Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mighty Moghul Fortress (Part 1)

Yeah, that's right, finally bit the bullet, started the Moghul fort. Thought it was about time to kick this particular pig.

I've been promising DV (known to many of you as Greatwhitezulu) a Moghul fort for many aeons now, and after the initial thought I just let it vegetate with all the other composting ideas in my head. But it was always there, niggling at the back of my mind.

Inspiration is easy to find. The fortresses of India are many and, yes, even varied. A few examples:

 They all follow the same principle, that of successive higher levels and massive stone walls, apparently to try to counter the introduction of powerful Western artillery. Not always particularly successful.

My plan for the fort was for a suitably awe-inspiring structure that could be placed in the corner of DW's bespoke game-table. It may be used for a siege game, or simply as an overwhelming symbol of Moghul dominance. If for a game the dimensions had to be suitable to take DV's basing system, so ramps, catwalks and walls had to be at least 50mm wide. This was really the only stipulation I was given, other than "not too heavy", and "elephant spikes in the gates, please".

The inspiration came from an illustration in the Osprey book "Indian Castles 1206-1526". Although earlier than the 18th century European influx, the picture at least gave me a starting point.

A simple enough design, with a water feature and plenty of scope for adaptation. I made a few rough sketches just to cement a few ideas and then transferred the ideas to a piece of card in true size.

Originally, I was going to have the model along one edge of the table, but after consultation with DV, the idea was for a corner piece.

And this became the final plan. Didn't realise just how phallic it would look, but I don't really notice those sorts of things, not being religious and all. Notice Pringles can. Yummy goodness notwithstanding, important later.

That's all very well, you might say, but how may this be interpreted? Well, here we go:

First, the stuff that will be cut out. I will point out that this form is actually two layers of high density insulation foam mounted on gatorboard.

Here it is being crushed beneath the weight of military knowledge. I use gatorboard rather than mdf because it is light, rigid, easily cut with a craft knife and a great conversationalist. After the pieces were glued, using a spray contact adhesive, I drew the new plan onto the surface as you have seen above and the rough shape was cut out.
Now the bits to be removed:

Rudimentary paintshop. Helps to colour code.
1. Brown marks - top arrow ramps up from table level to the first gate where the ramp levels out, then it continues up to level out again between the two large round shapes (big towers).
2. Red marks - rocky hillside into which fort has been constructed. This will be roughly hacked out in a technique I will show later. Rocks and boulders will be pressed into the surface to severely roughen up this surface.
3. Dark blue marks - water feature. A multi-purpose water tank, used as an obstacle for attacking troops, as a bathing pool for Hindus and Muslims, and as a water source in time of siege. This is an example:

 4. Light blue marks - a water covered walkway beind the covering wall. If you look at the picture above, you can see the walkway beneath the surface behind the wall. Nice change of level and water colour, I thought.

So these pieces will be removed from the styrene layers.

Then, construction will begin on the features that will lift the piece out of the ground.

The pink marks show the outer wall system, which will comprise the curtain wall covering the water pools, and the gatehouse. The gatehouse will have two small towers, with the Pringles can acting as  a former for the Hirst Arts blocks that will be used in the construction. The plan is to model the towers after the first tower I built for DV.

The gate will have elephant spikes and be quite ornate, as befits a Sultan.

The brown marks will be two large towers, of the same design as the base of the tower in the picture above. They will probably be taller and built again of Hirst Arts, with matching crenellations and a flat surface to take artillery.

The cream marks are for the final gatehouse, again with elephant spikes on the door, and extremely ornate. Here are a couple of examples:

Can't say I will make them as ornate as these but they will look spectacular. And colourful.

Here's a pic of the elephant spikes.

All the buildings will be removeable, to facilitate moving, and also if later I build ruins to replace them.

All in all, a big piece to undertake, but if I can pull it off it will be worth the wounds.

Might even try to throw in some lighting. Who knows? Stay tuned.



  1. wow Peter a mighty fort indeed, jealous GWZ, very jealous...... a mighty demo game is in the works I think, Lace Wars 2012!


  2. This is going to be massive. cannot wait to see it unfold..

  3. Really looking forward to seeing this progress!


  4. Certainly will be following this with some interest, Im mustard for a good scratch build.