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D.I.Y barbed wires
(8 voti)
Scritto da Leonardo Torricini   

 

 

There are many different ways to make barbed wires for dioramas and war-game sceneries.

I't's necessary a compromise between look and realistic dimensions, a perfect barbed wire in 1/72 scale would be very tiny and nearly impossible to do.

 

 

Recently I discovered a quick and simply way using a mosquito net, the outcome have good detailing and not too far from the right proportions.

It's not a real new thing, but rather a variation of well known technique used in war-games sceneries, mostly with figures bigger than 20 or 25 millimeters.

I tried it for the first time and perhaps there are more tricks and better variations, but my first attempt came out so good that I think is worth a tutorial.

 

 

Furthermore another variation of this technique can be suet to make the typical "greek frieze" (if I translate correctly, sorry for my poor English), I mean the squared zig-zag decorations, very useful for different purposes and nice looking on ancient buildings.

You can easily imagine how to use the net for such purpose, probably this idea is worth another tutorial.

 

MAKING THE BARBED WIRE

 

 

We start cutting a strip of mosquito net, leaving just little bits of the meshwork protruding on both sides.

 

 

Eventually it could be necessary to cut furthermore some of the protruding bits if they are too long.

 

 

In this way we get already a good looking barbed wire, the small size fits well enough with a 1/72 scenery.

 

 

With a further accurate work we can cut and shape the thorns pointed instead than leaving them flat, in this case is better to cut the initial strip with longer protruding bits.

 

 

Such enhancement take a longer time and more precision, you need a very good cutter (I use scalpels), as well as good eyes or magnifying lenses and steady hand. (…and much pedantry ;-).

 

It depends from how much detailing you want, and how much barbed wire you need too, it's up to you to choose the extra detailing is worth or not.

Anyway when you find the right way to slide the strip on the cutting board, keeping it flat under you fingers, the job reveals quite easy.

I managed to cut these pointed thorns on both sides of nearly 50 centimeters of wire (19 inches) in less than 15 minutes.

 

This is the difference between the basic and the enhanced versions, rough unpainted.

 

 

At this point I painted the barbed wire (acrylic dark metal paint) before to go further ahead, but you can leave it rough too and paint everything at the end.

 

 

On the two different painted wires we can see already that the difference is evident only if you look well and closely.

 

SHAPING THE BARBED WIRE

 

If we just cut the net strip our barbed wire will be lying and straight, so we need to shape it in spires or entangle it, there can be different ways to do it.

In this case I twisted the wire on itself first and roll it around a pole afterwards, like usually done using metal wires or electric cables.

But it's necessary to heat and cool the plastic strip while rolled around the pole to keep it in the right shape, otherwise it can uncoil and return lying once released from the pole.

 

 

First I clump the strip on a paintbrush pole, paintbrushhes are particularly good for the purpose because very smooth and slightly thicker in the middle, this will simplify the releasing of the spiral at the end.

 

 

Then I twist the strip on itself before to roll it around the pole, this to avoid that the thorns come out all perfectly aligned (but unfortunately the final outcome was not so good despite my attempt this time…)

 

 

At this point I rolled the strip around the paintbrush pole like a spiral.

 

 

Finally I clump also the other end of the strip.

The strip shouldn't be rolled tight, eventually it's better to loose it a bit all along (after clumped both sides to avoid unrolling).

 

Now we have to heat and cool the plastic to give it the shape.

There are different ways to do it, the plastic soften with the heat , cooling it afterwards will harden it back keeping the shape.

 

I used a hairdryer to heat the wire, but you can also use the radiators heat, hot or boiling water, and even a flame.

It's important that the plastic heat well but it shouldn't melt on the surface.

 

It doesn't take much to cool the strip neither, due it's thinness , I just put it outside the window few minutes in a cold day.

Otherwise in the fridge, or under cold water (if unpainted or not water based painted anyway).

 

 

Now we can remove our barbed wire from the paintbrush.

To get an entangled wire you can simply unroll it, it will have lost it's linearity.

For a spiral shaped barbed wire is necessary more care and attention during the release to keep the shape.

 

 

Sometimes the wire may get attached to the pole, if the plastic have been heated too much or if it was painted and the color get sticked on the pole.

In this case we have to separate it gently pushing up and down, all the way long or at little bits at time using a round smooth tool if necessary.

 

 

Is not always easy to keep the spiral shape during while releasing it from the pole, same thing concerning the random alignment of the thorns mentioned before.

Plastic is elastic and tends to unroll and to return in it's previous shape, is not so easy like making a spiral with metal wire or electric cable wires.

A steady shaping depends by the kind of plastic and by our "thermoforming" process (heat and cool shaping).

 

 

Anyway in difficult cases with patience, tweezers and some glue you can place a good regular spiral without unrolling or entanglements.

You just have to glue the spires on the base one at time while releasing them from the pole, instead than release the whole spiral in all it's length.

 

Sure other kind of nets can be used, maybe even smaller like the "tulle" of bridal veils, it would be a most accurate work but the results would be very close to the realistic 1/72 size.

Anyway any net you mean to use must be easy to cut, and the meshwork have to be well fixed or welded, if it's simply braided obviously it can't work.

 

WARNING!

Perhaps is pointless and obvious, but it's always wise to remember to be careful using cutters or scalpels, flames or anything that could hurt.

 



 

There are many different ways to make barbed wires for dioramas and war-game sceneries.

I't's necessary a compromise between look and realistic dimensions, a perfect barbed wire in 1/72 scale would be very tiny and nearly impossible to do.

 



 

 

Recently I discovered a quick and simply way using a mosquito net, the outcome have good detailing and not too far from the right proportions.

It's not a real new thing, but rather a variation of well known technique used in war-games sceneries, mostly with figures bigger than 20 or 25 millimeters.

I tried it for the first time and perhaps there are more tricks and better variations, but my first attempt came out so good that I think is worth a tutorial.

 

 



 

Furthermore another variation of this technique can be suet to make the typical "greek frieze" (if I translate correctly, sorry for my poor English), I mean the squared zig-zag decorations, very useful for different purposes and nice looking on ancient buildings.

You can easily imagine how to use the net for such purpose, probably this idea is worth another tutorial.

MAKING THE BARBED WIRE

 



 

We start cutting a strip of mosquito net, leaving just little bits of the meshwork protruding on both sides.

 

 



 

Eventually it could be necessary to cut furthermore some of the protruding bits if they are too long.

 

 


 

In this way we get already a good looking barbed wire, the small size fits well enough with a 1/72 scenery.

 

 



 

With a further accurate work we can cut and shape the thorns pointed instead than leaving them flat, in this case is better to cut the initial strip with longer protruding bits.

 

 



 

Such enhancement take a longer time and more precision, you need a very good cutter (I use scalpels), as well as good eyes or magnifying lenses and steady hand. (…and much pedantry ;-).

It depends from how much detailing you want, and how much barbed wire you need too, it's up to you to choose the extra detailing is worth or not.

Anyway when you find the right way to slide the strip on the cutting board, keeping it flat under you fingers, the job reveals quite easy.

I managed to cut these pointed thorns on both sides of nearly 50 centimeters of wire (19 inches) in less than 15 minutes.

This is the difference between the basic and the enhanced versions, rough unpainted.

 



At this point I painted the barbed wire (acrylic dark metal paint) before to go further ahead, but you can leave it rough too and paint everything at the end.



 

On the two different painted wires we can see already that the difference is evident only if you look well and closely.

SHAPING THE BARBED WIRE

If we just cut the net strip our barbed wire will be lying and straight, so we need to shape it in spires or entangle it, there can be different ways to do it.

In this case I twisted the wire on itself first and roll it around a pole afterwards, like usually done using metal wires or electric cables.

But it's necessary to heat and cool the plastic strip while rolled around the pole to keep it in the right shape, otherwise it can uncoil and return lying once released from the pole.

 



First I clump the strip on a paintbrush pole, paintbrushhes are particularly good for the purpose because very smooth and slightly thicker in the middle, this will simplify the releasing of the spiral at the end.



 

Then I twist the strip on itself before to roll it around the pole, this to avoid that the thorns come out all perfectly aligned (but unfortunately the final outcome was not so good despite my attempt this time…)

 

 



 

At this point I rolled the strip around the paintbrush pole like a spiral.

 

 



 

 

Finally I clump also the other end of the strip.

The strip shouldn't be rolled tight, eventually it's better to loose it a bit all along (after clumped both sides to avoid unrolling).

Now we have to heat and cool the plastic to give it the shape.

There are different ways to do it, the plastic soften with the heat , cooling it afterwards will harden it back keeping the shape.

I used a hairdryer to heat the wire, but you can also use the radiators heat, hot or boiling water, and even a flame.

It's important that the plastic heat well but it shouldn't melt on the surface.

It doesn't take much to cool the strip neither, due it's thinness , I just put it outside the window few minutes in a cold day.

Otherwise in the fridge, or under cold water (if unpainted or not water based painted anyway).

 



 

Now we can remove our barbed wire from the paintbrush.

To get an entangled wire you can simply unroll it, it will have lost it's linearity.

For a spiral shaped barbed wire is necessary more care and attention during the release to keep the shape.

 



Sometimes the wire may get attached to the pole, if the plastic have been heated too much or if it was painted and the color get sticked on the pole.

In this case we have to separate it gently pushing up and down, all the way long or at little bits at time using a round smooth tool if necessary.

 



 

Is not always easy to keep the spiral shape during while releasing it from the pole, same thing concerning the random alignment of the thorns mentioned before.

Plastic is elastic and tends to unroll and to return in it's previous shape, is not so easy like making a spiral with metal wire or electric cable wires.

A steady shaping depends by the kind of plastic and by our "thermoforming" process (heat and cool shaping).

 



 

Anyway in difficult cases with patience, tweezers and some glue you can place a good regular spiral without unrolling or entanglements.

You just have to glue the spires on the base one at time while releasing them from the pole, instead than release the whole spiral in all it's length.

Sure other kind of nets can be used, maybe even smaller like the "tulle" of bridal veils, it would be a most accurate work but the results would be very close to the realistic 1/72 size.

Anyway any net you mean to use must be easy to cut, and the meshwork have to be well fixed or welded, if it's simply braided obviously it can't work.

WARNING!

Perhaps is pointless and obvious, but it's always wise to remember to be careful using cutters or scalpels, flames or anything that could hurt.