A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Friday, 12 February 2016

Another 15mm Building for the ECW

While the scenery paint tins are handy and I still have some enthusiasm, I knocked off another building last night. I rather like it, I have to say. As to what it is? - well it certainly isn't a town gate in the sense of being a controlled opening in the enceinte which can be locked and defended, and which could withstand the efforts of a hostile army with serious equipment, but it is a point within a town which could have a sentry, and (I suppose) be barricaded if necessary, and which announces that you are now leaving such-and-such a place, and entering such-and-such other place, and, by the way, it is twenty-five past two.

I have no idea what the casting is - it is very heavy resin, and I bought it secondhand a while ago - I had thought it was JR Miniatures, but it isn't, and it isn't Eureka/SHQ either - no idea - I suspect it's quite old. Anyone recognise this? Good quality, anyway - one of my better eBay efforts. While I was painting this, some passing thoughts cropped up, viz:

(1) whatever this is an entrance to, it would make sense if the door to the actual building, and therefore the clock, were on the inside - no point telling outsiders what time it is, unless we wish to impress...

(2) Hmmm - the clock. I am not exactly sure whether this clock would have been in this form in 1640 - my guess is that it is OK - I saw a lot of very old public clocks in Germany and Austria recently which predate this, but am not sure if the appearance of this clock is an anachronism (how ironic would that be?), and therefore I do not propose to investigate the matter too carefully in case I get the wrong answer [I can't hear you - lalalalalalalala etc] 

(3) The clock (continued) - to be on the safe side, I picked out the details in an understated manner by drybrushing with a pewter colour - that way the clock does not hit you in the face, and reduces the chance of some smart-ass on TMP noticing that, like Einstein's famous clock seen from the Bern tramcar, it is a time-travelling clock. However, I seem to have understated it to the point of invisibility, so I may revisit it with something a little brighter. I'll think about it.

This now joins the queue for varnish. My latest thoughts on this matter are that the idea of fiddling round with a pile of aerosols is highly unappealing - apart from the toxic hazard and the collateral damage, there is more than a slight chance that I, being a Klutz, would not achieve a decent coverage anyway. Thanks to very useful input in response to previous post (for which, again, thanks), I am now obsessed with the idea that my new paintwork is just waiting to leap off again at the first excuse, and at the first contact with tissue paper, so it is a no-brainer to get on with the varnishing job. In fact, I shall also set up a cottage industry for a few days to catch up with the backlog of other buildings which I never quite got around to varnishing. I'm quite looking forward to a few moronic evenings of brushing varnish onto walls and buildings, and I'm looking online for a decent-sized can of artists'-quality acrylic matt varnish to do the job. I may even consider varnishing some of the Lilliput Lane and David Winter stuff - that would be seen as sacrilege by true collectors, but these items are heavy and have very delicate paintwork, so it might be an idea.  

It is, it goes without saying, essential that this varnish should be fully matt. If my buildings end up even the tiniest bit shiny then I shall be forced to run, screaming, around the country. It will be on TV - people will know when I'm passing their way, and will turn out to watch me. It will be the tantrum to end all tantra.

Next up is the mighty star-fort. I shall be especially careful to make sure this is a reasonable colour-match with the existing Vauban bits, though I do not intend to flock it. There will be more about this soon, I think.

Passing mention of Lilliput Lane reminds me that, if I propose to have a bash at something like the Great Leaguer of Chester, for example, then some representation of a section of something like a proper town would be a good idea. A row of cutesy LL cottages doesn't really fit the bill, quite apart from the nausea factor. I'm not sure what (if anything) I am going to do about this - my scratchbuilding days were long ago, I think - certainly on any kind of industrial scale. While I was looking about for ideas, I found that Tey Potteries (now defunct, but once of Norfolk) did a section of the Chester Rows as part of their range, though it is very rare and thus expensive. It did, however, introduce me to the idea of Tey houses - their Britain in Miniature range includes some nice pieces, and they are available cheaply on eBay if you look around.

I'll include some pictures of Tey stuff, to give the idea. I'm not really thinking terribly seriously about this, but (as ever) here are some thoughts on the subject:

This is the Chester Rows piece - probably too small and too
Victorian, and this particular example is in the USA, but
amusing. All pics very kindly supplied by eBay. 
(1) I have absolutely no idea what scale these are - they are probably a mixture, like all such ranges, but sizes I've seen given in eBay listings suggest that they tend to be about 7 or 8cm high, which might make some of the pieces around 10mm scale, which is getting a bit small but might be OK.

(2) The stylised appearance of these is obviously something of an acquired taste - they are not in any sense realistic, and would not mix at all comfortably with other makes. Some of them are charming, though, in a wacky sort of way - the idea of playing with toy soldiers with a backdrop of blatant toy houses is not unpleasant. A small group of these would make a nice town, and most of the models seem to be gratifyingly rectangular.

(3) Being pottery ornaments, they are obviously offensively shiny, and a good coat of the aforementioned artists' varnish would be needed to calm them down. Again, serious collectors would be horrified, but they are not valuable, and they would mine anyway (heh heh) if I bought some.

(4) You know what? - I think I probably won't do anything about this range, but it was interesting looking at them, and it's useful to come up with something unfamiliar now and then. So there you have it, gentlemen - Tey Pottery.


  1. Wow you could drive a coach and horses through that!

    How about trying homebase or B&Q for the varnish?

    1. My peculiar system of 20mm soldiers and 15mm buildings might make it a tight squeeze for a coach, but you're right - the place you are going into might simply be the stableyard of the Pig & Whistle.

      Good shout on the varnish - thanks - I'll take a trip to the big city.

      btw - last night I discovered that some of my Dulux sample tins are going off - the Naples Red was solid last night, so I had to overbrush the brickwork with Flame Frenzy #2 - silly names, but still better than GW's Bubonic Brown. If I finish off current burst of building-painting then quite a few of the old tines can go in the dustbin. If I keep a careful note of the shades used I can get the local hardware store to run me off some fresh ones when I need them - the shelf life makes it a bad idea to keep them just in case.

  2. I'm looking forward to the great unveiling of all the Vauban bits.

    1. Because the guys who bought the moulds and the rights for the Terrain Warehouse Vauban pieces have mysteriously disappeared (or at least have stopped replying to emails) my plans to extend my existing Vauban kit are on hold - I have a half-fort at the moment - there's some coverage and pictures at



  3. My 1st thought was court yard entrance for an inn or great house but I seem to recall an arch at the end of a pier on the waterfront front at Louisberg. Perhaps this could be a customs house, no way off the pier without paying. Pure speculation and daydreaming of course. Nice buildings whatdver their purpose in life.

    1. I like the building - only slight misgiving is that, given the size of the entrance door, this is definitely a 15mm scale model (unless that is some form of pet entrance), but the roof ridge is quite a bit higher than my 15mm churches, so this is rather more imposing an edifice than the coach entrance for a pub, I guess!

  4. Mr. Foy, I have the same building (painted in almost the same fashion, though yours is more nicely finished); I bought it at a HMGS Cold War event in about 1995 or so. I don't recall the maker's name on the package then but I have seen the same model and other similarly sculpted ones on Eureka's web site in the SHQ line. I can't prove this now as nothing posts for SHQ on the Eureka web site and the SHQ website does not oblige us with photos. It does however have some likely-sounding pieces in the 15mm the north/west european sections.

    Like you, I am pleased with the model though I've long thought it odd, for the same reasons you mention.


    1. Jim - thank you - you are correct, and you reminded me that somewhere I had an old pdf of a catalogue which included a Eureka ad with pictures - I have cropped out a couple of images, and will publish immediately.