Progress Report – New 15mm Hadrian’s Wall range Wall Sections

Jul 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Rome, Workbench

Continuing the series of Friday updates regarding ongoing new model designs, this week I’m looking at the progress on the assorted wall sections for the new Hadrian’s / Roman Frontier Wall range.

There is a small dilemma with this set of pieces, that I’d like to present to you before I discuss the detail, and very much need your comments, thoughts, and ideas regarding this point as it will affect final design of the models.

From research, I’ve identified that the Romans used two distinct crenelation types – distinct other than the spacing between the high points and gaps in the crenelations – and these relate to the inner wall face behind the wall toppings, and even to the construction style of the wall toppings generally.

Roman crenelations on the Limes Germanicus frontier wall at WeisbadenIt seems that in the UK, they used the traditional “uniform thickness” style of construction (see first photo after the “read more” link) – that is, the lower part of the wall topping was a uniform thickness along it’s entire length, and the crenelated “shields” were simply elevated extensions of the topping’s base-walling.

On the “Limes Germanicus” however, it appears they used a square pillar for the elevated personnel-shielding part of the crenelation, then filled the gaps between them with a thinner low wall section.

This makes for a markedly different appearance on the rear face of the wall topping, and also to the height of the shielding part of the crenelations. You can see the German style in this photo, and hopefully appreciate the significant difference in appearance caused by the “pillar and infill” construction type.  The pillars are greater than man-height, and the intermediate walls are lower than waist height – markedly different from the UK style waist and shoulder heights.

What are your thoughts on this with regard to the model design – should I just go with the Romano-British style?  Or, should I follow the German Limes style to make them distinctly Euro-Roman and different from other ranges such as Medieval wall crenelations?  Or, would you prefer I design each independently as options for the range, and if so, which one has the higher priority for you personally?

Please add your opinions and preferences  in the comments at the bottom of the page – I need your input before finishing the wall section master models.

OK, now onto the details and presentation for this week’s article.  You’ve got a lot of scrolling and reading before you get to the previews – sorry about that (… maybe 😉 ).
Background Research

Whilst Hadrian’s Wall is by far the most famous and best preserved of the Roman frontier walls (excluding restored and reconstructed segments such as the Saalburg section of Limes Germanicus), it was by no means the only frontier wall, nor the only construction type engineered by the Romans, either in Brittanicus or elsewhere.

Further north from Hadrian’s stone frontier was the turf and plank Antonine Wall, though this was abandoned long before the Romans withdrew from Britain.  For the purposes of this article, we are only concerned with the stone constructions that left us such lasting monuments that they have become national heritage treasures in the countries where their remains lie.  In particular, as wargamers, and in discussing the upcoming Long Range Logistics 15mm Hadrian’s Wall range, we only need to look at the British stone-wall.

Engineering and Statistical Data

This week’s research is a collection point for some of the more important (and most recent) “uniformity data” I’ve gathered, which serves as authority and provenance for final model design.  It’s maybe boring to read, but vital for understanding much about The Wall.  Sources are too numerous to cite, but full props to all original authors, researchers, photographers etc.


In Latin, according to a text on the Staffordshire Moorlands Patera, what we now call Hadrian’s Wall, was known to the Romans as the Vallum AeliumAeli was the family name of the Emperor Hadrian.  Today’s English north eastern city of Newcastle Upon Tyne was known to the Romans as Pons Aelius, Hadrian’s Bridge, and thus also bore his name.

Along Hadrian’s Wall’s modern day geography, locals refer to it simply as the Roman Wall, or more directly as The Wall – the latter is the name I knew it by, whilst growing up in Northumberland and on Tyneside. To avoid confusion with the Antonine Wall, or the other frontiers such as the Limes Germanicus, and for consistency, I will try to refer to this wall uniformly as Hadrian’s Wall.

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