Monday, August 9, 2010

Tutorial: Czech out my hedgehogs! Part one.

So, I was thinking I should make a tutotrial for how to make barbed wire / czech hedhehog obstacles for your 28mm game boards. Czech hedgehogs are anti-tank obstacles made of L or H shaped beams, and were used in huge numbers during WWII. Even when tipped over they still function, and if you're dumb enough to try and tip them over with your AFV, you're essentially stuck. 

German illustration of tank traps.
Image from

With todays tactics of layered / staggered defence I guess they're more or less out of fashion. But they do look awesome on the 40K-battlefield. 

My suggestion is to count these as impassable for vehicles, difficult terrain (dangerous if you add barbed wire) for infantry with a 6+ save. The L-beams don't give much cover, just look at Saving Private Ryan (@4:40 in that video) if you doubt that. 

A note on the hedgehogs you see in SPR. They don't have the end-pieces on because they were on concrete "feet" in order to keep them from sinking in the sand. If you plan to place hedgehogs on fairly solid ground you weld endpieces to them.

Now, Games Workshop makes a bunch of these, in the urban accessories set or something. The problem is that they're completely worthless. You do not want spiked ends on these since that would mean that your one tonne beam-construction slowly would sink into the ground. And from what I've heard, the molds are kinda crap. So hit the "more" link and away we go!
So, onto building realistic hedgehogs for our realistic games with melta-/plasma-guns!

First cut three 60mm lengths of L-beam. 60mm is kinda the middle ground. Not too big and not too small. If you want bigger obstacles to stop Baneblades or something, make them 80-90mm long and go up in thickness on the L-beams.

Next cut six square-ish pieces for the ends of your L-beams. They dont have to be perfectly rectangular and you can save some money by using a 0.75mm thick sheet instead. Since we'll be using one of these to make the brackets for the L-beams. I opted to buy strips since it saves some time and can be used for other stuff.

Glue them onto the ends of your L-beams. You will be cutting and trimming these later. So in order to do that without too much hassle, glue them now so the bond will be strong enough for some manhandling later on.

Now take your sheet of 0.75mm plasticard and cut two 12 by 12 mm squares. If you want bigger "Saving Private Ryan brackets" go a little bigger. 16x16mm or even 20x20mm. Score them from corner to corner, then remove one quarter... this. These will serve as the middle bracket for your hedgehog. You only need two of these. Since I was making more than one hedgehog there are three in the picture (and a bunch more off frame).

By now the glue on the ends of your hedgehogs should've dried and you can carefully trim off the excess from the end pieces. Keep the scrap if you plan to do more hedgehogs. Also cut notches 5mm in. These are for securing barbed wire to the hedgehogs and the hedgehogs to each other. 

Glue one of the bracket-pieces on one of the L-beams. Be careful with positioning. You want it in the middle.

Do the same with the second L-beam and glue them together. This will make a cradle for the third and last L-beam. Wait a little for the glue to set. 

And then glue the third piece on there! Now you have yourself a czech hedgehog! If you really want to go all out, this is the time to add rivets to the bracket. That's way too fiddly for me, but if you have the time to do it. By all means do it. I'd recommend using 0.5mm rod and making the brackets a little bit bigger. Here's a good reference picture.

Comparison with an Ultramarine.

Now while you make two more hedgehogs I'll prepare part two of the tutorial in which I'll talk about basing the hedgehogs.

++ Click here for Czech out my hedgehogs. Part Two. ++


  1. What a superb guide, thanks for sharing PX. I really like the ridge in the L beam. I would have got sloppy and used thick balsa wood strips which would have looked a bit naff.

    Nice blog, I'll be back,
    my WFB blog
    my WFB Gallery

  2. Thanks : )
    I hope you enjoy the continuing two parts as well.

    A lot of terrainwork is in the little details. It doesn't have to be fancy painting or pigmenting as long as there's some small details that draws the viewer/gamer into it.
    A really good thing would've been attaching rivets to the brackets. But, that really takes time, and I wanted to make an easy to follow tutorial.

  3. This is a cracking tutorial, mate: Have you sent a link over to Ron at From the Warp?

  4. Thanks Drax!
    I actually forgot that you were supposed to send them to him. So I promptly did that after seeing your message! :)

  5. Awesome but easy tutorial. Thanks for posting this, I'll adapt that for my gaming table.