David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Thursday 2 February 2017

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day {Part One}!

Well, like most sayings handed down to us, this needs taking with the proverbial pinch of salt! I've started building my Warbases' Roman Villa. In total it took less than two hours to assemble the five MDF kits which make up the basic villa: two small towers; two small storehouses/wings; and the main villa building itself. The first four components are simple kits each comprising only 12 components. All fit flawlessly together with no work needed beyond punching out a couple of tabs in two roof tile sheets. The main villa is a more complex kit though and requires a little dry fitting to see where each piece will go, but nothing is too difficult to work out; after all, if 'Ten Thumbs' Bickley can do it, then anyone can! I even managed to fit the opening door and the hinges first time! It's a really lovely piece, as I hope you can see from the following pictures ~
The completed villa measures just under 300mm x 180mm

The two towers are interchangeable, but the wings/storehouses are individual.

The main villa building has a hinged door. The corridor doors can be punched
out if desired.

The main roof has two extra supports. They do not have location tabs as the
end fitting supports do on all the roofs.

As you can see, the corridor doors can be punched out if desired. In the
whole model the only slightly complex fit is the front steps, corridor
supports and front trellis work. That's just 8 parts though.

The rear walls of the villa presents a solid wall to any enemy seeking entrance.

The side walls of the villa are similarly secure, with only a single high window
in each corner tower.

I plan to let the buildings settle now and give the glue time to really harden before I set about painting it. I'm pretty busy now until next Monday anyway, so I hope to work on the individual components of the villa starting next week. My first thoughts are to have about 10mm of stonework at ground level, using anaglypta wallpaper for stone effect and to stipple the rest of the walls with some Basetex before applying paint. As with all MDF buildings the roof is the biggest issue. Roman pantiles have a three dimensional nature which MDF can't rally handle. I may resort to corrugated cardboard or even buy some plastic tile sheets from Wills. I suppose a Late Roman villa might even have thatched roofs, at least on the wings/storehouses. I've ordered the front wall and gate from Warbases to complete the look I want for my villa and Martin will make me a 3mm MDF base to glue the completed piece to and facilitate some groundwork and modelling to bring it to life. More later, as they say...


  1. Very nice....I'm thinking about conversion options ?

    1. Conversions? How typical Wargamer is that? What into Matt?

  2. Great stuff, Martin as excelled himself there.

  3. Its a very nice set. I will have to get one myself when I get a little more time and cash to toss around.

  4. Replies
    1. Good news, I'm sure you could work one into Northern Italy in your FRW project.

  5. Looks great, looks big! Lots of uses as well,very nice.
    Best Iain

  6. Replies
    1. It's a fine piece as it is, but has potential too.

  7. You can buy suitable sheets of moulded tiles. There are nice but small sheets from Ratio/Wills but in the doll's house section of a local craft shop (Craft World in Belfast) there were roughly A4 sized sheets that should be perfect for this. A piece of arc section plastic rod from Evergreen Styrene finishes the apex nicely.

    1. Martin at Warbases has made a prototype for the tile effect, which I saw at R.O.B.I.N. yesterday so I will get those at Carronade in May.