Friday, August 18, 2017

Finished Romano-British Watchtower


I had a free day today, waiting on a team to make yet another house assessment (why do these various agencies need so many of the bloomin' things?) so I cracked on and finished the Romano-British watchtower.

First up, I did the groundwork around the bottom of the tower and fitted the palisade. As usual the material I used for the ground effect is liquid nails scattered with sand. The tower was stuck in place using the trusty hot glue gun.



I arranged the palisade so the door to the tower is on the opposite side to the gate. This would be a design feature to prevent an enemy from rushing the gate then gaining entry to the tower in a single bound.

After that, it was a case of waiting for the groundwork to dry, then painting it, adding some ground scatter for dead bracken and a sprig of lichen for a small tree which has sprung up in the shelter of a corner of the palisade.

And here it is, complete.


Lord Gaius Menusius, his horn blower Agrippinus and standard bearer Fred Heckmonthwaite* survey the eager (?) lads of the local militia on maneuvers.


* Long story. **





** No, really.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Romano-British Watchtower - 5


A modest bit of progress this week. I glued the tower to the circular base and made four sections of palisade to surround it.



These are three and one-eighth inch lengths of the ubiquitous tongue-depressor sticks from my stash, cut to shape and nicked with a file on one edge to represent the tops of sharpened palisade stakes. I used a couple of pieces of matchstick for the gateposts. I painted the wood brownish-grey then gave it a wash of brown once dry. The individual stakes and the gates were then picked out with pencil. The pieces will be glued down to make a square enclosure once I've done a bit of ground work around the base of the tower.

I'm hoping to finish the whole thing off sometime this weekend. House-hunting will get under way in earnest after that, so I need to be packed and ready to move.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Romano-British Watchtower - 4


Due to certain events in Charlottesville, VA this weekend I was required to don my press pass once more to cover local rallies. I'm due at another scheduled for this evening, and there have already been several threats made against the demonstration. Interesting times we live in.

Meanwhile, I made a little more progress on the watchtower, getting the first areas of paintwork done.

Timberwork in place. It looks less squat with these in place.
I'm aiming for an aged effect, because this tower is a relic of the last days of the Roman Empire in Britain and would be at least fifty years old by the time the events of Dux Britanniarum take place.


I went with a greenish hue* for the stonework, and a dingy pale yellow-white for the rest. The timber is nearly grey, representing aged woodwork which may have been replaced once or twice since the tower was built.

More stuff later as I finish the tower proper and move on to the base.

*Greenish Hugh, little-known follower of Robin Hood.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Romano-British Watchtower - 3


Camera and tablet conspired to play silly buggers this afternoon, but I managed to take some pics of the work in progress. First off, the pantile roof.


It's done using the same process as the earlier church roof - a thick-ish spread of liquid nails followed by a combing. This time it didn't come out as well as I hoped. There's a bit of warping going on, but it'll do. The tower is supposed to represent a structure that's stood for several decades since it was built by the legions before they departed Britannia's shores, so a bit of wear and tear is to be expected.

Then the base...


This is a CD from one of those ambulance-chasing law firms touting their services, sandwiched between two discs of card. It makes a slightly raised stiff base for the tower to stand on - thus...


Mini-dowels smeared with liquid nails provided the ridged tiles. The piece already has that top-heavy look these watchtowers had, and I'm glad I used the plaster blocks for the base to lower the centre of gravity.

I'll create a palisade around the base, and it'll probably be square in plan. In the meantime I'm forging on with making timber beams and rendering for the tower walls...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Romano-British Watchtower - 2


On to the next stages, the walkway and the roof...

Frankly, I bless the inventor of the hot-glue gun, one of the most useful tools in the model-maker's kit. With it I can 'spot weld' pieces in place with the hot glue whilst the conventional glues with more durability and strength dry. A case in point is the walkway around the upper story of the tower. This would've been a pig to work without hot glue.

The walkway with the upper level door.
Before attaching the railings around the walkway I used a craft knife to cut away any blobs of excess hot glue then smeared some liquid nails on the walls for a plaster render effect. The railings were then attached using craft adhesive on most of the posts with some hot glue to hold everything in place. Not visible in the photo are the short wooden corbels on which the walkway rests. The walkway itself is three inches square, the upright posts in the corners are one inch tall, and the railings half an inch tall. Once the roof is on the overall height of the tower will be four inches.

After a bit of thought I decided to make a removable roof so figures can be positioned on the walkway. This is more for the look of the thing than for any gaming purpose.

I cut a three inch square of cereal box card then glued some off-cuts of wood left over from the walkway construction in the centre of the card on what will be the underside. The four triangles will hold the roof in position.


Next, for the rafters two triangles of card set at right-angles and glued to the top of the square.


The next stage will be to cut four triangles to form the roof itself. I'm going to make a shallow pyramid-shaped roof for this as it seems to have been the commonest type used on watchtowers.
 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Romano-British Watchtower - 1


The hurry-up-and-wait part of the house sale is coming to a close at last (dea volente) and we'll begin packing stuff in earnest before long. I think I have enough time for one last project before the Man Cave goes into a small heap of boxes, so I'm making a Romano-British watchtower for Dux Britanniarum gaming.

To begin with, I cut four 3" 1/8th by 1 3/4" inch sections out of 3/6th inch foamcore. The Lego blocks are there to give a firm 90 degree angle for when I come to glue the pieces together.


I'm using a number of plaster Hirst Arts components for the field-stone base of the tower.

For the next stage I cut two 2nd floor windows (3rd floor for those in the US), the door, and revetted the edges of the foamcore. The plaster components were glued to make a square base using the Lego block angle shaper.


The tower was then assembled into the box shape, again using the Legos to get the right angle, then glued onto the plaster base. This will lower the centre of gravity to make the tower model stable.


It looks a bit rough-and-ready at the moment. I realised the Stanley knife blade had grown blunt. Foamcore may be soft, but it tends to blunt blades quite quickly.

Next up, I began constructing the walkway that'll go around the top of the tower just above the line of the windows. These are the railings which are made of strips of wood and thin cardboard. They'll be glued onto wood bases to make the platform.

Railings under construction.

The next stage will be to cut and shape the platforms themselves. I'll add wooden inserts to the tower walls for the platform to rest upon.



 

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