Edinburgh Castle

This is the final part of my modelling Edinburgh as it was in 1745. My previous recent posts described modelling the town. This covers modelling the castle itself.

Edinburgh Castle in the mid-18th Century looked like this.

The ground around the castle was more open than it is now and the old city walls came right up to the castle. Many of the buildings on the southern and western sides of the castle had not yet been constructed.

I started by looking for suitable card models online. I did find one, but it was much too small and simple. However I downloaded it and used it as concept of what I was trying to create.

I modified this to have a simpler entrance gate, ramp curving up the northern side, the Portcullis Gate and some additional buildings on the higher levels, St Mary’s Church (now the Scottish National War Memorial), the very small St Margaret’s Chapel and the Governor’s House.

I did make a water tower on the right side of this model, which I subsequently discovered did not exist in 1745.

For my actual model, I started with a plan of the modern castle:

I then modified this (by real cutting and pasting) to make a template of the elements of the castle which I wanted to model to represent it as it was in 1745. I scaled this to fit onto a 1 foot (30cm) square cork tile, which I used as the base. I positioned some of my previously modelled garrison guns to represent the various batteries, from the lower right, two guns to represent the Half Moon Battery, two more to represent the Forewall Battery, three at the top to represent the Argyll Battery and three at the lower left to represent Dury’s Battery. I slightly moved the true position of the Governor’s House (to the left of the picture) to tighten up the model and provide a natural break between the Argyll and Drury’s Batteries. There is one last gun, to represent Mons Meg, just to the north of the very small St Margaret’s Chapel.

I them trimmed the cork base to size and added a sheet of polystyrene as the lowest level of the castle. I originally made the polystyrene too small (by accidently using the template for the castle upper level) but added more polystyrene to correct that. I added the Castle Entrance Gate to the Eastern side, at the bottom of this view.

The modern Castle Entrance Gate is a Victorian addition. In 1745 the gate was much simpler, just a wall, flanked by small towers, with a gate and drawbridge.

I used some reduced scale elements from my Medieval Castle to make this gate.

The drawbridge can be lowered.

The wall is quite thin, just the thickness of a sheet of foamboard. I added an inner firing platform (wood patterned card, supported by a pair of trimmed matchsticks) above the gate. The two small round beads are the ends of the wires (representing chains) which lower and raise the drawbridge.

I added larger blocks of polystyrene to make the second level of the castle (I keep old polystyrene packing and it came in useful here). I trimmed this to the shape I wanted.

I then added a ramp to the northern side and added the top level of the castle.

I then glued card wall, paving and cobbled paths onto the model, using PrittStick so as not the melt the polystyrene. I added card gun platforms in the appropriate places.

The real Portcullis Gate looks like this:

My model is a bit scaled down so that it fits the castle. It was made from elements of my Medieval Castle.

I added Polyfilla (a decorating filler) to make the lower rocks below the castle.

I then painted these rocks with a mid grey matt emulsion (it looks darker than it really is in the photo).

I carried on similarly with the rocks leading around the castle above the Portcullis Gate. These curve up into a ramp onto the castle top level.

Here are those top rocks painted and the ramp cobbled path added.

I then added the Governor’s House. The real house looks like this (and is still used by the Governor and as an Officer’s Mess).

My model is scratch built and a bit scaled down in width to fit the space available on my model castle.

I then modelled the various buildings on the top level of the castle. Here is an aerial view of the real buildings as they are today. Most of the buildings to the west (top of the picture) were added after the ’45, particularly the large New Barracks at the top left of the picture and the water tower (top centre).

Here is my model of them. All of the buildings are scratch built based on images of parts of my Medieval Castle and Cathedral.

The Western building is Queen Anne’s Building, used as a barracks in the 18th Century and really looks like this:

My model is a bit reduced in width and looks like this:

The Southern building is the Great Hall and really looks like this:

Here is my model of it, again reduced in width:

The Eastern building is the Royal Palace and looks like this:

Here is my model of it, again reduced in width.

The clocktower has a flagpole on it. I made a mount for this from a piece of protective tube for a paintbrush (similar to those on my model ships).

I could then change the flags if the castle was captured (although it was not during the ’45).

Here is my Union Flag, ready to be fitted into the flagpole mount.

The fourth building of the cluster on the castle upper level is nowadays the Scottish National War Memorial (converted to that role after the First World War). In 1745 it was St Mary’s Church but had been used as a barracks for some time before that. It was renamed as the North Barracks in the 1750s but the external appearance remained the same throughout these changes. It really looks like this:

Here is my model of it, again reduced in width.

The last building which I modelled on the upper level was the very small St Margaret’s Chapel. This is the oldest building in the castle and looks like this:

Here is my model of it:

The gate to the upper level is Foog’s Gate, probably named after the “Old Fogey’s” of the Invalid Company who guarded it. Here is the real gate:

Here is my model of it:

I used Polyfilla to create a rock base around the entire outside of the lower castle walls.

I then painted this in my mid grey emulsion.

I then modelled an entrance ramp to the castle. The modern esplanade did not exist in the 18th Century and the simpler entrance ramp looked like this:

I made a very short entrance ramp, so that it would fit in with my town. It is polystyrene covered with Polyfilla. The straight side on the left is a piece of card wall section.

Here it is painted, in the same colour scheme as my normal dirt roads.

Here is the castle fitted into place at the western end of the town.

Here is a long view of town and castle:

I decided to make a model of “Mons Meg” the giant cannon manufactured in 1449 and which has been in the castle for hundreds of years. It has a 20 inch (51 cm) bore and fired stone cannon balls weighing 386 pounds (175 kg). Its barrel burst in 1680 but it remained in the castle. Here it is now:

Here is my model of it, with a garrison gun for comparison. It is scratch built from pieces of tubing and sprue, apart from the wheels which are from Airfix Napoleonic French Artillery limbers.

Here is my Mons Meg model in place in front of St Margaret’s Chapel:

Finally here are a couple of views of the castle with its garrison. First is a photo of the original garrison of an Invalid Company and two companies of 58th Foot. Lt Gen Guest is on top of the Royal Palace. There are only enough men to have one per gun facing towards the town, one per battery for the Argyll and Dury’s Batteries and one on the entrance gate.

After the town was captured by the Jacobites, Lt Gen Guest said he had about 400 men in his garrison, which is twice the size of his original force. I have assumed that perhaps half of the Town Guard (2 figures) and some of the Edinburgh Regiment (four figures) joined him. This would have enabled him to double up the troops facing the town.

I am going to pause my modelling activities for a bit, since I am about to have a knee replacement operation and will not be able to sit at my modelling table for a few weeks.

23 thoughts on “Edinburgh Castle

  1. mosstrooper7 September 16, 2021 / 11:12 am

    Magnificent model – well done ! and good luck with knee op Cheers Tony


    • rodwargaming September 16, 2021 / 11:42 am

      Hi Tony,

      I enjoyed making it. It is my second knee op. I had the left knee done in Feb 2020 and that went really well. The same outstanding surgeon is doing my right knee now.

      Many thanks,



  2. Paul Liddle September 16, 2021 / 11:38 am

    Your model certainly looks the part, well done.
    Take care,


    • rodwargaming September 16, 2021 / 11:45 am

      Hi Paul,

      It was a nice balance to reduce the footprint of many of the buildings in the castle to make them fit.

      Best wishes



  3. Ross Macfarlane September 16, 2021 / 11:56 am

    Inspiring work and results! May all go well with the operation.


  4. simonsmrt September 16, 2021 / 1:28 pm

    Great work Rod. Good luck with your op. Is it a Horder job?


    • rodwargaming September 16, 2021 / 2:25 pm

      Hi Simon,

      Yes, I had my left knee done in Feb 2020 by the brilliant Mr Rajaratnam at the Horder Centre in Crowborough. He is now doing my right knee. I looked him up on Linked In and a couple of medical websites. He got the gold award as the best surgeon when he qualified. My left knee was my worse one, but is now far better than my right.

      Best wishes



  5. simonsmrt September 16, 2021 / 2:35 pm

    That’s handy to know if mine start playing up. I had an op on my back for a prolapsed disc there some years ago. Really impressed with the place from the surgeon down to the nurses and reception.


    • rodwargaming September 16, 2021 / 4:42 pm

      Hi Simon,

      My wife has been there for her back (she saw Mr Selmon) and had physio there. All excellent. It is brilliant to have such a small private hospital for backs and knees, which does 70% of its work on NHS contracts.



      • simonsmrt September 16, 2021 / 4:57 pm

        That’s the same man who did my operation. I would recommend him to anyone. We are lucky to have the place on our doorstep.


  6. rodwargaming September 16, 2021 / 4:43 pm

    I don’t do much gaming nowadays, but just enjoy the modelling.



  7. Peter van Vugt September 16, 2021 / 5:47 pm

    Hi Rod,

    Really nice job! So much details. All the best on the operation my friend!

    Best wishes, Peter


  8. Pete S/ SP September 16, 2021 / 11:42 pm

    That is a brilliant piece of work. Good luck with the kneee op too.




  9. Colonel Mustard September 17, 2021 / 2:20 am

    that is a great piece of work – excellent modelling Rod.


  10. Mark Nichipor September 17, 2021 / 1:01 pm

    First off best of luck with the operation. Sounds like you got the gold medalist of surgeons.

    The model of the castle is simply amazing. Outstanding job.


    • rodwargaming September 17, 2021 / 2:26 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Glad you liked it. It took a long time, but I enjoyed both researching it and making it.



  11. Keith October 24, 2021 / 7:39 pm

    Great work on this and the whole model of Edinburgh! Its the kind of thing I would like to try but (as my dear wife often points out!) I already have several large storage boxes of home made Viking longboats, 28mm frigates, middle eastern buildings, and compounds and Border Pele Towers that are lucky to be used in a game once every two years – I am pretty sure she would not react well to an entire town/city!


    • rodwargaming October 25, 2021 / 9:20 am

      Hi Keith,
      I am beginning to get a storage problem myself.
      I have a study with all of the cupboards full of boxes of painted (Napoleonic, Zulu War and Agincourt) and unpainted (Napoleonic, 18th Century & Roman era) figures. I have a small (4 ft x 2.5 ft) folding table in my study, which is normally up and is where that model town is currently sitting. All the space below the table is currently occupied with boxes of painted 1745 figures and unpainted WW2 (Operation Market Garden) figures and vehicles.
      In our second bedroom I have a stack of boxes of unpainted Zulu War figures on the chest of drawers plus boxes of completed houses, walls, trees and other scenery above a pair of free standing wardrobes. There was a space between the side of those wardrobes and the end wall, which I have filled with large plastic storage boxes containing terrain, fortifications, some larger buildings and modular siege works. I also have two boards behind the boxes against the wall, which I can use to make a temporary 7 ft x 4 ft table, but I have not had that up recently. I really need to empty both the wardrobes in that spare bedroom to convert them with shelves for more storage space. Most of the clothes in those wardrobes have not been worn for years, so that should work.

      Liked by 1 person

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