Messing about on the North West Frontier

I've gotten it into my head that I'll run another game at next Septembers Lardy Day, 'Clotted Lard' at the Exeter club that I attend. The theme I hit upon was an action on the North West Frontier between British India and Afghanistan. Now normal games set in this area are focussed during the victorian era but I thought I'd be a bit different and set it between the wars. There was in fact a war between Britain and Afghanistan during this period (the 3rd Anglo-Afghan war in 1919) so tensions were running high throughout the period. The main reason for choosing this time frame is that I get to use the lovely Empress figures from their 'Jazz-age Imperialism' range. Its all very well being splash the cash on some lovely lead but these chaps are going to need some place to fight over. With that in mind it was off to the workshop to start building myself a hill fort.

The first two parts of the building were shaped out using a laser cutter and got me the basic forms that I wanted, a 3 storey tower and a residential block with a door in the bottom the tower and another leading out onto the terrace. So far so good.

I also build some basic houses to go along with the fort while I made several (abortive) attempts to create the additional walls and buildings around the tower. Then I realised that I could just incorporate one of the buildings into the compound. I build a small gate tower and then two lengths of wall and a Gate and it was done.

Then with the remnants of the aborted attempts I cut those up and made some more buildings. Huzzah!

I wanted to make areas on the walls that looked like the rough plaster had fallen off and exposed the brick work underneath and hit upon the idea of using one of the texture rollers from greenstuff world. This one is designed to make scenic patterns on bases but I pit it to another use.

I spread out some quick drying filler on a sheet of paper. I tried to get it thin enough that it would take the texture and not deep enough to require loads of filler to hide the edges. I wet the roller with a little water to stop it from sticking and then rolled it across the wet filler.
This left the brickwork impression over the top of the filler. If you squint really hard you can probably see it then picture below.

Once the filler was dry it was just a case of cutting it up into sections and gluing it on to the sections of the buildings.

As you can see on the picture below I started off quite cautiously and just used scissors to cut the sheet into rectangular sections as I was worried about it being to brittle and falling apart. But as I worked with it more I realised that it actually remained fairly flexible and I was able to rip it up into more irregular shapes to make more realistic areas like in the pic below.

Once I had placed the brick work it was just a case adding more filler to produce texture over the rest of the building. Being a bit of a bodger, i'm happy slapping it on with my fingers and smoothing it out after a couple of minutes with another wet digit. This hopefully produces a rough, plastered look on the surface of the building. I left some areas free of filler and tried to match the edges of the brickwork to the depth of filler to make it appear realistic, lets face it, the architect isn't going to win any awards and the buildings are likely to have been patched and repaired dozens of times.

Here you can see the hill fort itself, about half way through getting its rough coat on. Some of it will get smoothed out with a wet finger, some of it with a bit of glass paper. More of this in the next post when I get round to painting it.

I'm also considering mounting the Fort on it's own little hill with a short road leading up to the gate. I'm not convinced yet but I may fall in love with it later.


  1. That is one badass terrain piece.
    VERY "Maj Gen Tremodren Rederring"!

  2. Shaping up nicely. Using the Greenstuff roller is inspired.

  3. using the roller on the paper is very clever indeed! I would have just futzed about with trying to roll it on the side of the buildings, but the paper seems much faster, and easier to re-position until you get it right.

  4. Colin these are awesome, I'm going to have to use these for reference when I build a desert table for the new LAF kickstarter.

  5. Really interesting, I like the way you solved this. Looking forward to seeing it finished!

  6. Wow that is looking great....

  7. Ace work mate!
    Now bring all that Zuzus...

  8. That looks great! I'm currently working on a pulp 'Indiana Jones' desert project, not got as far as the buildings yet, though. Love that roller Idea, never thought of using one on buildings!

  9. Very nice looking fort. I'm a big fan of the use of filler for rendered walls. I used the rough green scouring pads from a washing up sponge to add texture to some of my buildings and was very pleased with the result.

    I like the idea of the little hill, but reckon it should be bigger to give a flat area outside the walls on at least a couple of sides. That would give you opportunity to model a well, or perhaps a goat pen with a shady tree or something, and would stop the compound looking too much like a big hat on a small head!

  10. Great progress on this. I like your approach on the exposed stonework.

  11. You've just got to check out the Mad Guru's blog for NW frontier terrain tips:

    Inspiring stuff!

  12. Outstanding build! Yes, I agree on the Mad Guru's site, it can't be beat for the 2nd Anglo -Afghan war. I've gamed on his
    Tables, pure joy.


Post a Comment