Friday, 27 September 2013

Zulu! How I made Rorke's Drift

When I did a dry run of the Rorke's Drift scenario, I realised I didn't have enough fence hexes to make the walls, and had to proxy with other hex designs. Then I recalled I had some resin walls that I hadn't painted... From there, it was a slippery slope to having a 3D Rorke's Drift for my Battle Cry board.
Dry run showing woods as walls
The final result- much better!

The walls and crates

The walls are from Battlefield Accessories, sprayed Army Painter Skeleton Bone, washed Woodland Scenics Raw Umber, and drybrushed Jo Sonja's Cashmere. Each segment is 9x1cm.

The crates are resin from the late Battle Works Studios.
Unpainted resin. This is one set; I used two.

The buildings

Using a plasticard base, I sketched in a rough floorplan for the hospital and storehouse. I tried to capture the key essence of each building, while making the necessary compromises between scale, accuracy, and game-ability. The walls are from a brick-embossed styrofoam sheet I picked up at a model railway store. Expensive, but versatile, lightweight and easy to work with. I didn't measure anything, I just eyeballed and cut the walls until they fitted. The roofs are separate, with PVA-soaked tissue paper as the roofing material covering plasticard. I spackled up the walls with Jo Sonja's Texture Paste. I happened to have a plastic staircase in my scenery bits box, which was perfect for the storehouse. Matchsticks made the verandah post for the hospital. The buildings were painted Jo Sonja's Cashmere, and washed with Woodland Scenics Raw Umber and Concrete.

Floorplan sketches

Brick-embossed styrofoam

The storehouse

The hospital

The redoubt

A bit more rectangular than the original, this was a compromise to fill the two hexes. I built up the base with some GW 40mm square bases and a bit of Das modelling clay, then built the mealie bag wall from green stuff. These were layered sausages, flattened, and a knife blade used to push down between the bags. I'm sure there's a better way to do it, and I wouldn't make a tabletop's worth of scenery like this, but for a one-off, it's fine. A wash brought out the shadows nicely. It turned out better looking than I anticipated, suitably hasty.

A note on scale

I'm happy with these pieces, I'm sure they'll turn up in my 15mm games now...
Peter Pig 15mm modern Africa

Eureka 15mm modern Russians

The walls are marketed as 15-20mm, and are a bit small for 28mm, but they will suit The Shire!

GW Hobbits and Gripping Beast Vikings


This marks the end of my Zulu project- thanks for reading and commenting, it has long been this wargamer's dream to get Rorke's Drift on the tabletop!


  1. Very nice indeed Barks it all looks excellent!

  2. Great series of posts on these games. Thanks for the modelling tips as well. I really enjoyed reading about this project.

  3. Very well done! Your 3D terrain work is excellent. I marvel at guys like you would can turn X supplies into Y like this.

  4. Holy crap. I've only just gotten around to reading all that. You still got it don't you. Always getting these things done in what seems like no time. I've had the Warlord Rorkes Drift for over a year and still have only done one building and base coated the mealie bags. Well done sir.

    (Note: The authors use of the word 'sir' is expressed in terms of respect to hobby ability and in no way reflects any prior, current or future deference to rank)

    1. Well, I did go for a smaller scale...

      You could drop in a 'with all due respect', if you like.