Is anything ever finished in this hobby? I am always looking back at previous projects and changing bits and pieces either because I am not entirely happy with the result or because I think that whatever I have done is not as historically accurate as is it could be. Over the Summer I have revisited all of my different sets of fortifications, this post shows the first half. Initially these pieces were painted up quickly as I wanted them to be uniform and to get them on the table as soon as possible. I was keener to spend more time on figures than on the scenery.
Some years on and with a lull in any particular miniatures projects I have revisited the fortifications in an attempt to improve the level of detail on them and make them more accurate. This is a tough one as once you start looking at the various fortifications around Europe you realise that all sorts of different materials were used as well as different renders resulting in a bewildering array of styles and colours for the walls and towers of hundreds of towns and castles! This is further complicated by the fact that I was still keen for the different bits and pieces I had collected to be able to be used together. This is more of a challenge than it sounds as I have two quite distinct sets of fortifications, one being more Northern European style pieces, and the other being more distictively Italian in style.
For the Northern European style I have been inspired by Simon Chick's superb set of limewashed town walls for his Hundred Years War collection: http://harness-and-array.blogspot.com/2011/04/verneuil-town-walls.html. Simon kindly gave me some advice on how to achieve this effect. I went down a bit of a rabbit hole looking at many different images before starting. A couple that I particularly like are shown below as I think they give an idea of what I have tried to achieve with this set. The first is of Augsburg from the Nuremburg Chronicle in the late 15th century. This work is interesting as it depicts lots of different cities from that period, all in a distinctive style. This probably means that many of the places depicted are not accurate representations but the scene below does give an idea of what I am trying to get close to with a mix of different towers and buildings. In the second image of Guines in the Calais Pale from the Mid-Sixteenth century the painting shows brickwork and either a different coloured stone or limewashed walls. Medieval fortifications were often a collection of buildings that had been developed and altered over hundreds of years and then altered even more radically during the Renaissance era and the advent of gunpowder artillery. I wanted the set to look like it had undergone various phases of fortification and upgrading and that could be used as a castle or town walls.
|Image of Augsburg from the Nuremburg Chronicle of 1493.|
|An Image of Guines in the first half of the 16th Century - Detail from the Field of the Cloth of Gold painted c.1545.|
Most of the castle pieces shown below are from the Battlements Range sold by Magister Militum. I picked these up years ago and they are now considerably more expensive than they were then which is a shame as they are pretty old resin castings and there are quite a few flaws in them. Saying that I do think they have real character as well as loads of flexibility in how they can all be put together. All of the towers can be used as stand alone pieces. The walls with the wooden hoardings are made of wood and were picked up on Ebay. I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to collecting castles. All of the pieces were plastered using a couple of coats of fine surface interior filler. I left the brickwork showing in a few places to achieve the effect of these being weathered towers and walls.
You may notice that one of the towers is made of red brick and limewashed rather than stone. This piece was an Italian style tower with distinct crenellations that I filed off to help it fit in with the Northern European style. I wanted it to still fit in well with the Italian set of fortifications so I have painted the brickwork rather than stonework showing through under the limewashed render.
|The pieces set up to form a castle.|
|Northern European castle with a limewash covering over the stone and brickwork.|
|Mounted Crossbowmen leaving the fortress.|
|The castle from above.|
|One of the wooden hoardings over the walls.|
|The second wooden hoarding.|
|The gatehouse from inside the castle.|
|The gatehouse from the outside.|
|A large round tower and the gatehouse.|
|The tallest tower.|
|This tower has been painted to show the brick underneath. This is so it can fit more easily with my Italian style fortifications.|
|Inside the castle.|
|Another view inside the castle.|
|A view from the battlements of the tallest tower.|
A new addition also picked up from Magister Militum is the bridge shown below. This is a lovely piece that could be useful for many different eras. It is a bit too long for my river but it does look good and has the big advantage of being able to fit my bases on it. You may notice in the photos below that as my river tiles are slightly sunken I had to make a couple of earthern pieces out of plasticard to go under the bridge and make it fit over the river more convicingly. I can see this being the centrepiece for many scenarios in the future.
|A stone bridge.|
|The stone bridge outside the castle.|
|Habsburg cavalry crossing the bridge.|
|The bridge from above.|
|Stone bridge from the old Battlements range.|
|The Embarkation of Henry VIII at Dover probably painted in the 1540s. Note the two different artillery towers and also the colour of Dover castle in the top left of the painting.|
The last photos show a couple of additional pieces I have repainted, two late 15th or early 16th century brick artillery towers and a breached section of the wall. Again these pieces are all from the Magister Militum Battlements range. The breached wall is in fact an Italian style wall which, like one of the towers above, has had the crenellations cut down and has been plastered to make it look like a limewash render. As with the bridge this is a really useful piece and I am keen to play out some siege scenarios putting it to use.
The artillery towers are shown here as additions to walls of earlier centuries but as with the other towers they can be used as stand alone buildings which is useful. They remind me a bit of the artillery towers shown in the 1540s painting above. What is interesting in this image is that even though the two towers look to be of a similar age to one another, they are both of different design, the tower on the left has two floors and the tower on the right has one, they have different crenellations to one another and appear to have been made of different materials or at least been finished differently. A good example of how varied and different fortifications seem to have been even when of the same era and in the same location. I chose to pick out the stonework elements in white as this helps link them with the older style pieces and also brings out the brickwork effect.
So that is the first set. Part 2 will show a stand alone stone keep that I have repainted and the Italian fortifications. The Italian walls and towers were a real challenge, and I am still not entirely convinced by them. I may post up another Italian Wars game I have in the pipeline before discussing them though.
|Late 15th early 16th century artillery tower.|
|The second artillery tower.|
|A breached section of the walls being assaulted by Landsknecht.|
|Another view of the breached section of the walls.|