It’s the first Friday of 2020, and thus also our first new release of the year. We’re starting with a pair of new buildings in the Small Scale Scenery range from the Middle-East.
The first is a larger mosque with four minarets – this isn’t based on any particular real-world prototype, but instead is a more generic model. The main body is resin, the minarets are separate metal pieces.
The second model is the Roman fort of Qasr Bshir (also spelt Bashir) in Jordan. This fort, known as Mobene back in the day, was part of a chain intended to protect Arabia from nomadic tribes. The original is in surprisingly good condition given that it’s roughly 1700 years old!
Back down to 2mm again, this is the fort of Qasr Bshir in Jordan. It’s an ancient Roman fortification, built to protect Arabia against nomadic tribes. I started it as a relatively simple build, which escalated rapidly when I realised that, contrary to first glances, none of the four corner towers are the same and nothing is quite square…
We have a new set of buildings in the Small Scale Scenery range today. We weren’t entirely sure what to call them – originally I had them down as ‘Commercial Buildings’, but not all of them are. So they’ve ended up with the rather unwieldy title of ‘Commercial and Utility Buildings’ – even that isn’t a perfect description, but anything longer won’t fit on the website!
What you get is a set of five buildings which are vital to any small town – a police station, fire station, small supermarket, petrol station and an electricity substation. There is also a separate larger supermarket model. All are post war buildings except for the electricity substation which is based on an old Victorian structure in London. Although you’ll find them under English Buildings (we had to put them somewhere) on the website, they would be suitable for use across Europe. I don’t know if continental fire stations have the drill towers that UK ones do, but it’s a separate part so you can always leave it off.
All are metal castings except the larger supermarket which is resin. This is based on a German prototype from Munich, but we found a number of near-identical supermarkets across Europe built to pretty much the same design, as far apart as Ireland and Corfu.
One of our more popular releases over the last year or so has been the Modular Castles in the Small Scale Scenery range – one of which is even going to appear in a TV show (of which more another day…).
Today sees an extension to the range with a new set of components for German/Polish Crusader castles, such as the magnificient Marienwerder (now Kwidzyn Castle) and Marienburg (Malbork castle). These were constructed primarily of brick rather than stone so have a distinctive red/orange hue.
As with our previous castle sets, we’ve provided a set of components (walls, keep, gatehouse, towers) that you can mix and match to create a historical prototype or make your own design. They’re compatible with any of our existing components so you can use those as well.
The five new parts are a large keep with corner tower, based on Lochstadt Castle, now in Russia; a barbican (a fortified structure used to protect the far end of a drawbridge or entrance bridge); a new gatehouse design (taken from Malbork Castle); and sets of walls with covered walkways, including ones with small integral defensive towers.
These parts are all available separately, or there is a set available with a keep, gatehouse, barbican, eight towers, three wall sections with tower and eight plain wall sections. You can select different tower types when you order.
I will have stocks of the castle sets at Colours tomorrow, although not the individual components – you’ll have to order those online.
We have a number of new items in the Small Scale Scenery range today; they span almost a millennia from the Iron Age to the early middle-ages.
First up is this very flexible 25-piece set of roundhouses and other huts. There’s a mix of styles and sizes, mostly roundhouses but also including rectangular and oval structures. It also includes a Crannog, a small Celtic settlement which would be built on an artificial island in a lake. Although we’ve labelled them as a Dark Age village, the set would be eminently usable in other settings, for example the roundhouses would make a great African tribal settlement.
Largest of all is this one-piece resin village. It consists of a number of roundhouses along with small store huts and a central chieftain’s house, surrounded by a stone wall.
This odd looking structure is a Broch. They were built in the first centuries BC and AD in Scotland and surrounding islands – estimates for the number built vary between 100 and almost 600. Although they look like fortifications, they seem to have held a small village under one roof and their exact use is shrouded in some mystery.
Finally for this week, and dating from the 9th to 12th centuries AD, a number of tall Round Towers were built in Ireland. Again their purpose seems muddled – their Irish name, Cloigtheach, means ‘Bell Tower’, so they could simply have been belfries. But they’re also known colloquially as Priest Towers, and it has been speculated that they were used as refuges for the clergy from pillaging Vikings.
Last Man, Last Bullet have begun stocking our Small Scale Scenery alongside their own excellent selection of pillboxes and other battlefield fortifications. They cover a different spread of shows to us so should widen our catchment area. They’ve started with a small selection of our forts and castles, but assuming all goes well we’re hoping they’ll expand the range that they stock.
Just in case your 1/1000th scale harbour needs somewhere to park a submarine, we have two different options available for you this weekend.
The first, larger option is a blocky construction known as the Scorff Bunker, so called because it was built on the banks of the Scorff river running into the Lorient naval base in 1940. The 130m long concrete edifice has two side-by-side pens and is large enough to house four U-boats at once.
Smaller options are the two oddly-shaped ‘Dom’ repair bunkers – Dom means cathedral in German and they were named because of their supposed resemblance to a religious building. The 80m long bunkers, also part of the Lorient installation, could hold a single smaller U-boat for repair, which was winched out of the water and across a turntable to either one of these pens or the much larger Keroman I, II or III bunkers. One has a concrete emplacement for an AA gun over the main door – although the two bunkers are otherwise identical, there is no obvious evidence that the other bunker ever had such an emplacement, there is nothing there now and there are no obvious scars of its removal so only one is modelled with an AA gun. I couldn’t find any conclusive proof of what type of gun it was either – the only artists impression I’ve seen shows the gun to be an 88mm FlaK-18, so that’s what I’ve gone with.
On another minor point, we’ve renamed another of our Small Scale Scenery models – the former Cuban Church is now called the Spanish-American Church. This is because we have noticed that orders containing this item are often held for a day or two by PayPal before the funds are released, we think it’s a security check just to ensure we aren’t involved in any dodgy dealings with one of the countries on the USA’s watch list ! I have in the past had to write emails to PayPal about this and one or two other items (eg CDSU spaceships with Vietnamese names) so we thought we’d take the safe option and just rename it to avoid any more orders getting delayed.
For ages I’ve been planning to add a set of Waterloo buildings to the Small Scale Scenery range. To be honest I have also spent some of the time putting them off, since my first initial look into them showed that quite a bit of research would be needed along with a measure of educated guessing – especially with Château Hougoumont, the largest and most iconic of the buildings on the battlefield.
However, I’ve girded my loins and with much help from my friend Mark Harris, erstwhile Treasurer of Maidstone Wargames Society and a Napoleonic buff, we’ve ended up with what we think is a good representation of the buildings of 1815.
The set includes four different items, all resin castings; the largest being the aforementioned Château Hougoumont. Not many of the original buildings are still standing, so our version is a result of interpreting contemporary illustrations, plans and satellite views.
A much easier model was the walled farm of La Haye Sainte – that is is still intact and in much the same condition as two centuries ago. It should also induce a wave of nostalgia in anyone who owned the Airfix kit way back when…
Another building that’s still almost as it was back in 1815 is the inn of La Belle Alliance, where Blücher and Wellington met on the evening of the battle at the end of the fighting.
The final member of this set is the church of Plancenoit, where the Prussian attack hit the French flank. Again the original building is long gone, so this representation is a best guess at what it looked like in 1815.
Following on from last week’s Celtos Gaels post, another selection of photos that fell between the Salute cracks was this fine selection of Small Scale Scenery from Charles Rowntree. Like a number of other gamers, he likes to use our 1/1000th scale buildings with 6mm figures so that they are more in line with the ground scale. He’s combined multiple sets including the Normandy and English villages, Town Shops, Terraced Houses and industrial and railway packs. We especially like the Eastern Front Village surrounded by fields. You can click on each image for an even larger version.