Friday, March 25, 2022

To the Manor Born ~ 5

Another bit done on my slow and unsteady progress to a finished fortified manor model.

The quoins are done, I spackled the edge of the base and added rudimentary battlement walkways to the rear of the walls. The sides of the gatehouse are done, too. The next step will be to finish the groundwork. After that, a spray of black undercoat and it'll be on to the main paint job. Onwards and upwards.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

To the Manor Born ~ 4

More progress with the manor build. The corbels are in along the underside of the gatehouse. I cut and shaped the base from the same former lawn sign material as the walls are made of. A section of pizza card was glued to the underside ready to take contouring. Thin card is used for the sturdy wooden gates. Iron studs along the planks will be painted or inked in later. The strange red splotch is down to an unattended paint brush rolling onto the model...

Based up, with the walls bent back to shape. I used E6000 adhesive for strength, but it takes time to set. The copious amount of hot glue residue is down to it failing to cool sufficiently in time to hold the plastic in place, necessitating another go-around. The fold in the wall's end and the outline of a squat tower on the right should give the impression of distance.

A bit of paper packing along the edge of the plastic should give a firm base for contouring. I'm thinking of adding a short wooden bridge in front of the gates. Thin white card represents ashlar stonework and covers the cuts in the main walls. Off cuts from making the stonework are glued to the walls in a semi random pattern to suggest individual stones. The faint yellow streaks on the walls beneath the gatehouse represent the rubble fill in the stumps of former gate tower walls.

Next up will be to finish the contouring then an undercoat of black paint.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

To the Manor Born ~ 3

A little more progress on the fortified manor build.

The half-timbered gatehouse is more or less complete. I'm debating whether to leave the windows as-is (glazed) or have them shuttered. 

My take on this build is that the manor was more heavily fortified at one time but the owner's desire for comfort led to certain modifications over the past few years. The gatehouse was rebuilt when a modest tower gave way to more living accommodation. With this update the original gate became offset beneath the structure. I'll add traces of the original tower in the wall.

The roof won't take that much work. I'm thinking of painting the tiles or using a railway modelling print rather than go to the effort of making individual tiles.

A side view showing how narrow the profile is. It won't take up a large footprint on the table. (The sides of the gatehouse will be covered to hide the evidence that I'm making some of this up as I go along!) The perimeter walls either side will be bent back to the same level as the rear of the structure then the whole mounted on a narrow base. I will add some detailing to the front, and may add a tower in outline form to the right hand wall to represent further defences along the wall.

This build is in the final stages. I have another project on the go at the moment, hinted at by the structure to the left of the bottom photo.

Monday, March 14, 2022

To the Manor Born ~ 2

Some progress with the new building project. I have a kind of Stokesay Castle, Shropshire, look in mind. 

It's taking shape. Behind is the basic sketch I did to show roughly what I'm aiming at.

The crenelations and the gateway are marked out then cut. The half-timbered gatehouse structure-to-be is cut and laid on the wall to check for fit.

It was at this stage I decided to raise the height of the gatehouse roof quite substantially. Another piece of card and foamcore are taped in place while the glue dries. This orange section will be the support for the roof and form the rear of the gatehouse.

On to the half-timbered gatehouse. 2mm strips of cereal box card make the main vertical timbers. For the sake of cutting a corner or two I may draw in the crossbars and other bits. More to come.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

To the Manor Born ~ 1

...and some library loot.

If you haven't already seen it, Pete Barfield (aka 'PanzerKaput') has a nice series of posts on building a fortified manor house for Lion Rampant and other medieval era games. This got me thinking about making something similar for my own collection. 

Not having a lot of storage space means I have to condense things a little. I turned for inspiration to the model railway/railroading hobby, where 'flats' and 'semi-flats' is a common method of representing buildings without having them take up large footprints on the layout. In essence the building is shown with only one full size wall, the others are truncated or suggested at.

After flipping through a few railway hobby magazines and looking up a number of YouTube videos I think I have the idea of how to go about making a manor house for the tabletop. It'll be designed to stand on one edge of the tabletop to represent a retinue's sally point.

It's early days so I'm only at the sketch stage at the moment. For construction material I'll use an off cut from a yard sign. For those not in the US these signs are made of corrugated plastic designed to have metal wickets inserted into the corrugations so they stand free in a front yard. They're generally used for yard sales, by realtors, construction contractors/builders and to show political affiliation. It's tough, durable and easily cut. I'm thinking of making the body of the wall and a base out of this stuff, with cardboard for details.

Our local library has its twice-annual books sale this week, so my wife and I scored a few goodies this morning from a well-attended event. The railroad modelling magazines are useful for tips and tricks - even if one dates to 1968! Prof. Ian Beckett's book promises to be a good read on the last Great War battle where the commanders had a chance of conducting open maneuver warfare.

More on the manor project as I find time.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Lion Rampant ~ The End at Cockham

With Friar Balsam and his copy of the Passion of Saint Tibulus (illustrated edition) safely in the care of his foot serjeants, Sir Oswald de Patton led his men-at-arms into action against Sir Jean to buy the serjeants time to retire with their charge.

The serjeants begin to retire from the field as Sir Oswald leads his men up the road and into combat.

The men of Sir Jean's retinue were making good practice against their enemy. Sir Jean counter-charged Sir Oswald's men-at-arms with his own with every expectation of continuing the good work.

However, fate decided otherwise...

A short but vicious fight broke out on the approach to Cockham, the air filling with the hammering of metal on metal and the screams of men and horses. After a man fell on each side the opponents took stock of the situation. 

Sir Oswald's men were still full of fight. Sir Jean's men... were not. With shouts of suavez-vous! they had it away on their heels, fleeing back up the road to whence they came, leaving Sir Oswald and his men standing pleased but baffled.


Seeing their leader fleeing the field had a dampening effect on the rest of Sir Jean's retinue. They stayed their hands, allowing Sir Oswald and his men to retire unmolested from the battle. Friar Balsam and his precious charge are safe.

* * *

That was unexpected. Sir Jean's retinue really piled on the pressure throughout the encounter, causing more casualties than they received, yet when it came to the crunch Sir Jean and his men were paper tigers. There's not much that can be done with a roll of two 1's on the Courage test. 

With no other of his bands within charging distance of the serjeants escorting Friar Balsam, I called the game at that point. An odd ending, but satisfying.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Lion Rampant ~ Clash at Cockham - continued

Sir Oswald de Patton's men may have beaten Sir jean to finding Friar Balsam, but Sir Jean's men are full of fight. 

Crossbowmen pick their way through the wood as Sir Jean leads his men into the village square.

With Friar Balsam recovered from the byre and in their charge, the foot serjeants begin to retire from the field. Pressure mounts as Sir Jean's troops advance.

Sir Jean's crossbowmen emerged from the woods to see their foe beginning to withdraw with the prize. Before they can act they come under fire from Sir Oswald's archers. A flurry of arrows and quarrels hum across the ploughed field. Men fall, but honours are even.

Close by, Sir Jean's mounted serjeants are punching well above their weight, driving Sir Oswald's men-at-arms back twice at little cost to themselves. Their opponents are at half strength and beginning to falter...


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