Saturday 31 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 10

The last couple of days has seen quite a bit of the model completed. 

The stable is complete now and all but one face is painted - that one face is left at this point because the gate wall needs to be attached to it once all the rest of the model is done. That said, the roof will need a final dry brushing to tone it down a little, but I want to do that once the whole structure is completed so that I can get an even tone across the whole model.

Also complete is the gate, and about half of the roof on the main villa and servant's quarters.

All of the interior space is now painted ready for the main villa block to be glued to the base. However, as I painted the door on the servant's quarters I noticedd that I had failed to put the hinges and door handle on the door. Similarly I had forgotten the hinges on the main there is a quick job for this evening.

The model is about 80% complete now.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 9

The villa is progressing well. The stable roof is completed. I have glued the horizontal card strips on the main villa roof, put the crest on the servant's quarters roof, and begun the vertical tiles.

The gate is almost complete, with just some tiling to complete.

Finally I have "layed" the paving on the courtyard.

The next step will be to complete the main villa roof and then begin painting those parts of the stables and the servant's quarters that won't be able to be reached when the villa is glued in place.

Monday 26 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 8

Today has been a day of finishing of bits of the villa model. 

The front of the main gate is complete and the back is almost done as well. Work on the roofs continues (and will continue for a week or more no doubt).

Below are various shots of the model dry assembled. Many of the gaps that show will be filled in final assembly, which cannot be completed until the roof is finished and the courtyard floor layed.

Sunday 25 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 7

Work on the villa was interrupted by the need to complete a few tasks around the garden, so work was limited almost entirely to finishing and fitting the pillared arcade. The two complete parts, that I showed in the last post, had to be painted before they could be fitted.

Once they were glued in place there was a bit of filling to be done then the whole piece is left to cure.

The rest of the day was spent doing a bit more work on the stable roof, adding some hinges and handles to doors and a bit more on the main gate. 

The model is beginning to take some real shape now.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 6

The last couple of days have seen some significant progress on the villa. The last of the faces on the of the villa has been textured.

The roof of the stable is well under way.

The interior of the arcade is painted.

The components of the arcade have been made, textured and now only required to be assembled and painted before being fixed in their final position.

The main gate structure has been cut and the texturing has been started.

Friday 23 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 5

Tonight’s task was relatively straightforward: I had to texture the long back wall of the main villa structure. But as straightforward as it was, this is a painful task. Not only is the issue of getting an even coating accentuated by the sheer size of the wall, but  it is always a challenge to add character into such a large surface. It can also be a challenge to ensure that all the work is completed before the epoxy begins to go off, which gives me about a one hour work time.


I cut three small windows on the upper floor and then extended the exposed stone base that carried on from the other faces. To give start character element I etched some exposed bricks. All this took about an hour, and it is hard on the arms, since the model has to be held in such a way so as to not put your finger all over the work just done. There is only one face of this structure to finish now.

Having done all I can on the villa for now, I returned to the stable and filled some gaps around the end of the roof and then put the roof crest in place, ready for the work on the curved tiles that will complete the roof. This latter item I can’t start until the rest is completely set, so work for the night finished here.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Roman Villa , Part 4

Tonight I worked first on the outside face of the stable. This was quite a large area. First I covered the whole face with epoxy putty, then I cut three windows, fairly high up, in the wall. Working out from one of the window corners, I etch in a large area of exposed brick and damaged stucco.

I then worked on the end of the servant's quarters. This is a pretty straightforward texturing, just a small amount of exposed stone area the foot of the wall and a narrow line of stone as decoration near the top. I will continue this patter across the exterior wall of the servant's quarters when I work that wall.

I had enough epoxy putty left over complete the back of the courtyard wall and gate.

The next task was to finish the exterior work of the stable, which was just the end that will be nearest the main gate. This was quickly achieved and the whole exterior of the stable was complete. I then moved onto the rear wall of the servant's quarters and one end of the villa. This was a big wall, only one wall on this model is bigger, and it is a difficult task to get the putty in an even coating. Having achieved the even coating I continued the narrow stone base from that I had done on the end wall and cut three small windows.

While the putty cured, I began laying the first lot of tiles on the roof. Using the image below as a guide for Roman tiles I cut a number of strips of thin card, about 6mm wide and glued then in overlapping strips across the roof of the stable and the servant's quarters. 

The task was progressed much more quickly than I thought it would and was complete in about half an hour. This was the end of work for the evening.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Roman Villa, Part 3

The first thing to do today was to glue on the arcade roof. Once that glue was set the next step was to texture the wall above that roof. I cut four small windows in the surface and etched a stone surround for them. I also etched in a couple of large areas of exposed brick. I left this to cure and moved onto the stables.

I quickly completed to long wall of the stable that faces the courtyard, cutting a large door, barred shut, and a small window. A small amount of damage is cut into the putty. I also textured the back wall of the courtyard, including the back gate.

That was it for the night. All of the textured surfaces facing into the courtyard are complete now

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Roman Villa , Part 2

With the basic cardboard form completed I started on the texturing. For this I use a locally made epoxy putty called Emerkit. I have used this stuff for nearly 30 years and it is one of the few epoxy putties that is safe to use with your bare hands.

The first texturing that had to be done is on the front of the main villa structure, behind what would eventually be inside the pillared arcade. This has to be done first because once the arcade roof is put in place, there is no way to get at that surface again. Similarly, once it is completed it has to be painted before the pillars are fixed in place, because it will be impossible to paint in there.

I applied a layer of putty across the face of the villa and across the face of the servants quarters and then began to push the detail into the surface. First is the double arched doors in the centre of the large front of the villa, with a stone frame. Then a window either side of the door, one with wooden shutters closed and one with them open. To provide some variance to an otherwise plain wall, I put a small band of stone across the bottom. 

Then I carve a door and a single window on the wall of the servant's quarters. Here I stop working on this building while the material dries. I try to limit work to one face at at time, otherwise it is all too easy to ruin the work just done by putting my fingers on the uncured surface.

I then started work on the stables, covering the end wall and short interior wall of the structure. One of the things I like about working with ancient structures I that I don't have to be precise. I can etch cracks in the stucco. I can model an area of bricks exposed where the stucco has broken away. This gives character to the structure.

With these faces textured I have finished for the night. The material will cure over night and I can get onto the next phase tomorrow night. 

Monday 19 October 2015

A Roman Villa

A friend of mine has asked me to make a Roman villa for his late Romans. It is an interesting project for me to get into while I save up enough pennies to purchase my next batch of figures. I will document the build process here.


Between the two of us we found enough information for me to come up with a basic design. The whole model will have an external measurement of 200mm x 250mm. Looking at it from the front, there will be the main house on the left with a pillared arcade facing the courtyard. To the immediate right of the main house, and attached to the main house in a “L” shape, is the servants quarters. Then there is a small piece of wall, with a small gate, that joins on to the stables that make up the right side of the complex. A large gate across the front completes the enclosure.


The first step is to make the rough cardboard form of the structure. This is the result of that effort (note that the front gate and the pillared arcade are not yet built – and can’t be until some other component are completed).

I will post daily updates as the project proceeds.

Monday 12 October 2015

Five Games in Five Days – Part 2

Friday was the half way point of our week of gaming and was this day was a Napoleonic game involving French, Poles, Bavarians and a mixed German States contingent, against Russians, Prussians and Austrians. I commanded my Prussians, leading seven line battalions, two jager, a two field batteries, a regiment of uhlans with a horse battery attached.

My Prussians advance

I held the centre while the Russians were on my right and the Austrians on my left. A further Austrian force was held off table still further to the left. The main French force, that was facing the Austrians was, the Germans faced me while the Bavarians opposed the Russians. 

The Russians pressing forward

A large hill rose in the centre of the table and it was clear from the outset that the occupation of this would dominate the field. We managed to get the jump on the French and I managed to get my horse battery and the cavalry on the hill quickly which provided a sound footing for the next few turns and allowed the Russians to mount a huge battery there.


The French however, drove hard at the Austrians and caught them on the back foot. Two leading Austrian battalions were driven back through their guns and the French broke through onto the batteries, scattering the gunners to the wind. The Austrians recovered and threw back the first French attack back, only to be hammered by the French second line and driven from the field.

The Austrians cling desperately to hold their line

Five battalions of Austrian infantry then arrived and were assigned to the commander of the driven Austrian force, but in time these too were driven off. The Austrian commander in this quarter has gained the dubious honour of losing two armies in a day – a feat that equalled a previous record. 


Fortunately for us, just before these Austrians collapsed, the second Austrian player brought his force on, squarely on the French flank that prevented the French from pressing against me – although their objective was the occupation of the road to the left of me and not my force. 


The Russians meanwhile took possession of the right of the large hill while their cavalry, a horse battery and four battalions of grenadiers threatened any forces that attempted to cross the stream that ran across their flank. The Russian main objective was a bridge on the stream over which the Bavarians were pouring. Their batteries pounded the Bavarian infantry as they formed beside the bridge, then the Russian infantry columns came forward en-masse driving the Bavarians before them. But they were tough troops these Bavarians and despite being driven back, they rallied time and time again, but finally they were broken, although the Russians were pretty much a spent force.

The Russians surge towards the bridge

The view from the Bavarian side

After the initial Russian success, more troops press into the fray

In the centre the German contingent attempted to press forward but first was checked on the hill crest by the Prussians. The Prussians then counter attacked and drove off most of the Germans, but at a huge cost and soon they too were a spent force, although the jagers were still untouched.

The Prussians take the crest of the hill

...and then there are some general shots of the game...

Here the game ended as a marginal Russo-Austrian victory. Dinner was followed by a DVD of “Waterloo” in honour of the day’s battle.

Saturday dawned another stunningly fine morning, but sadly our last full day of gaming for this year.


This day’s game was the War of Spanish Succession and the largest of the games during the week with more than 50 infantry battalions and 30 cavalry regiments on the table. The game was loosely based on Oudenarde. Both armies were to march on the table to via two roads on each side, although the armies of the Grand Alliance had the ability to use third road that would lead to the Franco-Bavarian right flank. We planned our battle the night before and provided instructions as to the order of march and arrival points.

The French first brigade march onto the table

I commanded the Franco-Austrians and we decided push the Franco-Spanish infantry brigades to the right, where they could contest the enemy’s crossing of a stream, while the cavalry would occupy the centre, the Bavarians the left and the brigade of dragoons the extreme left. Unfortunately the cavalry commander failed to notice that the stream did not follow the course shown on the map, so the plan to dominate the crossing of the stream was somewhat flawed, because it was much further away than I had anticipated.

The French infantry is formed on the right of thr Franco-Bavarian line

The French cavalry move to their deployment area

However, we did steal the march on the Grand Alliance and the Franco-Spanish infantry a total of 12 battalions, formed a solid and very impressive line on the left. The French cavalry quickly took a position on the left of the infantry and its appearance there caused much consternation amongst the Grand Alliance cavalry, which found itself badly positioned, and then tried to extract itself. When the Bavarian cavalry arrived and moved to take position next to the French, they fell on the rear of the retiring Grand Alliance cavalry driving them off, but an attempt by the Bavarian cuirassiers to drive on against the disrupted English infantry ended badly for the cavalry, although two English battalions were so badly affected by the action they eventually quit the field. The battle on this front stagnated as both sides attempted to reorganise.

The Austrian cuirassiers of the Grand Alliance cavalry find themselves in difficult position

The Bavarians arrive and the two leading cuirassier regiments prepare to attack.

On the opposite flank the French right hand brigade crossed the stream when the enemy showed no inclination to push forward, but when the Danish infantry appeared behind their flank the French were in trouble. The Danish cavalry attacked the Franco-Bavarian batteries in the centre of the line, three of which had managed to turn the guns about. The first attack was repulsed, but the second attack drove the gunners away from three batteries. Fortunately for the Franco-Bavarians, the French cavalry brigade was available and it fell on the flank of the Danes and routed them. 

The Danish cavalry attack the Franco-Austrian guns

The rear battalions of the French second infantry brigade turned to face the Danish infantry and opened fire. In an appalling example of bad luck the Danish player roll eight “1s” and the lead battalion was devastated by the French fire and fell back through another battalion, disrupting it, leading to it being routed the next turn.


 Suddenly things began to fall apart for the Grand Alliance. A number of their battalions gave up the fight and quite the field and while they still had a significant force on the table, the Franco-Bavarian infantry had hardly been touched. The battle ended with a resounding Franco-Bavarian victory.


While dinner cooked “Zulu Dawn” played on the television. A dinner of fillet of beef with fresh beans and kumara, apple crumble and ice cream, several bottles of red wine and some Calavdos.


Two members had to leave early on the Sunday so we were back to six players for the half day game which was an ironclads game, Austrian vs Italian from 1866, using the Jackson Gamer’s rules, with a few minor changes.


Each player had three ships. In all but one case they had a wooden ship and two ironclads. In the case of one of the Italian players he had three ironclads, but one was a turret ship mounting only two guns.


The setup was very simple: both sides were wanting passage through a narrow channel with an island in the centre. Early in the piece, hardly before any fire had been exchanged, one of the Austrian ships rammed one of the Italians and sent it to the bottom. Then the Austrian ship was rammed by the Italian sister ship and sank the Austrian, but in the process the Italian ship lost her stack, the fires went out and she stalled for six moves.


Next the Austrians rammed and sank an Italian wooden ship. The Italians were having issues getting out of the bay since one of their ships had run aground, blocking a part of the entrance. But once they did begin to work their way clear, their larger number of rifled guns began to tell and they soon sank and other Austrian ironclad and rammed another, although the rammed vessel did not sink.


Here the game ended, two ships each were lost but the Italians definitely had the upper hand.


With the end of this game we collapsed the table, put everything back into the garage and had a final lunch before heading back to Auckland. Our week of gaming, so eagerly anticipated for a year, was over so quickly.