Chain link or woven wire fencing is an everyday item in the landscape. Adaptable to a variety of situations, chain link fences employ a support structure of posts and rails, to which the woven metal fabric is attached. The most common post and rail size is 2-3/8” O.D. galvanized tubing, although tubing up to 4-3/8” is used for large-scale commercial fencing.
Post spacing varies from six to a maximum of ten feet and fence heights can reach up to twelve feet. Fences higher than eight feet often have a middle rail for additional support of the fabric. Some applications also employ a bottom rail.
Chain link fencing is easily modeled in most scales with simple materials and techniques. I work in quarter-inch scale and needed a considerable amount of fencing (nearly sixteen actual feet) next to the backdrop on my layout. The method I used is an old one and I don’t remember where I first learned of it.
Years ago I found some wedding veil material while nosing around Walmart. The mesh size looked perfect for quarter-inch scale and the cost of a fabric yard was a no brainer. They even had it in a gray color that resembled galvanized steel.
For the posts and rails, I used 0.080” Evergreen styrene rod, which comes out close to the four-inch outside diameter post and rail material of full-size fencing.
Since my fence is a background item, I wanted it to blend in and not call attention to itself therefore I didn’t put a lot of detail into it.
The framework is simplicity itself: just lengths of styrene rod glued end-to-end for the top rail. The posts were spaced and glued with butt joints using styrene cement. I didn’t try to profile the post ends for a better fit as the glue softened the plastic and made a good bond. If I felt that was required, I make a jig to hold the posts and use a round engraving bit in my drill press to make short work of it. If the fence were a foreground item or in danger of being snagged by clothing or bumped, I would look at a soldered assembly of brass tubing.
I don’t have specific dimensions to give, as I made my fence by eye to fit the space. I did space the posts a scale ten feet apart to reduce their number.
The wedding veil fabric is so lightweight that cutting it can be a nuisance. I rough cut strips with plenty of extra material and glued them to the posts and rails with more styrene cement. CA might be tempting but it’s a sure way to glue your fence to the workbench. (I’m not speaking from experience, at least not this time.) I let the whole assembly dry overnight and trimmed away excess material the next day.
Painting and weathering depend on location and your modeling taste. As mentioned, I wanted the fence to blend into the background, so I sprayed it with a gray primer and lightly weathered with some drybrushed rust tones and powders along the top edge of the rail to tone it down.
Placing the fence in the landscape was a matter of locating and making holes for the posts, which I left extra long for this purpose, and then positioning the fence in them. I made that sound easy but manhandling a 24-inch long piece of flimsy fence is an entertaining exercise in patience and persistence.
I located my fence a couple of inches out from the backdrop to allow room for vegetation behind it. I added plenty of weeds, shrubs and trees along the length and these also disguised the gaps between sections.