Monday, 16 August 2021

The Building of the Westfold

I know I've been focusing my attentions on Frodo's progress in the Quest of the Ringbearer, but I haven't given up hope of eventually playing through the War in Rohan campaign.

The major stumbling block, however, has been the first scenario, which required me to paint something in the region of fifty miniatures and no less than seven buildings.

With the miniatures and five of the buildings done last year during lockdown, the stumbling block has now finally been overcome.

With the addition of the Rohan house, watchtower and (completely unnecessary) pigsty, I now have everything I need to kindle the flames of war in the Westfold.

What's also nice is that the house and watchtower add some more specifically Rohan themed elements to what had been previously a very generic village, which featured two resin houses from Adrian's Walls (picked up second hand via Wargames Emporium), two cheap plastic shacks from Renedra (proof that you get what you pay for), and a scratch-built blacksmith's forge built around the contents of a Mantic Terrain Crate.

The Rohan house is a really nice and versatile plastic kit from Games Workshop, released at the same time as the War in Rohan book and its first scenario which tells you to get seven of them.

In the box there's a basic house design (which is the one I've used), but the panels can be put together in a whole variety of ways - there's actually a nice section in the War in Rohan book detailing some ways you can use the kit.

Another nice element is that the panels are reversible with options for leaded windows or arrow slots to add more variation to your buildings - top tip: if you want to get these painted quickly choose the arrow slit option.

I actually made a mistake with assembling mine and put the arrow slit in the roof section rather than the really nice sunburst design that I'd intended to use which would have added more colour to the model.

In terms of painting, I went for a base of Baneblade Brown, a wash of Agrax Earthshade and a drybrush of Administratum Grey followed by the detailing of metallics and glass (just more grey with nuln oil over it) and Loren Green for the doors. The thatch was done with a black base followed by two drybrushes of Balor Brown and Ushabti Bone.

I can be quite scathing about Games Workshop at times, but this kit is versatile and detailed enough to pribably be worth the the £20-25 you'll pay for it. However, I was never going to get seven of them for use in a grand total of just two scenarios.

Enter the Blotz Dark Age Watchtower (which just happens to have horse heads on it - how coincidental!). Proof that targetted Facebook advertising does actually work, at least on me.

Made of mdf and retailing at the very attractive price of just £7.50 (I even got an extra 10% off due to a promotion), this was just what I was after.

Games Workshop do actually do a watchtower, but it's in their palisade walls kit which is £45 and so thry might end up being scratch built for the one scenario they're needed in.

The kit is really easy to assemble, but a bit fiddly to paint afterwards. If there's a criticism, it's that the legs are a bit bland to look at. I went for patchy drybrushing to disguise that, but I'm sure there are better ways to improve them (I suspect adding some shields to draw the eye elsewhere might be a good choice).

I've foolishly taken photos that don't show you the ladder on the side of the tower, but along with the removable roof (I did have to shave the pegs for this after painting to make it fit) this becomes a very playable piece of scenery.

The element I found most daunting was the thatch. The kit comes with a piece of teddy bear fur, which allows you to make your tower look like Donald Trump.

There are plenty of tutorials online for making fur look good, but they all seemed to stress the need to have the fur brushed in line with the grain/nap/direction of the fur and the shape of the roof didn't seem like it would work with this.

Therefore, a bit more research threw up the idea of using a piece of terry towelling. This presented the awkward concept of trying to work out which towel I could steal and hack up without it ending in divorce.

Fortunately for my marriage we had an old brown towel under the sink (probably because it was brown). A slit cut in a square of towel allowed it to slot straight on to the roof where it fitted neatly in place once corners and edges were clipped. After gluing it down, I doused it in watered-down PVA.

Once dry, I painted the thatch in the same way that I did the Rohan house (having a brown towel as a base really helped here) and, I have to say, I prefer the towel to the expensive plastic roof of the GW kit. I also prefer it to the scouring pad thatch I did on my forge.

There's still plenty of the brown towel left, so this is likely to be my preferred method of roofing buildings from this point forward - even if a building shouldn't be thatched.

The pigsty is also from Blotz and was just a couple of quid, so I threw it in the basket when getting the watchtower. There's nothing special to say about it, except that the straw is some leftovers from way back when I cut up a door mat for my wheatfields.

No pigs at the moment, but I'm sure that somewhere I've got some from a Pass the Pigs game I painted years ago. They are too big and have massive ears, but they'd work well enough.

The sty will see use in all sorts of genres and helps make boards a bit more characterful.

And so I now have everything I need to start War in Rohan. I just need to convince someone to play. The first scenario would actually work quite well as a multilayer game, so I might try that angle of attack.

In terms of numbers, they may be bigger items but they "still only count as one" model each. There are two bits of fence that go with the house, which I forgot to photograph, but I'm not counting them as separate as they took zero effort.

Acquired: 119
Painted: 147


  1. Good work - they all look good and work well together. I had Pass the Pigs, many years ago. It's been about 20 years since I thought of that!

    1. Annoyingly, the pigs have repeatedly shown up when I haven't been looking for them for years. Now I want them, I can't find them.