For some time now I’ve thought that a mining community would make a good place for a medieval skirmish game. Control of resources is a vital part of any warlord’s secure hold and a mine would make a particularly valuable resource.
Carts on tracks going into hillsides is a bit Hollywood. In reality, a lot of early mines (and mines even today) are really about digging holes straight down into the ground and then lowering yourself down them somehow, whether by rope and winch, or electric lifts. It all adds up to the same.
I decided that I’d make several mineheads with different contraptions to lower miners and raise the ore. They are, of course, variations on a theme.
The main winch was made from dowelling.
Thick linen thread was used for the ropes to lash it all together. Brass rod was used to make hooks and metal work (actually, the winch handle was made from a thin nail), and the bucket was a resin item out of the spares box.
I had to make a decision about the basing of the winch. In reality this would be pegged to the ground. But I wanted to give an impression of depth, that the shaft was going somewhere. So I decided to mount them on a raised area that I would then texture. This would give some suggestion of depth and I could argue the mound was a spoil heap. This was made from a half-inch donut of expanded polystyrene.
The winch was then glued on to this and once this had all dried the styrene was then shaped. And when that was done it was all covered with some filler.
I made up a special rubble scatter mix from sand and broken up pieces of dried filler. I then slapped PVA glue generously to the mound and poured the rubble scatter over it, pressing it down firmly before pouring off the excess.
Then on to painting. It was always going to be a drab model – brown on brown. But once painted I thought I’d put a bit of static grass on it, especially around the edges, so that the piece blends in with the table.
And finally something to set the scene.
These mineheads were very simple to make and took surprisingly little time.
This mining colony will make a good, and different, setting for a raid scenario. Although these pieces were made to a medieval style, they are pretty universal well into the early modern period. Only with the industrial revolution did things change. They were actually made for an upcoming game of Dragon Rampant, so if you fancy having a go at some ransacking and looting then come along to the club and have a go.