches and emplacements which he has built. The first chapter takes us through his build of a 1/285 section of British Front Line Trenches on the Somme, in 1916. This scale allows for a wider area, covering from the Front Line trenches, going back with the Communication and Support trench network. Then it moves on to cover how to create the various elements of groundwork, such as soil, chalk, plants and colours. Chapter 3 moves into the first of his 1/32 trench cross-sections, an 'Ideal British Trench', followed by a 'Typical British' and 'Wet Soil British' trenches. These include elements such as the use of sandbags, corrugated iron, duckboards, wood boarding and wire etc, with fire steps, parapets built up from the earth excavated from the trench itself and much more. Further chapters cover how Shell Holes were 'improved'; a 'Front Line Dugout', which also uses LED lighting effects; Clay Kicking in a British tunnel and Mine; a Typical French trench; a 'Reversed German Trench', showing it after capture by British troops; a 'Typical German Trench'; and to round-off the trenches, a 'German Concrete Bunker'. The final chapters include a British hospital tent, then going back to the small 1/285 scale for making artillery models and setting them in small dioramas. That leaves a final chapter which encourages you to learn more by visiting surviving trenches today, and getting inspiration for your own models.
The skill and detail in Andy's models is an absolute delight, and he shares his skills in a host of well explained hints and tips of how to build your own WW1 trench models, adding the lovely WW1 Tommy's War figures, plus doing some straightforward conversions with them as well. You will also gain a greater understanding of the way the famous trench systems of the Western Front were constructed by the 3 main nations involved, Britain, France and Germany. Definitely one I'd recommend.
Thanks to Crowood Press for our review copy.

Robin