Category Archives: Modern

Constructing a Caravanserai

2015-02-10 14.16.20

Constructing a Caravanserai or ‘Serai’

Caravanserais were a common feature of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asian landscape from Medieval through to near modern times. They were more often than not quite simple affairs designed to provide security and refreshment along the many trade routes. They were usually spaced a days travel apart or at major crossroads. If the region was disputed these compounds could take on a more martial role with stronger and higher walls as well as fortified towers and parapets.

 

This design is for one of the more common examples. This one has been constructed for North West India but with some simple adjustments, mainly to the gateway it could easily be made to represent one of the multitude of other caravanserais in other areas. This basic structure has a basic hollow box square compound with four walls surrounding a courtyard containing the well.

 

The dimensions have been specified to enable decent space for figures to be placed without significant danger of them falling from the walls.

Tools

  • Cutting board or surface
  • Metal straight edge ruler with handle
  • Sharp knife/scalpel (preferably with new blade)
  • Ruler + pencil
  • Set- square
  • PVA wood glue
  • Masking tape
  • Plaster/filler with the means of applying it such as a spatula, paint knife or large brish
  • Sand to mix into plaster
  • 30mm circular tube or compass (or similar) to describe the arches
  • Sewing pins (small heads)

Components

5mm Foam-board

Exterior Walls

  • 2 x 300mm x 100mm
  • 2 x 290mm x 100mm

Interior Walls

  • 2 x 290mm x 70mm
  • 2 x 190mm x 70mm

4 archways should be cut into each of the interior walls where they face into the inner courtyard – except for the wall containing the main gate. These archways will need to be 50mm at their highest and 25mm wide.

Roofs/walkways

  • 2 x 290mm x 50mm
  • 2 x 190mm x 50mm

Courtyard Well

  • 4 x 60mm x 10mm

Baseboard – thin ply

  • 320mm x 320mm

Coloured felt or fine striped material for interior curtains

Mount-board card for constructing main gates 2 x 90mm x 70mm as well as interior doors (2 x 40mm x 25mm) – refer to the sample templates. Alternatively 4Ground do a very useful set of 12 doors.

Mount board or thin balsa for the tiling around the top of the courtyard well (4 * 6mm x 60mm). Lightly score tile impressions into the card using a ball-point pen and ruler.

Construction

  1. Glue exterior walls using the set-square to ensure edges are at 90 degrees to each other.
  2. Tip – use masking tape to secure the joins whilst the glue is drying. Joins can be reinforced by bracing them with the small-headed sewing pins through the two pieces of foam board.
  3. Glue in long interior walls and roofs.
  4. Glue short interior walls and roofs.
  5. Attach gateways and interior doorways.
  6. Dress walls with plaster/sand mix.       Apply with reasonable coverage using a spatula or paint knife. Don’t be afraid to create texture by dragging the knife or stippling with a thick brush.
  7. Tip – to achieve a more ‘organic’ and slightly worn appearance use your knife to remove the straight corners and apply slight divots into the corners prior to applying any of the plaster. This removes the rather engineered sharp corners and suggests a more mud/adobe feel once the plaster has been applied.
  8. Gently sand down the walls to remove any excess flaky plaster
  9. Tip – once sanded down apply a watered down PVA covering to the entire model to secure the plaster before any paint is applied. This should protect the model from any rough handling and stop the plaster falling off.
  10. Assemble courtyard well and attach top tiles.
  11. Paint. If PVA has been applied to the entire model earlier then spray paints can be used without damage to the foam core, otherwise apply a simple undercoat. Use of progressive lighter shades either by angled sprays, or dry-brush will finish the main painting required for the walls and walkways. Paint the gateways and doors a dark brown weathered wood effect.
  12. The baseboard should be dressed and painted as appropriate to the region which it is intended for.
  13. Cut and attach the coloured felt to the interior faces of the arches surrounding the inner courtyard.

 

Use of this model in Wargames

This model was originally constructed to support my interest in the Indian Mutiny (1857-1858). Two of the earlier battles involved serais, the Battle of Budli-ke-Serai on 8th June 1857 (the give away is in the name), and the Battle of Najafgarh on 25th August 1857. In both incidents the serais were central to the Mutineers battle plans representing the focus for their defences.

Comments

Attachments to come include;

  • Templates for walls, roofs, and well
  • Templates for gates and doors

Photos of finished model

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The Royal Green Jackets Museum

I took a day out lat last year and visited the Royal Green Jacket Museum in Winchester.  The Museum is situated in the old depot for the Regiment along with 4 other regimental museums and makes an excellent day (or two days) out.

Unfortunately for me significant elements of the museum were closed last the time as it is being refurbished for the Waterloo anniversary, but the ticket does give you free visits back within a year, so I’ll be heading back after the 25th March when the refurbished parts re-open.

Of particular note for the Napoleonic buffs (and those who just like lots of toy soldiers) they have a fabulous Waterloo diorama which is part of the refurbishment program.  Here’s a sneak little picture to whet your appetite, but please appreciate that this is fairly poor picture and doesn’t do it any justice.  Diorama is 24.5 square metres in size and isn’t all captured in this photo.  Visit their site to find out more about the restoration of this large diorama.

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I recommend visiting the museum as it includes the history of the three main regiments which went onto form the Green Jackets, from their formations, through to the various campaigns which they were involved in.  So if you are interested in the

  • The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
  • The King’s Royal Rifle Corps
  • The Rifle Brigade

this is a great place to start.  If you are looking to do research on these regiments then you should approach the Museum for help.  Taken from their website . . “The Museum also has a substantial collection of archival material – letters, diaries, maps, documents and photographs – which may be viewed by appointment. Museum personnel are sometimes able to undertake research on behalf of those unable to visit.”

If you’d like to find out more or even visit then check out their website for more information.  The staff their are very friendly,and some are incredibly knowledgeable about their regimental history.  There is also a shop where you can stock up on books and memorabilia.

http://www.rgjmuseum.co.uk/home.asp

 

15mm/18mm Nissen Huts

I’ve just seen some fantastic nissen huts from the capable hands of Andy Cummings suitable for most things from FOW 15mm WW2 back to All Quiet on the Martian Front up to more recent conflicts.

The models are made of resin and are gorgeous.  I’m unsure of the measurements but from my poor memory would say around 6 inches long and 3 inches wide (happy to be corrected).  They come in various formats with door and window combinations.

They will be available for sale through Mike at The Scene.  I think that they will get their first showing at Penarth tomorrow (31st January).  I would imagine that these will go fast because they are such a versatile model.  For an early view check out the background scenery on this post for the All Quiet on the Martian Front game…

http://www.sadwargamers.com/aqotmf-game-saturday-24th-jan/

Hopefully I’ll be able to pick some up for myself.

28mm Helicopter on the cheap

Morrissons have a 28mm Helicopter for sale at £2.50.  Scale is somewhat debatable but I would put it around1/50 to 1/48 so would fit most ’28’mm heroic zombie game figures such as Zombicide etc.

The model is a die cast Service Helicopter with security decals and an emergency recovery ‘boat’ (unsure how best to describe it).

It appears that there is a second helicopter for a TV company available (but not yet seen).

 

28mm Paper Models site

I wanted to quickly highlight the amazing resource which can be found at;

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br

There are some great buildings and vehicles available for 1/50 so suitable for 28mm wargaming.  I can see myself using them for zombie games but assume equally suitable for almost anything in the last 100 years.

These would be good for Malifaux or similar;

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2011/06/old-brazillian-sobrado-velho-sobrado.html

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2011/07/lakes-house-refuge-with-some.html

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2011/08/st-michael-old-chapel-by-papermau.html