Monday, 21 September 2020

New walls for old

 "Scenery is fine, but human nature is finer" - Keats

What Keats was undoubtedly saying with those words is that whilst most wargamers may desire in principle to have beautiful, lifelike terrain on their tabletops, by and large they are too idle by nature to actually bother much about it. Obviously there are exceptions, all of James' scratchbuilt stuff for example, but I'm not one of them. It is in that context that we must look at my ever growing castle and town wall collection.

Many years ago I made a version in card and the learning from that process has influenced the design this time, including the decision to make it from laser cut wood in the first place, which I may return to another time. The main mistake of my previous attempt was that I used whatever card came to hand and ended up with no standardisation in length. This time everything, more or less, is10cm in length, or possibly 5cm or occasionally 2.5cm. They all fit together anyway. One positive feature was making the width of the wall sufficient for a 40cm deep base, and I have retained that. Before, I had gone for a thin wall with overhang; this time, after reviewing early prototypes, I switched to wider walls. I left the height the same, not least because that's the height of the ladders and assault tower that my armies are equipped with.

One other observation from my first attempt relates to the size of the blocks making up the wall. I quickly found that if one painted them to scale then the relatively small size and regularity that resulted - let's not forgot that the masons who built them really knew what they were doing - made it look like brickwork rather than stonework. So I painted the mortar lines freehand to represent quite large blocks, which looked better to me, although by any objective measure it is a lot less accurate. I have kept to essentially the same principle this time, but after fifteen or so years looking at the old ones, have put in an extra row on the new ones; finetuning if you like.

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