Sunday, January 31, 2016

'Defensive Terrain' from Millsy - 'Motte and Bailey'

  
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! :-)

Cheers,
Millsy


(ED - I simply asked Millsy if I could have it. Any you know what, he said yes! ;p)


43 comments:

  1. What a fantastic scratch build Millsy! All those little twigs you had to whittle to sharp points! This is so well done, one would never be able to tell it was not carved and cast in resin.

    How you did this whilst contributing weekly, I'll never know. It is utterly brilliant. You have my respect and admiration Millsy!

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    1. Thanks Anne. I took a week off work for holidays. As you can imagine I dedicated a fair proportion on time not spent eating, drinking and watching movies to this...

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  2. Outstanding work! Who would not want to play a game with that?! Brilliant! Love it! Want it!
    Inspirational for hobbyists to use good old DYI rather than buy a commercial one. cheers

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    1. Yes indeed, why buy when you can build? Thanks Brendon.

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  3. One word: 'Stonking.'

    That is a brilliant bit of work Mr. Mills.

    I'll get you my address later. ;)

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    1. I think you misunderstood me mate, it's yours but I don't deliver. You have to visit and brave the wildlife to collect :-)

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    2. That offer is almost worth the plane fair, hazmat suit and tank-sprayer of DDT. ;0)

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  4. Very nice work - I like the multi use you can get with the tower

    Superb entry!

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    1. LOL. I said much worse than that about myself somewhere around mid way through!

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  6. Incredible. Great work Millsy, congrats on the completion of an excellent project!

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  7. Most excellent, you did the business with this baby

    Ian

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  8. absolutely outstanding. a real labour of love and it's come out grand!

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    1. Certainly a labour anyway! Cheers Jamie.

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  9. Wonderful work Millsy... Who would not want to defend that.

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  10. You've done it again my friend another grande piece de resistance! My Vikings would love to come and plunder your keep (hmmm sounds a bit like an indecent proposal that...) anyway they probably won't due to overly obtrusive Arachnophobia!

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    1. I can guarantee its spider free! Cheers Sander.

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  11. Oh The joy of twig sharpening. That is a really great keep

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    1. "Joy"... Yes, that's right... Cheers Martin.

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  12. Stunning work Millsy!!! I thought it was the Grand Manor Motte and Bailey at first!

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    1. Thanks Ray. Whilst ambitious, it's not quite that ambitious!

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  13. Love it. Great work. Wish we had more SAGA players here in New Zealand

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    1. Thanks Herman. "If you build it they will come" :-)

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  14. Well that just looks great! I want one now!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks! Patience and dedication Christopher, that's really all it takes.

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  15. You actually built a castle - that's genius! Fabulous build mate, really, really impressive!

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    1. Yeah, I actually did. As they say in the "classics" though... "It's only a model!"

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  16. "Motte & Bailey - Landscape Architects since 1066"
    ; )

    That is just spectacular, a brilliant piece of terrain. Well done Sir!

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  17. Very sweet abode you made! That looks really cool!

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    1. It's got potential for a Catachans vs Orks in an Ork's Drift kind of scenario too :-)

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  18. Millsy, what a great model! Absolutely fantastic work. Doing something on this scale, this well, in the time you had, with everything else....gee whiz!! (And while battling those spiders in the loo!!) Did you build a time machine at the same time, mate? Really a lovely model. Anyone's table would be graced to have it as the centrepiece!

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  19. Thanks Sidney. I did build a time machine but then I used it to go back in time and forgot to build it again in the future.

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  20. Brilliant stuff Millsy. I look forward to seeing this on the table in a game of SAGA. I salute your whittling dedication.

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