Image shows a section of a modular miniature river. Built with cardboard, paint, glue and grass flock.

A Modular River for Battle

By The Archivist | Intelli Gaming | 8 Jun 2022

(Intelli Gaming: Article)

Rivers often play important roles on a battlefield. Some of those roles are such as dividing the forces on each side or to make it difficult for enemy forces to cross.

When army forces must cross a river, they are particularly vulnerable, with the possible exception of amphibious vehicles, which tend to cross without problems.

Since the dawn of time, tactics and strategies have been employed to cross the rivers, hold the bridgehead or to bring about a pontoon (a mobile bridge).

Russian military vehicles after a failed river crossing

(Above: Scenes from 2022 Ukraine. Russian vehicles destroyed after a failed attempt at crossing a river)

For more on the subject of real military warfare and how rivers, lakes and other water bodies intervenes in the tactics, see the links section at the bottom of the article.

River crossings are a division responsibility. Normally, they are planned in detail at division level. The corps has specific fundamental planning and resource responsibilities for river-crossing operations, especially for deliberate crossings of large water obstacles. (From

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For certain troops, such as infantry in medieval times, the river could delineate an impossible to cross area of the battlefield. Horses might have fared better and the possible bridge which may cross the said river, might be of great tactical and strategic importance.

When designing the river, I wanted to make a modular one of course. Another advantage of this design is that the river can be extended at will in the future just by creating new parts for it.

A modular section of river for battlefield miniature scenery

(Above: A modular section of river for battlefield miniature scenery)

I had to remove dust that had settled on top over the years. Those pieces were created in 1993 / 1994. Some dust is still present and makes the water less blue and more white.

The base of the river sections are made with regular but sturdy cardboard. The banks of the river were created with additional pieces of cardboard stuck on each side to "double the height".

The rocks are pieces of polystyrene foam cut to size and glued to the base.

I finally painted everything and specifically got inspired by the water foam behind rocks indicating currents.

A part of the modular river. This river is about 23 cm long and 9 wide.

(Above: Another module for the river. This river is about 23 cm long and 9 wide.)

I built 3 pieces total and from what I remember, I did not even draw a model first. I just got to cutting the cardboard and fitting it together. Also visible in the above image, is the cardboard nature of the construction. You can see the holes in the cardboard's side at the very top of the image. This is something that I should fix since there should no such holes on the side. Just a smooth transition.

All three sections of the modular river for war gaming

(Above: All 3 separate pieces built in 1993 and 1994.)

The part of the left has less dust covering its surface and it shows.

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Finally, this is what the completed river looks like, when I also add a house that I built. I will not present this house by itself but I built 100% of it with cereal boxes. Of course I also used glue and paint, the usual stuff. The result is acceptable as this gives more battlefield elements to play with and have fun!

A miniature house made with cardboard is shown with the modular river.

My pictures still look very dry for now because all the elements are separate. Magic happens when they get combined. Unfortunately, I have lost my olive green tablecloth. That accessory would be necessary to take pictures with a nice ground. But I will eventually find a replacement solution.

For now, here is a combination of the river, with the house and another hill to support it.

Combining smalls hills and rivers and constructions together

Here are links to previous articles, all on the same subjects of miniature scenery:

Also, while on the subject, here are previous articles that I published regarding those subjects:


Coming up Next

The next articles will continue my journey to expose all those pieces of scenery which allow me to make a complete battlefield full of interesting obstacles and covers. For more and so you don't miss out, subscribe now to my blog: Intelli Gaming. Have fun and thanks for your time!

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The Archivist
The Archivist

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