I realised that I needed a medieval castle to represent Fort George in Inverness. The “modern” Fort George is a Vauban style fortification to the north of Inverness, but this was built after the Jacobite Rebellion. In 1746 Fort George was the name given to the original Inverness Castle, overlooking the bridge to the south of the city.
I looked around for various card medieval castles and decided that the Usborne one was most suitable for my needs. It is to the same 15mm scale which I use for all of my buildings, one size down from my 23mm (1:72) wargame figures.
It is designed to be made on a fixed pattern, stuck down to a 24″ x 18″ (60mm x 45mm) base. However I decided to make it in modular sections to give me more flexibility in its use.
The keep was 16mm square (including the corner turrets) so I made all of my modular sections as either 16mm or 8mm wide. I have added sections of wall to cover up the original blank panels below the access doors to the ramparts.
I made the keep so that it could slide over a damaged version of itself, a system which I originally saw Charles Grant (senior) use, and which is also used by PaperTerrain.
The damaged version of the keep, complete with steps, is mounted onto a cork tile baseboard. The steps have been modified to give them treads (they were just a ramp before) and positioned slightly forward to allow the keep to slide over the damaged base section.
The original gatehouse was set at an angle to the walls, but I modified it to make it square. Including the very short wall sections it is 16mm wide. The drawbridge is shown raised here.
There is a ramp into the castle, which I reinforced with thick card, before sticking the entire gateway down to a cork tile base.
The ladders up to the turrets were originally card, but I used a plastic one from an Esci Battlefield Accessories set, cut in half to make the two ladders.
I also added interior gates, shown closed here, but they can be open.
Here is the gateway with the drawbridge down. I added thin wire to represent chains to raise and lower the drawbridge. These slide in and out of holes in the gatehouse wall and help to keep the drawbridge in its raised or lowered position.
The corner turrets were made with short walls extending from them so that they were 8mm in each direction.
Only one comes with the castle, but I made three of them.
I made some walls (ramparts) in 16mm wide sections. I added a gateway, to represent a sallyport on these.
The original walls were designed for 15mm figures, and the walkways were only 15mm deep. My 18th Century figures have bases which are 20mm deep, so I modified the walls so that the walkways were just over 20mm deep. I also wrapped the card wall sections around polystyrene blocks to reinforce them, before sticking them down to a cork tile base. I also added steps, with the card wrapped around two layers of foamboard.
I made some 8mm wide wall sections. These did not have steps, but did have a sallyport.
The Usborne Castle comes with one “D” shaped turret, which I modified to make into a gun position.
Here is the interior view, complete with gun. I made a platform from a piece of card, with an image of planks, wrapped around a thicker piece of card. This was not just for effect, but was needed to lift my garrison guns high enough to shoot through the embrasures.
I also made some breached wall sections. This is the 16mm wide one.
I also made an 8mm wide breached wall section.
Finally, I made some buildings to go inside the castle. The ones which came with the castle were designed to be fitted to the walls, but I modified these to make them freestanding. I also replaced the thatched roofs with tiled ones, since this would be more normal in a castle in the 18th Century. Here is the larger building.
I also made a pair of smaller buildings. All of these buildings were modified to fit over a ruined version.
The modular castle sections can be arranged to make a variety of square or rectangular castles with walls of 32mm, 40mm or 48mm. There are a number of bits of the Usborne set which I have not used (eg a six sided tower) and I might use that in future to create more complex shapes, such as castles which are not square or rectangular.
Apart from using this in the Jacobite Rebellion, I will also be able to use it in the Napoleonic era, including making composite fortresses, part Medieval and part Vauban, such as Badajoz, where the 3rd Division scaled the walls of the old Medieval part. I have been there, exactly where that assault took place.
My next post will show this castle used as Fort George in Inverness.