Sunday, 14 July 2013

Warbases Dark Ages Watchtower (1)

I've been building quite a bit of Warbases stuff recently.
As I did this one I took lots of step-by-step pictures.

This is their Dark Age Watchtower that I picked up recently for a very reasonable £7.50. It's much smaller than the ones available from 4 Ground, but for the skirmish size gaming I mostly get up to it's perfect and as I like my scenery to have a small footprint fits the bill exactly.

So what do you get in the bag?
A big pile of lazer cut MDF. All smelling slightly burny. There are no instructions. I'm not sure they're necessary to be honest, if you can't work out how to put this together you probably shouldn't be handling sharp modelling knives. Or indeed any sort of knife apart from those bendy rubber ones.
That said there were a couple of points when it might have been handy to have things spelled out - do this first or this bit coming up will be trickier then you imagine - that kind of thing.

The contents. Mmmmm, smells good.

Anyway with reckless abandon I started gluing together. I used PVA woodglue as, well its made of wood so that just seemed natural. First up I glued the tower core together. there is a little square piece that gives you the correct base shape and ensures the walls are reasonably square. There is another of these presumably to allow you to have an inner floor (and maybe for extra rigidity). I didn't bother, rigidity is not a problem for me. And I have no intention of putting models inside.

A column thrusts skywards

I suppose one should point out the importance of keeping the pointy edges opposite one another and the flat bits on the other sides, but see my comments about sharp knives earlier.
As you can see I used elastic bands to maintain my erection as it dried. 

Next up I moved onto the roof. This is two flat bits that slot together and are then held in place by little A frames. The A frames have a wood pattern engraved on one side, so make sure that side is facing...oh you know this stuff. The A frames made this a bit easier to assemble the roof than I've found it on a couple of the Warbases models.


Finally for sub assemblies I glued together the balcony. Four fences (two of one type two of another) glued into a big square bit with a central hole (also square). As with pointy and non pointy ends you need the same types of fence opposing one another but as you've worked out how to read and use the interwebs this shouldn't be beyond most of you.

A balcony. Or small child's playpen

Several days later I returned to the project. Sticking on the balcony before the roof seemed to me the way to go. Presumably if you're putting a floor in you may want to not glue the roof down but as that would be the choice of a loony I disregarded it. The balcony sits on some thin struts. One option I guess is to stick the struts to the balcony first and then attach the whole kaboodle to the tower. I decided to attach struts to tower then lower the balcony on.
I marked the height I wanted the balcony at and then set to work gluing. To be honest it was a bit of a faff and took a long time but i got there in the end. persistence and patience are not the middle name of anyone in my family, so some of you may find this bit less irksome than I did.

Like a small wooden pylon

This isn't all of them added, there are eight in total (two at each corner for the mathematically challenged among you) but it gives the general idea. Getting them level is pretty important as the balcony will sit atop them and be wonky if you've not got it right.

I also added the lower door at this stage. The upper door I decided would look better under one of the peaked tower ends, so for variety I placed the lower door at the base of one of the flat-topped sides.


  1. Irksome....that's a good word! Looking good!!!

  2. Nice write up. Looking forward to seeing the finished tower. I am considering getting one of these myself. I just finished a bunch of terrain pieces for an M and T game. Please check it out on my blog.

  3. Looking good. I have one of these towers already and agree that it can be a bit "irksome", but worth the effort and certainly worth the cost. There is a picture on my blog.

    Have fun finishing it, I got covered in pva doing the roof.

    1. I saw your post just as I started building mine. I considered etching the balcony like you did, but in the end realised I had neither the tools nor the talent, so settled on a "painting solution"

  4. Good stuff Tom. Your last review inspired me to invest in a few grub huts for my LoTR project. looking forward to view the watch tower paints up.

    1. i think they'd be great as LotR models.
      If i ever get the SBS out again I'm sure they'll make an appearance.

  5. Nice tutorial, although confirmation that, I was a loony was amusing :)

  6. Tom, lovely work! And a LOT easier than building it from scratch like I did!

    1. Well I did look at yours Mitch and had some tower envy...