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Gradara castle

The Gradara castle model will be
appearing at Salute 51 on the 13th April 2024 

Welcome to the Gradara castle town project page.
This will be the main place for following the progress on the 28mm Gradara castle town model for an event next year at the actual town.
Please see the link below for the actual town website.

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The municipality of Gradara (north east Italy near San Marino) has commissioned me to make a 28mm scale model of their castle town for an event in the castle next year.

The model size is 24oomm x 3600mm and will be split into six sections for ease of transport and storage (there is a chance it might go on tour but that has yet to be confirmed).

The main brief was to have a model of the whole town that was suitable for wargaming but also that had access inside the walls for the period around 1446.

There has been a lot of preparatory working out and drawing work for the scale and suitable size of the model. Some elements have been scaled down a bit to allow them to fit on the separate bases.


The first samples have been completed and you can see these below. It's mainly laser work with a few scratch built elements and this will be the case for the vast majority of the town.

There will also be buildings/houses inside the walls; most of which will have interior access as well.


As mentioned, some of the details of the castle have had to be changed to allow the model to be used for wargaming. One of these was the actual thickness of the walls, which are surprisingly thin. Fortunately, Google Earth Streetview has come to the rescue with being able to see elements close up.
The figures used are going to be on 20mm bases and so the model will have to accommodate this.


Even with Google Streetview, I will be visiting Gradara to take photos of specific areas and also to talk with local historians and archaeologists regarding the actual look of the town and interior buildings for the period it is being built for.

The town is celebrating the siege of 1446 and the model will be built to represent it at that time.

Second update

The main wall sample is now done as well. There need to be a few thing changed to it but that's what samples are for, to iron out the details.

I will be drawing for the next few weeks so there won't be that much to show but in July there will be some good progress including work on the first of the baseboards and groundwork.


There will be some sort of wooden platform/walkway between the wall and tower to allow access between both and this seems to be the case with all the towers.

The unpainted lower section of the wall is where the groundwork will eventually go and there will be some updates regarding that in July.

Third update

Now that the sample details are sorted, it's onto the main build. The baseboards are all going to be made to the same basic specs; 1200mm x 1200mm and 100mm deep. All the groundwork etc will be built on top of these (as shown on the left) with mdf sides following the edge profile which is then filled in with polystyrene. 


The walls are placed on solid supports underneath to get them to the right height, but they are loose for the time being. Once the groundwork has been roughed into shape the walls will be painted and stuck in place and the final groundwork sculpting will begin (more on which later).

That's not solid polystyrene though, there are a series of 'ribs' underneath that finish below the proposed surface and the flat polystyrene is glued onto these. It's a simple method to save material and potential weight.
The polystyrene will be formed with knife work, scrapers and sandpaper. Once it is pretty much sorted then a layer of sculptamould will go over everything.


There will probably be a few gaps to fill in with more polystyrene but they can be done and then the sculptamould can be applied pretty much straight after.
The painted walls will be stuck before the sculptamould goes on so they can be blended in. I will also add a few rock outcrops for some variety but they will be kept to a minimum (apart from round the keep).

Fourth update

The polystyrene has been roughed to shape and the sculptamould has been added following the contours and several relatively flat areas have been added to allow the easy placement of figures. The sculptamould takes a few days to dry but once it has it is very easy to sand and prep for painting.


As mentioned, I've added a few rock 'faces' to various parts of the ground work. This will help to break up the monotony of the greenery when it is applied. The patch to the right is where I ran out of sculptamould but more has arrived now and I can complete the basics on this section.

The walls have had their microstrip elements added (more on which later) and they were also given a quick sponging of textured masonry paint in various areas. Once this had dried, the whole set were given a spray of the base coat and several speckles of suitable colours were applied (as shown in the samples above). The rocks in the area are sandstone and a suitable base colour was chosen for the outcrops.


The walls and towers are now stuck in place and when more bases are made I will be able to add the next stage of colouring in.

The other bases need to be done before more can be done to this one to allow the same colours, tones and greenery to 'cross' from one base to the next.

What's a castle without a giant attacking it :-D

Fifth update

Part of the castle was undermined and Gradara would like this to be represented on the model so I've made two removable sections in the area where the undermining was supposed to have occured.


The removable sections will of course be made 'solid' and there will also be sections of rubble that can be placed in front and behind the wall when the undermining has taken place. These will be fairly flat to allow the placement of figures.

The cut profiles for the ruined sections are the same both front and back to allow for easy placement of them. The walls are quite a bit away from the baseboard edge so easy placement is a necessity for easy gameplay.


I should be receiving information regarding the interior very soon and when I start on that I'll be able to take photos both front and back, although I have started on a couple of generic houses that I will show in due course.

Sixth update

Time for some interior buildings. I've been given a pdf which is full of examples of how the buildings would've looked for the period.

Mostly they were simple, two storied houses but would have several different types of details. Barred lower windows, wooden oriel window and projecting balconies to name but a few.


One proviso is that most of the buildings have access for interior play. Not a problem really although all the buildings will have a slight line in them where the joint is. The interiors will be kept simple with a minimal amount of detail.

The buildings have been made from two layers of 2mm mdf (two layers cuts better and allows for recessed details that will become apparent at a later date). The roofs are from 1.5mm card but have plenty of internal structure so are incredibly robust.

The roof tiles have been drawn in Rhino in 'sheets' and have been printed. I will be casting them to cover all the roofs.

Roof tiles 1.jpg

Once I get a few more buildings done and have got some levels sorted for the interior I'll be able to take some proper interior shots that will help to give a better impression of what inside the walls will look like.

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