Thursday 12 September 2019

Repainted Fortifications - Part 2

So now we reach the second part of this project. I really struggled with how to repaint the Italian style fortifications, looking at lots of photos of surviving castles and at contemporary paintings. As with the Northern European fortifications all kinds of different stone, plaster and brickwork seem to have been used. In fact some Italian castles, those in the Alpine foothills, look very similar to the limewashed castle in part 1. An issue that further complicated my decision was that some pieces had to be interchangeable between the two different sets. You will see one of the towers from the last set of photos that is limewashed but has the red brick showing beneath in these photos. It doesn't look too out of place here I hope. For future scenarios and games I may have to use some of the other limewashed pieces with this set but my thinking is that when the rest of the table is complete with figures and scenery they should all work together.

A few contemporary images that inspired me during my search are shown below. The first, of Naples in the late 15th Century, is a good example of the mishmash of styles that were used to fortify the city. While many of the walls look to be rendered in some way, Castle Nuovo is of different stonework and the tower on the left in the bay appears to be brick. I chose to go for a style similar to that seen in the details from two of Vittore Carpaccio's paintings. The darker brick helps to contrast with the ornamental details on the walls and towers. I am still getting used to the finished look. What is annoying is that the brickwork of the towers is sculpted with more detail than most of the bricks in the walls. I experimented by painting the walls in a more yellow stone colour and the towers in brick but it was a bit too much of a contrast.

Naples c.1472

Vittore Carpaccio, detail from a portrait of a young Italian knight, 1510.
Another Vittore Carpaccio. Detail from "Arrival in Cologne", from the Legend of Saint Ursula, early 1490s. The walls look to be in an Italian architectural style rather than that of Cologne.
As with the previous set these are old pieces from the Battlements range now sold by Magister Militum. They are not the cleanest casts anymore and are pretty expensive now compared to what I picked them up for some years ago. That being said I really love the fact they have distinctive Italian style crenellations and architecture. They really do set the scene for the Italian wars and I am keen to use them in a siege game in the future. I am now looking at all my accompanying mediterranean style buildings and wondering if they need some kind of repaint, does this ever end!

The pieces are shown here as a castle but of course they can be set up to represent a length of city walls. There is also a breached section in this style which isn't shown here. The troops are under the banners of the infamous Cesare Borgia so this is obviously one of the many fortresses he has taken in his rapid rise to military glory. The miniatures and flags really help to bring the fortifications to life.

The Italian castle. Note that one of the towers has been plastered and the brickwork can be seen underneath.

The castle from the other side. The Italian style has very distinct crenellations.

The gate with a heraldic stone shield above. Note the sally port to the left.

Another view of the gate.

Inside the castle.

A view from above the walls.

Borgia troops exit the castle.

A view of the gate from outside.

The brickwork walls and towers.

The large corner tower.

A view of the large corner tower from the courtyard.

Finally the quickest repaint of them all was one of my oldest pieces. The Hudson and Allen stone keep. This a lovely miniature and I wanted to keep it as a lonely stone tower that could be used for Irish or Anglo Scots border games. I simply gave the whole model's original paint job a wash of brown ink and picked out some of the stone work in a different colour for contrast. It's shown here as an outpost on the Scots English border with a party of border horse arriving. I did say that I wanted this to remain a stand alone piece but then noticed that Vatican Enterprises now make wall sections in the same style that fit specifically into this rounded keep, possibly something for the future. I think I need to get back to painting miniatures or I will rapidly run out of space and money!

The stand alone stone keep. Sitting on the Anglo Scots border with a troop of border horse arriving.

A close up of the keep.

The keep from above.

The stone keep. This is a Hudson and Allen piece.


  1. Truly impressive fortifications and scenery Oli, they compliment your miniatures perfectly!

  2. Great looking walls and towers. I’m very jealous. Love the link to period artwork.

  3. Really an impressive piece of real estate. I need one!

  4. Very nice. Does all fit together well too.

  5. Nice to see ya again! I whet to Cestello Sforza this summer, this post reminds me of it.

  6. Excellent and atmospheric looking walls, towers, etc, Oli!

  7. Great work Oli, you a great source of inspiration and documentation, as usual. I can only applaud your Italian style fortifications. But, being Italian, I can be biased ;)

  8. Great looking Italian battlements, I've been looking at the same paintings as I've been working on some battlements of my own but I've ended up going for a bit more even finish, more like Dubrovnik which is I guess a contemporary city . Really nice finish!
    Best Iain

  9. Oli, lovely work on the walls and towers - all very Italianate and spot on for the place and period. Love the historic background references you've used - not seen the vista of Naples before.

  10. These look absolutely superb Oli, it was good discipline to stick at it and enjoy the sum of the parts.