EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Piercing a Palisade

Work continues on Fort MacDuff. The hardest part so far has been deciding on the configuration since this palisade fort will have to serve me for both sides from the French & Indian Wars to the Oregon Crisis as well as Atlantica and maybe even occasional for Prince Valiant.  It seems like almost every North American fort had a unique  layout, however, there seem to be some trends.

The British and earlier French seemed to have usually gone for a rectangle with 4 corner bastions with these being either palisades or earthworks but sometimes conforming to terrain and with extra or fewer bastions and ravelins. Some US forts also followed this layout. Most such forts had internal buildings and/or blockhouses. This seemed like the best choice but the bastions are tricky and I didn't seem to have enough matching material esp for the blockhouse.  Mockups also ended up being too big or too cramped.

Many 1812 and later US forts and some British had corner blockhouses instead of bastions, sometimes only on 2 corners or also mid-wall. These were usually traditional, horizontal interlocking log, roofed blockhouses but some 1812 ones were 2 story without the overhang.
Roofed structures are often a nuisance when wargaming and I find 4 sided roofs tricky to build. I also determined after some experiments that I didn't have enough enough horizontal log corners to make 2 blockhouses without getting creative.

I decided to compromise by having 2 open blockhouse/bastions taller than the walls so neither fish nor fowl but reminiscent of both.

Now, in the movies and old play sets, soldiers stand on a catwalk and lean over the stockade to shoot. The period manuals call for loopholes and a banquet inside and reluctantly I went that route, perhaps Prince Valiant can do without a wooden fort or use the loop holes for archers. The recreated Ft Meigs has an interesting twist, embrasures in the form of a crenelation made by chopping off the top of ever 5th or so log. This looked easier and attractive and thus very tempting but I restricted it to the fake bastions since I don't recall seeing it elsewhere post medieval times.

It would be nice to fix the multitude of small pieces that I've created to a base board but it has to be easily storable and transportable so I'm aiming for 4 pieces once all is said and done.

Lots left to do before I start painting. Oddly I seem to make the same kind of measuring and cutting errors in miniature that I do in real (sic) life .


  1. I think the fort is looking great and moving forward really well indeed!

    1. Thanks. It was hard to make the first cuts but it got easier and easier once the collector value was shot.

  2. Remember the old carpenters' adage, Ross . . . "measure twice, cut once".

    But it looks very promising.

    -- Jeff

    PS, Murdock hasn't sent his positions in yet.

    1. I always measure more than twice but apparently if you accidently invert what you are cutting or pick up the wrong piece, it doesn't help. TG for glue!