28mm Dark Age Motte and Bailey
When Curt first announced the Defensive Terrain bonus round I knew it was a good opportunity to build something I'd always wanted for dark age gaming - a fortified watch tower. I wanted one similar in size and design to several commercial ones on the market today but I love scratch building terrain, plus I knew I could make one for much less and have a unique model into the bargain.
About halfway through the planning stage I finished painting my SAGA Norman warband and I decided to go "a bit further" and build a small motte and bailey as well. After all, what self respecting Norman warlord doesn't have a keep and a place for his men-at-arms to put their feet up after a hard day oppressing the peasantry?
OK, time for info on materials and construction to forestall some of the inevitable questions... :-)
The tower is a combination of balsa and other light timber over a foamcore box. The stairs are embossed blue insulation foam and the roof thatching is an old bath towel, soaked in PVA to make it rigid. The door handle is wire with a card hinge. The top third of the tower plus roof is detachable to make storage and transport easier. The roof is fixed with enough room to slide miniatures in. I could have made it removable too but was concerned about structural integrity if it wasn't one piece.
The tower can be removed from the mound for use on the table as a standalone keep. The added bonus of making the tower removable is I can replace it with a stone version at some point if my Norman warlord saves his gold instead of spending it on wine and wenches.
The gate piece is removable like the tower and is made from the same materials and using the same techniques. I added a few spare shields for a bit of character. The gates themselves are also removable and come in two types - closed and open. I decided against a "wrecked" version as they'd only get in the way so if they are breached during a game I'll simply remove them altogether. The KISS principle at work!
The mound and other earthworks are more blue insulation foam with a coating of plaster. The stone stairs are more foamcore with the paper ripped off one side to produce a rough stone effect. The palisade is 172(!) gum tree twigs from the back yard, cut to length, sharpened and then hot glued into a trench carved in the foam. Yes, it did takes ages to make them and no I don't know how long. My therapist says I should be OK but I'm not so sure.
Finally, the terrain-work is builder's sand, painted and dry brushed twice and with static flock and the now ubiquitous grass tufts added afterwards. The few trees that have sprung up through poor grounds-keeping and simply pushed into the foam and removable if required.
All up it took roughly 28 hours of build time spread over a week, plus twig sharpening [sob!]. As projects go it was an absolute blast and I can see it luring me into a set of modular walls and a gatehouse to surround my village at some point too. Or not, now that I think about the palisade...
The figures are not part of the submission, they are just to show scale. Thanks for looking folks and feel free to ask questions if you want more info other than what's above.
PS. NO it isn't for sale and NO, I will NOT build you one on commission. OK maybe, but only if YOU cut and shapren the twigs. Feel free to come over any time for a game though! :-)
(ED - I simply asked Millsy if I could have it. Any you know what, he said yes! ;p)