Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Romano-British villa

All done! It took a while since I'm busy with real life stuff, but it turned out okay, I think.

The building is of its age. The Roman twilight is well advanced. On the ground floor windows the decorative blue louvred shutters have been replaced by utilitarian heavy versions which can be barred from the inside. The rear door has also been replaced by heavy boards. The inhabitants are sticking to their home - for now. They're worried because they hear of the Saxon raiders striking ever deeper into their homeland and fear they will be next. The local priest, Father Superfluous, visits to persuade them to stand their ground.

I made the ground effect using vinyl tile adhesive with dried baked tea leaves pressed into it, working in small sections at a time to prevent warping. Once the stuff had dried I gave it a light going over with a spray bottle filled with diluted green ink. Some of it got on the walls of the building, but it looked like the type of natural slime-mold that grows on such old plastered surfaces so I left it. Whilst it was all wet I used an eye dropper to drip green paint on the ground surface, which spread to cover most of it. once the whole base coat dried I gave it a going over with a wet brush of light green. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Villa build - almost done

Yikes! It's been a while since I posted last. Isolation has proven beneficial in some respects since I was able to sit, put fingers on keyboard, and write a new novel manuscript while waiting for edits from my publishers. In between times, while musing on plot points and having to take wife-induced daily walks for exercise (mutter grumble waste of time only not really preventative maintenance blah blah blah) I got more work done to the late Romano-British villa.

Like a lot of Roman buildings at the tail end of the Empire's life, the place has been patched up from time to time. The roof on one wing was damaged and needed repair. With most of the major British tile works no longer operational or lost to invading Saxons the villa's inhabitants resorted to thatch, using salvaged tiles for other repair jobs on the remaining tiled roofs.

Heavy shutters are the next stage of the project, followed by the ground work. I'll used tile/carpet adhesive for this since it tends not to shrink too much which causes warping to the base. Paints - I use craft paints throughout. The classic Roman pantiles were made using thin strips of card washed with a thin coat of spackle. The colour is a basic terracotta, followed by increasingly lighter shades of terracotta mixed with yellow, a wash of dark brown then highlights of yellow-orange. The thatch is a hideous mix of tissue paper, spackle and PVA mixed with a bit of brown craft paint, highlighted with magnolia shade then given a light sponging over with dark brown wash on the lower parts of the roof. Oddly enough, I thought this thatched section would give more trouble, but it was the easiest part of the roof to paint. Ho hum.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Villa build update

More work on the Romano-British villa for Dux Britanniarum. The covered porch and most of the wooden beams (cartridge paper) are in place. 

The space between the two wings is wide enough for a figure sabot to stand in.

I'll probably make the classic pantile roofs from thin strips of card overlaid with tissue paper.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Distractions and Diversions

This lock-down malarkey isn't quite what it was cracked up to be. I find myself busier than ever, due to working on a manuscript, and the beginning of gardening season, plus my wife insists we take a walk every day. I see the point of walking and regard it as 'essential maintenance,' but it's a bit of a chore...

With my wargamer's butterfly attention span I'm also easily distracted. A case in point, I began work on a late Roman villa for Dux Britanniarum.

This won't be anything on the scale of the villa complexes at Cirencester or Turkdean. It's more along the lines of the small villa at Abermagwr in Wales, which was occupied until at least the late Roman period. It's the home of a Romanised British family of some means who've had to repair and rebuild their abode to a lesser standard than their forebears. Perhaps they've also taken some defensive measures against the Saxon raiders roaming the land. The Abermagwr villa is thought to have had an interesting half-timbered construction so I'll go with that.

Much like my previous model of an early church, the building's carcass is made of trusty pizza box card, hot-glued into place with interior cross-bracing of more card to stiffen it. 

Aside from this, I will try out the Quickfire rules using battleship vs. battleship to see how they work. 

Majestics vs Kaiser Freidrichs. It'll all end in tears for somebody.


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