Friday, 7 September 2012

Great Round Tower WIP - It seemed like a good idea at the time..

A.K.A "You're gonna need a bigger boat...apartment"

I'm currently enduring a massive hit of what I can only assume is the equivalent of writer's block (painter's/artist's block?). For weeks figures nearly finished are still littering my desk, but I still can't motivate myself to even pick up a paintbrush (literally ). Hence the distinct lack of posts of recently completed figures. It is during these periods I normally resort back to modelling until the painting muse returns.
As I'm sure what is a common trait amongst my fellow modellers/gamers I'm always on the lookout for items I can use to enhance the gaming table, be it coir doormats (they make ideal wheat fields), coarse green scouring pads (hedges), complementary hotel shampoo bottles (chimneys) or even coffee stirrers (wooden planking) etc.
It was in this mindset that I found myself lingering around the prototype area at work with real intent. Working in R&D I get access to some quite random material, one of which is sample rolls of vinyl foil, but it's not the foil that interests me, it's the packaging. Recently one of these samples arrived in a large (160mm dia. x 1500mm long or approx. 6" dia x 4'11" long) protective cardboard tube. Immediately I saw this the cogs in my brain slowly started to tick over because of a recent daytrip I enjoyed with my brother. One of the places we visited was one of my favourite spots in the country. The more I looked at the proportions of the tube the more I convinced myself that I could make a model of the same great round tower of the castle.
No prizes for guessing the name of the castle but you will get massive kudos from me if you do. The real castle features a combination of several design characteristics that are only seen on a very small number of castles in the UK and all of these are located around one particular region; the inspiration for these castles is thought to have come from the owner/builder's experience of campaigns and sieges in France. It forms a well known group with two other nearby castles. Another clue, and more significantly for this blog is that it was actually the real life inspiration for the castle map from the game Siege, which I always suspected but was only recently confirmed (Gawd bless the internet) when I read an online interview with the game's designer. Or you can wait until next week when I will post photos of the real thing.
The only problem is its size. The more I look at it, and work on it, I repeatedly stop and think to myself, "Oh blimey, I may have bitten off more I can chew with this big bugger." I still have a number of decisions regarding the piece, such as: 
  • Do I make the roof removable?
  • Do I make the internal floors removable?
  • If not, do I fix the whole model to a textured base?
  • Do I go the whole hog and make a wooden fighting platform to run round the top of the tower?
  • Do I try and make matching curtain walls and domestic buildings? (If so I may have to move house to make room).


  1. Looking good, and you could always expand it to 1:1 scale, and solve the moving house problem at a stroke...

  2. I'm glad your not the only one who suffers painters block!! The tower looks great and is a BIG bugger for sure. I would forget the internals, for a start positioning miniatures practically down that long tube is going to be hard. I never try to fix my terrain pieces to large textured bases to try and keep them as versatile as possible. And lastly of course you have to make matching curtain walls and other buildings. Well derrr.


  3. I feel your pain as we all run into painters block from time to time.

    "Do I make the roof removable?"

    Yes. You will want access to the roof at some point.

    "Do I make the internal floors removable?"

    I wouldn't bother with that.

    "If not, do I fix the whole model to a textured base?"

    I would for stability, but I would make it generic so you can use it on several boards.

    "Do I go the whole hog and make a wooden fighting platform to run round the top of the tower?"

    Not completely necessary, but that would look seriously cool so do it if you can.

    "Do I try and make matching curtain walls and domestic buildings? (If so I may have to move house to make room)."

    Of course that would be great, but I recommend first concentrating on the tower and it's finished then decide if you want all the rest.


  4. That Sir looks very good, looking forward to seeing it finished


  5. Looks fab from where I'm standing.

    Just go with the flow, how you feel at the time when you are modelling the tower.

    If it's for skirmish games, I'd allow access for miniatures. If not then I don't think it matters.


  6. That is a huge bugger. I've now got three boxes of odds and ends that I've collected because they might be useful in building terrain.

    If you expand on it, it will look cool, but you'll need a bigger house!

  7. Damn fine work, whatever you decide to do!!

  8. I can but sympathise with your predicament, nothing seems to get done and then out of the blue a lighting bolt of inspiration! It looks tremendous, but I feel that a quick look in the local estate agents window might be a good idea, after all these projects do have a habit of snowballing! ;)

  9. Great work, I can't wait to see that finished. I really need to pay more attention to the mundane materials around me that could be turned into miniature treasures.

  10. Thanks for all your thoughts and comments. I now have a good idea of how I'm going to proceed with this project.

    Already made steady progress with the wooden fighting platform that fits over the top of the tower (until I ran out of balsa and coffee stirrers!).

  11. That is fantastic. Will look brilliant when you have slapped some paint on it... Useful bit of terrain too, could be used for many eras. I usually take a month off miniature painting every now and then and focus solely on a terrain project, keeps things fresh.