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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Tour of a model Dutch village in 1940

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At first glance, this could be a wartime newspaper photo of Dutch soldiers defending a village during the German invasion in May 1940 … until you spot the figure bases, that is,  and realise this is a wargames table with 28mm figures.

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I’ve recently been adding accessories to my Dutch village, such as latex brick roads from Early War Miniatures, and plastic lamp-posts, power poles and brick walls from Rubicon.

They really bring to life the Gungnir cardboard buildings I’ve previously reported on, as you can see from this picture of Dutch soldiers and a Landsverk armoured car on patrol outside a grocer’s shop.

Let’s take a tour of the village (don’t forget to click on the images to examine them in more detail).

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Soldiers follow the armoured car past a corner cafe, with period advertisements for Phoenix Dortmunder beer on the walls, and ‘3 Hoef Eisen’ beer on each window.  The miniatures and the armoured car, by the way, are all by May ’40 Miniatures.

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Advertisements for van Nelle coffee and Persil washing powder adorn the side of the grocer’s shop in the Hoogstraat (High Street). The street sign comes in the Rubicon lamp-post kit.

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At this intersection you can see how the latex roads give a good impression of brick roads. I painted them a dark brown-red, then dry-brushed them with beige and white paint to bring out the detail.

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The Landsverk proceeds down the Hoogstraat. This photo gives you another view of the beer advertisement on the side wall of the cafe.

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The crew of the Landsverk spot an enemy aircraft. The beauty of cardboard buildings is that once you have bought the file, you can print out as many as you like. Thus here we see three of the same buildings combined to make a row of houses. I varied the windows slightly before printing, but otherwise they are identical.

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Around the corner from the row-houses, these typical hip-roofed buildings on the left certainly shout ‘Dutch’ all over them! On the right is a resin kit of a ruined house, made by Airfix.

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A Böhler 47mm anti-tank gun is emplaced behind the ruined house. I’ve made the Airfix building taller by adding a layer to the bottom of the walls. The rubble is made up of small bits of real brick.

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A team of medics rushes past an ornate farm-house. The brick wall kit by Rubicon is very cleverly designed so that you can take the pieces apart and adjust the corners and gates to suit any location.

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An officer gives orders to the crew of a Carden-Loyd tankette parked outside a large farm-house. This photo gives you a good look at the very nice Rubicon lampposts.

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An NCO urges caution on his troops as they ready themselves to enter the barn attached to the back of the large farmhouse.

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Dutch marines in their dark-blue tunics defend the edge of the village, whilst the Landsverk prowls in the background.

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Here’s the whole village. If you look carefully, you’ll spot an interloper amongst the cardboard buildings – a resin model of La Haye Sainte in the top left corner! I’ll need to make up a couple more card buildings to take its place!

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Let’s finish by going back to black-and-white to show once again how effective the overall effect of the buildings and accessories is.

A town during the Peninsular War

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Over the last month or so I’ve been busy making a number of buildings from Florian Richter and Peter Dennis’s wonderful book European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames.

You simply cut these buildings out of the book, and then fold and glue them together. I did add some  inner strengthening with heavy card to make them more sturdy, but otherwise my models are straight from the book.

Today I set them all out on my wargames table, along with some existing scratch-built buildings (top centre) and a few commercial models (top left).

You can click on the above picture (and also all the other pics in this posting) if you want to see these models in more detail.

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Here’s the main street, with a walled house and stables on the left, and a church with some porticoed houses on the right. The walled house is designed for a northern European setting, but I think works perfectly well for the Peninsular War.

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The town has a beautiful chateau, which I’ve given a walled garden. In front you can again see the walled house (left), and the same building on the right made up as a free-standing inn.

You can also see both the paper churches in this picture – the Spansh-style one in the foreground, and the more northern European church in the background.

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I particularly like the watermill. It again is probably more suitable for northern Europe, but fits well here too.

On the other side of the street are a range of various houses, some with arched porches. By glueing on different doors and windows, you can make various versions of the same building, as you can see with the two porticoed houses.

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These buildings have of course been specifically designed by Florian and Peter to accompany the Paperboys range of paper model soldiers, like these 18th century British infantry. But I wanted to see what they would look like with 28mm metal figures, so …

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… here comes a battalion of Front Rank Portuguese infantry marching into town.

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Whilst the figures are a slightly bigger scale than the buildings, they look fine together.

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The Portuguese deploy into line in a field behind a 3-storey balconied house. Again, the slight difference in scales looks fine.

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Meanwhile, a section of Portuguese Cacadores takes on white-coated French infantry in the town square.

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Hmm, I think I know these two chaps standing in the gateway of a walled house.

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The sound of rumbling wheels and jingling harnesses echo from the walls of the narrow street, as British artillery trundle through the town.

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A French staff officer gallops past a row of houses to deliver important messages.

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A French officer rides up the driveway of the local chateau.

So, as you can see from the above photos, these buildings will work perfectly well for wargaming with both 2D paper soldiers and fully-rounded 28mm figures.

Paper chateau and Mediterranean church

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My previously-reported paper chateau now has some walled grounds and a wrought iron gate. As you can see from the picture, the finished model goes well with 28-30mm figures, such as this eighteenth century gentleman by Willie Figurines.

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I used some brick-paper to make the driveway, and flocked the lawn. The trees are cheap buys from a Chinese mail-order company, attached to some large square washers that have been given a ground effect. The front lawn is completely surrounded by a paper walls.

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Both the chateau and the walls come from Florian Richter and Peter Dennis’s wonderful book European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames. You simply photocopy the drawings and assemble them. I did add some  inner strengthening with heavy card, but otherwise my models are straight from the book.

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Here’s the rear-view. I imagine those French windows looking out over a rolling Capability Brown (or Bloody Stupid Johnson!) landscape.

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The building can be removed from the garden. I intend to make some more removable walls to fill the gap, so that this terrain piece can be used as a park, churchyard, graveyard, or anything else I want.

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And here’s the other building I’ve made recently from the same book – a Mediterranean church. The walls also come from the book. This model will fit nicely into Peninsular War games.

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This 28mm Perry Miniatures figure gives a good idea of the size of the model church. As you can see, the church doors are actually a little bit too small, but the overall effect works well, and provides a smaller footprint than if the church was to exactly the same scale as the figure.

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Here’s the rear view of the church, with its classical Mediterranean style.

Keep visiting this blog as I report on further buildings from this great book.

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More cardboard buildings from Paperboys

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I’ve been quietly boxing on making some more of the cardboard models from Florian Richter and Peter Dennis’s book European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames.

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In addition to the windmill I have previously posted about, I now also have a mansion, a church, and a watermill.

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This impressive mansion will be perfectly at home as either a country house or a town hall.

The book also provides roof connectors to so you join more of this model together to form a larger building – making the entire Palace of Versailles wouldn’t be out of the question!

I’ve made this and the other models straight out of the book. The only additional work I have done was to strengthen the inner structures with some heavy card.

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The northern-European church looks surprisingly solid for a cardboard model. I think it is the buttresses that make it so sturdy-looking.

If you wanted to super-detail this model, you could cut out the windows and then re-inset them behind the holes to give more depth. However, the original artistry is so good that the windows look sufficiently 3D just as is.

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I did this watermill in one afternoon.  I’ve made it fit with my existing latex river terrain by adding a foundation to the main building so that the wing with the wheel sits on the upraised bank, and the wheel itself hangs down ‘into’ the water.

I also added some piles made from sprue to support the overhanging wooden outhouse.

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Here’s the first building I make from the book. It was probably a brave move to pick this one as my prototype, as it is the most complex. But it came out surprisingly well.

There are still plenty more buildings to make in the book – a Spanish-style church and windmill, farms and houses from both northern and southern Europe, bridges , walls …

Simple-to-build cardboard European windmill

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I made this complex-looking cardboard windmill in just one evening! It’s a cut-out model from Helion Publishing’s latest Paperboys book, European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames by Florian Richter and Peter Dennis.

Despite the intricate design of this windmill, with protruding attics and overhanging annexes, it was surprisingly easy to make. It was simply a matter of scoring all the folds, cutting out the pieces, folding them into shape, and gluing. Everything fitted perfectly.

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This windmill is one of the many cut-out buildings included in the book, which covers both Northern and Southern Europe settings. Other buildings include two churches, a mansion, a watermill, houses and farms, bridges and walls, and much more.

Unlike the Paperboys model soldiers I’ve made, which need to be photocopied before assembling, these buildings can be cut straight out of the book. The pages are printed on light card, with only some instructions and explanatory photos on the back of each page, which (if necessary) you can simply capture with your phone camera before you start cutting out the model.

The book’s front cover also shows a column of figures from Peter Dennis’s other new Paperboys book The War of the Spanish Succession: paper soldiers for Marlborough’s campaigns in Flanders.  I bought this second book too, intending to use it just as reference.  But, boy oh boy, Peter’s figures are just so colourful and eye-popping (especially the French Maison du Roi) that I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist assembling some regiments!

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The figures shown in these pictures of my windmill aren’t paper, though – they’re from my Minden Miniatures army.  But they show how well these cardboard buildings will go with any traditional 28mm army.

Peter’s preference is that his buildings are a little smaller than true scale so that they have a smaller footprint on the battlefield. But you can easily photocopy them larger or smaller if you wish.

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Probably the most complex part of the assembly was the beam structure on which the windmill sits. But in fact this was surprisingly simple to put together. The trick is to score all the folds first, and then use Uhu All Purpose contact glue for very fast bonding.

The finishing touch with any cardboard building is to use a wash (I used green wash) to disguise any white card that shows through the folds or on exposed edges.

So there you have it – a wonderful windmill in one evening …

Gorgeous 3D-printed governor’s mansion

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‘Every local despot needs a stately mansion to flaunt his wealth and influence,’ says  Printable Scenery’s website in the description of their  model Governor’s Mansion.

I’ve been really enjoying painting this 3D-printed model over the last couple of nights.

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I love the quaint look for this building, with its saggy roof, diagonally-placed overhanging tower and intricate half-timbering. It wouldn’t look out of place in the city of Ankh-Morpork (as per the screenshot below from the old Discworld computer game).

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The model was a cinch to paint, with lots of luscious detail that was easily picked out by dry-brushing. I chose a colour scheme that hinted at Bavaria, with its light blue and white shutters and doors.

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Printable Scenery deliver this model as a .ZIP file pack containing STL files for use on a home 3D Printer. The files are set to 28mm scale but can be rescaled before printing.

If you haven’t got access to a 3D printer, Printable Scenery have a list of licenced third party printers all over the world.

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