A model Dutch windmill and my great-granddad

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If you’re going to recreate a Dutch village in miniature, what do you just have to have to make it feel really Dutch? A windmill, of course!

This weekend I added a windmill to the village I showed in my last posting. This time, instead of the cardboard buildings that I’ve use so far, I built a MDF kit by 4Ground.

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What a joy this kit was to put together. The design is very cleverly designed to form the rather complex shape of the windmill. But, as with other 4Ground kits I’ve built, it all fitted perfectly. 

I personalised the model slightly, adding brick paper to the ground floor, and painting some parts of the sails and the turning beams. I also painted a small heraldic device where the vanes meet in the centre, as I’ve seen on real windmills in the Netherlands.

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I was worried the model might end up too big for my buildings, but I was happy with the end effect. After all, windmills are big in real life!

Interestingly, having a windmill in my model village is a poignant reminder of my family tree.  My great-grandfather was killed when he was hit by a windmill sail in November 1916.

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‘A sad accident occurred here on Saturday afternoon. Mr Hermans, a tile-maker from here [Swalmen], had a message for the windmill and started making his way up the mound. He probably didn’t notice that the mill was functioning. He was hit by one of the vanes, and thrown down. The physician diagnosed a skull fracture. He was admitted to the clinic in Roermond. His condition is worrying.’

He died a couple of weeks later.

Seeing how the sails sweep so low to the deck on my model, I can see how easily accidents like this could happen.

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3 thoughts on “A model Dutch windmill and my great-granddad

  1. Hi, just say thanks for your posts on the Dutch village, I bought a set. Now I’m retired I make up toy soldier (not wargaming) sets to give away to less well off folks and, like you, I am intrigued by the look of the thing. I buy the soldiers and kits of things like tanks but the rest (including space ships) I make, I also provide notes that explain who and where the troops are and how the scenic items were made. The hope is that enough youngsters will get the bug to keep the industry going. Thanks again for some nice articles.

  2. PS – Check out free downloadable paper buildings:
    http://www.ss42.com/pt-buildings.html#9 – This was the best links page I found for access to free downloadable paper buildings

    http://papermau.blogspot.co.uk Papermau – A blog with links to free downloadable paper models, the buildings section is pretty comprehensive

    http://www.dp9.com/gearkrieg DreamPod 9 – This company lies behind a range of games, mostly I believe in 15mm/1:100 scale. Their GearKreig game has a selection of paper models downloadable as PDFs (scroll down, the link is on the lower right of the page). I made good use of the buildings set by up-scaling it to 1:72 scale (about 120 percent). This is a set of 15mm scale French style buildings intended for wargaming, They are shallow from front to back so internal detailing is problematic but they provide some useful textures and elements for re-combining on your own design of building. I actually used a couple of their 1:100 metal ‘walker’ robots for a 20mm sci-fi set and they blended in okay.

    http://www.scenerybuilder.com/index.html Scenery Builder is a modellers website and at the time of writing there is a free downloadable row of terraced houses.

    Some come as a graphic, others as PDFs (which you can print and scan to resize), some are superb others – Less so. Once you have a PCX/BMP/whatever you can edit them on the computer to introduce variation. I have a cottage kit that I now have four versions off so it’s the bulk of a small village. I use these paper kits with an inner former of tea-bag box card. For toy soldiers you need access and a semi detailed interior. You can fret out the windows and back them with clear plastic or replace them, for stairs the single sided corrugated card from the craft shops works well in 20mm scale. You can mirror the kit and replace the wall detail with interior detailing such as wallpaper, pictures and the like, gluing that on the inside helps hold the clear plastic on the windows and the extra layer of paper a glue stiffens them up as well.

    Cheers

    Mike

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