Sunday, 15 May 2011

Dark Age Village

We picked up these splendid resin buildings at Salute from Gripping Beast. I think they're actually made by Grand Manner for Gripping Beast. Anyway, I reckon that no Dark Ages battlefield can be complete without a few nice looking thatched buildings!

All painted for me by my wonderful wife :o)

Here's a wattle and daub thatched hut. Note the GB plastic Vikings, also painted by "She who must be obeyed", more of these will appear in a future post.
GB Resin Buildings
(click for a larger image)

Now a larger thatched building. The thatch has been painted to represent newly laid thatch. We spent quite a bit of time looking at real thatched buildings during a recent weekend break in Devon to get a good idea of colours.
GB Resin Buildings
(click for a larger image)

And again.
GB Resin Buildings
(click for a larger image)

These Vikings clearly think that some pesky Saxons might be hiding in this small hut!
GB Resin Buildings
(click for a larger image)

The hurdle fence was made as something of an experiment. I glued cocktail sticks in to the strip of MDF, then got my eldest daughter to weave some thin string between them. A couple of coats of PVA sealed the string ready for painting. I fairly pleased with the result but it does still look a bit "string-like", so I've been trying out other materials - see later.

The largest of the buildings - a Lord's hall perhaps?
GB Resin Buildings
(click for a larger image)

The village so far. I intend to make a range of scenic extras such as tables, baskets of food, fire pits, dung heaps, lots more hurdle fencing, a hurdle 'dunny' (a la Jorvik), animal pens, log piles and maybe even a smithy or a pallisade.
GB Resin Buildings
(click for a larger image)

Since I want to use these buildings for a range of Dark Age settings, e.g. Arthurian through to Vikings, I decided to keep the buildings as is rather than affix items such as shields and weapons, etc. These can be added by using the scenic items I mentioned above. Thus the buildings can be themed to the appropriate era. This may all sound a lot of work but I really do like my scenery to look good - it really adds to the enjoyment.

Here's a work in progress animal pen. After the not entirely successful "string theory" experiment I found some flexible garden wire. As before, cocktail sticks are glued in to holes in the MDF base. The woven wire is given a couple of coats of PVA - this keeps the wire in place and fills in some of the gaps.
Animal Pen
(click for a larger image)

Here's another test, this time using bristles trimmed from a garden broom. I think it will give the best result but sorting the bristles and weaving them took far longer than using wire.
Hurdle Fence
(click for a larger image)

Will post more pics when I've made some of the extra scenic items. But now I really ought to get on with painting some models so I can play a few games with all this new scenery.


Ray Rousell said...

Great work!! The fencing looks really good, both the wire and broom bristles one.

Christian said...

Nice! I sprung for the whole set myself and will use your pics as a painting guide when they get here.

Keep up the great work!

The Belgian, said...

Awesome village! Must try to make some fences myself. I was also looking to your awesome terrainboards, can you share how you've created the grass patches, etc?

Thanks for the inspiration!

Bedford said...

Nice little tutorial and one that I'll be seeking to emulate ASAP.



Grimsby Mariner said...

Thanks for that. Some neat ideas there.

Matt said...

Crumbs! Thanks for the kind words chaps. :o)

@The Belgian - the grass patches on those boards were simply GW flock (not grass) glued on to a sanded surface.

However, later this year I'm hoping to build another set of modular boards, this time 2' x 2' (600mm x 600mm) and I'll be sure to post a step-by-step of how it's done. In the meantime I suggest you have a look at Clarence Harrison's website ( for an example of boards.



whisperin' al said...

Very nice!

Rodger said...

Inspirational.Very nice terrain and great timing as I plan to do a Dark Age village as my next project.

Man Cave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Man Cave said...

"I reckon that no Dark Ages battlefield can be complete without a few nice looking thatched buildings!" - I couldn't agree more Matt! And those are smashing. I really like your fencing too and you've given me some great ideas, thanks.

Cant wait to see what you come up with next, so I'm now following your blog too.

You can see my efforts at creating a Dark Ages village at my blog here:

BigRedBat said...

That looks great! I have some of the same GB buildings, really should get around to painting them. Nice idea re the fences...

Gael Ridire/Irish Knight said...

Wonderful scene! Will work on this fencing idea myself for my layout. Will post when done.