Monday, July 31, 2017

An Early Church - 6


On to the closing stages of the church build.

To get the effect of Roman pantiles I spread a thick layer of liquid nails over the roofs and used an old comb to create the rows. It's best to give the comb a quick, straight downward stroke to avoid any deviation, and I've more or less achieved that here. The area around the porch had to be done using a cocktail stick, but it seems to merge with the rest pretty well. The putty-like consistency of the liquid nails allows it to be worked for some time before it hardens, which is useful if things need to be corrected.

I forgot to take a photo of the roof on the rounded apse. This I had to work by hand with the cocktail stick, being careful to run the lines down from the apex so they formed elongated isosceles triangles. It took a couple of tries before I was satisfied with it.

The dried liquid nails, along with annoying fingernail-shaped speck of plastic that appeared out of nowhere.
The ridge-line is made of two lengths of mini-dowel, with a bit of liquid nails smeared along its length to glue it down and meld it with the tiling.

View from the front showing the rows.
The same treatment was given to the walls, but with a much thinner spread. When dried it looks like daub or plaster.

Once the liquid nails on the roofs dried thoroughly I gave it its first coat of paint. I used a terracotta acrylic craft paint with a drop of Future floor polish to help it flow, along with a single drop of red ink. I wanted a hotter shade than the standard terracotta, aiming to tone it down to a more realistic shade as painting progressed. I found from making previous Roman period buildings that the terracotta paint used straight out of the bottle doesn't look quite right.


A fairly thin coat of terracotta mixed with an equal amount of mid brown went on next, worked well into the grooves.

Once the roofs had dried I painted the walls. The builders of early churches followed Roman practice and either built in stone of the lightest colour or painted the walls white - there's archaeological evidence of lime or whitewash being used on church walls of the period - so they attracted the eye and stood out from the run of the mill structures around them. This enhanced the glory of the Christian religion and provided a ready landmark for pilgrims and worshipers travelling across country.

Now I could make the building all white but two things mitigate against it. One, I think given the British climate of the time (warmer and wetter) weathering would tone down the brightness. Two, I didn't want it to look too much like a Mediterranean building. I went with acrylic antique white - a parchment-like shade - with a drop of black to tone it down a little for a weathered effect.


The final touches on the roof comprised a wet-brush of terracotta with a little orange mixed in to highlight the ridges of the tiles, working along the line of the tiles rather than across since this avoids any blobs of paint building up on the sides of the ridges. I may apply a last wash of sepia ink for weathering. We'll see.

Just below the building is the beginnings of the main door. Again, archaeological evidence suggests the builders of these early churches followed Roman practice and painted the doors, possibly with different coloured insets. I'm using the rounded end of a tongue-depressor splint (I found an unused box of these in a local Goodwill charity shop!). I opted for turquoise, since fragments of wood painted this colour were found during excavation of a Romano-British church in Colchester (I think it was Colchester - brain fart/insufficient coffee!)


I also touched up the archway with white gloss enamel to make it stand out more from the background wall colour.

And for the final touch, the main door is now in place. I went with antique white panels with Pompeii red inserts. The porch door I painted a plain wood colour.

Father Superfluous and his wife Senovara take the air outside their new church.

A final grainy shot of the entire village with its new church, taken before my camera batteries died.




Saturday, July 29, 2017

An Early Church - 5


A little more progress...



The only structural addition is the Roman-style arch and columns made of Sculpey for the main doorway, and a 'stone' trim of thin card along the front and side walls level with the bottom of the windows. A layer of liquid nails adhesive smeared over the walls filled any small gaps between card components and softened the appearance overall to give the effect of plaster.

I may spread a bit more liquid nails on the walls depending on how it looks once dry, as it appears pretty thin right now. The next step beyond this will be to deal with the roofs. They'll need a thicker layer of liquid nails and careful combing to get the effect of pantiles, but it should be doable.


Friday, July 28, 2017

An Early Church - 3


Assorted embuggerances to do with selling a house took up a lot of time today, most of it wasted, but I managed to squeeze in some work on the Romano-British church.

The roofs are now on and the side porch shaped and fitted. Roman roofs had a shallower pitch than more modern styles - a souvenir of the Mediterranean climate where heavy snow isn't a factor - and I've worked to create the same angles here.


The main roof was a doddle. A couple of triangular rafters were glued in place at even intervals along the top of the walls and left to set before the roof was put in place. I used hot glue to fix it in position whilst the regular white (Aleens') adhesive set.

The semicircular apse roof was a bit tricky. The apse is an inch wide, so I drew a circle of an inch radius on cereal card and cut out one third of it.


Curling it into a half cone I applied Aleens' glue to the apse wall edge and fixed the roof in place along the main wall seams with hot glue. More Aleens' glue was smeared into the crease once the hot glue had cooled and set.

[One thing I've found about using hot glue is even card this thin will insulate fingers from the scalding hot stuff, allowing it to be held in place whilst it sets. Disclaimer: Please note I'm writing about what works for me. It goes without saying all appropriate care should be taken when working with hot glue.]

The side porch is an off cut of 3/16ths foamcore with a piece of card for the roof. Again I fixed it in place using hot glue whilst the regular adhesive set. It appears porches around main doors were something of a rarity in British churches of this period so I'm going to fashion a simple surround for it instead.

The next stage for this model will be to apply a layer of liquid nails to the walls. This is my new go-to stuff for making adobe/mud walls as it's strong, workable and doesn't warp thin cardboard. After that comes the tricky part of fashioning Roman pantiles on the roofs. At the moment I'm thinking in terms of using an old comb to create the distinctive ridge-and-furrow appearance on the main and aisle roofs, and a toothpick to work the apse roof.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

An Early Church - 2


A little more progress on the Romano-British church. First off, I cut a batch of component pieces for the walls using cereal box card...


A couple of minutes' work with the hot glue gun and the carcass is encased.


The rounded apse is fixed using Aleens' glue, with a couple of spots of hot glue to hold it until it dries.



I'm basing this model's floor plan on the excavated foundations of the Silchester church.


Artist's interpretation.

Surviving churches of this period are extremely rare and unaltered/non-updated buildings non-existent, but it appears they had few windows. Some were small and at head height; other, larger ones were located high up the walls. It would've been for security reasons, churches having valuables inside that were too tempting for a thief or Saxon raider. I opted for a row of four large windows each side (Because of their position I keep wanting to call them clerestory windows but it wouldn't be accurate). I may represent the smaller windows by painting them in.

The next step will be the roofs, and a porch on the side door like the one at Silchester. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An early church - 1


Having painted up a priest for the Romano-British, it's only fair to make him a church to lurk in when he's not exorting his countrymen to resist the Saxon invaders. It also gives those Saxon invaders a nice target for a lucrative looting spree...

I made a carcass out of half-inch foamcore offcuts and stuck them together with the hot glue gun. This makes a really rigid form on which to build. Two aisles will go either side, and the end will have a rounded apse - the signature features of early Christian churches in Britain. In this case I took the used stiff card tube from a roll of clingfilm and stiffened it further with a layer of thinner card. Once the glue had set I cut it into a half-round, as shown. It's a little over the height of a man in this scale, and will eventually have a conical roof.  


The walls will be made of stiff card cut to shape. At the moment I'm thinking in terms of Romanesque pantile roofs instead of thatch to make it more distinctive. Thatch is far easier to make, so I'm not really looking forward to it! The whole structure will be taller than the domestic buildings I made earlier so it'll dominate the settlement, although the tabletop footprint will be about the same.

~ Our house has sold at last, and as things stand this will be the last model I'll build here. I've many happy memories of building and gaming in my hobby room, and I hope the next place we live in will bring the same pleasure. ~


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hae ye seen ma hairy coo?*


One of the scenarios in Dux Britanniarum is for the cattle raid, where those naughty Saxons try to make off with the British peasant farmers' livestock/portable cash. The rules call for three bases of two cattle each. It's generally thought that the cattle found in Early Middle Ages Britain resembled the Highland cattle of today. Archeological excavations seem to bear this out. 

Not having any cattle I looked for suitable models online. The only matches I could find were those intended for model railways and they are expensive, so I decided to make my own.

A truculent looking fellow - has he heard the rustle of Saxon raiders in the bushes?
bit of Sculpey and some work later and I had six bovine beasties...  

The lowing herd wanders slowly o'er the lea - and Crapulus Maximus is right there to collect their offerings for his vegetable patch.
I gave them a lick of ordinary acrylic craft paint and a dip in varnish/ink mix. This was followed by mounting them in pairs on the metal caps found on Pilsbury dough cannisters. Liquid Nails sprinkled with sand made the ground effect, with coffee grounds for strategically-placed piles of manure, the whole being finished off with more craft paint.

On the whole I'm pleased with the result. The photo was taken under fluorescent light and it made them look far more orange than they are in real life. Now all I need do for the Dux B Project is make the church and buy some Saxons.

*Have you seen my hairy cow? as rendered in the Scottish Highland dialect.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Cook, the Priest, his Wife* and her Mother


In other words I've finished the civilians, the rustica populus - those good folks that expensive army led by the Dux Britanniarum is paid to protect.

The small village of Oprobrium goes about its daily round.
These are Splintered Light Miniatures, and the nicest 15mm figures I've had the pleasure of painting. There is a round dozen in the set. They have clear features and some lovely detailed touches.

Father Superfluous points out the site of the future village church to his admiring family. 
In the Dux Britanniarum rules Lords who have gained sufficient wealth and status may add religious leaders to their retinue. These confer moral benefits according to rank. The priest figure will fulfil this role when needed. The next item on this project will be to make a proper village church for him. 

So, there's the end of the Romano-British side - for now. Other units may be added later, time and funds permitting. Hopefully I'll get the Saxon invaders sometime before the end of the year.

For now I'm taking a short break from gaming to make a wedding cake topper for two friends. Something a little different!

* Yes. The Catholic church of this time allowed married men to be ordained provided they oberved the rule of celibacy afterwards (no fun for their wives, I feel). It wasn't until much later that the general ban on married priests was enforced - and even then it proved sporadic. Here endeth the lesson.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Lords, Leaders and Champions


The Lords, leaders and champions have been on the painting block for several weeks now, but I finally finished and based them up.


I used the metal cap from a tube of Pilsbury dough for the command base, featuring the trio of Lord, standard bearer and horn blower. Liquid Nails formed the groundwork, smeared around the figures' bases and painted once dry.For the paint stage I began with a dark green, infused some earth brown into it while still wet, followed it with more earth brown once the green had dried, then finished off with two successive goings-over with lighter shades of green. A few pieces of pea-gravel added to the scenery and broke up the regularity. Sturdy card discs with more Liquid Nails made up the bases for the subordinate leaders/champions.

And then there are these chaps...


I'd forgotten the light infantry component of the Romano-British army. The figure on the right is another Comanipulares who got mixed up with the civilians (the perils of packing stuff away in a hurry prior to a house move which didn't come off). I think the Romano-British skirmishers are supposed to be javelinmen under the Dux B rules, but it doesn't really matter. I take these chaps to be woodsmen, hunters, and/or blokes who just happen to be tasty with a bow, out to persuade the Saxons to go elsewhere.

 

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