Dabbling in Scenery

I have wanted to spice up my wargames table for quite a while now, and buildings are an excellent way to do it.

I also have almost completed my Saxon and Romano-British armies for Dux Britannium, so it seemed logical to start building some terrain for the Age of Arthur.

Dux Britannium comes with six raiding scenarios, which involve a variety of buildings, including churches, villages and farmsteads, but what really caught my fancy was the watchtower. I suppose that’s because nothing says “Declining Roman Glory” like a rusty old watchtower standing guard over a collapsing domain.

So I did a bit of googling to get some ideas about how to scratchbuild a late Roman watchtower. I found this beautiful item on a forum, built by “duhamel”. I love the fence and the very “dark agey” feel it gives.

After getting a general feel for Roman and Romano-British watchtowers (thank you Google Images!) I’ve decided to copy this piece rather closely. At first, I was thinking of giving my tower a balcony, but this was extra finicky work, clashed visually with the palisade, and conveyed more “Imperial Rome” than “Dark Age Britain” to my mind, and that vibe is why I build 3-dimensional terrain instead of using coloured paper to mark important terrain landmarks.

After drawing some scale models on a scrap piece of paper, and comparing them to my figures, I’ve decided to go fora  7x7cm square tower, 16cm tall. The roof will be about 4cm tall, and the open-air observation deck another 4 cm. This gives my 1:72 (about 23-25mm) figures some headroom, especially if they’re waving spears around. The palisade should be only a little bit taller than my based figures, so 3-4 cm ought to do it.

I’ll build the walls out of foamcore, but I’m not sure how to texture them- maybe glue random patches of paper, or cover in putty, before painting. The wooden components can be easily made out of balsa wood and matchsticks. I’m thinking of making a thatched roof out of straw and then matting it down with thick paint or something like that.

I’ll buy some really thin wood to base it on, using some clay or something to sculpt the base into a gentle mound.

I am extremely new to scratchbuilding, and it seems very daunting, though when I give it some thought, each individual process doesn’t seem so difficult.

I’ll report back on my progress!

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About Joshua Letchford

I'm a 23-year old Christian from far north Western Australia. I'm interested in philosophy, logic, politics, history, military history, strategy, board games, wargaming and reading. I recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in politics and ancient history through Macquarie University, which I studied externally so I could stay connected with my family and my small town community.
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