Left to our own Devices

This week’s new release is a collaborative effort between the two Brigadiers. Both of us independently created a couple of new 1/1000th fortress/castle models along a similar theme without the other knowing, and we’ve decided to release them at the same time since they’re linked.

A little bit of history first – in the mid C.16th, Henry VIII built a series of fortifications along the coast of England and Wales known as either Henrician Castles or Device Forts (a Device was the financial instrument used to pay for them) to defend against the threat of French or Spanish attack. These range from large stone castles to blockhouses and earthworks – Wikipedia has a list of over forty of them. We already have a couple in the range – both St Mawes and Southsea Castle were Device forts.

First to Phil’s contributions – he’s made two versions of Deal Castle, one of the largest and best preserved of the Device Forts. It has six semi-circular bastions surrounding a circular keep, almost like a six-leafed clover, with as many as 66 firing positions. In the 19th century a house was built on the seaward side to accommodate the Captain of the castle (which caused some controversy over tax arrangements – should the castle now be taxed as a private residence ?) and one commander even went so far as to build a private entrance with foot bridge so he could avoid the toll gate outside the castle’s main entrance ! The house stood out like a sore thumb architecturally, and in November 1940 the Luftwaffe managed to do everyone a favour by almost completely destroying it. In the 50s the castle was restored to its current state, removing much of the later additions and largely returning it to the original design. Phil has made versions both with and without the Captain’s House so you can make up your own mind.

Tony’s efforts aren’t as grand, representing two of the smaller fortifications. Portland Castle and Sandsfoot Castle were both built to defend the Portland Roads anchorage on the south coast of Dorset, not far from Weymouth.

Portland Castle, on the Isle of Portland, is built in a fan shape with a central tower and curved gun battery with guns on two levels. It was completed in 1541 but like many of its contemporaries it never saw action against the French or Spanish – although it was besieged in the English Civil War.

Sandsfoot Castle covered the northern part of the Roads. Built to a completely different design, it consisted of a blockhouse with a gun platform on the seaward side. It’s military career was similar to Portland’s, only seeing service in the Civil War. It has suffered badly from coastal erosion – the gun platform has completely vanished and only ruins remain.

SSS-8195 – Deal Castle – £3.50
SSS-8195a – Deal Castle – Captain’s House – £3.50
SSS-8196 – Portland Castle – £1.50
SSS-8197 – Sandsfoot Castle – £1.00

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