A Small Castle or Keep For The Wargames Table

By Tony De Lyall

A conversion from Zvezda kit No 8505: Stone Tower with Bridge and Lattice.
Suitable for use with 20mm or 25 mm scale figures

(July 2003)

Zvezda produce a number of polystyrene kits for both stone and wooden fortresses in 1/72 scale. These are large and extensive. One of the great things they have done is to release individual components of these kits as separate boxed items. This gives the modeller an opportunity to construct their own variations and gives the wargamer a variety of terrain pieces suitable for the tabletop.

The model here is based on the Zvezda kit No 8505. The boxed kit consists on a castellated stone tower, with a portcullis and drawbridge on one side, and a wooden gate on the other. The kit comes in pieces which need to be glued together with polystyrene cement.

This kit can be converted with minimal work into a small castle or a keep suitable for the wargames table. When made up the model has a base size of 75mm x 75mm and a height of 145mm.

The kit if made up following the Zvezda instruction sheet has a working drawbridge complete with chains and a moveable portcullis. (You actually get some metal chain in the kit.) Unfortunately the drawbridge arrangement is a little toy-like. The chains wind around a windlass mounded within the tower which is turned by a capstan which juts out of the top side of the tower. Fun as a toy but silly as a wargames terrain feature.

The basic conversion consists of leaving the windlass and capstan arrangement off the model. I've left the drawbridge movable so it can be either up or down. You may wish to permanently glue it in one of these positions. I've left the chains off but there is no reason they cannot be left on and glued to the inside of the model and onto the drawbridge - especially if the drawbridge is permanently down.

Similarly the portcullis is moveable. However I have decided to glue it fast into the down position.

Now to the doors on the other side of the keep. If you follow the kit instructions these doors end up being barred on the outside. Fine as part of a entrance to a large castle but rather silly for a stand alone keep. So the doors have to be installed back to front with the bar on the inside. The doors can also move (if not barred) but I have glued them shut.

Finally the kit comes with a flag pole and some cut out flags. I have left these off the model. A polystyrene flagpole is too easy to break as you reach across the wargames table.

The instructions also show you how to optionally punch out two arched side windows. I did this. They didn't look good. I'd advise against doing this. I ended up having to glue the punched out pieces back into the side walls.

The model was undercoated in black then dry-brushed in grey. The brick work was picked out in black with a very fine fibre-tipped draftsman's pen (Artline 0.3mm).

The model should go well with both 20mm and 25mm figures. The figures you can see in the picture are 20mm (1/72) Italeri Crusaders. The model probably is too large for 15mm figures.

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