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

Jul 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Rome, Workbench
Front (enemy facing) view of the under-design Hadrian's Wall wall sections
Rear (friendly facing) view of the under-design Hadrian's Wall wall sections
Side (cross-sectional) view of the under-design Hadrian's Wall wall sections
Front (enemy facing) view of the under-design Hadrian's Wall wall sections

The Long Range Logistics Hadrian’s Wall, Wall Sections (design so far)

First up, I ask readers to note that design of all the models in this range, previewed in this and the previous two articles, was started almost seven years ago (are we approaching a record here for slow designing?).  Almost all of the research data in these recent articles has been acquired only this year.  The design work was originally done from personal memory, and that’s why some of the dimensions appear wrongly proportioned against data uncovered – most noticeably on these wall sections.

Where does that leave us?  The research shows us that both the Broad and Narrow limestone sections of Hadrian’s Wall were constructed to a total height above ground of 5 to 6 metres.  Using proportional scaling of the 15mm figure in the model preview photos, you can see that currently the frontages are 4 metres high (roughly).

In the second photo, you can also see that the wall topping currently reaches between waist and chest height on the figure.  That allows me to build up the crenelations to the intended shoulder/nose height, extending the apparent height to between 4.5 and 5 metres.  Can you forgive the missing half metre or so?

If not, and remembering the notes about the Narrow Wall having the 3 metre base, with 2.4 to 2.5 (and even 1.8) metres of wall-thickness, then I can create extended-width “footings” upon which to sit these almost complete wall sections, giving you the required 5 to 6 metre total height.

However, when we look at the cross-sectional (third) photo, you can see an apparently real “goof” in the proportional build.  But, is it a goof, or the result of my favourite wargaming soapbox topic?

< Soap Box Alert >

1:100 is NOT 15mm scale !!! There, I said it.

15mm is 1:120 scale.

Please get to grips with this fact!  This is doubly important when dealing with Ancients through to WW1 in wargaming.

Prior to sometime around roughly the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the average height of a fighting men was only about 5 foot 4 inches tall.  Visit any museum to verify that by viewing armour suits and later clothing.

By the period just before WW2 another 4 inches had been added to that.

Today, a further 4 inches has been added, making the global average height of a fighting soldier to be close to six feet.  That’s a 20% evolutionary increase since the Battle of Waterloo.

Not convinced?  Consider the quote in the research notes above – “eight Roman feet wide (modern – 7.8 ft …)” – note the stretch in measurement over the centuries.  Also the “80 Roman miles = 73.5 modern miles” ; more measurement stretching.

If you are designing for 15mm (1:120), this means that the total figure height of an unhelmeted Ancients-period man should actually only be 13mm  (5 foot 4 inches), not 15mm (6 feet).  It also means that 2.5mm is 12 inches vertical or horizontal size, not the 3mm (or more) per foot that has caused the figure scale creepage of the last 15 years or so.

Using that logic, as the base width of the wall models in the photos is 20mm, then they have a base width of 8 modern feet (2.5 metres) at 1:120 / 15mm true-scale.  Remember the researched quote “eight Roman feet wide …“?

This makes them the correct thickness for the Narrow Wall sections at the western end of Hadrian’s Wall.  The current parapet height of the flat wall sections is 37mm (approx 14  feet 8 inches / 4.5 metres at 15mm / 1:120 scale).  Again, by adding the crenelation tops, it will bring the walls up to the median height shown in research.  On that basis, I didn’t do so bad from memory did I?

However, if you absolutely insist that you positively must use your latest and greatest 7-foot tall legionaries and Picts … then the walls are under-size for historically accurate gaming, and I’ll need to create the aforementioned wider-footing foundation pieces.

An 18mm figure scaling as a 5-foot man of the 2nd Century AD requires that 3.6mm = 12-inches or 1:83 scale.  That means you’re getting into the realm of last week’s Airfix HO/OO-scale milefort being proportionally correct for your “15mm” figures.  Go figure.  This places the 18mm Ancients wargaming figure at railway modelling HO scale, not the bloated TT scale many designers are working to, and certainly not the “over-size N-scale” that 15mm wargaming started at.  </End of Soap Box Alert>

Conclusion & questions

Over to you all – what would you like to see me do?  Do you prefer I create the historically accurate “step-in” from foundations width, as an under-plate to elevate the walls, turrets, and gatehouse for use with 18mm / 1:100 figures (allowing the current pieces to dual-purpose for true 15mm without the base plates)?  Or, do you prefer I redesign from scratch (taking maybe another seven years before you see the results)?

Remember too, the question I posed at the top of the article – do you prefer the British or German crenelations?

Please provide feedback.  It’s the only way I know what you want – post your comments using the form below.  Who knows?  I might even send you some freebies if you do it often enough, on enough blog posts.


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