Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Walls of Therouanne Part III

This weekend I joined Simon Chick and Steve Hall at Leeds Royal Armouries to put on a repeat of Simon's award winning Agincourt game. Both have very nicely summarised the day on their respective blogs linked above. 

Whilst I was there I met David Marshall of TM Terrain to collect the latest stage of a rolling 1513 siege of Therouanne scenery and terrain project to complement my armies.

This phase is the second instalment of the west side of Therouanne's city walls. If you're interested to learn about the start of the project, background information and initial works have a look at these earlier posts covering the first commission and a follow up covering a small party of bespoke defenders.

In brief I am essentially working my way from the centre to the right of the 1537 painting below (part of a larger image of Charles V's siege of the town.) The octagonal tower, house and round tower were completed in the first phase and this phase completed an additional house and trailing edge of the wall, immediately prior to a gatehouse. 

There are a few good quality contemporary images of the town which all repeat particular features of the walls, most of which I have used as specifics for the commission.

The main point of interest in these walls are the integral buildings within the wall structure, a sign of less turbulent times perhaps. The images available depict buildings of apparent whitewash and/or brick construction with crowstep ends, other than these pointers the rest would be down to further research and artistic license. 

I wanted the buildings to have a distinctly Northern French / Flemish look typical for the region so I set about finding some reference images. The easiest platform for this was Pinterest and quite soon I had developed a sizeable french medieval buildings gallery to help David get a good feel for the design brief.

David kept me updated as he worked, here are the works in progress;

By far the greatest element of this phase was the house. I had stipulated brick sides and crow step facades. The brick had to be in Flemish bond, parts of which were to be in a pattern on each side, there were to be high clay chimney pots and a low arch over the doors on either side. The front and rear of the house were to be half timbered in a distinctly French style and dorma windows needed to be in the roof;

David's interpretation of the brief by far exceeded all expectations, as can be gathered by this candid shot;

Here are a few mock ups with some of the valiant French and mercenary garrison;

This is part of the new section of wall, I asked for some considerable damage to represent persistent bombardment from Henry's artillery. I particularly like the way in which the modelling shows the different layers of construction / destruction. It also provides some alternative cover for the defenders to fire their bolts, arrows and shot.

The city walls were described in eyewitness accounts as being 'well provided with artillery and expert cannoneers who took a regular toll on the besiegers.'

Here's the whole wall in situ, measuring just under 6ft.

The next stage of the project will be some bespoke terrain boards for the wall to sit on. Accounts of the siege describe the walls having ditches in front, 'so deep that men feared to fall in if they went too close to the edge,  [the ditch banks] covered in turn with impenetrable hedges.

Meanwhile I think I shall do some more defenders for the walls, an excuse to get the green stuff out and get back into sculpting.

Bye for now



  1. David has done you proud - his rendering of the brickwork (excuse the pun) is fantastic! The walling is the ideal background for the inaugural Army Royal game diary awaits!

  2. That's all kinds of awesome. The centrepiece building is a work of art!

  3. What an amazing project - that is some very very fine wargames terrain... Consider your blog followed... ;)


  4. Truly stunning !

    The pattern in the brick wall are amazing !

  5. Impressive and creative job, love the close ups....


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