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Monday, August 22, 2011

10mm Orc Fort---Part I

For those of you who don't know I'm somewhat into wargaming (mostly Pirates! and Warmaster lately) and have been playing a game called Warmaster by Games Workshop. In it, you take the part of a general of an army. Because no one makes tables large enough to really field an entire army of toy soldiers these soldiers are only 10mm high.

I've been playing Warmaster more actively for the last year and a half. A group of friends are playing a campaign wherein every player tries to play everyone else in one year. I'm proud to say that I'm doing much better this year than last year as I finally have my first win! Yep, I didn't win a single game last campaign, but I learned a lot and had fun with good friends.

OK, back to the fort. I really felt a strong desire to build some sort of terrain and as I'm not building any for my Pirates game at Pacificon this year, I decided that this looked like an easy project.

My buddy Nils ( pointed me to this cool 10mm iron age fort (

I thought, "this is really cool. This could easily be an orc fort or an ancients fort." With that in mind, I started this project only I wanted a full fort! How hard could it be? It's turned out to not be all that hard and with some good advice from great friends (Thomas, Aron and Peter) it's really looking great.

I thought I'd share this project and my enjoyment of miniature gaming with my friends at large.

So what is this picture? This is my initial sketch of the fort on the back of a Cheerios box. You can see three stands of a unit of orcs in the drawing as I wanted to make sure I got the scale right.

A ring fort typically was constructed in two levels. Here you can see the outer wall, typically an earth embankment topped with a wood pallisade wall. The second level of the fort will have a rough stone wall surrounding all but the ramp leading up to that level.

After sharing this photo with my gaming buddies, they pointed out that I should turn the ramp to the second hill so that my opponents can't charge straight up there so easily.

OK, here's the fort cut of styrofoam sheets. I had a couple of partial sheets leftover from a project last year. I used a foam cutter (looks like an old school D-cell flashlight with a wire loop. The toothpicks are holding the second hill on to the first till I glue it down.

To make the earth embankment and the stone wall I needed to use some clay. Peter Gross suggested I look into DAS air dry clay. As I have never used it before, I was a bit nervous committing to it on the actual project. I spent a using it to make a low earth and log wall and a defended artillery position to test out the clay and the toothpicks I picked up.

Thanks to Ethan Miller I ended up buying way more clay than I needed, but somehow I think he and Erinn have plans for my extra clay.....

With the test out of the way, I made the earth embankment and the stone wall out of the DAS clay and spent way too long cutting up toothpicks to make the wood pallisade wall you see on top of the earth embankment in this photo. You ...can also see that I've rotated the ramp to the second hill. I should have rotated it 180 degrees, but I'm planning to cut this hill in half so I don't have to use the whole fort on the gaming table if I don't need to.

I've added the rocks (small railroad train gravel glued and mushed in) to the stone wall and I've added a fighting step with log walkway to the back of the pallisade wall as I realized my wall was too tall for my orcs to fight from.... Doh!

This is where things stand as of last night. I'm waiting for the clay to dry so I can glue down the logs (toothpicks) and texture the dirt areas of the fort.

I'll load more pictures as things progress.

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