Matakishi's Tea House

A simple little site...

by Walt Siko

This French Foreign Legion fort is approximately 20 inches square and is made to accommodate 25mm miniatures.
The ramparts are a minimum of 2 inches wide. The walls are 4 inches tall, and the corner towers 6 inches tall.
The large lookout tower is 9 inches tall.
It can accommodate about 100 figures. In the finished photos there are about 50, 25mm figures.

The basic structure of the fort is made out of wood. It was made by my Father-In-Law, William Schmitt.
He enjoys making things out of wood, he has made a lot sailing ships, about 20-30 inches in length. I have always enjoyed French Foreign films and thought I would like to take advantage of my Father In Laws excellent skills to make something I could use for 25mm Wargamming. I gave him some basic FFL Fort designs and asked him if he could make a wooden structure that I could finish palstering and painting. It took him about a month to make what I call the basic wooden structure.

Once I receieved the basic wooden fort I wasn't sure exacly how I was going to proceed; I had never attempted anything like this. I decided that I wanted the fort to have a well-used look, as opposed to something that looked like it was just built "yesterday". I decided that I wanted to plaster the walls
but I was not sure what I was going to use to accomplish that.

I went to my local hardware store and found a 1 quart can of something called MS Ready Patch, professional formula spackling and patching compound.
I decided on this becuase it said it was good for both exterior and interior use, so that meant it was very durable; also it said it was shrink and crack resistant, fast drying and sandable. It comes already mixed and you do not need to add anything.

Next I purchased some adhesive spackling tape,
this sticks to walls and has small square openings that you can apply the plaster to for better adhesion. (I also used this tape for the "netting" over the stable areas). I used a small metal spackling knife, about 1/4 inch, to apply the compound. In addition to the tape I also applied small patches of a plastic veneer sheet that looked like brick work. It is from Precision Products, It is their Egyptian block pattern #17035. My plan was to cut this out in small patches and glue to the wooden walls; then I would plaster around these "bricks" leaving them exposed. This way, when the plaster dried, it would appear as if some of the plaster had fallen or worn away to give a more aged look.

It took quite some time to finish applying all the plaster. It went on very rough, so after it dried I had to sand it.
For the "sand" base, interior and exterior,
I used DAP Dryex Spackling compound. I applied this with a paint brush. This spackling is much looser and I was able to "paint" it on so it would look like the fort was built on a base of sand, due to the smooth contours.

Painting was fairly easy. For the wood I painted everything black, then drybrushed a Dark Brown, then drybrushed Nutmeg mixed with a lighter color, Toffee.
For the fort walls, I painted all the spackled surfaces in acrylics, with Folkart #515 Vantage White (this is an off white color).After this dried a use a large brush and washed everything in Delta Creamcoat Mudstone. This gave a dirty down effect. You can see this much better in person than in the photos as the camera flash does not capture all the subtle shadows and such. After the wash dryed I drybrushed all the surfaces with the Vintage White mixed with a pure White.

The brick work was painted a Dark Gray for the mortar and the bricks a Red/Brown mix of colors. The base was painted in Folakart #450 Parchment, and washed with a Nutmeg color and then drybrushed with a Parchment and White.

I painted the flag on paper and attached it to a suitable wooden stick. The stick was imbedded in a 25mm round Games Workshop plastic base. I glued some small
rocks around the bottom. I used a small round plastic bead painted dull silver for the top of the flag pole.

I have not gamed with the fort yet, I am still painting the Arabs. I am hoping to host a game with this fort at one the HMGS East conventions. So maybe I will see you there!