Dave, over at The Imperfect Modeller, turned a very nice model of a wizard’s tower into a real masterpiece, with lots of nice painting and scenery work! I, on the other hand, have managed to incorporate bits of cardboard, wood, bristles, plastic and glue into something a lot less impressive (and a damn sight smaller).
Having finished constructing some fortifications for my Paraguayan War forces I wasn’t sure what to start next while waiting for a suitable painting window to appear to let me get my trench pieces sprayed with an undercoat. However, a comment from Roger at Rantings from under the Wargames table about how he just slaps “bits together and see what fits” prompted me to just have a go (so, Roger, you’re to blame)!
Both Paraguayan and Allied forces in Paraguay constructed mangrullos, crudely constructed wooden watchtowers from where they could observe enemy troops and direct artillery fire. I get the impression the use of these towers increased during the relatively static period of warfare following the Allied defeat at Curupayty. Based on a grainy contemporary photograph I thought I’d have a go at making one. The objective was to measure out as few components as possible, in the true spirit of Roger’s comment, so all I drew out were the wooden floor of the tower, a support for the roof, two roof panels and a couple of stiffeners for the roof. Cutting square holes at the corners of the floor and roof support, I then stuck four lengths of 3mm dowel in place to form the legs of the tower (see below).
I had to use a contact adhesive for this stage, since I needed everything to stick together quickly so that it could be handled subsequently. You can see it the right way up below.
Next stages were to add some stiffening beams around the platform and roof edges (difficult to see the latter), add an intermediate height subsidiary platform (had to measure this bit out) and then add thatching to the roof (see below).
I know there are easier ways to do roof thatching but I had plenty of bristles cut from a brand new brush head years ago when I made some Far East buildings. A layer of glue, followed by bristles dumped in place was followed by more layers of glue to keep everything stuck down.
Next to be made were a ladder from 1mm square plastic strip and a base from an MDF circle stuck to a piece of mounting board – the MDF gives a rigid base for the four main legs of the structure. Final step was to glue the tower to the base, add a couple of supports for the smaller platform and cut the ladder into two.
Once the PVA on the thatch was thoroughly dry I clipped the edges shorter, but with a bit of an uneven edges. I stuck the upper ladder in place, but the lower one (shown blu-tacked in position) will only get stuck on once the base texture has been added (that’s the next stage) but I’m not there yet.
It turns out that the whole tower leans slightly to one side, but this just combines with the rough roof and wonky-looking ladders to give it more of a rustic look I think. Normally mangrullos were constructed from rough tree trunks/branches that were far from straight, but I used what I had to hand and I’m happy with how it looks!
Not sure what’s coming next (apart from painting what I’ve already built) but I’ve got a plan for a cardboard egg box once it’s empty!